Monday, December 18, 2006

It's time for everyone's favorite feature...

Which until bracket projection time comes around (mid-January, folks) is the only feature.

To refresh your memory, this is Games to keep an eye on the ticker for, with the restriction of nothing on the national tube.

Davidson at Chattanooga
-Two upper-division SoCon teams that are likely to have top conference tourney seeds
UAB at Old Dominion
-UAB has not been impressing anyone, but is 25th in RPI
South Florida vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in Las Vegas
-USF: 7-1 and loving the cupcakes; TAMU-CC: 4-3 with less sweetening to their slate.
Missouri State at Saint Louis
-Why is Missouri State not getting any Wichita State-style love? They beat Wisconsin on a neutral floor you national hacks!!!
Charleston vs. Coastal Carolina at Myrtle Beach
-I'm a South Carolina native, so from now on, all in-Palmetto state games go in this space. The Cougars and Chanticleers should make for a decent game, though.

Appalachian State vs. Virginia at San Juan, Puerto Rico
-Will Appalachian stay Hot! Hot! Hot! after their national championship in football?
Drexel at Syracuse
-I correctly predicted one upset for Drexel, but I'm not as confident on this one.
North Texas at Western Kentucky
-My Mean Green are so completely schizo that it wouldn't surprise me if they lose by 30 or win by 15.
Illinois-Chicago at Mississippi
-Rebels are 9-2, but only against the teams they should obviously beat. This isn't that obvious a win.
Stanford at Fresno State
-Fresno State is showing how good UCSB could be (that's their only loss on a slate that saw Creighton last Saturday)

Savannah State at Louisvile
-These two teams have the same number of wins. (That's a true statement, now stop laughing.)
Wyoming vs. Nebraska at Honolulu
-Cowboys have a starting backcourt that is averaging over 40 a game

North Carolina A&T at Arizona State
-This game is only on here because it is called the "ASU Sleep America Classic". Worst. Promo. Ever.
Charlotte vs. Houston in Honolulu
-Oh, two teams whose hype I fall into every year! Joy!
San Diego State vs. Washington State in Seattle
-These two teams are great in the efficiency margin statistic
Valparaiso vs. Creighton in Honolulu
-A poll of the same Valley media might not even have Creighton as even the fourth-best team today. Shooting, something that was assumed to be solid for Creighton before the season, has been below average and is why they are only 4-3.

Georgia at Georgia Tech
-Right now, of these two teams, Georgia is playing the better basketball.
Massachusetts at Kentucky
-If UMass can win this game, they establish themselves as the team to beat in the A-10 when conference play starts.
Hofstra at Syracuse
-Hofstra can surely put those struggles of November away if they can win this one.
Drexel at Temple
-When was the last time we could say that Drexel was the better team of these two?
Nevada at Akron
-This would be a great game for BracketBuster Saturday, but the Zips have been struggling too much on defense to make this matchup happen again.
Evansville at Butler
-Matt Webster! A.J. Graves! It's the White Scorers Bowl brought to you by Daisy Sour Cream! Live from beautiful Hinkel Fieldhouse!
Oral Roberts at Arkansas
-For the Eagles, there was really no where to go but down after winning at Allen Fieldhouse. But not one of their five losses has been horrible.
Wichita State vs. New Mexico in Las Vegas
-Do the Shox play any non-conference home games?
Cal at DePaul
-Cal shot better than and outrebounded San Diego. But lost. How? You got it. Turnovers.
Dayton at Pittsburgh
-"at Pittsburgh" is always a daunting assignment, but Dayton is playing amazing defensively and will keep this game close

Monday, December 11, 2006

Games to keep an eye on the ticker for...

There's a light schedule this week, and that's because of good ol' finals week at most schools.

Mississippi State at Miami FL
-Two teams very likely to be in the three letter tournament
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at New Mexico State
-UAPB could be a top 3 SWAC team, but that won't get into NMSU's level

UMass at Louisville
-Very interesting matchup in a game named for Rick Pitino's late best friend and brother-in-law, Billy Minardi
Belmont at Arkansas-Little Rock
-Road game where the so-called "low-major" should win comfortably

Eastern Washington at Oregon
-First big upset for Stuckey and Co.? Probably not.

Purdue vs. Butler at Conseco Fieldhouse
-Let's see if the Indiana State game was an abberation for the non-power conference media sensation of the first month of the season
Temple at Towson
-Pat Kennedy's team will make things tough for a Temple team in a down year
DePaul at Rhode Island
-Which of these wins doesn't belong: Eastern Illinois, Chaminade, Kansas or Chicago State?
Akron at Illinois-Chicago
-Some nice "mid-major on mid-major action" as Kyle Whelliston would put it
Western Kentucky at Tennessee
-Should be some good offense put up in this one
Utah State at BYU
-A surprising Utah State team takes on a good BYU team
Northern Iowa at Loyola-Chicago
-See Akron-UIC
Indiana State at Missouri State
-If that Butler game wasn't the fluke I think it was, Missouri State will need to play up to the standard that they beat Wisconsin with
Alabama vs. Southern Miss at Mobile
-Does anybody realize Southern Miss is undefeated? No...well, they won't be after this game
Loyola Marymount at San Diego State
-Two good SoCal teams, one of which is likely to play the annual "WCC Runner-Up to Gonzaga" role in the college basketball play
Creighton at Fresno State
-The Xavier win was a good way for the Bluejays to get back on track, and this road win would surely put them squarely back on that track

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Never in a million years...

did I think that Jim Nantz and Billy Packer would be doing a game involving Texas A&M.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winthrop: Princeton of the New Millenium?

