Friday, January 8, 2010

Bubble Battles - January 9th & 10th

Here are the top ten games that will impact the bubble this weekend.

10) Creighton-Wichita State(Sunday): The Shockers went into Springfield, MO on Wednesday to play Missouri State and came away with an important road victory. They face the Bluejays hoping to avoid a letdown.

9) Marquette-Villanova(Saturday): Last weekend's 4-point win by the Wildcats in Milwaukee won't be forgotten by the Golden Eagles, who are coming off a 62-59 win over Georgetown. A win here and the Golden Eagles could be very close to the cut line on Monday, albeit on the wrong side.

8) William & Mary-Drexel(Saturday): Both the Tribe and Dragons are part of a 5-Way tie for 1st in the hotly Colonial and the winner could still be in a tie for the top after Saturday's action. For the Tribe, a victory here is essential for staying above the cut line for an at-large and preferably for Tony Shaver's club, a big win at that. All four of the Tribe's Colonial results have been by a point.

7) Kansas-Tennessee(Sunday): With Tyler Smith and three others out due to arrests made after the New Year's Eve game in Memphis, the Vols, after winning with six men against Charlotte, entertain Kansas in Knoxville. A loss won't hurt the Vols, but a win would help justify a high seed come March 14th.

UPDATE: as of today, Tyler Smith has bee dismissed from the team. Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum and Brian Williams(No, not THAT one) are still on
indefinite suspension. One now has to feel that if all these players are unable to set foot on a collegiate court this season, the Vols are sunk.

6) Wake Forest-Miami(FL)(Saturday): A really bad OOC schedule kept the Hurricanes out of my projections this week, despite a gaudy record. Beating the Demon Deacons would erase a lot of doubts.

5) Ohio State-Minnesota(Saturday): Evan Turner makes his return to the starting lineup for the Buckeyes as they hit Williams Arena. The Gophers must be careful to avoid losing two in a row, if they do so, they will likely fall out of the projections next week.

4) Mississippi State-Mississippi(Saturday): After several losses to non-BCS 6 teams, the Bulldogs are teetering on the edge of the cut line. The Rebels hope to be the ones to push them off.

3) Southern California-California(Saturday): This is how bad the Pac-10 has gotten ladies & gentlemen. A loss by the Golden Bears on their home court and their place in line could be lost, leaving only Washington as a likely at-large team.

2) Duke-Georgia Tech(Saturday): The good for the Yellow Jackets, coming off a 73-66 loss to rival Georgia, is that they're playing at home. The bad news is that the Blue Devils are coming. Lose here, and their spot in the field is lost for next week.

1) St. John's-Louisville(Saturday): It's as simple as this for a battle of Big East bubblers. Winner is in, Loser is out(although the Cardinals may have played their way in before the game).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

About Last Night...again

Last night's Cornell-Kansas slug fest proved two things: One, Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, the two-pronged all-american attack proved too strong for the Big Red. Two, even in losing 71-66, the Big Red proved resillient even in defeat and as such, strengthened their at-large case as best as possible without winning. As of this morning, they stay in field, though it is as the best Ivy League team by RPI, by 4 ten thousandths of a point over Harvard! Let's hope the Big Red can stay in the conversation.

The other big story of the night is the continuing suckitude of the Pacific-10 Conference. No, it wasn't UCLA's one point OT shocker up in Berkley, it was Oregon State's 99-48 loss at home to Seattle University. The Redhawks aren't even eligible for the tournament yet! The worst thing about the Bruins-Golden Bears debacle, Cal has not had a good OOC victory, the best one being a 25 point shellacking over the "vaunted" Pacific Tigers. Failing to get one win over Syracuse, Ohio State or Kansas has hurt the Bears' chances. They must beat Southern California if they are to stay reasonably away from the cut line.

