Blog Entry

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

Posted on: March 10, 2010 12:28 am

Butler destroyed Wright State.

UConn destroyed its NCAA tournament hopes.

Here's Wednesday morning's Gettin' In ...

Teams that punched tickets Tuesday: North Texas, Butler and Oakland each earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on Tuesday. That means 12 of the 65 spots in the field are claimed.

Best game: Any title game that's tied with less than 30 seconds left is a good title game, so this is a perfect spot to mention North Texas' win over Troy in Tuesday's finals of the Sun Belt tournament. Game tied, like I said, with less than 30 seconds remaining. Josh White drove left, stopped at the free throw line and buried a jumper that proved to be the game-winner. UNT won 66-63. So the Mean Green are headed to the NCAA tournament, and Troy is trying to figure out why it let Josh White drive to the free throw line.

Team whose dream remained alive: South Florida's Dominique Jones got 20 points and nine rebounds in Tuesday's 58-49 win over DePaul that advanced the Bulls to the second round of the Big East tournament and kept their NCAA tournaments hopes intact. USF is now 20-11 with wins over Pittsburgh, Georgetown and Seton Hall (and just one loss outside of the top 100), which puts them right on the bubble heading into Wednesday's game with Georgetown. And raise your hand if you thought we'd ever have a season when UCLA, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Michigan and LSU would all be off the bubble while USF was on it.

Team whose dream was crushed: We can stop talking about Connecticut and asking whether the Huskies will be the first 15-loss team to earn an at-large bid because they clearly won't be thanks to an embarrassing performance in their Big East tournament opener. "It was definitely embarrassing," UConn's Kemba Walker said after Tuesday's 73-51 loss to St. John's. So we agree! And now the only important question about the Huskies revolves around whether Jim Calhoun will return to coach them next season, and that question will likely remain unanswered for a while regardless of anything that was said in Tuesday's press conference.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Oakland's Derick Nelson averages less than 12 points a game. He'd only scored more than 20 three times all season before Tuesday, and I bet you know where this is going. Yep, dude went all Kyle Kuric on IUPUI. Nelson took 23 shots, made 15 and finished with 36 points in Oakland's 76-64 win that gave the Golden Grizzlies the Summit tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Not bad for a guy with a broken nose.

Performance I hope you missed: This spot is usually reserved for a player, but the entire Wright State team will work after Tuesday's 70-45 loss to Butler in the Horizon tournament final. The Raiders shot 34.6 percent for the game, just 10 percent from 3-point range. They never had a chance to turn the Horizon into a two-bid league, but they probably helped Butler improve its seed.

Three random notes

1. Troy might've lost to North Texas, but Yamene Coleman got the highlight of the night. The former Alabama player who spent his senior season at Troy absolutely crunched one on Collin Mangrum. I mean crunched . Find the highlight and watch it, then thank your god that you're not  the guy who tried to draw a charge on Coleman in the Sun Belt title game.

2. UMass busted Charlotte's bubble Tuesday night with a 59-56 win over the 49ers. Bobby Lutz's team is now 19-12 overall. That's not going to be nearly enough, even in this terrible season.

3. Cincinnati's 69-68 win over Rutgers in the first round of the Big East tournament could mark the end of the Fred Hill era. The fourth-year coach started the season on the hot seat and did nothing to remove himself from it. Rutgers finished 15-17 overall, 5-13 in the Big East.

Final thought: I'm not sure Notre Dame-Seton Hall is an elimination game because this stuff doesn't really work like that. But I do know that Wednesday night's winner should be safely in the field, which is why this is must-see TV for diehard college basketball fans.

It's like a play-in game between Big East schools.

It's days like today that make me wish I got paid to watch games.

Oh wait ...
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Gettin' In

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: March 11, 2010 11:11 am

Wednesday morning's Gettin In


A 6-round bracket is intended to include 64 teams.  My proposal (to include last four in, first four out) includes four teams who would otherwise have been excluded.  At that point, no team has a legitimate gripe about being left out.  Of course there will still be debate, but I believe it would be an improvement over the current process, with focus on not making the auto qualifiers "qualify" again via the play-in game.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: March 11, 2010 9:36 am

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

The reasoning, Dave, is largely RPI; I'd personally agree with you that it is biased, particularly this year, but the formula is what it is.  It basically says that playing good competition more makes you a better team, even if you lose a few more games.  Generally, 40 is the cut-off line for teams that don't win a conference championship.  Teams with RPI over 40 are suspect, at best.

And, when you're suspect, "bad losses" will weigh more heavily.  A team like W&M will naturally have more of them because they played either MORE bad teams, or WORSE teams--again based on RPI.  So losing to a team with an RPI over 100 is really bad.  Thus Georgia Tech's bad losses are better than W&M's bad losses, and GT gets the nod.

And so on, and so forth.  It is all predicated, of course, on the assumptions fed into the computer at the beginning of the year about relative strength.  Those are adjusted over the course of the year so that a team that is truly solid, like Richmond, can end up relatively well off even if they play in a "lesser" conference.  A team like W&M though, that is up and down in a lesser conference, will be penalized heavily.  QED.

Since: Mar 10, 2010
Posted on: March 10, 2010 9:17 pm

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

absolutely right ... William & Mary ... why, why, why??!!

