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Blog Entry

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

Posted on: March 13, 2010 11:51 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2010 12:15 am
 

Did West Virginia just secure the fourth top seed?

Or is it still Duke's to win?

Honestly, I'm not sure.

But this sure is fun, isn't it?

Here's Sunday morning's Gettin' In:

Teams that punched tickets: West Virginia, Houston, Vermont, Kansas, Santa Barbara, Ohio, Sam Houston State, Morgan State, Washington, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, San Diego State and New Mexico State each earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament on Saturday. That means 27 of the 65 spots in the field are now claimed.

Best game: "Anybody who didn't know the ball was going to him hasn't been watching us," Bob Huggins said after Da'Sean Butler hit yet another game-winner, and I can only assume Huggins was talking about Georgetown's John Thompson III, who didn't deny Butler the ball when West Virginia inbounded it with less than 10 seconds remaining in a tie game. Thus, Butler caught it without issue and sank a tough shot for a 60-58 victory that gave the Mountaineers the Big East tournament title and a strong claim on the fourth top seed. Also worth noting is that the Hoyas didn't guard the inbound guy. Why? How many games have to be lost this way before the NABC implements a rule requiring its coaches to guard the inbound guy on every inbound play?

Other best game: I'm pretty certain we've reached the point where nobody will be surprised if Evan Turner loads Ohio State on his back and carries the Buckeyes to the Final Four. Dude. Is. Killing it. The latest example is Saturday's 31-point, 10-rebound, six-assist effort that helped OSU advance to the Big Ten title game thanks to an 88-81 double-overtime win over Illinois. Yeah, Turner also had 10 turnovers. But whatever. That would only matter if the Buckeyes lost, and they didn't.

Team whose dream remained alive: Nobody uses the SEC tournament to salvage a bad season better than Mississippi State. The Bulldogs won the event to earn the league's automatic bid last season, and Saturday's 62-52 win over Vanderbilt again advanced Rick Stansbury's team to the SEC title game, where a win over Kentucky will secure another trip to the NCAA tournament and disappoint the thousands of UK fans expected to fill the arena Sunday in Nashville. "Big Blue, as you well know, they're going to travel; no question the place will be packed with them," Stansbury said. "... All those [other] fans that are still left here, we need all those fans for us." Absolutely, those fans cheering against UK would help Mississippi State. But what the Bulldogs really need is somebody who can handle John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. And Patrick Patterson. And Eric Bledsoe.

Team whose dream was crushed: Akron wasn't the highest seed in the MAC tournament, but the Zips were the highest seed left by the time Saturday's title game rolled around. Their opponent was Ohio, a team that was seeded ninth because of a 7-9 league record. So Akron was the favorite, Ohio the underdog. And you can probably guess who won, right? Yep, Ohio recorded an 81-75 overtime victory that featured 13 ties and 24 lead changes, which was one less lead change than Akron needed to make the NCAA tournament.

Performance I hope you witnessed: I took some grief from Duke fans for leaving Kyle Singler off the CBSSports.com All-ACC first team, and Singler did his part Saturday to make those angry fans look smart. He got 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Duke's 77-74 win over Miami. If he repeats that performance Sunday, the Blue Devils will beat Georgia Tech, win the ACC tournament and possibly earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Performance I hope you missed: Bobby Maze finished with nine points and five assists when Tennessee beat Kentucky two weeks ago at Thompson-Boling Arena. That's solid. He finished with three points (on 1-of-8 shooting) and two assists when Tennessee lost to Kentucky on Saturday in the SEC semifinals. That's not solid.

Three other things worth noting

1. Houston's 81-73 win over UTEP in Saturday's C-USA title game should make C-USA a two-bid league for the first time since 2005, but it might not given all the other craziness that happened. Just so we're clear, I suspect the Miners will make it. But what it'll come down to is whether the selection committee puts more emphasis on UTEP's 15-1 league record than it does the fact that the Miners have zero wins over other projected at-large candidates. Utah State is facing the same issue, by the way. The Aggies easily won the WAC regular-season title but lost Saturday's tournament championship game to New Mexico State. Their body of work consists of a win over BYU, and not much else.

2. The disappointing Washington Huskies will end up in the NCAA tournament after all. That's the result of Saturday's 79-75 win over California in the Pac-10 title game. The Bears should join Washington to make the Pac-10 a two-bid league. It's like the C-USA of the west.

3. Scoring 11 points in a half and losing 69-42 to an unranked Minnesota team is no way to prove you're still good despite an injury to a key player. But that's exactly what Purdue did Saturday, and now the Boilermakers won't be in any position to complain if the committee gives them a three seed, a four seed, any seed, really. It's unfortunate and cruel, but true.

