Blog Entry

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:07 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 12:16 am

What's the only thing worse than bad point guard play in March?

A double-bye in the Big East tournament, obviously.

Here's Friday morning's Gettin' In.

Best game: I watched roughly 12 hours of basketball Thursday, which is more exhausting than you'd think. So I was tired by the end of the day, but not too tired to appreciate the brilliance of Da'Sean Butler, who made big plays on both ends of the court while leading West Virginia to a 54-51 win in the Big East quarterfinals. First, he applied pressure to Dion Dixon and caused the UC guard to dribble the ball off his own head and out of bounds. That's called a turnover. So the Mountaineers got the ball back with 3.1 seconds remaining and got it to Butler, who banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to keep West Virginia in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Double-bye blues: In between Syracuse losing to Georgetown in the Big East quarterfinals despite a double-bye and Pittsburgh losing to Notre Dame in the Big East quarterfinals despite a double-bye, Villanova lost to Marquette in the Big East quarterfinals despite a double-bye, and double-byes sure don't seem to be an advantage, do they? Three of the four schools that had them -- i.e., three of the Big East's top four seeds -- lost Thursday. The only one that didn't was West Virginia, which, again, won only because a UC player dribbled the ball off his own head in the final four seconds.

Team whose dream remained alive: It's probably premature to call Georgia Tech a "lock," but the Yellow Jackets started Thursday in everybody's bracket, ended Thursday with a 62-58 win over North Carolina, and will spend Friday playing Maryland in the ACC quarterfinals. Best I can tell, they should lose to Maryland; thus, it shouldn't hurt them. So if the Yellow Jackets are in now, shouldn't they also be in on Selection Sunday barring a bunch of non-bubble teams making runs?

Team whose dream was crushed: Despite zero wins over other projected at-large teams and three losses outside of the top 150, Memphis entered the C-USA tournament as an at-large team in multiple brackets. So Thursday was a big day for the Tigers; all they had to do was beat a Houston team that finished 7-9 in the league to advance to the C-USA semifinals. But Elliot Williams and Doneal Mack combined to go 2-of-15 from the field, Aubrey Coleman sank a leaner with less than five seconds left, and Houston beat Memphis 66-65 to ensure the Tigers will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.

Performance I hope you witnessed: New Mexico remained in play for a possible No. 2 seed thanks to a ridiculous effort from -- who else? -- MWC Player of the Year Darington Hobson. The junior college transfer got 28 points and 15 rebounds in Thursday's 75-69 win over Air Force. It was Hobson's third straight game with at least 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Performances I hope you missed: Oklahoma State's James Anderson won the Big 12 Player of the Year award on Sunday and responded by missing 10 of 14 3-point attempts in Thursday's 83-64 loss to Kansas State. He must be better in the NCAA tournament for the Cowboys to advance (and for the rims to survive).

Four random notes

1. Arizona's 75-69 loss to UCLA in the Pac-10 quarterfinals means the Wildcats' streak of 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances will end. Sean Miller's team is now 16-15 overall, 2-1 against UCLA. Yes, they swept the season series from the Bruins, then lost in the league tournament.

2. Ernie Kent coached his last game at Oregon on Thursday, barring a huge surprise. California beat the Ducks 90-74 in the Pac-10 quarterfinals and dropped their record to 16-16. Kent refused to address reports of his resignation/firing, but by all accounts he knows he's gone after 13 seasons, and it should become official in the next 48 hours.

3. Jimmer Fredette won Thursday's scoring title. The BYU guard hung 45 points on TCU in a 95-85 victory that launched the Cougars into the MWC semifinals. Fredette was only 10-of-23 from the field, but he sank 23 of 24 free throws to eclipse the 40-point barrier for the second time this season.

4. An MRI is expected to be performed on Arinze Onuaku's right knee Friday, and the selection committee will be among those interested in the results. If it becomes apparent that the Syracuse big man -- who injured his knee in Thursday's loss to Georgetown -- won't be available for the NCAA tournament, the committee could drop the Orange to something other than a No. 1 seed even though they clearly have the body of work of a No. 1 seed. My advice to Syracuse: Don't announce the results unless it's positive news. Keep it vague until the bracket is set because the committee probably won't penalize the Orange unless it knows Onuaku is out for sure.

Final thought: Jim Calhoun announced Thursday that he plans to coach UConn next season.

