I apologize for my absence over the past few days. Actually, it has been nearly a week since I last did anything substantial. I should note a few headlines from this past week.
No More Undefeateds: Wake Forest loses to Virginia Tech
Home Streaks End: Notre Dame and Tennessee lose #1 and #2 longest win streaks, and then drop consecutive home games. Kansas now has the longest home winning streak at 35. Davidson and Utah St. are tied for second, with 27
Top Teams Tumble: Since last Wednesday, there have been nine top teams that have taken losses to teams below their level. Georgetown, once thought to be the best team in the Big East, has taken a fall with four straight losses, including games at Cincinnati and Seton Hall. Syracuse is on a three game slide, losing last night at Providence. Pittsburgh’s offending loss isn’t too bad – 10 points at Villanova. In the ACC, Miami (FL) lost to lower-tier ACC teams Virginia Tech and NC St., and Wake Forest got caught looking ahead by that same Hokie team. Cal represents the Pac-10 with a home loss to the Beavers. Finally, the SEC has three on the list: Tennessee losing consecutive home games to Memphis and LSU, and Kentucky getting beat by Ole Miss
Making Some Noise: A few perennial cellar-dwellers rattled some cages this week. Virginia Tech improved to 4-1 in conference by going on the road to knock off Miami and #1 Wake Forest. Oregon St. also took their show on the road, sweeping the Bay Area teams. Providence is making a case for the tournament – at 6-2 in conference, they are almost certain to get talked about in March, and that win over Syracuse finally gives them something to brag about.
Mid-Majors to Mention: I’ll spare you more hype of Butler and Davidson (which will presumably be the highlight of Bracketbusters). I’ll also you spare you from hearing about Gonzaga, who you’ve heard about for about a decade, and VMI, who I’ve mentioned many times before. So who’s left?
Disappointing Siena has re-asserted themselves over the MAAC, garnering a 3 game lead with eight remaining. If they don’t trip up, and get a decent Bracketbuster draw, they could be sitting on the 12 line again in March. However, they may have to play host to 19-1 Utah St. , who is currently 7-0 in the WAC. Again, if they can avoid losing, they too could be on the 12 line in March. Staying on the left coast, St. Mary’s returns to the discussion with an 18-1 record. The lone blemish was a neutral court loss to UTEP. Tonight the Gaels travel to Spokane to face Gonzaga. Even with a pair of losses to GU, St. Mary's should make the tournament again.
So you thought VCU or George Mason would run away with the CAA? Northeastern changed with a win at VCU yesterday, putting themselves in prime position to win the regular season crown. Finally, Northern Iowa has risen above the muck to take over in the Valley. This is a lot more surprising than it should be. In the bruising, slow-down world of the Valley, having a starter 5 INCHES TALLER than any other conference starter can’t hurt.
So, I will do a bracket tomorrow. So look for it.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I apologize for my absence over the past few days. Actually, it has been nearly a week since I last did anything substantial. I should note a few headlines from this past week.
Posted by Evilmonkeycma at 5:12 PM
Saturday, January 24, 2009
So, with the start of the new semester, I thought I'd have enough time to really keep up with the consistent but demanding schedule I had put before me. I was wrong. There is no use in having the vast majority of my posts be a summary of the day's action if I am not able to get it out consistently - no one would come to read.
Thus, I will start posting mainly just brackets, and clarification of my thoughts regarding the bracket.
To those who question my logic of having UConn as a 5 seed - first, recall that I am projecting out to the end of the season. Then answer the question - who are they going to beat? I currently see them going 12-6 in conference, including getting swept by Pitt. Of those twelve wins, seven are going to be against the bottom six teams in the league. Of the remaining five, I consider two of them to be "signature" wins - West Virginia and Syracuse (and WVU is debatable). The win in Seattle was really nice, but I believe that Gonzaga's loss streak (especially including Portland St.) really hurt their credibility, so I'm not too keen on calling them a signature win. UConn will probably also end up with around a .500 record against the top 50 in RPI. The lack of signature wins plus nothing overly spectacular results in a five seed.
That said, they should be a four. I have Clemson way overrated, and I'm not sure why.
Also, with regards to Maryland vs. Arkansas - most of Maryland's conference losses will still be able to be grouped in the "mediocre but not bad column". Arkansas has no such luxury.
Happy basketball watching!
Posted by Evilmonkeycma at 2:47 AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Finally got this one completed.
1: Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Duke
2: Georgetown, Oklahoma, Butler, Michigan St.
3: Xavier, Marquette, Clemson, Illinois
4: Ohio St, Syracuse, Tennessee, Louisville
5: Connecticut, Texas, Gonzaga, Notre Dame
6: Arizona St, West Virginia, Kentucky, Villanova
7: Kansas, California, Baylor, Purdue
8: Minnesota, Florida, UCLA, Oklahoma St
9: Missouri, Brigham Young, Miami (FL), Utah St.
10: Davidson, St. Mary's, Maryland, Michigan
11: UNLV, Texas A&M, Kansas St., Florida St.
12: Utah, Memphis, Wisconsin, Siena
13: Western Kentucky, Virginia Commonwealth, Northern Iowa, Miami (OH)
14: VMI, Portland St, Cornell, North Dakota St.
15: Vermont, Stephen F. Austin, American, Long Beach St.
16: Jacksonville, Morgan St, Alabama St, Austin Peay vs. Robert Morris
Last Four Out: South Carolina, Penn St, Dayton, Washington
Next Four Out: Providence, Rhode Island, Stanford, College of Charleston
Big Movers: Louisville, Connecticut, Arizona St, Kentucky, Purdue, UCLA, Michigan
Seeds by Conference
Big East: 9
Big XII: 8
Big 10: 7
Bracket: Maybe up soon?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So, what has happened over the past three days, and what do we have to look forward to?
