Wednesday, January 13, 2010

About last night - The heatwave edition

Last night's Ohio State-Purdue game showcased two of the best players in college hoops, not just the Big Ten. In the 1st half, Robbie Hummel was lights out, scoring 29 points, shooting 80% from 3-point range. But in the second half, the Buckeyes switched from a mostly zone defense to strictly man-to-man and Hummel was stopped from getting off good shots, missing all 3 3-balls in the second half and restricted to 6 points. Evan Turner, now back and fully healthy, took over scoring 32 himself, whilst proving himself in every other facet of the game. The result was a 70-66 win for the Buckeyes, their first on the road this season. The game will definitely boost the Buckeyes' chances of an at-large, while at the same time, the Boilermakers' chances for being a #1 seed took a hit.

In ACC play, NC State put Florida State in it's place at home, winning 88-81. Out in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest and fringe bubble rider Maryland had to play 45 minutes to settle the result in the form of an 85-83 win for the Demon Deacons. A loss and Wake would have been 0-2 in conference play and near the cut line in terms of at-large potential.

Speaking of at-large potential, Florida has less of it today, thanks in large part to Kentucky who behind John Wall(who else) took a 17-4 run at the end of the game to win 89-77. The Gators are now 0-2 in league play after falling to Vanderbilt in the opener. Northern Iowa almost fell in the same boat as the Gators, but in beating Bradley 52-50, the Panthers remained unbeaten in the Missouri Valley.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

About last night - Wrestling Style

If you missed last night's Big East Wrestling Federation Smackdown at Freedom Hall, you missed a lot. Villanova and Louisville played in a literal bloodbath, the two teams had 66 fouls between them, though only 3 players fouled out. Those fouls led to 94 free throw attempts and a game length of 2:40. The Yankees and Red Sox playing 9 innings for 4 hours were impressed the rocorious lengths these teams went to.

In the end, however, the Cardinals choked away an important game they needed to bolster their resume. Leading 38-21 in the 1st half, the Cardinals allowed the Wildcats the opprotunity to comeback, and on the shoulders of Scottie Reynolds(36 points on 9 of 10 shooting), Villanova did just that. The 92-84 result builds on Nova's case for a #1 seed. The loss, while not fatal to Louisville's chances, certainly made it weaker.

Elsewhere, It looks like I was ahead of myself when I didn't include Oklahoma State in the field. Oklahoma held off the Cowboys 75-73 in overtime. In the smaller leagues, league leaders Siena, Murray State and Louisiana Tech all won, entrenching themselves atop their conferences. Lastly, a special shout out to Morgan State, who, like Villanova, came back on the road to win, beating Hampton 73-63.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bracket Watch: Part II

As we're now into the teeth of the conference season, it's time to see how the 1st real weekend of conference play shook up the brackets.

Final Four Pairings
South(1) vs. East(4)
Midwest(2) vs. West(3)

South Region

@Oklahoma City
1-Texas(Big 12) vs. 16-Prairie View A&M(Southwestern)
8-Mississippi State vs. 9-Notre Dame
@San Jose
4-Wisconsin vs. 13-College of Charleston(Southern)
5-Clemson vs. 12-Harvard(Ivy League)
2-West Virginia vs. 15-Vermont(America East)
7-UAB(Conference USA) vs. 10-William & Mary(Colonial)
@New Orleans
3-Mississippi vs. 14-Murray State(Ohio Valley)
6-North Carolina(Atlantic Coast) vs. 11-Cincinnati

East Region

1-Villanova(Big East) vs. 16-East Tennessee State(Atlantic Sun)
8-Minnesota vs. 9-Baylor
4-Tennessee vs. 13-Colorado State(Mountain West)
5-Florida State vs. 12-Cornell
2-Purdue vs. 15-Texas-San Antonio(Southland)
7-Nevada-Las Vegas vs. 10-Xavier
@New Orleans
3-Kansas State vs. 14-Denver(Sun Belt)
6-St. Mary's(West Coast) vs. 11-Virginia Tech

