Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some Big College Hoops Dunks -- Bring on the Madness

Let's get into a March Madness mood with some big time play inside the paint from some of the likely Tourney teams:

Blake Griffin, Oklahoma - One hand slam over Colorado

Carlon Brown, Utah - Slam while abusing the defender

Calvin Brock, Illinois - One hand slam putback against Indiana

Sam Young, Pitt - Windmill dunk on the breakaway

Friday, February 13, 2009

Illinois' comeback Win at Northwestern

If you missed this Big Ten thriller, here is the last 6 minutes for your viewing pleasure. They comeback from 12 down with 5 minutes to go and 9 down with 2 minutes to go. Thrilling finish. They only led once during the entire game -- at the end!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love These Late Season Non-Conference Battles

Historically, one of the really difficult aspects of comparing teams across conferences has been that all of the non-conference match-ups were played in November and December. In the early part of the season, teams have not gelled into their final form. Often coaches have not settled on a starting line-up by December. While the players may be playing well, they may not yet play well together as a team in November.

For these reasons, I really like the introduction of these late season inter-conference match-ups that we are seeing this year. This weekend we got to see a scrappy Michigan team play tough with the #1 UConn Huskies. While they did not win the game they reaffirmed that they are a tough team (who beat two #5 rated teams, Duke and UCLA, earlier in the season) and also further strengthened the contention that the Big East and the Big Ten are neck and neck for second best conference (behind the ACC) this year.

We also saw UCLA beat up on Notre Dame, further solidifying the fact that it isn't just the tough Big East line-up that is the problem for Notre Dame, they just are not playing well at this point in the season.

By beating Gonzaga this weekend, Memphis made a statement that they should be considered a Top 25 team despite another horrendously weak schedule again this year.

I hope this is an increasing trend in college hoops. Let's not wait for the NCAA tourney to see how the SEC is going to fare against the Big 12 late in the season, lets get some more of these games on the schedule. There is no reason all of the conference games have to be played back to back, lets mix in 3-4 of the non-conference games later in the season and see how they match-up with a "fully cohesive" line-up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Toughest College Hoops Venue?

EA Sports is running a nice little poll on the toughest venues in college basketball. Read their thoughts on some of the toughest and vote for your favorite here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Big East's 18 Teams Beating Each Senseless

Does anybody else think that this 18 team Big East is a disaster for the teams involved? Yes they may still get 9 teams into the NCAA tourney, but their overall seeding is going to suck.

By having 9 very good teams in a conference, they are beating each other into oblivion. Georgetown, Notre Dame and Syracuse are great examples. Going into conference play, they all looked like 3-5 seeds for the tourney. However, now it is very likely that Syracuse will have 8-9 losses (5 to date) and GTown and ND will each have at least 10-11 losses (8 each to date).

At best one of those teams might end up with a 6 seed, but likely all three will be in the 7-9 range. Ouch. It is very tough to make a deep tourney run with a 7-9 seed.

Most other conferences have 5-7 tourney caliber teams. You hope to win at home and maybe steal a game on the road against those opponents. For the second tier tourney teams in a conference, that schedule leaves you with a manageable record (maybe 6-8 losses) and the chance to get a 4-6 seed in the tourney.

Given the current system, I think the Big East will continue to under-perform, as a conference, in the postseason because of their seeding problems. The top 1-2 teams will still get top level seeds but everyone else will end up under-seeded making their tourney road much more difficult.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Blogger Poll

I am a member of a new blogpoll that is forming for College Hoops bloggers. I am pleased to be a member of this community which includes some of the best hoops bloggers on the web. This should be a lot of fun. The blogpoll will eventually be posted here, but we are currently testing this system this week.

However, I will be able to post my ballot each week, so here is the ballot I submitted for the test this week. Quite a fun week of changes with all of the upsets. Feel free to comment your opinions about my ballot -- but please keep it clean ;)

1 Connecticut
2 Oklahoma
3 North Carolina
4 Duke
5 Pittsburgh
6 Marquette
7 Wake Forest
8 Clemson
9 Louisville
10 Xavier
11 Butler
13 Michigan St.
14 Purdue
15 Texas
16 Memphis
17 Gonzaga
18 Villanova
19 Minnesota
20 Illinois
21 Washington
22 Kansas
23 Louisiana St.
24 Dayton
25 Missouri