Wake Forest 78, @Clemson 68:
Wow! Wake is for real! I count maybe one opportunity for them to lose – at Cameron Indoor. However, a friend of mine who is an expert on the ACC claims that Duke has no shot against Wake, and that they match-up poorly. This is a very good team. Don’t discount Clemson, though – this is still at top 15 team.
@Louisville 69, Pittsburgh 63:
Apparently, the Cardinals finally decided to show up, first against Notre Dame, and then again against Pittsburgh. This, combined with the above Wake win, drops Pitt from #1 overall. As I haven’t exhaustively looked through teams, I can’t tell you where I’d put Louisville – but expect them to rise.
@Duke 76, Georgetown 71:
This game was a blow to those who claim that the Big East was the dominant conference in the land. Moreover, it probably knocks Georgetown off the one line, and might lift Duke as a THIRD ACC team (3!!). 2005 was the last time that two teams from the same conference made the one line, an event that has happened eight times since the advent of the 64-team tournament. NEVER have three teams from the same conference made it as a one seed, though in 2005 the third ACC team was a two seed. So we may be in for a history making year.
@New Mexico 81, Brigham Young 62:
Oh no! BYU lost! I’m… not at all shocked. Road teams losing is what happens in the Mountain West, and why four teams in might have been a little unreasonable.
@ Tennessee 82, South Carolina 79:
The Vols are having a rough start to their conference season, and I am not at all confident that they can win enough games to land in those top four seed lines.
@Northwestern 74, Minnesota 65:
Northwestern is on the wrong side of the bubble, but winning games like this is the best way to work their way back.
Ohio St. 65, @Michigan 58:
Michigan’s season is going down the tubes, very slowly. I mean, how many of their remaining games do you feel confident they can win after this? 3? If this Michigan team goes 6-12, I don’t think they will make the tournament. Also, I’m sure the Buckeyes feel good about getting a legitimate road win.
@Michigan St. 63, Illinois 57
Not as surprising as the above. I mean, Michigan St. is far and away the class of this conference, and they should win every game at home this year.
Arizona St 61, @UCLA 58, @Southern Cal 65, Arizona 64; @Stanford 75, Cal 69:
Go figure. Arizona St. IS the class of this conference, and the loss to USC was just a hiccup. Speaking of USC – they could still make the tournament. They just have to do really well the rest of this year. I don’t think so, either.
@Mississippi St. 73, Vanderbilt 66:
3-0 in conference, but still no major wins. Mississippi St. could make the tournament, but they need to win some big games first.
@Syracuse 93, Notre Dame 74:
Still not surprised. This reminded me a lot of last year’s game at Marquette – you know, the one where they got owned? The difference is they don’t get a home game to pay them back this time.
@Virginia Tech 79, Boston College 71:
Boston College, never change. Your ability to slay the dreaded UNC Dragon, and then go on a 0-4 run amuses me greatly. And the more they lose, the worse it looks for UNC. Like, I would consider it within the realm of possibility for the Tarheels to get a #2 seed.
@Nebraska 73, Kansas St. 51:
Hooray Cornhuskers. You have little to no shot of making the tournament (honestly), and yet you still are destroying teams at home. Five points, and they’d be a lock for the tournament. Anyhow, this hurts Kansas St. a little, but this was to be expected.
@Massachusetts 79, Temple 75:
Really, the Owls were on tenuous ground before this, and Massachusetts is a bad loss. They basically need to win out to make it to the tournament.
I really, really, really don’t understand this conference. At least only their auto-bid winner will be in.
The ACC is now 9-6 against the Big East, with one game remaining – Duke vs. St. John’s. Let’s take a look at those games.
Duke 76, Georgetown 67 - The crown jewel of the ACC in the argument. +2 ACC
North Carolina 102, Notre Dame 87 – Looked a lot better at the time. +1 ACC
Florida St 58, Cincy 47 – Huge win at Cincinnati, exposing the Bearcats. +1 ACC
Boston College 81, Providence 76 – Perhaps BC’s second-best win. +1 ACC.
Virginia 77, South Florida 75 – Mostly Irrelevant. +.5 ACC
Virginia Tech 81, St. John’s 67 – Mostly Irrelevant. +.5 ACC
BC 82, St. John’s 70 – Irrelevant. +0
North Carolina 97, Rutgers 75 – Irrelevant. +0
Miami (FL) 70, St. John’s 56 – Irrelevant. +0
Big East Victories
Connecticut 76, Miami 63 – The crown jewel of the Big East camp? +1 Big East
Marquette 68, NC St. 65 – I don’t know what to call this game. Shouldn’t have been this close. +.5 ACC.
Syracuse 73, Virginia 70 – At Syracuse, Virginia should not be this close. +1 ACC.
Pittsburgh 56, Florida St 48 – Good win for Pitt. +1 Big East
Seton Hall 77, Virginia Tech 75 – Mostly Irrelevant. +.5 Big East
Georgetown 75, Maryland 48 – Irrelevant. +0
So, by my count, 6.5 ACC, 2.5 Big East. Despite being a Big East homer, I’ll say that the ACC is the better conference.
So whats happening tonight?
Tuesday, January 20
Tennessee @ Vanderbilt:
The Vols want a big road win to establish legitimacy. The Commodores want a win over a top to establish… anything.
Michigan @ Penn St.
After that home loss to the rival Buckeyes, Michigan has to travel to the upstart Nittany Lions. I think that Penn St. could potentially garner a tournament bid.
Ohio St @ Illinois
I really don’t think this will be too interesting. But if OSU pulls off the upset…
Monday, January 19, 2009
So, if you've been paying attention, we have our winner for likely #1 overall - Wake Forest.
I actually don't have time to recap the weekend's action, and I spent my time yesterday looking at Bracketbusters, of which there should be about two or three excellent games (well, games that mean anything).
