Brackets will start next week.
1: Memphis, Kansas, Duke, Tennessee
2: North Carolina, Texas, UCLA, Michigan St.
3: St. Mary’s, Georgetown, Drake, Wisconsin
4: Washington St., Xavier, Oklahoma, Butler
5: Mississippi, Stanford, Gonzaga, Connecticut
6: Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Baylor, Marquette
7: Notre Dame, Indiana, Arizona, Kansas St.
8: Louisville, Florida, Texas A&M, Ohio St.
9: Vanderbilt, South Alabama, Miami (FL), Southern Cal
10: Dayton, Rhode Island, Clemson, Syracuse
11: BYU, Mississippi St., Massachusetts, Purdue
12: Providence, Arkansas, Seton Hall, Kent St.
13: Virginia Commonwealth, UNC-Asheville, Oral Roberts, Siena
14: Davidson, CSU-Northridge, Stephen F. Austin, Utah St.
15: Northern Arizona, Cornell, Hampton, Wagner
16: East Tennessee St, Lafayette, Austin Peay, UMBC, Alabama St.
Last Four Out: Villanova, Wake Forest, California, UNLV
New Teams In: Seton Hall, Syracuse, BYU, Purdue, Mississippi St., Cornell, Wagner, ETSU
Old Teams Out: Villanova, NC St., Boston College, California, San Diego St., Brown, RMU, Belmont
10: Big East
6: Pac-10, Big XII
5: SEC, Big 10
4: ACC, A-10
Monday, January 28, 2008
Brackets will start next week.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Unless Providence can pull the upset, here is my ballot:
2. West Virginia
6. Notre Dame
13. Seton Hall
15. St. John’s
16. South Florida
POW: Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
FOW: Mike Coburn, Rutgers
If Providence does win, just switch them and Syracuse.
For player of the week: I was going to pick Anthony Mason Jr. from St. John's for his two 29-point performances. St. John's lost both of those games, so I decided instead to pick a top performer who led his team to victory.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Well, as you've probably noticed, I am way behind in posting. I am also way behind in schoolwork and life, so I am scaling back my posting to just that of ND, Big East Blog Poll, Top 25 Blog Poll, and Seed Lists/Bracketology.
With that said:
I didn't see this weekend's game. I'm missing Providence and Depaul AND Marquette. So if you read my blog for the purpose of ND information... you may want to look elsewhere for the time being.
Posted by Evilmonkeycma at 5:53 PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Major games from the weekend:
- Maryland defeats UNC. This is a huge lift for Maryland, and lessens the aura of dominance surrounding the Tar Heels. However, for all intents and purposes this loss did nothing to the Tar Heels, as they maintained their seeding in many seed lists (mine include).
- USC defeats UCLA. Much more important for USC than the UNC win was for Maryland, as USC only had one bad loss. This also hurt UCLA, as they already had one loss. This game allowed Tennessee to sneak in as a 1 seed.
- Speaking of the Vols, they have an astounding 7 wins against the top 50 RPI teams. Thats three more than any other team. However, they only beat the Buckeyes by 5. Is this a sign of weakness, or a sign that the Buckeyes are good?
- Fordham defeats Duquesne. Duquesne's whole tournament resume was based around the fact that they had no bad losses, and this game ruins that.
- Miami (FL) is a pretender. Miami (FL) is a pretender. (Repeat as necessary)
- Baylor picks up a road win. Baylor is for real, and they will make the tournament. This makes me happy, since this improves the Irish chances.
- Texas A&M is not good. They cannot win big games on the road. However, they are not bad. But unless they start winning some road games, they are done for. Same goes for the Irish.
- Kudos to Nova for picking up a road win in the Big East. Through Saturday, home teams in the Big East are 34-9, with only Rutgers having more than one home loss.
- Kudos also to Cincinnati for beating Pittsburgh. Cincinnati needs to continue knocking off top teams so they can overcome their pathetic non-con schedule.
- Drake beats Illinois St. in the battle for the Valley. Drake is now the master of the universe.
- BYU beats Utah in the only significant Saturday MWC action. This probably drops Utah out of the running for an at-large.
- Stanford beat Arizona St. Stanford is moving off of the bubble while ASU is moving closer to the bubble.
- California needs to win a game every so often, or they will miss the tournament.
- Davidson and Chattanooga squared off, and Davidson resoundingly showed that they will win their conference.
- Mississippi loses to Auburn? Inconcievable! This could shove Auburn back into NIT level.
- IUPUI followed up the tough loss at ORU to an unthinkable loss at Centenary. IUPUI went from one-bid stud to one-bid dud in the span of a week.
- Still searching for SWAC teams that want to win.
