Tag:Oklahoma State
Posted on: May 27, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: May 27, 2011 2:46 pm

Conference Catch-ups: The Big 12

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It may still feel like the Final Four just ended, but for most schools, the offseason is now more than two months old. With that in mind, all of us at the blog are going to take this week to give you what we’re calling “Conference Catch-Ups.” The motive is to recap the biggest storylines in college basketball’s offseason so far, plus keep your appetite whetted in what is the longest offseason in major American sports.

The Big Stories

The Big 12 is now the Big 10 . . . kind of: The Big 12 will have a new look next season, going from 12 teams to 10 as Colorado heads to the Pac-12 and Nebraska goes to the Big Ten. It won’t be too big of a loss for the conference, quality-wise, as neither team was a consistent NCAA tournament contender in recent years. Both teams were in the mix for a bid last season, but fell short down the stretch. Without the two teams, though, the divisional scheduling in which the six teams from the “North” play each other twice and the same in the “South.”

Kansas needs to reload: The Jayhawks are certainly not the same team they were in late March when they lost in the Elite Eight. Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris left early for the NBA, as did freshman guard Josh Selby. In addition, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Mario Little were all seniors. Bill Self does return Tyshawn Taylor on the perimeter and Thomas Robinson down low, but a host of freshmen and inconsistent returnees need to step up immediately.

Turnover in Texas: The Lonestar State will be very different next season. It starts in Texas, where Rick Barnes lost nearly everyone from last year’s NCAA tournament team. Three players left early for the NBA draft, while five players used up their eligibility. Texas A&M will have a new coach in former Murray State head man Billy Kennedy, who replaces Mark Turgeon. Turgeon went east to Maryland. At Texas Tech, Billy Gillispie enters the fold, taking over for Pat Knight after several disappointing seasons in Lubbock. Baylor returns plenty of talent, but needs to replace LaceDarius Dunn, the conference’s all-time leading scorer.

Coaching carousel hits hard: Texas Tech and Texas A&M weren’t the only two schools to undergo coaching changes. At Missouri, Mike Anderson left with the highest winning percentage in school history to coach at Arkansas. In his place, the Tigers brought in Miami (Fl.) head coach Frank Haith. It was a move that raised eyebrows across the college basketball world. Oklahoma also made a move, getting rid of Jeff Capel and replacing him with UNLV head coach Lon Kruger.

Transfer central: Iowa State is going to be a tremendous case study next season. The Cyclones struggled mightily last season, fighting their way to three Big 12 wins. Next year will be different, though. Royce White (Minnesota), Chris Allen (Michigan State), Chris Babb (Penn State) and Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois) are all eligible after sitting out. Fred Hoiberg has plenty of talent in those five; will they be able to coexist?

The Great Unknown

How will Baylor play together? The Bears have some of the best talent in the country, with future lottery picks Perry Jones and incoming freshman Quincy Miller anchoring the frontcourt. Quincy Acy is another extremely athletic frontcourt player, while Anthony Jones brings length and versatility. The perimeter should be bolstered by California transfer Gary Franklin, JC transfer Pierre Jackson and freshman Deuce Bello. On paper, Scott Drew could have the most talent in the Big 12. With that said, Drew also had a loaded roster last season – and didn’t even reach the postseason. If everything comes together, Baylor has the potential to make a deep run in March. If not, the Bears can implode again.

NBA Draft report

The NBA draft only hit two teams in the Big 12, but it decimated both squads. Kansas lost twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, as well as freshman Josh Selby. All three could be first-round picks, but the Morris twins would have anchored another deep run had they returned. Texas went from a top-five team to a borderline NCAA tournament team when Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton left for the NBA. 

The biggest surprise return was easily Baylor’s Perry Jones. Jones would have been a lottery pick this season and is also suspended for the first five games in the fall. No one would have batted an eye had Jones entered his name into the draft pool. Alas, he decided to return to Waco. Missouri received good news when Kim English and Laurence Bowers withdrew their names, while Texas A&M was also happy when David Loubeau returned to College Station.



- Will Clyburn (from Utah) to Iowa State

- Amath M’Baye (from Wyoming) to Oklahoma


- Stargell Love (from Baylor)

- Dragan Sekelja (from Baylor) to Florida Atlantic

- Calvin Godfrey (from Iowa State) – dismissed

- Eric McKnight (from Iowa State)

- Royce Woolridge (from Kansas)

- Nick Russell (from Kansas State)

- Juevol Myles (from Kansas State)

- Nick Thompson (from Oklahoma)

- Roger Franklin (from Oklahoma State) to North Texas

- Ray Penn (from Oklahoma State)

- Jarred Shaw (from Oklahoma State) to Utah State

My commentary in 20 words or less

Baylor: The Bears have the most talent in the league; will everyone mesh and play together? Or will they collapse?

Iowa State: Might be the most interesting team in the league – five transfers are eligible. The talent is there.

Kansas: After losing seven players from last season, Bill Self has work to do. Thomas Robinson is ready to take the next step.

Kansas State: They lose the heart and soul of the program in Jacob Pullen. Frank Martin faces a rebuilding year.

Missouri: Mike Anderson didn’t leave the cupboard bare, but it’s not clear how the players will adapt to Frank Haith’s playing style.