So, for now, I'll just comment on tonight's match-ups:
Syracuse @ Pittsburgh:
What? Why do I think this game has a shot of being close? Well, Syracuse IS massively inconsistent...
Cincinnati @ Providence:
If Providence wants to get into the tournament, it has to provide separation from the lower end
of the conference - a group which Cincinnati is pretty much part of.
Yea... A Big East kind of night.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I've really got no excuse for not posting, other than just being busy. Also, getting settled into the routine of the semester. I'll work to keep up.
Things that happened this week (Tuesday through Friday):
1. Jodie Meeks destroyed Tennessee:
This game catapulted Kentucky atop the SEC in a big way.
2. Florida St. won at NC St.
One team is a contender. The other is not.
3. Iowa St. beat Nebraska
So much for the Huskers having a shot - guess they just were on against Mizzou.
4. Big East, ACC Powers Rolled
As if these teams are really mortal! (Please please note the sarcasm)
5. The X wins at URI.
This may have been the hardest remaining game for the X. No, seriously.
6. Arizona St. goes down to the Trojans
Well, if you're gonna lose games...
7. Bad SEC teams rise up, take out pretenders.
LSU over So Carolina. Ole Miss over Arkansas. Destroying hopes and dreams. The only problem is, I don't know who else should take their spot.
8. Road wins are hard to come by in the Mountain West.
Which is why San Diego St and UNLV are now scrambling for at-large bids.
And now, for the major weekend matchups. I'm just gonna run through them real quick, because I've gotta get up and go in 3 hours.
Georgetown @ Duke:
I love good nonconference matchups sprinkled in during the conference schedule.
Wake Forest @ Clemson
Could Wake's perfect season come to an end here?
Illinois @ Michigan St.
This should be an easy win for the Spartans.
Pittsburgh @ Louisville
Could Pitt's perfect season come to an end here?
Arizona St. @ UCLA
Top two in the Pac-10. The Devils have should a complete inability to win on the road.
Oklahoma @ Texas A&M
Aggies surprising, and I could see a win here.
Notre Dame @ Syracuse
The Irish really need a road win.
Ohio St. @ Michigan
Nothing to say.
Oklahoma St. @ Baylor
California @ Stanford
Maryland @ Florida St.
Marquette @ Providence
BYU @ New Mexico
BYU always has a chance to lose on the road.
Kansas St. @ Nebraska
Nebraska needs to bounce back if they want to make the tournament.
South Carolina @ Tennessee
UAB @ Memphis
Butler @ UIC
Butler has a real good chance of losing here.
Minnesota @ Northwestern
Northwestern is 0-4 (as predicted) and needs to win this game. If they can't, they have a good chance of starting off 0-7, which will put them in a hole as far as making the tournament.
I'll see you on Sunday with a weekend wrap and a bracket.
Posted by Evilmonkeycma at 1:59 AM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Here's the new seed list. Note that Oklahoma isn't a true one, but I really don't they'll have 3 ACC 1 seeds.
1: Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Oklahoma
2: Clemson, Duke, Georgetown, Connecticut
3: Arizona St, Butler, Michigan St, Xavier
4: Illinois, West Virginia, Texas, Ohio St
5: UCLA, Tennessee, Marquette, Syracuse
6: California, Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Kansas
7: Miami (FL), Louisville, Missouri, Michigan
8: Oklahoma St, Villanova, Minnesota, Baylor
9: Kentucky, UNLV, Texas A&M, Brigham Young
10: Maryland, Purdue, Davidson, Florida
11: Wisconsin, South Carolina, St. Mary’s, Florida St.
12: Memphis, San Diego St, Utah St, Creighton
13: Miami (OH), George Mason, Western Kentucky, VMI
14: Siena, Portland St, North Dakota St, Belmont
15: Long Beach St, American, Lamar, Morehead St.
16: Boston U, Robert Morris, Cornell, Alabama St, Morgan St
Last Four In: South Carolina, St. Mary’s, Florida St, San Diego St.
First Four Out: Dayton, Utah, Penn St, Providence
Next Four Out: Rhode Island, Arizona, Stanford, Temple
New In: Villanova, St. Mary’s, Wisconsin
Old Out: Illinois St, Boston College, Washington
Moving Up: UConn, UCLA, Louisville, Minnesota, Marquette
Moving Down: Kentucky, Maryland, Creighton
Not too much unexpected happened last night:
Louisville 87, Notre Dame 73 (OT):
I have to say - watching the battle when Notre Dame was on offense was entertaining. The other battle? Pretty sad - Louisville drove the ball at will, and missed dozens of short shots. The Irish actually should have had the last shot in regulation, but they came up with a really bad plan of attack. Note: don't depend on Brey to make good coaching decisions. It'll burn you every time.
Oklahoma 78, Texas 63:
Pretty much what I said yesterday. I'm actually less certain now that Texas will beat Oklahoma in Austin. But not certain enough to change my projections.
Kentucky @ Tennessee (9:00, ESPN):
Top two teams in the SEC. Should be a good game.
Florida St. @ North Carolina St. (7:00, ESPNU):
Pomeroy rankings call these two almost equal, and conventional wisdom calls Florida St. the better team. This will help getting a clearer picture of where these two stand.
Kansas St. @ Kansas (8:00, ESPN Full Court):
Rivalry games ALWAYS make for good watching. Especially when both teams are vying for spots in the bracket (well, I suppose KU is more looking for seeding).
Memphis @ Tulsa (7:00, ESPN2):
Memphis is a lot weaker this year, and has beaten exactly no one of note. I'm suspicious that their Pomeroy ranking is inflated by the crappy teams they've beaten, and I think they'll lose a couple of conference games. This is their first road game against a decent in-conference opponent.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sorry I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday, and forewarn you about the UNC game. But, I figured you’d know about it. Actually, I was doing a bit of moving, and didn’t get a chance to do this. But I think you'll forgive me.
