Blog Entry

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

Posted on: March 9, 2010 12:36 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 12:39 am

Fairfield blew a nice lead.

Saint Mary's did not.

Here's Tuesday morning's Gettin' In.

Teams that punched tickets Monday: Old Dominion, Siena, Saint Mary's and Wofford each earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday. That means nine of the 65 spots in the field are claimed.

Best game:
Fairfield was up 13 with less than 18 to play Monday night, and bubble-watchers everywhere were debating whether Siena could get an at-large bid after the sure-to-come loss in the MAAC tournament title game. My opinion: No, the Saints probably wouldn't have received an at-large bid given that they own zero top 50 victories. But guess what? It doesn't matter now because the Saints stormed back, forced overtime and recorded a 72-65 victory that made them the MAAC's automatic qualifier. Now they'll sit back and wait for the selection committee to give them a No. 12 seed, then we'll all pick them to beat some No. 5 seed.

Team whose dream remained alive: North Texas was nearly upset in the Sun Belt quarterfinals, but the Mean Green easily handled Denver in Monday's semifinals. The 63-56 victory will allow them to take a 10-game winning streak into Tuesday's title game.

Team whose dream was crushed: Western Kentucky fell behind by 16 points late in the first half and only scored 48 in the game, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Hilltoppers lost Monday in the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament. What's surprising is that they had a chance to win, and that they actually led 48-47 with less than four minutes remaining. WKU seemed in control. But Troy countered with a 7-0 run, won 54-48 and ensured WKU's NCAA tournament streak will stop at two.

Performance I hope you witnessed: The West Coast Conference was probably going to be a two-bid league regardless, but Mickey McConnell ensured as much with a 26-point effort that keyed Saint Mary's 81-62 victory over Gonzaga in Monday's WCC tournament title game. McConnell hit 10 of 17 shots -- including four of seven 3-point attempts -- and helped the Gaels prevent Gonzaga from winning this event for the 11th time in 13 seasons.

Performance I hope you missed: David Schneider hit a big shot to lift William & Mary to the title game of the Colonial tournament, but missed pretty much every shot in said title game. He was 2-of-13 from the field in Monday's 60-53 loss to Old Dominion, 3-of-22 from the field in his past two games.

Three random notes

1. The Big East tournament starts Tuesday with four games. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for St. John's to beat Connecticut, for DePaul to beat South Florida, and for Providence to beat Seton Hall.

2. The Horizon League title game is Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for Butler to beat Wright State because the alternative outcome would turn the Horizon into a two-bid league, which would effectively shrink the field by one.

The Oregonian newspaper reported late Monday that P.J. Carlesimo is a serious candidate to replace Ernie Kent at Oregon. Kent is expected to be officially fired at the conclusion of the Pac-10 tournament.

Final thought: Nothing in the Top 25 (and one) got folks fired up like Purdue down at No. 11.

But I don't understand the argument.

I mean, where do you think Purdue belongs?

No question, the Boilermakers were on their way to the No.1  seed in the NCAA tournament three weeks ago. But everything changed when Robbie Hummel tore his ACL, and this clearly isn't the same team. They looked average in a home loss to Michigan State, then backed that with a couple of wins over bad Big Ten teams, and I honestly think placing Purdue 11th is pretty darn generous.

It's unfortunate, but the fact remains that Hummel is gone.

So we'll never know what the Boilermakers might've otherwise been.

But I think I know what they are right now.

And that's something slightly less than a top 10 team.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2010 12:04 pm

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In


I did notice that while you had an excuse for losing to Siena in last years first round game you failed to mention that the game was played in..........Dayton, OHIO!!!!!  Perhaps OSU shouldve declined the invitation to the tournament knowing that they couldnt compete because of an injury to their best defesive player.  Unreal, an OSU fan making excuses for losing a virtual home game to a school with 2,500 students.  C'mon man, own up and take your loss.  Believe me,  this years OSU team would suffer the same fate if they travelled to Albany and played Siena on its home court where it holds the 2nd longest home win streak in the country.

Since: Nov 2, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2010 11:43 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

No one wants Siena to do to them what Butler did to Ohio State.

The_Troll, I realize you were mostly making a point that power conference teams don't want to play road games against "mid-major" conferences' best teams.  However, your shot at OSU is a little misguided.  Butler is a great team... they have sustained success for much longer than Siena or any other solid "mid-major" team except Gonzaga and perhaps Xavier or Memphis -- if you classify the A-10 and C-USA as mid-major conferences.

Again, I realize you were sort of giving credit to OSU for playing at Butler... which we do every other year now that Thad Matta is our coach (he's a Butler alum).  Yet you were also assuming that many other good power conference teams would suffer the same fate at virtually any pretty good "mid-major" team like Siena.  Yes, Siena beat OSU last year in the 8-9 game (9 seeds actually have the upper-hand in overall W-L since the field expanded to 64).  Yes, Butler beat OSU in Indianapolis this year.  Does that mean power conference teams like OSU would frequently lose when they buck up and go on the road to "mid-major" teams' houses?  No.  I will give Siena and Butler their due credit for beating OSU over the last 2 seasons.  Their due credit is not as high as one might think, though.  OSU lost to Siena w/o David Lighty -- our best defender... and certainly our most experienced player and best leader last year.  OSU lost to Butler this year w/o Evan Turner -- the nation's best player... and certainly the piece that makes OSU's motor run at such a high level this year.  Teams like Siena can be good for a few years, but they will not garner consistent respect from national media sources until they sustain their success like teams such as Gonzaga, Xavier, Butler [and Memphis].  Good luck to Siena, though, unless you somehow face off w/ the Bucks again (at full strength this time).

Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: March 9, 2010 11:35 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

I don't particularly care for all the whining when the polls and ranking and everything come out.  However, I can't help to notice some inconsistency when it comes down to Purdue.  I don't like Purdue, could really care less what happens to them, but I've seen it said over and over again, that specificily in your blogs and poll attacks you state that you base your ranking off of the "entire body of work"  and not the perception of how they will finish.  Yet Purdue has IMO a top 8 resume to this point in the season, the only recent loss was to Michigan St, not a bad loss.  Yet they are pre-maturely getting penalized for losing a player.  Had they lost to Michigan St. and Hummel hadn't suffered the injury prior, don't you think Purdue should have only dropped a few spots? 

I'm not complaining, I would just like a little clarification.  I'm just glad I don't have the job of ranking the teams, especially in a season like this where it seems as there are a strong 3, and a slight seperation before there are a whole slew of teams that are really only seperated by SOS and RPI.  Tough task! 

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2010 11:21 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

You know, despite the article and the (very nice) response, I *still* don't understand about Purdue, and here's why:

For every other team in the nation, you rely on "Body of Work."  You defend Texas based upon their body of work, and didn't penalize them when they lost players to injury.  You defend Ohio State & Wisconsin based upon body of work, with leniency for when they had players injured.

Purdue, on the other hand, loses Hummel and suddenly they're a worse team because they look bad?  What happened to "Body of Work"?  Since losing Hummel, Purdue is 2-1, with the loss to Michigan State, a ranked team.  They've beaten two other Big Ten teams by margins equal to those the Spartans defeated them by, or better.  So, how did their body of work suddenly deteriorate?

I understand that Purdue isn't likely to be the same team without Hummel, but until there's evidence ... shouldn't their body of work be the criterion upon which they are judged, and not the anticipated fall?

Just sayin'. 

Since: Mar 11, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2010 11:20 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

I'm a Purdue alum.  I am either being honest or pessimistic but I believe ranking Purdue at #11 is too high.  Without Hummel they struggled big time against Minnesota.  They scored 44 points against Michigan St.  They barely beat the worst team in the conference, Penn St.  How can anyone complain about Purdue being ranked #11.  The selection committee will try to assess Purdue based on who's on the team not who WAS on the team and is not anymore.   A 4 or 5 seed for Purdue in the big dance would be fair if not generous.  Anybody disagree with that assessment? 

Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2010 10:39 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

I think the issue Purdue fans are taking is the premature penalization they get for losing Hummel.  If they became that inferior with the lost of him, why not wait until it shows?  I am not saying they are the 5th or 6th best team like they are ranked in the other Polls, but they have yet to do anything to warrant dropping more in terms of winning.  You don't fail a student because he doesn't seem to get math in the homework until he gets an F on the test.  Purdue has not seen a test since losing Hummel beyond the MSU game (which I am not sure they would lose now that Kramer has begun to fill into Hummel's forward spot to a degree, they had no inside game against MSU without Hummel, but now people are picking up the slack).  Wait until the conference tournament, if they can win two games wouldn't that show something (those two would probably be beating IU/NW and probably MSU)?  Would you move them back up or would you keep just hiding behind the fact that without Hummel they are undeserving of any credit they get from here on out?  It's fine to think they won't be as good without him, but your change in ranking is based purely on speculation and has no real backing on the court thus far.  You could just wait until they give you the ugly loss you are begging for so that you can drop them entirely.

Since: Feb 7, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2010 10:32 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

As someone who lives in Siena's home area, I have seen a bunch of Saints hoop. This year's team is probably the most frustrating McCafferty has had to date. They seem to coast until they have to play, and then turn it on. Last night's game is a perfect example. But, if they have the inevitible off night or face a quality opponent, they have real trouble. That is why their best wins are against Iona and Northeastern, not Temple and Georgia Tech.

But you can't blame them for their strength of schedule. They played Northeastern this year because very few teams would play either of them, and nobody of note will voluntarily face them at home. No one wants Siena to do to them what Butler did to Ohio State.

However, this year, if Vandy draws Siena again, I wouldn't count on a repeat of 2008.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2010 9:03 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

Great post about Siena Gary.  I was critical of your polls earlier this year when Siena wasnt getting any recognition.  However, they stumbled at Niagara and than lost the bracket-buster game at Butler late in the year so the resume didnt warrant an at large or top 25 consideration.  But I think you summed it up perfectly when you stated that they will probably land a #12 seed and be a darling cinderella pick for over 50% of the country. 

I do think it's funny that analysts and fans alike will criticize Siena (or any other small school) for not having the big RPI wins but than turn around and pick these schools when they are matched with the big boys on a neutral site.  After spending months catering to the big schools and piling recognition on teams that are in the middle of the pack in power conferences we all turn around and pick the small teams we dumped on all year.  Why is it when the money is on the line we pencil Siena into the field of 32 when we would only grant them access to the field of 64 with a conference tournament championship?  Maybe when this tourney expands the small schools that perennially get left out will get the last laugh. 

It's a good article Gary. Thnx.

Since: Sep 30, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2010 8:53 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

Terms that need to be eliminated from the Basketball Lexicon:

1. 'Punching their ticket'
2. 'On the bubble'
3. "Bracketology', and the related term inferring an advanced degree of study 'Bracketologist'
4. 'Bracket buster'

There are numerous others...

Please, CBS gives us an alternative to Entertainment Tonight.. oops, I mean ESPN

Since: Sep 28, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2010 7:15 am

Tuesday morning's Gettin' In

Bubble fans should also be watching the A-10 opening round games.  The three A-10 bubblers, Rhode Island, Dayton and Charlotte, are playing at home so a loss would certainly burst their chances.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or