Final thought: The NCAA tournament will expand.

Might be next season.

Could be three seasons from now.

But eventually -- and sooner rather than later -- this incredible event will be bumped to 96 teams, and if it's explained as nothing more than a money grab, well, what can you do? The push for an extra buck (or an extra billion bucks) has made smart people do dumber things, and I'm not going to try to convince anybody that a more lucrative TV deal would be bad for the NCAA. But anybody suggesting expansion will add to the intrigue of the NCAA tournament or improve it in any meaningful way needs to be punched in the nose by that girl basketball player at Baylor.

This championship week has proved otherwise.

Remember Connecticut?

The Huskies were bounced from the bubble so long ago that most have completely forgotten about them, but they'd probably earn an at-large bid in a 96-team field. Same goes for the Arizona State team that lost an embarrassing game in the Pac-10 tournament to Stanford, the UAB team that lost an embarrassing game in the C-USA tournament to Southern Miss -- plus Memphis, Dayton, Cincinnati and a bunch of other average outfits.

Who needs that?

So call it a money grab if you want, then go grab the money. But the NCAA would be wise to realize that the two weeks of conference tournaments and the subsequent three weeks of the NCAA tournament are terrific precisely because the NCAA tournament isn't too large. Additional revenue is important, I understand. But that money will come at a cost, and I'm not certain it's a price I'd want to pay.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Gettin' In
 
Comments

Since: Mar 11, 2010
Posted on: March 14, 2010 6:07 pm
 

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

They system is definately flawed right now, I do not agree with automatic bids from these small conferences, only a few conferences should have automatic bids, if you cant run with the big dogs, you should just stay on the porch, these mid major teams are not going to bring anything to the tournament except in some cases an upset in the first round, then lose the second, a #16 has never beat a #1,. These smaller conferences should be absorbed into the major conferences, I wouldnt mind if we had like 5-6 conferences with 25-30 teams in each one, it would make the system work better, and these schools that play hard with a really hard SOS wouldnt have to sit and watch.

In case no one had read this yet,
ncaabbs.com/showthread.php?tid=425262
The big 10, 11 teams, is wanting to pull several teams from other conferences and rename their conference of course. I never want to see the BE fall, EVER, but they are also saying that if Syracuse, Pitt or Rutgers leave they might jerk the BCS bid from us, meaning, everyone would leave, I really hope this doesn't happen, but, if it does, let's go ahead and do a major overhaul of the whole league, and get rid of half of these baby conferences.

Peace, GL in the tourney
GO CARDS!!!






Since: Mar 11, 2010
Posted on: March 14, 2010 6:06 pm
 

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

They system is definately flawed right now, I do not agree with automatic bids from these small conferences, only a few conferences should have automatic bids, if you cant run with the big dogs, you should just stay on the porch, these mid major teams are not going to bring anything to the tournament except in some cases an upset in the first round, then lose the second, a #16 has never beat a #1,. These smaller conferences should be absorbed into the major conferences, I wouldnt mind if we had like 5-6 conferences with 25-30 teams in each one, it would make the system work better, and these schools that play hard with a really hard SOS wouldnt have to sit and watch.

In case no one had read this yet,
ncaabbs.com/showthread.php?tid=425262
The big 10, 11 teams, is wanting to pull several teams from other conferences and rename their conference of course. I never want to see the BE fall, EVER, but they are also saying that if Syracuse, Pitt or Rutgers leave they might jerk the BCS bid from us, meaning, everyone would leave, I really hope this doesn't happen, but, if it does, let's go ahead and do a major overhaul of the whole league, and get rid of half of these baby conferences.

Peace, GL in the tourney
GO CARDS!!!




Since: Feb 4, 2009
Posted on: March 14, 2010 5:50 pm
 

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

So call it a money grab if you want, then go grab the money. But the NCAA would be wise to realize that the two weeks of conference tournaments and the subsequent three weeks of the NCAA tournament are terrific precisely because the NCAA tournament isn't too large. Additional revenue is important, I understand. But that money will come at a cost, and I'm not certain it's a price I'd want to pay.


Bingo, well said Gary! The biggest reason for all of the hype, excitement and controversy that builds up in the weeks leading up to the tournament is because of the risk of not making the tourney for so many teams around the country. Don't mess with the best sporting event in the world. It's perfection as is!