Indiana St 75, Illinois St 70:
With this, Illinois St is fully exposed, and we can stop talking about them for a while. But really, you shouldn’t be losing to any team this bad, even on the road. Perfect records only mean something if you had to beat someone to get there.
Louisville 61, Villanova 60:
Louisville showed that they can compete on the road in the tough Big East. Meanwhile, Villanova lost a game that they were expected to win. I’m not sure if Nova is still going to be in the bracket this week.
Nebraska 56, Missouri 51:
It looks like the Cornhuskers slowed down the game, and pulled the upset. This is pretty shocking, actually – Mizzou is supposed to be one of the better teams in the conference, but apparently the entire Big XII North sucks. Just like in football.
UMass 75, Dayton 62; St. Joe’s 92, URI 86:
Dayton and URI realistically needed to not trip up against the lower teams of the A-10 to have any shot at an at-large. Now, on one of the early weekends, they have already eliminated themselves.
Mississippi St 70, Arkansas 56:
Arkansas losing at home, to a not-so-good team, right after knocking off Texas and Oklahoma? Sounds like fun. Their next two games are at Ole Miss and at Florida, so they could very well be 0-3 in the SEC. 10-6 may not be good enough to get them into the tournament, (remember, they have to deal with that loss to Missouri St.) so I’d advise them to stop losing to bad teams.
Texas Christian 80, UNLV 73:
Not too bad of a loss, but one that UNLV probably didn’t want to deal with. They’re already expected to pick up four other in-conference losses, so they wanted this one. I can believe a 10 seed now – sorry reader from earlier. But again, I don’t think this is a crushing blow that will keep them out of the tournament.
California 88, Washington 85:
Cal asserting themselves as the 3rd best team in the conference. Washington is really in trouble now – if they can’t assert themselves as team #4 from the Pac-10, they may not get in.
Washington St. 55, Stanford 54:
Well… so much for Stanford. At this point, they are probably looking at 6th or 7th in the conference, which probably won’t be enough to garner an at-large bid, given that they beat NO ONE in the non-conference slate. Washington St. is still out of the running at this point, although a sweep of the Oregon teams would keep them hanging around.
Michigan St. 75, Kansas 62:
Nothing special here, really. I was pretty sure that the result would be along these lines, so this is a nice confirmation that my relative feelings of these teams was correct.
I felt proud of myself this weekend – I didn’t need to change a single schedule in either the Big 10 or the ACC (that is, every game turned out as I thought it would). Boston College proved that they are not good. Duke showed that they were good. Wake showed that they were on the level of UNC. Big 10 teams didn’t show anything of note.
Utah St. 77, New Mexico St 67:
The Aggies won their most difficult conference game, and the next tough game they have is on the road at Nevada on February 28th. They just need to not screw up before then.
Texas 75, Iowa St. 67:
The worst team in the Big XII (probably) went on the road, and almost beat one of the best teams. This should be a note of warning for all the Big XII teams.
Duke 66, Florida St. 58:
What a weird game. When I checked the halftime score, it was Duke 19, FSU 14. I guess they decided to play offense in the second half? 2nd half scoring: Duke 47, FSU 44. Nothing of interest here, I just wanted to comment on the disparity in scoring between the two halves.
Butler 54, Detroit 50 (@ Butler):
Is Butler heading for an embarrassing in-conference loss? Perhaps. But I think this is more of a case of Butler looking past this game
Wake Forest 92, North Carolina 89:
I briefly mentioned this game above, but I’d just like to add that this pretty much assures that two ACC teams will be #1 seeds. End of story. Actually, if the top 4 annihilate the rest of the conference, and the top teams of the Big East and Big XII and Big 10 suffer some bad losses, all four #1s could be ACC. But I don’t see that happening.
Alabama 65, LSU 59:
Let me say it again – the Tigers are overrated (and unranked), and will not be making the tournament. Also, if they can't beat Bama on the road, they have a good shot of going 0-8 on the road in conference.
UCLA 64, USC 60:
I actually thought the Trojans would take this game, not because they are good, but because I figured they would have something to prove after their loss to the Beavers, and they’d like to beat their arch-rival UCLA. But, nevermind, relegated to the bargain bin. UCLA, ASU, Cal are sitting pretty for the tournament at this point.
Big Monday returns, and not much is going on. But there are two awesome games!
Texas @ Oklahoma:
Unquestionably the two best teams in the conference, despite both losing at Arkansas. Both are nominally still in the running for a #1 seed, although I think that they’ll all go to Big East and ACC teams. Also, they kind of have this rivalry thing you may have heard of, which may or may not have been magnified by the events of this football season. Should be a great game, but I expect OU to run away with it because they have Blake Griffin, and I don’t think anyone on Texas can stop him. However, I think Texas will win the return trip in Austin. Just because of home court and all that
Notre Dame @ Louisville:
This is the first game of a home and home series between these two underachieving preseason elites. Here’s why it will be fun:
Notre Dame Offensive Efficiency Rank: 4
Notre Dame Defensive Efficiency Rank: 162
Louisville Offensive Efficiency Rank: 94
Louisville Defensive Efficiency Rank: 2
An unstoppable attack meets an impenetrable defense on one end of the court, while on the other a horrible shooting team will be trying to score on a porous defense. Either way, these two are matched up well. I fully expect my Irish to lose.
I probably won’t be able to get a bracket up until after tonight’s games. Tomorrow, I’ll post my top 25 (for real this week). I also hope to give my observations of the two big games tonight, as well as making a post about bubble teams and bad losses.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
So thats why I haven't posted. But I still have
To the Anonymous Reader, commenting about Miami – thanks! I haven’t gotten a chance to watch them, and so I was just going off of Pomeroy’s stats, and the slow pace seemed a bit out of line for Miami, but on second look I can see that it would fit.
Onto the action of the past few nights – it had a few surprises, to say the least.