I hope he does.

But let's not forget that "plans" can change, and sometimes people have no control over them. I point this out not to be Debbie Downer, but to remind everybody that we're a long way from the start of next season. Calhoun has battled cancer three times and missed games each of the past two seasons for medical reasons. He's 67 years old. So while Calhoun's health concerns seem to be curbed at the moment, who knows where he'll be in eight months?

And that's the point.

Who knows?

Not me.

Not you.

And Calhoun couldn't possibly know either.

So, yes, I believe the Hall of Famer when he says he plans to coach next season.

I'm just not totally convinced he won't have to change his plans for reasons out of  his control.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Feb 22, 2010
Posted on: March 12, 2010 1:17 pm

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

peple shoul check there facts before saing stuff.i know its not much but georgia tech has a win over a nonconfrnce team thats in the tournament,lasttime i checked siena had won the confrence tournament and was in.

Since: Mar 12, 2010
Posted on: March 12, 2010 11:41 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

I would not be surprised to see Marquette make the Big East finals. They have been playing well and according to Team's updated Big East projections, they are only very slight underdogs to Georgetown (

ference-tournaments/big-east/). Georgetown may be the public favorite because of their win over Syracuse, but they are less secure than you might think.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: March 12, 2010 11:38 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

Gary, you must have been delirious at the end of the WVa game; there's no way you can reasonably say that Butler "applied pressure" that made Dixon dribble off his leg and out of bounds.  Dixon shook free, grabbed the in-bounds pass, and Butler trailed him up the sideline, with at least 18 inches between him and Dixon the whole way.  That's hardly "pressure."  Butler was trying not to foul, and Dixon just looked up too soon and lost the handle.

Give credit where credit is due--Butler made a miraculous shot to win it (though I doubt he called the bank)--but don't overdo.

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2010 11:05 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

The blasting of the Big East double bye is way overblown and a scapegoat whine for a losing coach (Boeheim has been guilty of whining in the past).  The time off is at worst since the previous Saturday, teams go through longer idle time spans during the season and are thankful for the rest.  The time off is one extra day from the team they most likely will play, big deal.

Can't it be said that the top 8 or 9 teams in the Big East are solid and can beat each other up on any given day? 

Marquette and Villanova played twice in the regular season, Nova winning both by two points,  Marquette wins yesterday by four points.  Let's see after three games Marquette 232 points, Villanova 232 points, sounds like two evenly matched teams.

Can't it be said that when teams face each other regularly they know the other teams schemes and can make other words, it took a third game for Georgetown to figure out Syracuse's zone. 

ND beat both Pitt and WVa. in the regular season, why are we surprised when ND beats Pitt?

The conference is very balanced at the top and during the season they beat each other up pretty well, where games between the elite 8 or 9 really could have gone either way.  So why the surprises in the tournament?  It's not the double bye, its the gathering of solid programs that know each other very well, regardless of the regular season records, these games are really toss up games---which is the beauty of this conference tournament more than any other.

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: March 12, 2010 9:51 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

I think you got the east and midwest, but I believe Syracuse will be sent to the South region and Duke goes West, I agree whit your #1 seeds, if WV wins the Big East, they def will have the #2.

Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2010 9:43 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

Didn't Villanova and UCONN make the final four last year...i don't get it...the Big East has at least 5-6 teams capable of making the final four this year, why the hate?

Since: Dec 4, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2010 9:26 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

There is really no way to predict that. Nobody saw North Carolina being this bad this year and not making the tournament.  Overrated to start the season...clearly...but not making the tournament, I highly doubt anyone called that.  So for Kansas, Duke, or MSU to not make it I believe it would be a similar situation to that of UNC this year where they are really young, lose a lot of talented players, and have quite a few injuries.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: March 12, 2010 9:21 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

It is very simple to see who the top #1 seeds will be this year:

Syracuse #1 in the West
Kentucky #1 in the East
Kansas #1 in the Mid-west
Duke #1 in the South East

GO WVU which will be a #2 seed in the East

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: March 12, 2010 9:03 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

@ AFC 44, well considering he's on a team that pretty much only plays 7 deep it is a big deal. I'm not going to say whether or not they will do AS good (ND seemed to play better without harangody) anytime you lose a starter its kind of a cause for concern

Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2010 8:49 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

Onuaku is Syracuse's 5th most important player.  Big difference

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