- Marquette got shellacked on the road by UConn. No one in the Big East is going to end up with a good road record, which will hurt seeding a lot. On the other hand, West Virginia's road win at USF will look very good, even if USF isn't the best team.
- Wake Forest beats Florida St. Enough said.
- Syracuse ALMOST beat G'town, which would have pushed them into the tournament. But they didn't, and now they must suffer the consequences.
Big Matchups for Tonight and Tomorrow:
- Wake Forest @ Clemson: Big game for each. A win for the Deacons might push them into the tournament and send the Tigers tumbling out.
- Drake @ Creighton: Jeff from basketballpredictions.com says that Drake will falter once they're in the spotlight. Here they are, on the road, against one of the best teams in the conference. A win here will solidify their position, while a loss will leave many doubts for the Drake.
- Utah @ New Mexico: Another important game regarding the MWC. Quick story: yesterday a friend was going through conference-by-conference, asking me who could realistically win each one. We got to the MWC. I looked at it for a second, then told him "Everyone except Colorado St. and Wyoming"
- UNC @ Miami (FL): The Cane's can show me here that they are not pretenders.
- Virginia @ Florida St.: Bubblicious ACC game.
- Baylor @ Texas A&M: Road win will push Baylor above the bubble, but Texas A&M will be looking for someone to beat after two embarrassing losses sent them tumbling.
- Iowa St. @ Kansas: The Cyclones have been surprising solid at home, but so far do not have a stellar road win.
- UConn @ Cincinnati: The Bearcats are 8-3 at home with wins over Pittsburgh and Villanova and losses to Belmont and Bowling Green. Which team will show up?
- Akron @ Kent St.: For control of the MAC bEast.
- San Diego St. @ BYU: See previous comments regarding MWC.
- Bucknell @ Lafayette: For control of the Patriot League.
1: Memphis, Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina
2: Duke, Michigan St., Texas, UCLA
3: Wisconsin, Washington St., Vanderbilt, Mississippi
4: Dayton, St. Mary’s, Pittsburgh, Georgetown
5: Drake, Indiana, Xavier, Villanova
6: Marquette, Butler, Miami (FL), Oklahoma
7: West Virginia, Arizona, Gonzaga, Notre Dame
8: Arizona St., Stanford, Clemson, Ohio St.
9: Massachusetts, Louisville, Rhode Island, Connecticut
10: Kansas St., Texas A&M, Baylor, South Alabama
11: Florida, Southern Cal, Providence, NC St.
12: Boston College, California, Stephen F. Austin, Cal State-Northridge
13: Kent St., San Diego St., Virginia Commonwealth, Siena
14: Utah St., Oral Roberts, UNC-Asheville, Davidson
15: Northern Arizona, Hampton, Brown, Robert Morris
16: Lafayette, Austin Peay, Belmont, UMBC, Alabama St.
Last Four Out: Syracuse, Seton Hall, Virginia, Cleveland St.
New Teams In: NC St., Southern Cal, BC, UConn, Oral Roberts, Robert Morris, Alabama St., Belmont
Old Teams Out: Virginia, Syracuse, Florida St, Oregon, IUPUI, Wagner, Texas Southern, ETSU
9: Big East
6: Big XII, ACC
4: A-10, Big 10, SEC
Monday, January 21, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Here's what happened last night:
- Three different stories vied for attention last night. The one that had me most intrigued was the Ramblin' Wreck holding tough and ALMOST beating North Carolina. It didn't even look like UNC was struggling, just that GT was able to keep up. I now have utmost confidence that Duke will beat UNC at Durham (and perhaps at Chapel Hill).
- The second story was the two of the three outstanding teams in the A-10 losing - Dayton falling at home to UMass, and Xavier losing by 19 on the road at Temple. The Xavier loss hurt a lot more (as you can see, I had them fall quite a bit). The Dayton loss didn't do much, except serve as the only bad conference loss they could take. Massachusetts, however, used the win to vault back into the bracket.
- The third story was Drake and Illinois St. winning to set up a match of unbeatens this Saturday at Drake.
- Also of note: Virginia lost to Virginia Tech at home. Just when it seems that the Cavs are on track they lose.
- Iowa St. beat Mizzou. Missouri believers - your faith is unrewarded.
- San Diego St. knocked off Utah to take control of the Mountain West. If by some miracle they could get through their conference with only one loss, they could make a case for an at-large.
- Holy Cross scored 39 at HOME to lose to Army. They will NOT win the conference this year. They look like they don't even belong.
- Mississippi beat Florida. No surprises here.
Now for tonight's games:
- Indiana @ Minnesota: Is either team for real? That remains to be seen.
- Marquette @ Louisville: Winning on the road in the Big East has proved nearly impossible so far. Yet this is what Marquette must do to maintain its lofty status.