Other games of burning import: Syracuse put Memphis away in the second-half of the 74-57 triumph. The Tigers' performance does auger a good chance of remaining the kings of Conference USA. VCU's chances are all but nil after losing at Drexel 75-72, while William & Mary's season of living dangerously continues, needing a 3-ball with 3 seconds left to down Delaware 74-73. Ohio State needed a victory over Indiana last night and got it convincingly. With Evan Turner coming back full-time(he played limited minutes vs. the Hoosiers) Saturday in Minnesota, the Buckeyes appear to be set to make it back in the bracket(IMO, it isn't Turner I was concerned with when I left the Buckeyes out, it was the high RPI numbers). And lastly, the Atlantic 10 season got underway with Temple triumphing over St. Joseph's in a birdly battle.

Update: Forgot two games that I kept an eye on. UNLV could not get it done in Provo, losing to Brigham Young 77-73. Also Marquette FINALLY got a closely fought victory, defeating Georgetown 62-59 in Milwaukee, the Golden Eagles aren't in the field yet, they have to revenge their home loss to Villanova this weekend in Philly to get close.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OT: Building the 19, 19, 1985(Updated)

Sometimes, it pains me to interrupt my pontifications on the state of putting college basketball teams onto lines and giving them numbers, but I have to tonight.

Why is it that the NASDAQ Stock Market, well renowned as the home for technology has refused to embrace it's past? When it comes to the NASDAQ-100 index, you can find lists of it's components of old NASDAQ Fact Books and it lists specific changes on from 1995 onward. So why is it so difficult to find information on companies during the early years of the index? With that in mind, I went over to the Minneapolis Central Library this morning armed with a notebook, 3 pencils and a calculator and attempted to piece together a resonable approximation of the index. Using one of those big OTC Daily Record books there, I multiplied the prices of January 30th, 1985(the day before the index was first introduced) and the share counts listed at the top of each company to come up with the results:

Update(1-22): After more research, Rouse Company and First Data Resources were removed due to being Financial firms, while Claire's Stores was dropped after determining their market cap did not warrant inclusion in the index. They were replaced by Bassett Furniture Industries, Bob Evans Farms, and Monolithic Memories.

Adolph Coors
Alexander & Baldwin
American Greetings
Apollo Computer
Apple Computer
Bassett Furniture Industries
Betz Laboratories
Bob Evans Farms
Cadbury Schweppes
Charming Shoppes
Cipher Data Products
Citizens Utilities
Comprehensive Care
Computer Products
Consolidated Papers
Convergent Technologies
Cross & Trecker
Daisy Systems
Digital Switch
Dollar General
Economic Laboratories
El Paso Electric
Food Lion
Gibson Greetings
Gulf Broadcasting
Hamilton Oil
HBO & Company
Herman Miller
IMS International
Kinder-Care Learning Centers
KLA Instruments
LIN Broadcasting
Liz Claiborne
LM Ericsson Telephone
Lotus Development
LSI Logic
Mack Trucks
MaxiCare Health Plans
McCormick & Company
MCI Communications
Mentor Graphics
Micom Systems
Micron Technology
Monolithic Memories
Mylan Laboratories
Network Systems
Norsk Data
Ogilvy & Mather
Pacific Telecom
Pay 'N Save
Pic 'N Save
Pioneer Hi-Bred International
Policy Management Systems
The Price Company
Quotron Systems
Reynolds & Reynolds
Roadway Services
SeaGate Technology
Service Merchandise
ServiceMaster Industries
Shared Medical Systems
Sonoco Products
Standard Register
Subaru of America
Tandem Computers
United Arists Communications
United States Health Care Systems
United Stationers
Western Tele-Communication
Willamette Industries
Worthington Industries
Yellow Freight Systems

Note: If Cadbury Schweppes, LM Ericsson Telephone and Reuters are not eligible, they will be replaced by(in order of capitalization): Summit Health, Optical Radiation and Goulds Pumps.

Also, if anyone tries to post this on wikipedia, I will move to remove it. It is completely original research. Of course, if it can be verified, let me know.

And now, back to bracketology.