Since: Aug 17, 2009
Posted on: March 14, 2010 5:21 pm
 

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

  I agree the tournament should stay at 65 or even back down to 64. As far as the play-in game
is concerned, teams that play in this game should be teams that performed major upsets to win
their conference tournament. Normal conference champions should not be subject to this game.
They should have the right to have an actual seed. For example this years play-in should come
from the following: Houston, Winthrop, Ohio, E. Tennessee St., and Ark. PB.
  There is no reason to add seven more teams to be in play-in games. This would take all the
possible cinderella teams out of the equation.



Since: Mar 14, 2010
Posted on: March 14, 2010 3:35 pm
 

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Since: Mar 14, 2010
Posted on: March 14, 2010 3:33 pm
 

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Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: March 14, 2010 2:33 pm
 

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

I thought you were mad



Since: Jan 5, 2008
Posted on: March 14, 2010 2:31 pm
 

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

I say you expand only so that each number 1 seed plays winners of 4 play in games......in other words expand only to 68 teams and play the 4 play in games the Tuesday before like they do now......96 is ridiculous......



Since: Oct 2, 2007
Posted on: March 14, 2010 2:04 pm
 

Sunday Morning's Gettin' In

But you're assuming they're already letting in the Top 64 teams. They aren't. They're letting in the champions of conferences like the SWAC, the Northeast, Southland, etc., that are routinely smoked already in the opening round, and some of those teams barely crack the Top 200 in the RPI, but they get in anyway because of the automatic bid. Meanwhile, as this column points out, a team like UTEP that is still probably a Top 25-30 team might stay home.
If you do this right, you can make the tournament even stronger. Expanding to 96 would GUARANTEE that you are able to catch the Top 64 teams. You make the analogy that by expanding to 96, suddenly the #96 team is getting smoked in the opening round. Well, I would argue under the current system the tournament is weaker than it could be because #96 can ALREADY get in. Look at who's in already this year with their RPI's based on the automatic bids:
#187 Arkansas-Pine Bluff#160 Winthrop#129 Robert Morris#121 East Tennessee St.#117 Vermont#110 Houston#104 North Texas#102 Morgan St.#98 Montana#70 Sam Houston St.#94 Santa Barbara#94 Ohio#98 Montana
Alright, that's almost a quarter of the teams already in the field of 65 that are NOT among the best 65 teams based on RPI. So, that theoretically means that teams between 53-65 are at risk of not making the field, although in reality it really puts teams like UTEP - a Top 30 team even with a loss in the ConfUSA final - at risk of not making the field because we'll take 7 or 8 teams from the Big East before we'll grab second place from ConfUSA. And UTEP, if they make it, is a serious threat for the Sweet 16. But assuming they make it, who are the bubble teams between 53-65? Well, toss out #57 Murray St. an automatic qualifier for winning the OVC Tournament and possibly Minnesota if they win the Big 10 meaning your actual bubble could include #51 and #52 - New Mexico St. and Oakland which both won their conference tournaments as well. Now the bubble extends to #49 and #50 - a damn good UNLV team (25-8) and Notre Dame (23-11) which just made a run in the nation's toughest conference tournament.
That would leave the other bubble teams as Memphis (23-9), Dayton (20-12), Mississippi St. (23-10, playing right now for the SEC championship), Florida (21-12), William & Mary (22-10), Virginia Tech (23-8), Seton Hall (19-12), Mississippi (21-10), Cincinnati (18-15), Connecticut (17-15) and Arizona St. (22-10). That, my friend, is a pretty good list of teams, and if they were paired up on opening round games against the likes of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Sam Houston, Robert Morris, etc., you would weed out a lot of teams that get a free pass from a weak conference. Play 32 opening round games in midweek (like 32 play-in games), and then by the time you get to the round of 64 on the first weekend, you'll have the same structure you have now ... you'll just have a better shot of actually having the nation's 64 best teams duking it out. It's one of the best weekends on the sports calendar. Imagine if it was even more competitive than it is now. 
(And by the way ... even if you were right, and we were suddenly adding #96 to the tournament field, have you taken a look at who those teams are in the #66-96? There's some pretty good basketball teams there ... #96 is North Carolina St. which just advanced to the ACC semis and gave Georgia Tech all they could handle. If you're worried about 40-50 point blowouts, then expand to 96 teams because your top 32 would have a bye anyway - in other words, Kansas won't even have a shot to beat up on #96. That would be #33 vs. #96 which is currently ... Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina St. And there was only three points difference between those two yesterday ...) 




Since: Jan 11, 2009
Posted on: March 14, 2010 12:38 pm
 

Minnesota???

What is Minnesota, chopped liver? Gary Parrish must have had a horrible experience in Minneapolis once because he doesn't even mention them (except for the 'unranked, how dare Purdue lose to them'. CBS Sports is having a hard time embracing the Gophers....oh well.


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