- Providence @ Connecticut: Two Big East Bubble teams. UConn really needs a standout win, not just a good effort at G'Town and ND.
- Butler @ Cleveland St.: For control of the Horizon League.
- Kent St. @ Miami (OH): Two teams vying for the MAC title.
- Arizona @ Stanford: This game will be crucial in determining seeding for these two.
- Vanderbilt @ Tennessee: Is Vandy for real? If they can win this game, I'll believe in them. However, I suspect that the Commodores are not ready for the challenges of the SEC. This one is my pick for game of the night.
- IUPUI @ Oral Roberts: For control of the Summit League.
- Boise St. @ Utah St.: Yet another crucial game in the battle for the WAC.
1: Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA
2: Tennessee, Washington St., Pittsburgh, Duke
3: Michigan St., Texas, Marquette, Wisconsin
4: Mississippi, Butler, St. Mary’s, Drake
5: Georgetown, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Dayton
6: West Virginia, Rhode Island, Arizona, Oklahoma
7: Arizona St., Xavier, Villanova, Baylor
8: Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Ohio St., Syracuse
9: Texas A&M, Louisville, Miami (FL), Oregon
10: Kansas St., UMass, Clemson, Stanford
11: Florida, California, Florida St, Providence
12: South Alabama, Virginia, Kent St., CSU-Northridge
13: Stephen F. Austin, San Diego St., Siena, IUPUI
14: VCU, Davidson, UNC-Asheville, Utah St.
15: Hampton, Northern Arizona, Wagner, Eastern Tennessee St.
16: Brown, Austin Peay, Lafayette, UMBC, Texas Southern
Last Four Out: Duquesne, Minnesota, Connecticut, Cleveland St.
New Teams In: Providence, UMass, California, Louisville, Texas Southern, Lafayette, UNC-Asheville, San Diego St.
Old Teams Out: Arkansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Connecticut, UA-Pine Bluff, Holy Cross, Winthrop, Utah
9: Big East
6: Big XII, ACC
4: A-10, Big 10, SEC
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Now that I have a little more free time, I'll summarize the big games since Saturday:
- North Carolina DOMINATED NC St. in their ACC opener. While this is not a bad loss for the Wolfpack, it will stick in the committee members' minds in March, both as a sign of UNC dominance and NC St. failure.
- Meanwhile, Florida St. failed to pick up a big win against Clemson. The Seminoles need something to make their resume stand out.
- Kentucky came out of nowhere to upset undefeated Vanderbilt at Rupp. I'd lay money that that sentence was never thought possible prior to this season. Is this a sign that the ship is being righted in for UK, or a sign of troubles down in Vandy?
- I was seriously surprised the UConn-G'town game was as close as it was. Perhaps the Hoyas will not have the easy ride to the conference championship that I believed they would. Also, Villanova looks less and less like a tournament-quality team every game. Losing to Cincinnati is not the way to go. (Cincinnati just isn't that good. I don't know how they beat Louisville, but they lost to St. John's by double-digits.)
- Kansas St. winning at Oklahoma was key. Both teams will be in the tournament, and this will be the gift that keeps on giving for KSU.
- I watched the end of Michigan St. and Iowa, and have determined that Michigan St. is perhaps the worst "good" team in the history of me watching basketball. I really liked them last year, especially Drew Nietzel, but the fact that they are able to play as poorly as they did against Iowa tells me that they have no shot of winning the NCAA Tournament.
- Elsewhere in the Big Ten Ohio St. picked up a bad loss at Purdue. Bad in this sense not because PU is horrible, but because they are supposed to be so much better than Purdue. This does not bode well for the Buckeyes.
- Arizona came up with a key OOC road win at Houston. Realistically, unless Houston can upset Memphis at least once (out of a probable three chances), they aren't going to make the tournament.
- UCLA made their case for being a 1 seed. I watched the end of this game, and the barrage of threes by Washington St. at the end was quite impressive. You probably don't need me to tell you more about this game.
- It was not a good day for top teams in low-major conferences. UMBC (America East), Winthrop (Big South), East Tennessee St. (Atlantic Sun), CSU-Fullerton (Big West), and Holy Cross (Patriot) all lost, with all except HC coming at home.
- Southern Illinois lost again, this time to Indiana St. I hope everyone (other than true Saluki fans) has gotten off this bandwagon. This is just not their year. This is really the only interesting thing to come out of Saturday from the MVC.
- It isn't very far into the conference season, but it appears that the Southern Conference is a two team race between Chattanooga and Davidson.
- In the WAC, Utah St. came out victorious over New Mexico St. in the battle of conference leaders. In the MWC, San Diego St. beat New Mexico at New Mexico in the battle of conference leaders. Does anyone else think these two should just merge into a super-conference? (Bonus Point: Another leader in the MWC, UNLV, lost to Air Force. This puts a SERIOUS dent in whatever at-large hopes they had).