About last night 2.0

Two unbeatens were tested last night, but both were able to flunk the challengers. Texas was especially vulernable in the 1st half in Arkansas, but dominated in the 2nd to post a 96-85 victory. It's hard to imagine the Longhorns losing another game until their February 8th clash of the gods with Kansas. The winner will likely have the inside track to the top overall seed.

Purdue had similar troubles with bubble rider Minnesota, leading by only 7 at halftime, but again the 2nd half proved key in the 79-60 victory. The Boilermakers had 4 players score 15 points or more. From the Gophers' perspective, this was one game they truely miss Rodney White. The freshman was counted on to make a significant effort, but off-court woes prevented him from even playing in a single game and he has since left campus. Now I'm not saying they would have won with him, but they would have been more competitive down the stretch. Still, Minnesota will be near the cut line for the rest of the season, a major downer from the preseason expectations which had them amongst the top 25.

Elsewhere in the Mountain West opener, preseason fave San Diego State reasserted itself in a 74-64 win over the current favorite New Mexico. The Lobos are trying to score a top 16 seed and a loss like this, even to the 12-3 Aztecs, certainly won't help.

Lastly, Rhode Island came out on top in a closely fought 68-63 victory of Akron in Rubber Town. Yes it was against a Mid-American Conference foe, but imagine what kind of pain the Rams would be in had they lost the game.

On tonight's lineup, Cornell pays a visit to Lawrence to face the #1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks, hopeful of at least being competitive, if not able to pull off an upset. Memphis is at the Carrier Dome to face Syracuse, hoping for a morale boost heading into Conference USA play. Marquette could have been on a 5-game winning streak, if things had broken their way, but they're not and they face a Georgetown team looking to keep pace with Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia. And lastly, UNLV and Brigham Young get it on in Provo with the Rebels hoping to build their case for a bid and the Cougars looking to deny it.

As you probably can tell, I intend to make About Last Night a sort of semi-regular feature here on the blog, If you like it, please let me know on the comments page of this post.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

About last night in Hoops

One of the banes of college basketball is the unwillingness of teams from the BCS 6 who refuse to go on the road during the out-of-conference season, not even to face a team from another BCS 6 conference. At least North Carolina has the balls to schedule mid-majors on the road, winning one such game vs. the College of Charleston on the other hand, not so much. In actually, the Cougars had an 11-0 run to win at the end of regulation, then played a masterful performance in OT to secure the win. The result is that the Heels' RPI ranking on is now 58th. Expect that to improve the rest of the season. While the Cougars now assume the role of Southern Conference favorites. Now we wait for Duke to come into someone else's gym for an OOC game, fat chance it ever happens.

Last night was a stake in the heart of the Colonial's chance to earn an at-large bid to the dance. William & Mary's 10-game winning streak ended after blowing an 8 point lead to UNC Wilmington at home, losing it on a tip-in in the final 3 seconds. Virginia Commonwealth on the other hand, continued to be dominated in it's owh house by Northeastern, who extends their winning streak at the Siegel Pavillion to 3 games. Who ever wins the regular season title will be the most likely at-large hopeful, but upsets by the bottom-feeders will make this task more difficult for the leaders.

Instead of a letdown in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh was able to edge the Bearcats in a closely fought contest. The Panthers, fresh off of giving Syracuse it's first loss are now 3-0 in conference play and their seeding will rise at least one or 2 lines come next week. The Bearcats however, are looking at a stay on the bubble.

Mississippi State shot itself in the foot again, losing at Western Kentucky(Maybe the Heels and Bulldogs can start a support group...When BCS 6 teams go on the road at a non-BCS 6 school and lose). After losses to Rider and Richmond, the last thing the Bulldogs needed was to lose to another non-BCS 6 school. They may now need to do some significant damage in Southeastern Conference play to stay on the good side of the cut line.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bracket Watch and the New Year's Surprise

What is the new year's surprise? Well unless you've been glued to the television watching so much football you may become a pigskin itself, here it is: Southern California, one of the co-leaders in the Pacific-10 has declared itself ineligible for this year's NCAA's(and the NIT and Pac-10 conference tourneys too). It all stems from O.J. Mayo's year at the school, Tim Floyd's tenure and plenty of greenbacks(Si, Barone!*). USC administrators declared themselves ineligible before the NCAA could do the same and do more damage, but the immediate penalty will force the Trojans from participating in any of this year's tournaments.