Gonzaga 89, Tennessee 79:
Man, was I wrong about this game. I mean, I knew Gonzaga was good, I just really didn’t think they stomp all over Tennessee in Knoxville. This means that the Zags can move back into the yellow section. Of course, they have to keep rooting for Portland St – if PSU ends the season better than 101 in RPI, then Gonzaga is fine. If they drop below 100, then Gonzaga will have to deal with the stigma of a loss in the 100+ column.
North Carolina 108, College of Charleston 70; Duke 79, Davidson 67
ACC had a good night?
Harvard 82, Boston College 70; Morgan St. 66, Maryland 65
ACC had a real good night!
Really, BC, how do you lose at home by 12? On my gigantic spreadsheet of teams that I finished a few days back, BC is now an awkward color, halfway between pink and peach. Actually, Maryland gets that too now. Others: Kansas, Michigan, Arkansas, Notre Dame. They have bad losses and (will have) great wins. The difference between them? BC and Maryland won’t have multiple great wins. One more unexpected loss, and the Eagles will be dropped from my projections.
Providence 87, Cincinnati 79; Wisconsin 74, Northwestern 45
I think Cincy is done. So is Northwestern. That’s just my feel on those two teams – they are not up to the level of the other teams in their respective conference.
Washington 84, Stanford 83
A close game, but Stanford proved that they still deserve to be talked about. Really, besides UCLA, ASU, and Cal, I'm not sure if any other team is going to get in from the Pac-10.
Weber St. 80, Portland St. 66: (@ Portland St)
Well, this won't help the Zags (see earlier comment), nor will it help the Vikings in their quest for an auto-bid - remember the Big Sky has a strange, NFL-esque play-off, with the last two rounds held on the court of the regular season.
Long Beach St 74, Pacific 64: (@ Pacific)
So I suppose I could have been wrong about who would be Big West Champions...
Utah St. 50, Louisiana Tech 37
I actually watched this game during the portion of the BS National Championship that was boring. This game was worse - I must have picked the Aggies' worst game of the season. Nothing else really to say here.
St. Mary's 63, Santa Clara 62: (@ St. Mary's)
This does not bode well for the Gaels. They are supposed to enjoy one of the toughest home court environments in all of basketball, and they struggle against Santa Clara. Really, St. Mary's needs to not lose to anyone except Gonzaga.
Moving on to today's games. There are a lot of games of interest simply because most of the leagues are having their first full day of play - ACC, A-10, Big XII, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Patriot, SEC, Southland, WCC.
Kansas @ Michigan St.:
One of the last great non-con games. It should actually be a pretty easy win for the Spartans. Kansas isn't that good - Phog is just impenetrable.
Texas A&M @ Oklahoma St.; Stanford @ Washington St.; Utah @ San Diego St.; Louisville @ Villanova;
Numerous games between potential bubble teams.
Miami (FL) @ Boston College; West Virginia @ Marquette; California @ Washington: Connecticut @ Cincinnati:
Numerous games featuring a solid team on the road against a bubble team.
Duke @ Florida St.:
First ACC road test. I think (Let's Go) DOOOK loses this game.
Oklahoma @ Kansas St.:
First Big XII road test. OU might lose this game, but I doubt it. Kansas St has no one who can match up against Blake Griffin.
Vanderbilt @ Kentucky:
The only slightly interesting SEC game. All of them feature a mediocre team at a better team (except Tennessee @ UGA, but UGA just is horrible).
Seton Hall @ Notre Dame:
Actually, the big cluster up top is mainly a result of me going to this game.
Posted by Evilmonkeycma at 10:37 AM
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Bradley 56, Illinois St. 52; Northern Iowa 69, Creighton 66:
Two major, major upsets in the Valley. Illinois St was fighting for a bid on the ticket that they could go undefeated – that can’t happen now. Don’t be surprised to see a 3-4 loss Illinois St. missing the tournament all together. Creighton, on the other hand, had looked somewhat legit (minus those two embarrassing losses), so to lose to Northern Iowa AT HOME is just incredible. Mark my words – the Valley will be a one-bid this year.
Arkansas 67, Texas 61:
Well. A middling team in the SEC has taken it to the Big XII. Again. That’s Middling SEC teams 3, Big XII teams 0. More important, however, are the ramifications for Arkansas. Remember, SEC scheduling is such that they only have to play Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, and SC once each. They should have an easy time coasting to a tournament bid. Well, unless they get upset by Bama or Georgia…
Connecticut 61, West Virginia 55:
UConn came back from their home loss, and won on the road. West Virginia failed to defend their top Pomeroy Ranking. On any given night in the Big East… I’m looking forward to the 24th.
Michigan St. 67, Ohio St. 58; Penn St 67, Purdue 64:
I kind of thought this would be the case. I don’t think Ohio St can really even compete any more. Meanwhile, it looks like Indiana is going to provide the only pushover game in the Big 10.
Dayton 45, Miami (OH) 40:
Bah. What a pathetic score. I’m not sure, but I think Miami played a slowdown game, and it almost worked. But why are you slowing things down against a team that isn’t much better than you?
Utah 91, LSU 61
Yep yep, I’ll just leave this here…
Gonzaga @ Tennessee (9:00, ESPN2):
Rematch from a neutral-site game earlier in the year. I fully expect Gonzaga to lose this end of the duel. Which would be their 5th straight loss. Yea, that sucks.
Davidson @ Duke (7:00, ESPN):
Davidson, playing anyone anywhere – and losing doing it. Seriously, Davidson, you need to schedule a little bit better, like not playing Chatt… wait, they are in your conference. Crap, you just need a new conference.