Every time I see Winthrop just nearly miss out on upsetting a giant, I can't help but think of those Princeton teams that gave Georgetown, Arkansas, Villanova and Syracuse edge-of-your-seat near-upsets in succession the 1989-1992 NCAA Tournaments. I wasn't too old then, so the only real recollection I have of those games are watching the old highlight shows where an announcer says something like, "Everyone's underdog Princeton came close once again in 19__, but it was not to be as ______ beat them (some score in the 50s to 40s)."

These words were accompanied by an image of Jim Boeheim one of the other great coaches (Thompson, Richardson, Rollie) with a look that said, "Oh my god, we just barely beat Princeton. I'm glad that's over."

But eventually, Princeton had their amazing 1996 and all that heartbreak was essentially forgotten. You really have to think that a huge win like that has to come for Winthrop one of these years.

Another thing that I have heard asked about Winthrop is what it will take for them to get an at-large bid, should they lose in their conference tournament. Three things must happen in order for the Eagles to be one of the 34 non-champions:
1. Win at Old Dominion on December 29
2. Run the table in the Big South
3. Win in their BracketBuster game

This is assuming, however, that Winthrop beats Mt. St. Mary's and East Carolina, but loses at Texas A&M (a game which I will be attending). The only real precedent set here in recent memory is Pacific two years ago, who went 18-0 in the Big West, but lost in the Big West final to a hot shooting (and now departed from the conference) Utah State team. That team finished 24-3 against D1 teams, while Winthrop would be 22-4 assuming all of the above. The four defeats would be high-quality road losses with marquee wins over ODU and their BracketBuster opponent. That would, in my opinion do it, but the Big South is not as good a conference as 2005's version of the Big West, making all three of the scenarios very important.

Enough with speculation for tonight, though. Time to watch the Jimmy V games.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Games to keep an eye on the ticker for...

Loyola-Chicago at Purdue
-Once Horizon League favorites would love to notch up BCS-conference road win
Charleston at South Carolina
-In-state rivals each looking to turn things around
Northern Iowa at Iowa
-What kind of backwards world do we live in when you could make a strong case of UNI being completely better going into this one?
Texas A&M at LSU
-Only on ESPN FC...
New Mexico at New Mexico State
-I guess rematches come early for these two
Gonzaga at Washington State
-Interesting clash of tempos here

Providence at Florida
-Note to Florida: Don't wear those atrocious black unis and you might win. Oh, that and foul trouble.
Old Dominion at Virginia Tech
-Both will be, at very least, NIT teams
NC State at West Virginia
-Would have been just a little more attractive last year
Utah at Utah State
-USU might not be head for that lull after all...
Fresno State at Cal-Santa Barbara
-Two very underrated teams

Ohio at Louisville
-Louisville has no excuse to lose to another Ohio team this early (Dayton, if you were wondering)

Oral Roberts at Georgetown
-Maybe my Big East pick won't disappoint...AGAIN
Missouri at Purdue
-Didn't expect even Mike Anderson to have it turned around this quickly.
Nebraska vs. Oregon in Portland
-Oregon is better, but still an interesting matchup
George Washington vs. USC in Anaheim
-USC is currently hanging in there at Kansas as we...uhh...write?
Wichita State at Wyoming
-What's another long road trip for the Shockers anyway at this point?
South Carolina at Baylor
-Baylor should not be underestimated under any circumstances
Charlotte at Davidson
-2-4 is definitely not what the Niners had planned right now
Drexel at Villanova
-Fire off the upset alerts...
Southern Illinois at Western Kentucky
-Two mids whose names should be called out on March 11
Kansas State at North Dakota State
-First, Marquette, now, K-State?
Xavier at Creighton
-Really solid matchup between two excellent teams without numbers next to their names
Arizona at San Diego State
-Great clash of big men in this one
Washington at Gonzaga
-Might be the last time we see this normally excellent matchup for a while

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Oden Era Begins

On Wednesday night, Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale made it sound like the earliest that Greg Oden could suit up would be on the 16th against Cincinnati. Guess not...

I highly doubt he gets more than 15 minutes a game before the Florida game on the 23rd, but just having him adds a new element to the currently jumpshooting-heavy Buckeyes.

Two signs that the season is really getting ramped up: the 06-07 debut of games on CBS (and therefore Billy Packer) and no less than 15 conference games over the course of the day.

Speaking of that game on CBS, Tubby's eyebrows are Andy Rooney-style out-of-control. As for the game, it's observation time.

-Kentucky seems like they are on perfect course for the same kind of season as they had last year.
-Randolph Morris needs to have more of those kinds of performances. Hopefully the next time he goes 11-12 from the floor and shuts down a great big man defensively, someone on his team wakes up on the offensive end.
-Brendan Wright may not be among the freshman scoring leaders, but he needs to be mentioned in the same breath with players like Kevin Durant.

It looks like the ESPN idiot who forgot to schedule Wichita State-Syracuse was reading the blog and then scheduled it for the 400 of us who get ESPNU. To steal a British phrase, good on you, mate!