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Tag:Wichita State
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:48 am
 

Tough teams still battling in NIT's final eight

Posted by Eric Angevine

The NIT is an interesting beast. Conference champions who don't get auto-bids go there, as do power-conference teams who feel 'snubbed' by the NCAA selection committee. It's an interesting time to see which teams roll over and give up and which keep on fighting.

Of the notable snubs, a couple have shown that fight. Several haven't. Harvard went out in the first round, which is no shame, but the score was lamentable. A 71-54 loss at Oklahoma State put an early end to one of the finest seasons in Crimson history. Tommy Amaker is getting passing mention as a candidate for a job higher up the totem pole, so there's a lot of doubt surrounding the program at a time when the next step seems to be well within reach.

Last year's champ, Dayton, lost by ten at home to start the tourney. Fifth-seeded Nebraska managed just 49 points in a loss to Wichita State, and Coastal Carolina was rock-bottom in the first round, scoring just 44.  Virginia Tech made the second round as a No. 1 seed, then bowed in OT at home when Wichita State came calling.

Speaking of the Shockers, enough about the letdowns. Let's talk about which teams are setting up to make a trip to Madison Square Garden at the end of March.

Andrew Goudelock could shine at MSG, if he gets thereIn one regional final, 1-seed Alabama and 2-seed Miami meet up. Anthony Grant's Crimson Tide defeated Coastal Carolina and New Mexico to arrive at this juncture. The Hurricanes went through conference champions Florida Atlantic and Missouri State. Frank Haith had a strange, error-filled finish in the ACC tournament. Against Virginia, the mistakes evened out in his favor. Against North Carolina, the breaks went to the other team. The Tide are doubtless looking to prove that their rise in Grant's second season is a meaningful turnaround. Getting to MSG will show real progress on that front.

Next up are No. 1 Colorado and the MAC regular season champs, No. 7 Kent State. Colorado, which seemed poised to make the Big Dance in Tad Boyle's first season, are making up for the snub by cruising past Texas Southern and Cal. The Golden Flashes put the coda on No. 2 St. Mary's postseason collapse in the first round, then nipped Fairfield 72-68 to get one round away from New York City. The talent advantage here is all on the Buffs' side of the court, and Boyle is looking to make a positive statement as his team prepares for Pac-12 play next season.

Rather than sit at home and mope about missing the NCAA tourney again, the No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats have gone on a tear in the NIT. The purple warriors swamped Horizon champs Milwaukee and took down ACC also-ran Boston College to get to this point, where they'll meet No. 2 Washington State. Cougars star Klay Thompson scored 26 in the second round to knock out Oklahoma State, after WSU took care of Long Beach State in round one. It will be interesting to see if this matchup goes the way of veteran coach Bill Carmody or tips to up-and-coming Ken Bone.

The last quarterfinal matchup is very intriguing. In a matchup of mid-major toughs, No. 4 Wichita State will meet Bobby Cremins and No. 6 College of Charleston. The Shockers had an impressive road to this point, and could be favored to cut down some nets in MSG. They beat Nebraska and Virginia Tech -- two teams with fairly strong at-large resumes -- to get here. If there's an equalizer on the other side of the court, it's composed of two parts: Cremins' vast experience, and the seldom-seen play of Andrew Goudelock (right). The 6-foot-2 senior scored 39 in the first round to oust defending NIT champs Dayton, then joined in a more balanced effort to send Cleveland State packing. It's a shame only one of these teams can get to the Garden.

NIT games resume tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET, with Kent State at Colorado on ESPN.

CBS Sports NIT page

Photo: US Presswire

More NCAA tournament coverage
Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:00 pm
 

BracketBusters has dramatic, controversial start



Posted by Matt Norlander


What a great way kick off BracketBusters.

At the very least, it was a game of note, impact and controversy. From that perspective, it delivered all anyone could ask of it.

Putting VCU-Wichita State on a 7 p.m. Friday-night telecast isn't the easiest way to bring the country in to watch mid-major basketball. And even if the game wasn't played with the highest of quality, it was close, and back and forth, and had us wondering who would win until the end. So, for that, I'm thankful. Virginia Commonwealth-Wichita State had six ties, 12 lead changes and one bad call that lead to VCU winning it, 68-67, likely killing Wichita State's (22-6) at-large chances in the process.

That's sort of the point of this whole made-for-TV BracketBusters thing. The Shockers have now lost four home games and can still only claim Tulsa as their best win.

The crux of the controversy: After Wichita State's Joe Ragland hit two free throws with less than four seconds remaining, VCU's Joey Rodriguez sprinted down the floor and was then fouled on a questionable call with .8 seconds remaining. Rodgriguez, facing a maniacal crowd that violently waved its arms and posters and other crazy, elongated distraction-makers, calmly sank both his free throws to give the Rams the lead.

Wichita State's David Kyles couldn't hit the game-winning shot from 3.

The foul call on Rodriguez was all too kind for a team to receive on the road. The view from the far end of the court didn't suggest there was much contact at all. Credit Rodriguez for selling the body language on what was a miserable shot choice; the Shockers' defense did force him into such a bad shot.

When you look at how the second half played out, Shaka Smart's (above) team was fortunate to win, not only because of the gift whistle on Rodriguez (and I'm not bent out of shape over it; I just couldn't believe he got the call), but there were some bad fouls and turnovers by the Rams down the stretch. Yet they come out with the win.