College of Charleston @ North Carolina:
But the College of Charleston can come with you, Davidson. In the 9.5 year history of the Pomeroy ratings, CofC has never finished below 180. Anyways, we can start talking about the College of Charleston seriously if they come within 10 points in this game. How badly does UNC want to look ahead to Sunday? How worried are they about getting caught looking ahead again?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I spent about 8 hours on this. I don't want to look at it anymore tonight. Will revisit it in the morning.
Note: Finished before the games of January 6th.
1: Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgetown
2: Clemson, West Virginia, Duke, Oklahoma
3: Illinois, Michigan St, Butler, Arizona St
4: Syracuse, Xavier, Tennessee, Texas
5: Missouri, Connecticut, Kansas, California
6: Kentucky, Baylor, Ohio St., Miami (FL)
7: Notre Dame, Oklahoma St, Maryland, Gonzaga
8: Michigan, UCLA, Boston College, Florida
9: Creighton, BYU, Purdue, UNLV
10: Texas A&M, Florida St, Louisville, Davidson
11: Illinois St., Memphis, South Carolina, Minnesota
12: Washington, San Diego St, Utah St, Marquette
13: Miami (OH), Portland St, Pacific, George Mason
14: MTSU, Belmont , Niagara, VMI
15: North Dakota St., Austin Peay, Vermont, Lamar
16: Navy, Robert Morris, Morgan St., Cornell, Alabama St.
Last Five Out: Dayton, Villanova, Kansas St, Utah, LSU
Next Five Out: Wisconsin, Arizona, St. Mary's, Arkansas, Stanford
If I'm doing this right, these next two should see very little movement after this week. I attribute this to me being stupid last week.
Moved Up (4 or more): Wake Forest, California, Maryland, Oklahoma St, Boston College
Moved Down (4 or more): Michigan, UCLA, Purdue, Washington, Washington St, Arizona, Villanova
EDIT: I realized later that I had forgotten about Louisville. So they are in now, and Dayton is out. I'd also like to note that if this holds, we are going to have the strongest bubble in the three years I've been doing this.
So I’m trying to get that seed list and bracket out that I promised you all about two days ago. I’m starting this post about noon, and I think the bracket should be done around 4. However, I wanted to get this daily post out of the way first. Also, the Blogpoll Top 25 should be done around 3, and I’ll post my ballot with my comments. So it should be a good day. Also, I’d like to direct your attention over to the link area, which has been re-organized, and features a new addition: The Bracket Busters.
Notre Dame 73, Georgetown 67:
Well, if anyone was wondering, there goes any Georgetown claim to supremacy. After two straight losses, they get to “relax” with home games against Providence and Syracuse. Life in the Big East is wonderful. Meanwhile, Notre Dame showed that St. John’s was (probably) an anomaly, and at worst this team is going to go 10-8 in-conference, sweeping the home slate (again) and winning at least one road game. What I saw, however, was even more key – Harangody FIGHTING FOR THE REBOUNDS. He hadn’t been doing that, and the “physical” Irish team was getting beat on the boards. To see him fighting up there against Greg Monroe – who is a whole head taller than him – gave me hope for the rest of the season.
Presbyterian 67, Liberty 66:
Remember a few weeks back, when I said this was a two horse race between Liberty and VMI? Forget it. This is VMI’s show, with the Flames now dropping to 1-3 in conference. Sure, Radford is 3-1, and maybe VMI’s last 2 wins have been by a combined 7 points, but you don’t understand how entertaining it would be for VMI to make the tournament, and force some top team to run with them.
Robert Morris 77, Mt. St. Mary’s 70
I must say, I’m befuddled. The Mount is supposed to be the only halfway decent in the NEC (according to the Pomeroy Ratings), and yet they are 0-3 in the conference. Not that the order of finish actually matters – the tourney champ still gets the Auto Bid to get stomped by a #1 seed.
Tonight, we’ve got a pretty good line-up.
Connecticut @ West Virginia (7:00, ESPNU):
West Virginia is now the #1 team in the Pomeroy ratings, and this is their first matchup against one of the top 8 in the Big East. Show me you deserve a high ranking – I think you deserve one after seeing you stomp all over the Buckeyes, but you need to atone for the losses to Kentucky and Davidson. Oh, the Huskies also want to win this game badly after being embarrassed at home.
Villanova @ Seton Hall (8:00, SNY/ESPN Full Court)
Another Big East game, but this time on the bubble side of things. Nova really hasn’t done anything this year, aside from beating URI. If they want to be team 8, 9 or 10 getting in from the Big East, then they need to take care of games like this one.
Miami (OH) @ Dayton:
Two more bubble teams collide. Two major Ohio mid-majors battling it out. Dayton needs this game to feel comfortable, because otherwise they have two losses to bubble teams. Miami, on the other hand, has 4 losses to excellent teams, but no wins that will garner attention on Selection Sunday. If they can avoid getting more than one loss in conference play, they may have an argument for an at-large. But, as my friend Chris says, “That’s why the MAC is always a one-bid. They ALWAYS beat up on each other”
Ohio St. @ Michigan St. (7:00, ESPN2):
I’d be more excited about this game if I hadn’t already tallied it as a win in the Spartan column. I’ll talk more about this game if it actually surprises me.
Purdue @ Penn St.:
This game has to potential to be a real shocker. The Nittany Lions knocked off Northwestern already, and then shocked everyone (me) by nearly taking it to Wisconsin at Kohl. This will be the most hostile crowd this season for the Boilermakers, and I would not be the least bit surprised to see Penn St. get a win here.
Texas @ Arkansas (9:00, ESPN2):
Heh. Heh. You know, this is funny, because Oklahoma went into Arkansas LAST week, and lost, so what if Texas were to do the same? Actually, this won’t happen, because of that fact.
LSU @ Utah:
Despite being a person who professes to harbor a small desire for the Tigers to do well, I feel like every year I’m too frustrated by those overrating Louisiana St. to even consider cheering for them. This mainly applies in football, but this year, I feel like they need a swift kick in the butt to put them in their place. Then I’ll start supporting them again. I think Utah can accomplish this, where ULL, Washington St, and Mcneese St. could not.
