Thursday, January 26, 2006

SEC, Valley Talk

Here is a very narrow limb I am willing to go out on: Florida will not win the SEC East or even come in second. Yes, you heard it here first.

Of course the event spawning this prediction is Florida's second straight loss, this one to South Carolina. When you look at Florida's schedule, you see just one real quality win against Syracuse. The rest, even with 5 other RPI Top 100 wins, are teams that they should have handled.

But since that one quality win came in the final of a preseason, nationally televised tournament, the Gators not losing until their 18th game game got them to #2 in the polls (did anyone seriously think they were better than UConn?).

Meanwhile, Kentucky, as maligned as they have been, has just as many Top 100 wins and one more Top 50 win than the Gators. Let's not forget as well that Kentucky still has a very talented backcourt, one that is an incredibly deep one when clicking. Also, Randolph Morris at least gives them some stability in the middle.

In mid major new, my fellow hoop blogger Kyle "K-Dub" Whelliston has a good piece on about how The Valley gets four teams into the Dance. I'm actually not sure it will be that tough to hit the four-banger.

Northern Iowa, barring injury or collapse, is in, as their RPI is in the teens, and they are 5-2 against the Top 50.

Creighton, even without Nate Funk, has (amazingly) been 3-1 against the RPI Top 50.

Southern Ilinois, behind Matt Shaw and Jamaal Tatum, is tied for the conference lead at 8-2 with UNI and Wichita State.

Speaking of Wichita State, this team, IMO, is the fourth best, and likely to pick up the last spot of a "4BV". However, their RPI is in the low twenties and their conference record is outstanding.

I don't want to say that Missouri State is out of it, as I love the way Blake Ahearn plays, but it will be tough to come back from 5-5.

However, the resumes of the former four are stellar, and I'd say that there is a 60 percent chance they all make it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Brackets for this week

Washington Region
1. UConn (1) v. 16. Sacred Heart (NEC)
8. UAB v. 9. Michigan
4. UCLA v. 13. Manhattan (MAAC)
5. NC State v. 12. Alabama

6. Arizona v. 11. S. Illinois
3. Florida v. 14. Northwestern St. (Southland)
7. Syracuse v. 10. Oklahoma
2. Michigan St. v. 15. UC Irvine (Big West)

Oakland Region
1. Texas (4) v. 16. Delaware St. (MEAC)
8. Marquette v. 9. North Carolina
4. Ohio St. v. 13. Tennessee Tech (OVC)
5. Washington v. 12. Old Dominion (CAA)

6. Creighton v. 11. Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Horizon)
3. Wisconsin v. 14. Penn (Ivy)
7. Maryland v. 10. Iowa St.
2. Villanova v. 15. Northern Arizona (Big Sky)

Atlanta Region
1. Duke (2) v. 16. Elon (SoCon)
8. Vanderbilt v. 9. Wichita St.
4. Pittsburgh v. 13. Winthrop (Big South)
5. Iowa v. 12. Akron (MAC)

6. Cincinnati v. 11. Clemson
3. Gonzaga (WCC) v. 14. San Diego St. (MWC)
7. Bucknell (Patriot) vs. 10. Kentucky
2. Illinois v. 15. IUPUI (Mid-Con)

Minneapolis Region
1. Memphis (3) v. 16. Binghampton (AmEast)/Southern (SWAC)
8. Georgetown v. 9. Boston College
4. Tennessee v. 13. Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
5. George Washington v. 12. Colorado

6. Northern Iowa v. 11. Kansas St.
3. Indiana v. 14. Louisiana Tech (WAC)
7. LSU v. 10. Xavier
2. West Virginia v. 15. Florida Atlantic (A-Sun)

Bubblicious outsiders: Nevada, Arkansas, Air Force, Miami (FL), Missouri St., Iona, Missouri

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wow, An Update is a Novel Idea

Was there any more irrelevant night of the season than last night? Even on Super Bowl Sunday hoops is more noticeable.

Marquette had essentially a “beginner’s luck” win against UConn in their first Big East game.

This game changes nothing, however. Things like these happen to excellent teams in conference play. How quickly we forget UConn’s Jekyll-and-hyde January (and part of February) two years ago during their championship season.

Unfortunately, with the inconsequential concept of polls in college basketball, UConn will drop even when it is obvious that this is still a top five team.

Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles’ win really cements the Big East as the conference that will likely get the most teams into the tournament.

Mark my words, a 6-10 team will get in from the Big East.

Texas’ win over Memphis was something that was desperately needed for the school where one Vincent Young has moved up to permanent God status.

It is alarming, though, that the Longhorns are getting underachieving performances out of players not named Gibson and Tucker. Even so, Chad Ford has LaMarcus Aldridge number one on his NBA potential…I mean NBA draft board.

The Washington-Arizona game on New Year’s Eve was a classic and again, it was a game where a team had to make a statement. And did.

Oh, and how about Ohio State coming back to win a game where they were outplayed for 35 minutes.

The lack of mid-majors in this blog is putrid at best. If I don’t clean up my act, I might as well call this the BCS, A10 and Memphis digest.

Therefore, I will run through all mid-major conferences weekly starting tomorrow.