VCU (21-8) now has wins over UCLA, Old Dominion and Wichita State. It's not the bag full of impressive, but should the team reach the CAA finals, it probably is going to get a bid.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 31, 2011 9:03 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 10:48 pm
 

The best of Bracket Buster Weekend

Posted by Matt Jones

One of my favorite events of the college basketball season is Bracket Buster Saturday, when fans of major conference teams get a chance to watch all of the best mid-majors in a series of created matchups designed to teams a chance to improve their March resumes. On Monday, ESPN announced the pairings that would get a national television showcase:

Friday, Feb. 18
7 p.m. - VCU at Wichita State
9 p.m. - Kent State at Drexel

Saturday, Feb. 19
11 a.m. - Hofstra at Wright State
1 p.m. - Austin Peay at Fairfield
3 p.m. – Iona at Liberty
5 p.m. – Missouri State at Valparaiso  
5 p.m. – Vermont at Charleston
7 p.m. – George Mason at Northern Iowa
9 p.m. – Utah State at Saint Mary’s
11 p.m. – Montana at Long Beach State

Sunday, Feb. 20
1 p.m. - Cleveland State at Old Dominion

With the possible exception of Kenneth Faried and Morehead State, the nationally televised portion of Bracket Buster Saturday generally includes all the right teams and virtually all the mid-majors with a chance to make March noise will be on our television sets that weekend. For those of you who prefer to have a weekend not dominated by mid-level college basketball or feel that you will have to “spend some time with my family,” here are the four can’t-miss games in order of importance:

Utah State at Saint Mary’s

Without question, the marquee pairing of the Bracket Buster weekend takes place in the Bay area suburb of Moraga, California, where the Gaels will host Utah State for a Saturday primetime affair. For both teams, this game represents the best chance remaining to get a resume-building win for March and a victory is extremely important. Utah State is currently 20-2 and ranked No. 21 in America, but it suffers from a serious lack of impressive wins. The Aggies only two games against solid opponents resulted in its two losses (BYU and Georgetown) and the most notable victory may be over a sub .500 Utah team. As for St. Mary’s, what looked like a solid at-large resume has taken a big hit with double-digit losses to Vanderbilt and Portland in the last ten days. If the Tournament was selected today, both Utah State and St. Mary’s would likely barely find themselves in the field, even if they slipped and were upset in the conference tournament. But success in a few weeks is not assured and for the winner of this feature game of Bracket Buster weekend, the margin of error for the rest of the regular season will be a bit greater.

  George Mason at Northern Iowa

The battle of the last two mid-major teams to get the nation’s collective blood racing in March (Butler has joined Gonzaga in permanent non-mid major status in my book), represents the best chance for a team to win its way into at-large status of any game in the weekend. George Mason is locked in a three-way battle in the ultra competitive Colonial League with VCU and Old Dominon and the three teams are trading losses that will hurt on Selection Sunday. Thus, Mason likely needs a road victory in Cedar Falls in order to make its best case for a trip to Dayton as part of the “First Four” in March, not only for its team, but as a sign of the overall strength of the Colonial as well. As for Northern Iowa, the Panthers played their way back into the Missouri Valley race with a road win at Missouri State last week. While they likely need to end the season with an undefeated streak to get in the at-large discussion, the schedule does set up favorably to potentially pull off a surprising second straight MVC title run.

VCU at Wichita State

Virginia Commonwealth is on pace to get a rare at-large bid out of the Colonial, thanks to an impressive start in conference and a non-conference slate that includes a victory over UCLA. The Rams sit 10-1 in the Colonial and if they keep on the same pace, a win in heart of the Missouri Valley could be enough to ensure a trip to March Madness, regardless of what happens in the conference tournament. As for Wichita State, early season victories over Virginia and LSU, combined with competitive losses to UCONN and San Diego State, mean that the Shockers would be dancing if Selection Sunday were this weekend. They still have the heart of their Missouri Valley schedule ahead, including tough road games at Northern Iowa and Missouri State, meaning it is important to hold serve at home. Both teams in this game will likely be a part of the field of 68, but assuming they stay on their same path, the winner can go ahead and set up the camera shot for the CBS special with confidence.

Cleveland State at Old Dominion

Cleveland State is currently leading the Horizon League and is situated at 20-3, right on the bubble of contention for an at-large bid. The Vikings are led by the best player that no one ever mentions, Norris Cole, who is averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists from the guard spot. The problem Cleveland State faces is its lack of top-quality victories over a non-Horizon opponent. A win at Old Dominion takes care of that weakness on its resume. As for the Monarchs, they sit third in the Colonial, but probably have the best set of wins of any participant in the Bracket Buster Weekend. Old Dominion has defeated Clemson, Xavier, Richmond and Dayton, while two of their five losses were to Georgetown and Missouri. If ODU gets anywhere close to the bubble, the Selection Committee will likely give them the nod, solely because of this out of conference work, and a victory over Cleveland State would only firm up their prospects even further.

Photo: AP
Posted on: January 12, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 2:13 pm
 

Dollar Beers for Creighton Basketball!

Posted by MATT JONES

Tonight's Missouri Valley Conference showdown between Creighton and Wichita State may not be on the top of your must-watch games of the evening, but for the citizens of Omaha, Nebraska, the game just got a lot more interesting. 

As part of a promotion to "White Out for Wichita", Creighton is offering dollar beers for all fans over 21 years old  up until tipoff in the "Budzone" part of the arena.  Being the responsible citizens that they are in Creighton, shuttle services are being provided for all those who want to party the night away and enjoy some Bluejay basketball with an old-fashioned buzz. 

While "dollar beer" promotions have long been a part of minor league baseball and other sideshows, I am not sure that I have ever seen such an event at a college sporting event.  But for the Creighton fans in Omaha, tonight may get slightly rowdy as the Shockers come a'knockin.
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com