Monday, January 5, 2009
A reader commented! Until I get well-read to the point that I get overwhelmed with comments every post, I will try to respond to each and every comment. I may not satisfy you, but at least you'll know I'm listening.
I made a post following UNLV's victory over Louisville, stating that I felt that UNLV was a lock for the tournament, but only as a 10 or 11 seed. The comment expressed that they felt that UNLV was more in line for a 5-6 seed.
Last Year UNLV did this to get an 8:
Top 25: 2 wins - BYU x2
101+: 1 Loss - Air Force
Two years ago, UNLV did this to get a 7:
Top 25: 3 wins - BYUx2, Nevada
26-50: 1-1 (Air Force)
+101: 2 Losses - UCSB, Wyoming
So what does this mean? Lets summarize UNLV's case. In my projections, I'm assuming that UNLV will sweep TCU, Colorado St, Wyoming, and Air Force. I also assume they will split with SDSU, Utah, BYU, and New Mexico - this seems fair to me, because UNLV is normally excellent at home, and kind of bad on the road, like much of the MWC.
(all RPI projections taken from RPIforecast.com)
Top 25 RPI wins: 0
26-50 Record: 5-4 (Wins: BYUx2, Louisville, SDSU, Utah; Losses: BYU, Cal, Utah, SDSU)
51-100 Record: 4-2
101+ Losses: 0
The overall record and conference records are similar. Obviously, there are a great deal more wins in the 26-50 range, but 2 of these are a result of BYU moving from a top 25 team to a 26-50 team. Really, I don't think that UNLV has a much stronger resume at all. However, I think that my assertion that they would be as low as a 10 seed is also incorrect. 7-9 should be about where UNLV finishes out.
I’ve been confined to bed over the past few days – so sue me for missing a few days.
Anyhow – could I look smarter for projecting Notre Dame as a 7? Could I look dumber for projecting Wake Forest as an eight? Here’s a three-day wrap-up.
South Carolina 85, Baylor 84:
Wait, wait, so you’re telling me that the Gamecocks, who look to be a middling team in the middling SEC, can waltz into Waco and come out with a win? Baylor still should have enough to snag a high seed with a decent Big XII season, with their wins over Arizona St. and Washington St. . But South Carolina’s win gives them a signature win heading into the conference schedule. More importantly, however, is what it does for the teams they’ve lost to. Clemson can now count that road win as a decent win, and we can now look at the College of Charleston, who could easily finish 18-2 in the Southern Conference, with two losses against Davidson – 26-4 overall. That should be enough to get them a decent look by the committee.
Arizona St. 90, Stanford 60:
How do you end a team’s perfect start to a season? Absolute demolition. This is what Stanford gets for not scheduling tough teams in the non-conference. I would not be surprised to see them miss the tournament altogether.
California 69, Arizona 55:
Well… hmm… It appears that Cal is indeed tournament quality. Let’s see how they fare against ASU, though.
Pacific 84, CSU-Northridge 78:
Yes, I will insist on putting this game up here. Knowing very little about this conference, I will foolhardily state that Pacific will win this conference.
Pittsburgh 70, Georgetown 54:
It would figure that the one game that I really wanted to see, I would be too sick to get up and watch. I’m now 0-2 on major Big East games. But, Pitt won at G’town. G’town won at UConn. Pitt is the best team in the conference, and if you can’t see that, I can’t help you. Also, Rutgers and Florida St. are the only two teams this season to keep Pitt within 10.
Wake Forest 94, BYU 87:
And there goes the longest active home win streak – 53 games by the BYU Cougars. But, more than that, this game signals the ascendancy of the Demon Deacons. I think that, with the UNC loss to BC, Wake has an outside shot of winning the conference.
St. John’s 71, Notre Dame 65:
At the time, this game was on track to be the biggest upset of the weekend. The Irish came out sloppy, and not even the fire of Luke Harangody was enough to spark a run. It appears that an effective game plan has been made against the Irish, and until they figure out a way to counter that plan, they are going to continue to lose games. It is not outside of the realm of possibility for the Irish to miss the tournament.
Play that epitomizes the game: Harangody pulls down a tough rebound, down by 2 (or perhaps 4). Tory Jackson is right beside him, and Burrell is leaning over his back. Options are: 1) Pass to TJ or 2) Elbow Burrell in the face. You can guess which occurred.
Illinois St. 86, Creighton 64:
Well, I guess we know who the dominant team out of the Valley is. Question: If the Redbirds go 32-0, what seed will they get?
Washington 68, Washington St. 48:
Another game that shocked me in terms of score. I could have expected this score in Seattle, but I expected these two teams to be closer in terms of ability. The Cougars really don’t have any wins this season, and if they can’t beat Washington at home, don’t expect them to do any better than 9-9 in conference, and a trip to the NIT. Washington, on the other hand, looks surprisingly decent.
Minnesota 68, Ohio St. 59; Michigan St. 77, Northwestern 66:
More sorting out in the Big 10. I bet Ohio St really wants Lighty back about now. Also, every Ohio St. loss makes Notre Dame and Butler look worse. And every Northwestern loss calls Stanford's resume more into question.
Kansas 92, Tennessee 85:
My analysis? Kansas just refuses to lose at Phog. This will make Kansas look good for a while, and then they’ll lose on the road, and they’ll end up with mediocre seeding. Meanwhile, this takes Tennessee down a notch. I still think that doing well in the SEC will count for something, and they’ll end up in those top 16 spots.
Mississippi St. 82, Houston 65:
Houston really just doesn’t want a bid, do they? Every year, they seem to be in the talk, and yet they haven’t made the tournament since they got the autobid out of the Southwest Conference in 1992.