Since: Feb 24, 2009
Posted on: March 10, 2010 9:00 pm

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

Please help me/. I don't understand. It would make reasonable sense to me to give all the 1, 2, &3 seeds byes this year and go with 53 teams, but alas that is not an option. Why is it that everyone feels all at large selections must be big 6 schools (plus the MW, A-10, and on a rare occasion CUSA). I've kept up  with numerous sites predicting the field columns and have been an avid reader of yours thru out the year. Jerry Palm currently lists 9 big east 7 acc 5 sec and now believes that cal is a shoo-in and that washington (washington!!) need only reach their final to have earned at large consideration. I want to know why (whjy, why WHY!!!) is nobody talking  about William & Mary?  I livein Ga, went to school at Ala, and have no ties what-so-ever to this program yet I can see clearly that they've earned at least at-large consideration. I've done my research and here's my arguments...

Wiliam & Mary...(22-10) current RPI-56th 7-3 last 10 quality wins- @Maryland, @Wake Forest, vs Richmond, vs VCU northeastern(2) .  and in my mind the biggest reason Non-Conference results. Big 6 schools get plnty of opportunities vs each other and in their own conference play to prove themselves smaller schools have only a few chances and must make the most of them. W&M went 7-3 non con with a non con schedule  ranked 26th and an rpi of 12. . The biggest set back was 2 late losses including Feb 24ths debacle vs Towson but that cannot be enough to counter everything else especially in a field of choices that in clude...

Ga Tech- best non-con wins Siena and USC. Loses to Ga, Miami, & Vir. 3-6 finish with only wins against the worst of the ACC(UNC NCST< & BC) (Palm gives em an 11)

Memphis-  best non-con wins (i'm still looking for 1) bad losses umass & smu) (Palm gives em a 12)

Notre Dame- best non-con wins St. Louis and UCLA(sic) bad losses-Loyola-Marymount, Rutgers, Northwestern(Palm gives em a 10)

SD State- best non con win Arizona(sis) best non-con team faced Arizona St. (really sic) bad losses Pacific, and WYOMING!(palm gives em a 12)

Seton Hall Best non-con win comes vs the ivy league (Cornell) at least they have no terrible losses (Palm gives em a 12)

Ole Miss- good win oner Kansas ST really bad loss to Arkansan at home(Jerry says 11)

Florida- good early season wins but bad losses to Ga and S Ala. lost their last 3 with a chance to remove any doubts.

Finally in the past few years haven'y George Mason and VCU done enough to make this conference more comparable to the Atl-10 or CUSA than to the MEAC or the Atl Sun?

Am I way off base? I'd like to know why?


Since: Feb 18, 2010
Posted on: March 10, 2010 3:56 pm

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

Irish Eyes...

The same debate will still exist if you make the field 68.  No matter what, the last 4 in will be debated and the first 4 out will be debated.  Doesn't matter if the field is 10, 64, 65, 68, or 100. get a clue

Since: May 29, 2007
Posted on: March 10, 2010 12:01 pm

$20 March Madness pool

UConn losing was a shocker. Let the madness begin

Do you know College hoops?
Who will you pick for the Final Four?

Come and join my $20 entry, winner takes all March Madness hoops pool.

Send me a Private Message with  your email address and I will send you an invite

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2010 11:10 am

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

Absolutely - couldn't have said it better myself.  The conference tourney champs have already "played in".

In fact, if the NCAA really wanted to expand the tournament, don't go to 96 teams; just bump it up to 68 and play four play-ins.

Everyone always wants to debate "Last 4 In" and "First 4 Out" - well, remove the debate.  Send four of those teams to Dayton, send the other four somewhere out West (Denver, Kansas City, wherever), and let them play their way into the final four at-large seeds.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2010 10:57 am

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

Dear Gary:  *Shouldn't* the play-in game be between two Big East teams?  I don't mean that literally, of course, but the whole notion of having two teams from "minor" conferences that won their championship and thus the right to go to the NCAAs having to play AGAIN for the privilege is rather insulting.  After all, those schools won their tickets fair and square, and to make them play another game in a small gym somewhere, unnoted by most of America rather defeats the purpose.

Wouldn't a play-in game between some of thos "last-in" teams make more sense?  Sure, they'll be seeded higher than Alcorn State (or whoever), but that would be a real play-in, n'est pas?

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: March 10, 2010 10:31 am

The Butler Blowout

Last night Butler gave an ESPN Clinic on how to rip the heart out of a "20 win" team. That these guys have not lost since December (when they beat Ohio State by 8 and Xavier by 1) should not be overlooked. With a 12-1 record on opponents home court, 20 straight wins, no bad losses and a top 20 RPI the committee should give them nothing less than a 5 seed. 
Don Mack

Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posted on: March 10, 2010 9:15 am

Wednesday morning's Gettin In

Wright State isn't the best team in the world, but they're not a bunch of scrubs, either.  They've been hovering in the mid 60's in the Pomeroy ratings all year and got up to #85 in the RPI before last night's game.  They hung right with Washington on the road early on in the year without their best player (Duggins) and gave Mississippi State a good run on their home floor too.  Four consecutive 20-win's not a bad program at all.

Problem is, they just don't match up well with Butler.  Their best scorers are all guards; all of Butler's best defenders are guards.  Veasley held a 1,400 point scorer to 0 points on an 0-for-4 night.  Nored, the Horizon defensive players of the year, held an all-league player in Vaughn Duggins to single digits.

Butler's undoing this year has been teams with big, strong front lines that can get garbage baskets off of put-backs.  Wright State's front line is incredibly thin, especially now since Cooper Land went down with a torn ACL in practice a couple weeks ago.  Cooperwood is small enough for Howard to be very effective against, and 6-9 center Ronnie Thomas is thin enough for Hayward to guard all game long.  Their lineup just doesn't present any opportunities for big mismatches.  If they don't hit their threes it turns into a game like we saw last night.

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