- Austin Peay won round 1 against SE Missouri St. in a match-up between the two teams most likely to represent the Ohio Valley in the play-in game.
- Duquesne showed they belonged at the A-10 party by almost knocking off highly-touted Rhode Island AT RIU. This finally led me to acknowledge that Jeff over at basketballpredictions.blogspot.com may know more about the A-10 than I. (I've been arguing with him for weeks about the A-10, because he believes they will only receive two bids.)
- Syracuse showed that they cannot hang with West Virginia. I maintain that Syracuse, like Villanova, is vastly overrated.
- IU beat Illinois. Not much news here. I was actually shocked that it was close.
- Shocker of the night: Pitt beat Georgetown. It appears that there are several clusters in the Big East: G'town, Marquette, and Pitt at the top, Notre Dame, Louisville, Connecticut, and West Virginia in the high-middle, Villanova, Providence, and Syracuse in the middle, Cincinnati and Depaul in the low-middle, and the other four below them.
- Kansas wiped the floor with Oklahoma, showing that they are indeed a (perhaps the) top team in the Big XII.
- I've decided that no one truly wants to win the SWAC. I hope some team from that conference uses that statement as motivation.
- VMI won to improve to 2-0 in the Big South. They won't win the conference, but by golly I want them to. They are quite entertaining to watch. If you can, find last year's conference championship game between VMI and Winthrop. It was awesome.
- Miami lost to BC by 10. I believe that this is more an indication that Miami is overrated than the Eagles being a tournament team. However, for BC this is a step in the right direction.
- Baylor beat Oklahoma St. I think Baylor is truly going to make the tournament, and I don't think the committee puts as much stock in "name" as people think.
- Nebraska lost to Colorado. Ya hear that? That's the sound of Nebraska's at-large hopes falling fast.
- Winthrop beat Liberty by only 7 at home. I give it 3:2 odds that Winthrop wins the conference... which isn't good news for them.
- Two big games in the Mountain West. UNLV, who lost to Air Force, destroyed BYU. I will say outright that I have not a clue who will win this conference. New Mexico, 14-2 heading into the conference season, lost to a not good TCU team.
This brings us to the games tonight:
- UMass @ Dayton: Massachusetts does not want to fall to 0-2 in-conference, but that is probably what will happen.
- North Carolina @ Georgia Tech: Must-win for Georgia Tech. Also won't happen.
- Duke @ Florida St.: The Noles are still looking for something shiny to show the selection committee.
- Delaware @ VCU: Two of the three teams vying for the conference title.
- Drake @ Bradley: Another road test for your MVC-leading Drake. (Note: My roommate couldn't be happier about this.)
- Utah @ San Diego St.: The only two teams left undefeated in conference play in the MWC.
- Florida @ Mississippi: Game of the night. Mississippi "rebounded" from their tough lost at Tennessee to almost lose at home to not-so-great LSU. Florida is still a mystery, and probably will be until deep into the conference season.
I plan to do another seed list tonight after all the big games are done. I apologize for the long post, and long time since my last post.
I haven't been able to write in a few days, what with moving back to school and all. Therefore, I am splitting this into two posts: Notre Dame since Saturday, and the rest of the (college basketball) world since Sunday.
The game against Marquette was ugly. Really ugly. The fact that Notre Dame was still in the game at halftime was more a testament to the bad play of Marquette than to the good play of the Irish. The only bright spot of the game was Luke Harangody, who still managed 29 points despite 6 turnovers. In all the Irish committed 24 turnovers on 77 possessions - almost a third of the possessions. It wasn't just dumb mistakes like throwing away the ball, although that happened several times. 17 turnovers came from steals, as the Irish big men (Kurz, Harangody, Hillesland) let themselves get trapped and didn't get the ball out of there quick enough. Macalerny also had several turnovers, though he just was not careful enough with the ball. Ryan Ayers, typically a three-point threat, ignored several open looks and contributed only 2 missed attempts to the 4-19 night.
In contrast the game against Cincinnati last night was fun to watch. The Irish started out slow, missing their first 7 field goals before Macalerny floated in a shot 6 minutes into the game. THe Irish would not score until Kurz was fouled nearly four minutes into the game and drained both of his free-throws. 12 of the Irish first-half points came off of free-throws, and the crowd could not get into the game. Going into halftime the Irish trailed by 7, and Harangody had only scored 1 point off of a free-throw. The play that best represented the first half came with the Irish up 19-18 when Kurz had a open look for a dunk, and the crowd cheered as he smashed it through. Those cheers turned to groans as the dunk bounced off the rim to a Cincinnati player, who then took it the other way for an easy two.