Boston College 85, North Carolina 78:
Well. Hrm. I don’t think anyone expected this. Certainly not at the hands of Boston College. I don’t really think this will affect UNC’s seed – they are still headed for a 1. But this could be the game that launches the Eagles into the tournament – as long as they don’t fall on their faces the rest of the season.
Michigan 74, Illinois 64
Michigan bounces back from their tough home loss against Purdue to beat the Illini. I have this feeling that the Big 10 will be like this all year – no consistency (well, other than poor, pathetic, soon to be 0-18 in conference IU). This, in turn will make seeding hard to predict.
Louisville 74, Kentucky 71
I was convinced that Kentucky would win this up until the final buzzer. But both teams just made SO MANY DUMB MISTAKES. Especially Kentucky – it was only an outrageously good shooting day that kept the Wildcats close.
Oregon St. 62, Southern Cal 58:
Congratulations to Oregon St. on their first conference win in 22 attempts. At the same time, you to drive a dagger into the Trojan’s tournament hopes – anytime you lose to a team expected to finish below 250 in RPI, you’ve been dealt a crushing blow. Also, you probably aren’t that good, anyways. But the Trojans did it last year, as did Nova and Pitt. But they’ve got a worse resume this year, and will probably need to garner wins against UCLA, ASU, and Cal.
California 81, Arizona St. 71:
With a win here, I was ready to declare the Sun Devils my projected Pac-10 champions. Now, I’m not sure. This could be a more competitive conference than I thought. This also stands to improve the standing of UNLV, Missouri, and Florida St.. That Rebel loss doesn’t look so bad, coming against a contender for the Pac-10 title. Missouri’s blow-out of the Bears lends them some more credence. And Florida St can use all the help they can get – unless they do better than expected in the ACC (read: finish above .500), they’ll be aburstin’ come March.
Stanford 76, Arizona 60:
I don’t know what to make of this game. Honestly, I’m convinced that neither of these teams will make it. I think it is quite probably that Arizona will finish with a better record against teams 1-50 than against teams 50-100 in RPI, while playing non-trivial amounts of both.
Top 25, Response Post, and Bracket to follow!
Friday, January 2, 2009
North Carolina 84, Nevada 61:
Nevada kept this close for a while, but they were no match for the Tar Heels. Will anyone come close to beating them? Pomeroy says they’ll lose three, but they’ve also been resting their starters a lot – 34% of their minutes have come off the bench. If they played their starters more, they’d beat these teams by more. Ouch. On a related note, no starter has played more than 68% percent of the Tarheel minutes.
Utah 66, Gonzaga 65:
The mighty Mountain West! I mentioned the other day that I thought Gonzaga might lose this game, even though Utah had lost to Southwest Baptist and Idaho St. I still don’t think Utah gets in to the tournament – this loss doesn’t make Gonzaga look overly good. In fact, if Gonzaga fails to defeat Tennessee next week, we can start considering Gonzaga’s early season triumphs a fluke. If Gonzaga goes worse than 12-2 in conference, they may be looking at the bubble come
UNLV 56, Louisville 55:
This whole game, Louisville looked like they could get back in it. And they did. Although UNLV dominated at the start, and led by ten the entire first half, with 4:15 left in the game Louisville took the lead for the first time. Shooting under 30% on your home floor is never going to get you a win. How about UNLV though – wins over Arizona and Louisville have almost erased the early losses to the Bearcats and Cal. With the conference tournament on their home floor, they are almost a lock to make the tournament - but only as a 10 or 11.
Illinois St. 80, Evansville 50:
So, Evansville is now 0-3 on the road. They need to win some of those road games, or we won’t be talking about them in March. Even with a decent Valley record, they still might be on the wrong side of the bubble in March. Also, Illinois St. establishes themselves as the team to beat in the Valley.
Ohio St. 68, Iowa 65:
The only Big 10 team I predicted to win who actually won. Ohio St. is struggling without Lighty - because of this, they’ll probably lose more games than they were initially expected. The best thing for the Buckeyes, should they lose a few unexpected games, is for them to come back with Lighty and absolutely dominate, like Dayton of last year. Of course, that didn’t help Dayton, so the Buckeyes might just want to win a few games.
Michigan St. 70, Minnesota 58; Penn St. 61, Northwestern 57; Wisconsin 73, Michigan 61:
The three surprise teams in the Big 10 all fall in their first conference games. While Minnesota going down to the Spartans was not too surprising, it also showed that they aren’t going to be one of the top teams in the league. Northwestern lost to a weak Penn St. team, and Michigan lost AT CRISLER to the Badgers. Really? Really? Step it up.
Pittsburgh 78, Rutgers 72:
I mention this only to show the depth of the Big East. At home, any team can play with any other team. Well… maybe not Depaul.
LSU 81, UL-Lafayette 79:
One of these days, LSU will lose at home to a bad team. Or, they’ll get smoked at home by Xavier (a good team). Any ways, I’m still wary of this Tiger team.
Marquette 79, Villanova 72:
Marquette opens up nicely at home with a win over a tough Villanova team, who is probably going to be on the right side of the bubble in March. But, just to be safe, they should be winning games against other bubble teams, or scoring signature wins. They probably need to do better than 7-11.
Arizona @ Cal; Arizona St. @ Stanford:
The Pac-10 kicks off with the Arizona teams doing the San Francisco swing, and the LA teams doing the Oregon swing. Obviously, only one of those is really important, although a loss to the Oregon teams would hurt anyone.
Syracuse @ USF:
Rutgers showed they can be competitive at home. Depaul showed they can kind of be competitive at home. What will USF do? Lets be realistic - USF has no shot of any postseason play. Their goal is second round of the Big East Tournament. A win here would go a long way towards that.
Pacific @ CSU-Northridge:
Pomeroy lists these two atop the Big West. Sounds like fun. Winner controls the conference.
Posted by Evilmonkeycma at 1:06 PM