Now onto the first Bracket Watch of the season, which as always looks at how the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee would select, seed and bracket the field if the season ended Sunday night. No effort has been made to predict future results.

The Final Four pairings:
South(1) vs. West(4)
Midwest(2) vs. East(3)

South Region
Reliant Stadium; Houston; University of Houston

@Ford Center; Oklahoma City; Big 12 Conference
1-Texas vs. 16-Army(Patriot)
8-Tennessee vs. 9-Virginia Tech
@HP Pavilion; San Jose; San Jose State University
4-New Mexico(Mountain West) vs. 13-Weber State(Big Sky)
5-Temple(Atlantic 10) vs. 12-St. John's
@Dunkin' Donuts Center; Providence; Providence College and Big East Conference
2-Villanova vs. 15-Morgan State(Mid-Eastern)
7-William & Mary(Colonial) vs. 10-Texas Tech
@Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum; Jacksonville University
3-North Carolina vs. 14-Vermont(America East)
6-Mississippi vs. 11-Minnesota

West Region
EnergySolutions Arena; Salt Lake City; University of Utah

@Bradley Center; Milwaukee; Marquette University
1-Purdue vs. 16-Radford(Big South)
8-Texas A&M vs. 9-St. Mary's
@Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena; Washington State University
4-Florida State vs. 13-Pacific(Big West)
5-Connecticut vs. 12-Cornell
2-Syracuse vs. 15-Campbell(Atlantic Sun)
7-Mississippi State vs. 10-Richmond
@New Orleans Arena; Tulane University
3-Wake Forest vs. 14-Murray State(Ohio Valley)
6-Washington vs. 11-Florida

Midwest Region
Edward Jones Dome; Saint Louis; Missouri Valley Conference

@Oklahoma City
1-Kansas vs. 16-College of Charleston(Southern)
8-Georgia Tech vs. 9-Pittsburgh
4-Gonzaga(West Coast) vs. 13-Oregon(Pacific-10)
5-Wisconsin(Big Ten) vs. 12-Siena(Metro Atlantic)
2-Duke(Atlantic Coast) vs. 15-Texas-San Antonio(Southland)
7-UAB(Conference USA) vs. 10-Virginia Commonwealth
@HSBC Arena; Buffalo; Canisius College, Niagara University and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
3-Georgetown vs. 14-Oakland(Summit)
6-Dayton vs. 11-Harvard(Ivy)

East Region
Carrier Dome; Syracuse; Syracuse University

1-Kentucky(Southeastern) vs. 16-Opening Round winner
Opening Round: Texas Southern(Southwestern) vs. Robert Morris(Northeast)
8-Cincinnati vs. 9-Rhode Island
@San Jose
4-Kansas State(Big 12) vs. 13-Louisiana Tech(Western Athletic)
5-Brigham Young vs. 12-Northern Iowa(Missouri Valley)
2-West Virginia(Big East) vs. 15-Western Michigan(Mid-American)
7-Butler(Horizon) vs. 10-California
@New Orleans
3-Michigan State vs. 14-Troy(Sun Belt)
6-Clemson vs. 11-Oklahoma State

Last four in the field: Minnesota, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Cornell
First four left out: Miami(FL), Ohio State, Nevada-Las Vegas, Xavier
Next four in line: Northwestern, Marquette, Old Dominion, Missouri State
Also under consideration: North Carolina State, Maryland, Duquesne, Notre Dame, Illinois, Michigan, Baylor, Memphis, Tulsa, Creighton, San Diego State, Washington State, Arizona State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina, Nevada

Next projection: Monday the 11th.

*For those wondering what I meant when I put down Si, Barone!, it's a reference to Stiletto, the right-hand conspirator to Baron Greenback on Danger Mouse. Just so you know.