Something must have happened at halftime, and I'd like to think it was the performance of Red Panda. Red Panda an Asian lady, on a 8-foot unicycle, who balances bowls on her foot and flipping 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, and finally 5 bowls onto her head, while keeping all previously flipped bowls on her head as she rides around the arena. Her performance whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and much of that energy transferred into the second half of the game. The crowd cheered much louder in the second half, and the team seemed to feed off of that energy. The noise level only increased as Kurz started off the half with a three. Cincinnati missed 5 of their first 6 shots, but after Rashard Bishop finally tipped in a miss, Harangody scored 11 points in three minutes while the Bearcats went 3/9 to bring the Irish within one. Once the Irish took the lead they never surrendered it, and the game never felt close. When the big man guarding Harangody fouled out with about 6 minutes to go in the game, I thought "Game Over". The Bearcats certainly thought they had a chance, but the Irish kept making free throws. Two acts that I thought were unsportsmanlike near the end of the game. The Bearcat coach ordered his players to keep fouling and extend the game - even when down 14 with under 30 seconds to play! Cronin delayed the game even when it was clearly out of reach. That was bad. When Cincinnati turned the ball over with under 10 seconds, the Irish should have run out the clock. Instead sophomore Jonathan peoples took the ball down the court for a dunk. That was also bad. No one tried to contest him because the game was over. Just run out the clock! Obviously the game wasn't perfect. The Irish haven't stayed focused on a game for a full 40 minutes yet. This was, however, a nice win to follow-up the bad loss at Marquette.
Hopefully we can win at G'town, but I am not hopeful. We beat UConn by playing tough and hitting the three; if the three is on, we stand a chance.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Coming Later: Thoughts about ND-Marquette, Notes about the Weekend
1: Memphis, North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas
2: Tennessee, Duke, Washington St., Mississippi
3: Wisconsin, Texas, Dayton, Marquette
4: Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Michigan St., Butler
5: Georgetown, St. Mary’s, Baylor, Arizona St.
6: Xavier, Notre Dame, Ohio St., Arizona
7: West Virginia, Villanova, Oklahoma, Rhode Island
8: Gonzaga, Drake, Indiana, Stanford
9: Oregon, Vanderbilt, Connecticut, Kansas St.
10: Syracuse, Virginia, Nebraska, Miami (FL)
11: Clemson, Florida, Arkansas, Florida St.
12: Minnesota, Utah, South Alabama, VCU
13: Stephen F. Austin, Kent St., CSU-Northridge, IUPUI
14: Siena, Utah St., Winthrop, Davidson
15: Northern Arizona, Holy Cross, ETSU, UMBC
16: Hampton, Austin Peay, Wagner, Brown, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Last Four Out: California, Louisville, Providence, Houston
New Teams In: Florida, Florida St., Minnesota, Arkansas, Connecticut, VCU, UA-PB, Wagner, NAU, Brown, Utah, Utah St.
Old Teams Out: California, Providence, USC, UMass, Boston College, George Mason, Alabama St., Long Island, Montana St., Cornell, New Mexico, Boise St.
8: Big East
7: Big XII
6: ACC, Pac-10
5: SEC, Big 10
Friday, January 11, 2008
If you decided to watch the three notable games last night (Louisville/WVU, WSU/USC, or Illinois/Wisconsin), you were disappointed. I tried to watch all three games, but found myself instead watching Arkansas/Auburn and UW-GB/Butler, and the inside of my eyelids (near the end of WSU and UCLA). So what did we learn last night?
- Either Louisville has returned to form or West Virginia is just BAD on the road. Louisville did not look overly dominating, and since away from Morgantown the Mountaineer's best win came against either New Mexico St. or Auburn, I tend toward the latter.
- Washington St. is clearly better than USC. We knew this already, but this further confirms it.
- Arkansas is a bubble team, Auburn is an NIT/CBI team at best.
- Butler will probably lose a couple more in-conference games this year. Although they won with a tough OOC schedule, they are not nearly as good on the road, and tend not to play as well in-conference. Because of this, they will not be a 4 seed like most people (including me) are projecting.
- Oregon should be ecstatic about their win over Cal. They now have two wins over tournament-quality teams
- New Mexico St., with their win in Boise, should be considered the favorite to win the WAC.
- With Austin Peay's loss last night, the OVC is wide open, and the champion should expect a 16-seed.
- The three teams from the Southland that were hyped for their lack of bad OOC losses (and a decent OOC win) have all lost their conference opener.
- Siena at Niagara: The only Friday game worth noting matches the two contenders for the MAAC Championship.
- Florida St. @ Clemson: Clemson needs to rebound from the loss to Charlotte to avoid going on a three game losing streak. Florida St. would like to take advantage of the situation to add that quality win they've been looking for.