Midwest Region

1-Kentucky(Southeastern) vs. 16-Opening Round winner
Opening Round: Lehigh(Patriot League) vs. Long Island(Northeast)
8-Connecticut vs. 9-New Mexico
4-Temple(Atlantic 10) vs. 13-Oakland(Summit)
5-Missouri vs. 12-Miami(FL)
2-Syracuse vs. 15-Morgan State(Mid-Eastern)
7-Butler(Horizon) vs. 10-California(Pacific-10)
3-Michigan State(Big Ten) vs. 14-Louisiana Tech(Western Athletic)
6-Wake Forest vs. 11-Siena(Metro Atlantic)

West Region

@Oklahoma City
1-Kansas vs. 16-UC Santa Barbara(Big West)
8-Georgia Tech vs. 9-Louisville
@San Jose
4-Brigham Young vs. 13-Northern Colorado(Big Sky)
5-Gonzaga vs. 12-Vanderbilt
2-Duke vs. 15-Kent State(Mid-American)
7-Pittsburgh vs. 10-Northern Iowa(Missouri Valley)
3-Georgetown vs. 14-Coastal Carolina(Big South)
6-Texas A&M vs. 11-Rhode Island

Last four in the field: Rhode Island, Miami(FL), Vanderbilt, Cornell
First four left out: Washington, Florida, Wichita State, Ohio State
Next four out: Arizona State, Marquette, Northwestern, Memphis
Also under consideration: Richmond, St. John's, Seton Hall, Illinois, Oklahoma State, Old Dominion, Tulsa, Missouri State, Washington State, Alabama, Western Carolina, Western Kentucky

Coming in: Miami(FL), East Tennessee State, Xavier, Louisville, Notre Dame, Northern Colorado, Coastal Carolina, Baylor, Missouri, UC Santa Barbara, Kent State, Colorado State, UNLV, Long Island, Lehigh, Vanderbilt, Prairie View A&M, Denver
Moving out: Dayton, Richmond, Campbell, St. John's, Weber State, Radford, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Pacific, Virginia Commonwealth, Western Michigan, Robert Morris, Oregon, Washington, Army, Florida, Texas Southern, Troy

That Was The Weekend That Was

I'm still a couple of hours away from unveiling the new bracket, until then, here's yet another new feature to this blog, That Was The Weekend That Was.

Shock it to me, baby
No it isn't to praise Wichita State's 70-58 triumph over Creighton, it's to point out the number of teams that had huge wins over the weekend to bolster their cases. Notre Dame had the biggest, holding off a furious rally from West Virginia to win 70-68. Missouri handled Kansas State with a hard fought 74-68 win. Vanderbilt, in an underrated Bubble Battle knocked off a Florida team that might find itself out of the field. Louisville dispatched of St. John's, but with some 2nd half difficulties. Georgia Tech let Duke's Jon Scheyer run loose, but the Yellow Jackets contained the rest of the Blue Devils to score a 71-67 win. Down in Coral Gables, Miami knocked out Wake Forest 67-66(Mea culpa: I way overseeded the Deacs last week). Lastly, Mississippi State needed a win at Mississippi to bolster it's credentials and they got it, winning 80-75 over the Rebels.

Missed chances
A few teams could not pick up wins needed to keep pace with the pack. Even with Evan Turner back(literally) and healthy enough to play his normal minutes, Ohio State had no answer for Minnesota's hot shot, Blake Hoffarber. The Gophers prevailed 73-62, boosting it's own chances. New Mexico is unexpectedly 0-2 in Mountain West play, losing to UNLV at home 74-62. And Rhode Island failed to defend it's home court in it's Atlantic 10 lid lifter, as Temple escaped with a 68-64 win in Kingston.

And then there's this
I know I'll probably be wrong on this, but I'm going to say it anyway. The Pacific-10 conference does not deserve to have any of it's teams have a shot at an at-large bid. Washington, the only one before this weekend who looked like a decent team, got swept in the desert. California lost to an under-.500 UCLA team and Oregon lost at home to an Oregon State team who earlier in the week lost on it's home court to Seattle by 58 points.

Don't worry, I'll have the bracket up soon.