- Ohio St. @ Purdue: Ohio St. needs this game to maintain position for a top 8 seed. Purdue needs this game to climb closer to the bubble.
- Kansas @ Nebraska: The conference opener for both teams has the 4th lowest combined Pomeroy Ratings of Saturday.
- Kansas St. @ Oklahoma: Two Big XII bubble teams currently on the good side of the bubble.
- Texas Tech @ Oklahoma St: Two Big XII bubble teams currently on the bad side of the bubble.
- UConn @ Georgetown (2:00 EST, ESPN): A match-up of the two Big East teams with starters over 7'. This also matches the team with the 14th fastest pace with the 317th fastest pace, which could be the deciding factor. Neither team is very good at free-throws (UConn has the edge, 66.4% to 60.4%). This should be a very good game, and has the 6th lowest combined Pomeroy Ratings for Saturday, with both teams in the top 34.
- Notre Dame @ Marquette (2:00 EST, ESPN Full Court): The second-lowest combined Pomeroy Rating game of Saturday. Notre Dame has had two impressive home wins over West Virginia and UConn, and has a real chance to go and pick up their first true road win over a Marquette team that lacks the height to stop Harangody and is reeling after a loss to West Virginia and an ugly win over Seton Hall. A win here would establish the Irish as the second best team in the conference.
- UC-Santa Barbara @ CSU-Fullerton: Two of the three best teams in the Big West square off.
- San Diego St. @ New Mexico: This game will help sort out the 5-team jumble at the top of the Mountain West.
- SE Missouri St. @ Austin Peay: The two best teams in the OVC square off.
- Arizona @ Houston (3:00 EST, ESPN2): Arizona is currently 1-3 in true road games, with the win coming against UNLV. That record is deceiving, since those three losses came against Memphis by 13, in OT against Arizona St, and in OT against Kansas. Regardless, Arizona would like to have another OOC road win on their resume. 11-2 Houston needs a quality win to add to their resume. Their best win came against Kentucky, and they've lost to VCU and UMass. A win here would be of great help come Selection Sunday.
- Washington St. @ UCLA (2:30 EST, Possibly Not Televised): I've searched everywhere, and I cannot find out if this game is televised. Seriously... when is the last time a game between two top-5 teams wasn't televised? This is the best game of the week according to the Pomeroy ratings. It's at approximately at the same time as my other 3 highlighted games, so I might not have gotten to watch it, but still... I'm sure that more of the country would watch this game over Arizona/Houston.
- New Mexico St. @ Utah St.: After knocking off WAC competitor Boise St. on Thursday, NMSU has another road game against a team in the upper tier of the WAC.
- Syracuse @ West Virginia: The best game according to the Pomeroy Ratings features two teams that are a combined 3-3 in-conference. They both need this game.
- Illinois @ Indiana: An under-achieving Illinois team heads to Bloomington.
- Stanford @ Oregon (4:30 ET, CBS): This game won't tell us anything about either team, but it will probably be the best game on TV on Sunday (unless you want to watch the football games).
- Alabama @ Arkansas: Arkansas fights to stay on the bubble. Alabama fights just to get talked about.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
If this post sounds incoherent, it is because I got my wisdom teeth removed this morning and am on medication for the pain. If it is indeed incoherent (and not just containing debatable points), please comment as such. If I get a few of those comments, I will delete this post.
Did anyone see the UNC/UNC-Asheville game last night? I saw the Sportscenter highlights that talked about UNC-A’s Kenny George, but I’d like to know if he is nearly as good as they made him out to be.
Both Marquette and Seton Hall looked quite pathetic in the game Tuesday evening. While Seton Hall wasn’t supposed to be good, Marquette, a ranked team playing at home, seemed like they didn’t even want to win. Perhaps they were looking ahead to Notre Dame. Georgetown further established their dominance with the double-digit win at Depaul. Rutgers has established their place at the bottom of the Big East. Syracuse showed that they are not the lock that some have claimed them to be.
Some other quick thoughts:
- After the tough loss against UNC that made me believe they were a legitimate team in the ACC, Clemson’s loss at home to Charlotte has me doubting them again. I’m not going to write off the Tigers because of one bad loss, but I will be keeping close watch on them. Charlotte also put the A-10 on notice that Dayton, RIU, and Xavier are not going to run away with the conference.
- Speaking of the A-10, two games of note from last night. Dayton beat Rhode Island in a highly anticipated match-up in Dayton. I’m not convinced that Dayton is vastly superior, and look forward to the rematch on February 2. In addition, UMass losing to St. Joseph’s showed that there is not a clear-cut 4th team in the A-10 at this time.
- Michigan St. had a close call at home against Purdue, following a close call at home against Minnesota. Something is wrong in East Lansing, and it may catch up with them sooner or later.
- George Mason lost to Delaware. I will admit that I do not have the slightest clue who will win the CAA.
- The Tennessee-Ole Miss game saw another team leave the group of the undefeated. However, it also validated Ole Miss’s start. Either one of these teams could end up winning the SEC.
- St. Mary’s picked up that road win they needed, as did Florida.
- West Virginia @ Louisville: At 4th and 30th respectively, this game has the lowest combined Pomeroy Ratings of the night. West Virginia is coming off the win against Marquette, while Louisville lost at home to Cincinnati the last time they played a Big East game.
- Georgia St. @ Virginia Commonwealth: Georgia St. already beat conference favorite George Mason. A victory over VCU would seal the conference to a one-bid fate.
- California @ Oregon: Two teams that will probably end up on the bubble.
- Arkansas @ Auburn: Arkansas needs wins like these to remain on the happy side of bubble-land
- New Mexico St. @ Boise St.: Two of the top teams in the WAC. A win at Boise would make NMSU the favorites to win the conference
- Illinois @ Wisconsin: Illinois needs a miracle to receive an at-large berth. A win at Wisconsin would be a good start.
- Washington St. @ USC: A loss at home would be USC’s third straight loss, and would keep the Cougars undefeated.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Notre Dame beat Connecticut. This is old news by now. Everyone knows that Tory Jackson got hurt, though it is still questionable whether he was fouled. You don't need my opinion on that. After two Big East games, we have seen Notre Dame two ways. First, against West Virginia the Irish won because Harangody could get physical and score inside. Against Connecticut, Luke got blocked repeatedly, but the Irish still won thanks to the quickness of KMac. I believe that if Luke isn't getting blocked and the Irish can stop having second-half dry spells, then they can beat anyone. Since the tallest starter for Marquette is 6'6", I like the Irish chances this Saturday. They have yet to prove anything on the road, and they still have trouble maintaining a lead. Given the in-conference results this week, however, it seems that Notre Dame could be of the top four teams in the conference.
- St. Mary's is still a good team, even if they did lose to Texas. They were playing on the road against a superior team, so it should not be held against them.
- Oregon cannot be trusted to win or lose appropriate games. I would not count on them to make the tournament, but they should win some games that they are not supposed to.
- How does Villanova follow up a loss to Depaul with a win over Pitt?
- After losing to Penn St. on Sunday, Illinois needs a miracle (or three) to make the tournament.
- UNC-Clemson was entertaining basketball because Clemson played so well. Cornell-Duke was entertaining basketball because Duke played so poorly. Duke could win this conference, but they could also end up third.
- Auburn does not look like a legitimate tourney team. They've gotten blown out in their only games against good teams, and also lost to Tulane. According to the Pomeroy Ratings they are by far the worst team in the SEC, and are predicted to finish with a losing record.
- Boston College's at-large hopes took a serious hit last night when they lost AT HOME to Robert Morris.
- Florida @ Alabama: Both of these teams obtained their outstanding records by beating up weaker teams. They both have an outside chance at making the tournament, but need wins better than Georgia Southern and Missouri St., respectively
- St. Mary's @ Fresno St.: The Gaels really need a true road win.
- Holy Cross @ Maryland: Holy Cross is clearly the best team in the Patriot League, and has a chance for a nice road win here.
- Georgetown @ Depaul: Depaul had an upset over Villanova and are 2-0 in the Big East. They will probably win tonight, but anything can happen in the Big East.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
I do not believe there is anything wrong with my method of creating a seed list. We have seen that upsets can happen. Therefore it seems foolish to me to project who will win which games. By the same token I have no good reason for creating brackets at this point in the season. Since I expect some movement up and down, it is foolish to create a bracket. I tend to find it fun and challenging, but there isn't a reason to have an actual bracket.
1: Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA
2: Michigan St., Washington St., Duke, Wisconsin
3: Texas, Tennessee, Marquette, Mississippi
4: Butler, Vanderbilt, Dayton, Texas A&M
5: Clemson, Rhode Island, Indiana, Georgetown
6: Pittsburgh, Ohio St., Xavier, St. Mary's
7: Arizona, Notre Dame, Villanova, Miami (FL)
8: Oklahoma, Boston College, West Virginia, Arizona St.
9: Drake, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Syracuse
10: Baylor, Oregon, Virginia, Stanford
11: Gonzaga, Kansas St., California, Southern Cal.
12: Providence, New Mexico, Stephen F. Austin, Kent St.
13: George Mason, South Alabama, Siena, Winthrop
14: IUPUI, CSU-Northridge, Boise St., Cornell
15: Holy Cross, Davidson, Montana St., ETSU
16: Austin Peay, Hampton, Long Island, UMBC, Alabama St.
Last 4 Out: Arkansas, Minnesota, Florida St., Houston
8: Pac-10, Big East
7: Big XII
4: A-10, Big 10
New Teams In: Oregon, Gonzaga, Stephen F. Austin, CSU-Northridge, Davidson, Cornell
Old Teams Out: Minnesota, Creighton, Sam Houston St, UC-Santa Barbara, Georgia Southern, Brown
I will be doing brackets again starting... January 27th, because that seems about the time that people start doing them.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Notre Dame looked impressive in their victory tonight over the visiting West Virginia Mountaineers, 69-56. Of particular note was the 29 point, 16 rebound performance of Luke Harangody, both career highs. Near the beginning of the game it seemed like West Virginia would dominate the boards, but somehow Notre Dame managed to neutralize their big guys. Throughout the game it felt like Notre Dame was in control, and the momentum West Virginia gained when they went up 14-11 was quickly neutralized by a pair of Ryan Ayres threes. Tonight was not a perfect game by a long shot - we had more than twice as many turnovers as WVU (20-9), with most of those being coughed up by Jackson, Hillesland, and Kurz. I was afraid that without the student section behind the team the game would play like a neutral-court game, but over 8000 showed up, and were quite vocal in support of the Irish. I encourage all Irish fans to come out and support the Irish Saturday night against UConn.
The other Big East games of the night went as expected, with the exception of Depaul upsetting 16th ranked Villanova. While many people find this shocking, I feel that this validates my refusal to put Nova higher than a 9 seed in my previous bracket. They had not beaten anyone of note, and had a loss to NC St. Although a loss to Depaul will hurt their resume, they still have a shot this year, what will the weakness of the mid-majors.
Speaking of the mid-majors:
- Xavier added an impressive win to its collection tonight. The A-10 will get several bids to the tournament - unless they self-destruct, Xavier, Rhode Island, and Dayton are almost assured of making it, and UMass is firmly on the bubble.
- The CAA has returned to one-bid status, with George Mason inexplicably losing to Georgia St on Wednesday.
- The Horizon could be a two-bid league, if Butler continues to do well and loses in the conference championship. Which could happen.
- The same goes with the WCC and St. Mary's or Gonzaga, though Gonzaga has to do a lot more to end up with an at-large than St. Mary's. I suppose that it could be a 3-bid league if someone else wins the conference tourney, but i don't think that will happen.
- If the Valley elite keep on getting beat, the MVC could send only the conference champion to the tourney this year. After two games, we've learned that Creighton is not as good as believed. Nor is Southern Illinois. SIU needs an outstand conference record to make the tournament, while Creighton needs to just win the games it should. Only Drake seems to be in good position for an at-large bid.
- I admit I was wrong about Georgia Southern in the SoCon. Davidson showed that they will win that conference. However, if they falter in the conference tourney, don't expect an at-large bid.
- I still believe that if UCSB runs the table in-conference, they will receive an at-large level bid. Although they have no outstanding wins, they would have no bad losses. Their RPI and SOS would be pitiful, but the committee might overlook that. However, losing ANY conference game will send their seed plummeting.
- The Mountain West is still a mystery. BYU, New Mexico, or UNLV might be able to garner an at-large... but probably not.
Thus I count only 4 mid-major at-larges: 1 to the MVC, 3 to the A-10. With so few, the MWC might sneak one in, but that still leaves 29 for the 6 major conferences, and the SEC is having a down year.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
I made this seed list after the games of the 30th, but there has been nothing that has changed my mind since.
1: Memphis, Kansas, Washington St., Duke
2: Marquette, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas
3: Michigan St., Tennessee, UCLA, Pittsburgh
4: Dayton, Mississippi, Texas A&M, Arizona
5: Butler, Vanderbilt, Baylor, Rhode Island
6: Georgetown, Creighton, St. Mary’s, Clemson
7: Boston College, Arizona St., Miami (FL), Drake
8: Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, Stanford
9: West Virginia, Xavier, Ohio St., Villanova
10: Massachusetts, Nebraska, UCSB, Providence
11: Syracuse, USC, Notre Dame, Minnesota
12: Kansas St., California, George Mason, New Mexico
13: Winthrop, Holy Cross, Miami (OH), Sam Houston St.
14: Georgia Southern, Siena, Hampton, IUPUI
15: UMBC, S. Alabama, Long Island, Boise St.
16: Austin Peay, Montana St., ETSU, Brown, Alabama St.
8: Big East
7: Pac-10, Big XII
5: Big 10
New Teams In: Villanova, New Mexico, New Mexico St., Hampton, Montana St.
Old Teams Out: BYU, UNLV, Boise St., Morgan St., Northern Arizona