Oklahoma: Jeff Capel is gone, but the Sooners have a lot of young pieces. Lon Kruger needs to get consistency from them.

Oklahoma State: There’s a chance freshman LeBryan Nash leads the conference in scoring next season.

Texas: Very little returns from last season; Myck Kabongo leads a deep group of talented freshmen that need to make an impact.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are being overlooked as a conference title contender. Khris Middleton is vastly underrated nationally.

Texas Tech: Completely unpredictable at this point. Red Raiders have a new coach and nine fresh faces entering the fold.

Photos: US Presswire

Posted on: April 30, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: May 1, 2011 4:32 pm

Butler's Howard wins dubious award

Posted by Eric Angevine

What's in a name? The immortal bard would have us believe that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

But what if you call a rose the Eddie Sutton Tustenugee award? How does that smell?

Butler Bulldogs senior forward Matt Howard was selected by a national media panel to receive a postseason honor by that name, and will be honored at the Tulsa Sports Charities Legends in Sports Dinner on April 31.

The purpose of the newly-created award - to honor a DI player who exhibits tenacity, dedication, discipline and unselfishness - is unmockable. The John and Judy Marshall Foundation has chosen the right player for the honor, without a doubt. The name of the award, on the other hand, might be a tad more risible.

The Tulsa World explained the name in a little more depth in an April 29 article.

The “tustenugee” word in the award’s title comes from the language of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The word translates to “warrior.”

“With this award, we are honoring a great player, a warrior, Matt Howard, who places team above self, while also paying homage to a coach, Eddie Sutton, whose legacy is steeped in discipline and dedication,” said director of Tulsa Sports Charities Tommy Thompson in a press release.

Tustenugee sounds like a great word, but definitely one that will draw a snicker. What bothers me a bit more is the second paragraph in that quote.

Eddie Sutton was a great, great coach. I will not dispute that. However, the phrase 'steeped in discipline' does not come to mind when I think of the man who took Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State to the NCAA tournament. Sutton resigned under a cloud of NCAA sanctions after his Kentucky staff was found to be paying players. While at Oklahoma State, he crashed his car while under the influence of alcohol and prescription painkillers. Even after his career was nominally finished, Sutton found a way to commit one more cynical act, by coming in as interim coach of the San Francisco Dons in 2008, staying just long enough to cadge his milestone 800th win out of a program that got nothing but dubious headlines out of the deal. Discipline on the court? Sure, I'll give him that. Elsewhere, not so much.

Maybe Howard knows all this, or maybe he just doesn't want to spend any time in Tulsa. Whatever the reason, he's sending his father to pick up the award in his place.

Howard is a warrior, and he deserves praise for his leadership and discipline. The Marshall Foundation has good motives. But any award named after a coach who can be called Eddie "Boxful of Cash" Sutton on the internet without kicking off a libel suit is bound to draw out a few less-than-favorable memories from those who know college basketball.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: March 5, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 12:58 am

Bubbles boiling over on Saturday

Posted by Jeff Borzello


With so many teams still teetering on the edge of the bubble, this weekend is the last opportunity for dozens of teams to send a message to the committee before the conference tournaments. Fortunately, there are a ton of bubble battles and must-win situations throughout the day. The games might be overshadowed by conference tournaments and top-25 match-ups, but keep it locked here for all your bubble action.

Note: This page will be updated all day, with bubble discussion and analysis.

USC 62, Washington 60: This game threw as much of a wrench into the bubble picture as any game all day. If Washington won, the Huskies would have likely locked up a bid and USC would have been out of the at-large discussion. Now, who knows? The Huskies lost three of their final five games to end the season, going 11-7 in the Pac-10. They have two wins over UCLA and a victory over Arizona, but the non-conference resume is porous. Three sub-100 losses also don't look good. They need to beat Washington State in the quarterfinals on Thursday. USC is squarely in the mix right now. The Trojans still have to make up ground on the teams in front of them, but at least they are in the picture. They won five of six to end the season, own wins over Washington, UCLA and Arizona and have a couple of nice non-conference victories over Texas and Tennessee. This could be an interesting case on Selection Sunday if USC wins two in the Pac-10 tourney.

Texas 60, Baylor 54: Baylor had a shot to play itself in the field at home against a team that seemingly every bubble team has beaten the past few weeks – and the Bears couldn’t get the job done. 7-9 in the Big 12, an RPI in the 70s, three sub-100 losses – should I keep going? A win Saturday night would have given Baylor a legitimate shot, adding to its two wins over Texas A&M. Without the victory, the Bears have an awfully barren profile. Depending on how things play out, Baylor might be auto-bid or bust.

Colorado 67, Nebraska 57: A head-to-head battle between two Big 12 bubble teams just clarified the at-large pecking order within the conference. The Buffaloes were my last team in the field heading into the weekend, and this win should keep them up there. They have five top-50 wins, including two over Kansas State and one over Texas. The three bad losses are an eyesore, but at least they’re .500 in the Big 12 after winning three of four. As for Nebraska, losses in three of its final four games and an awful non-conference profile will do them in.

Utah State 72, Louisiana Tech 30: Well, that wasn’t very nice. The Aggies absolutely destroyed Louisiana Tech, sending a message with the margin of victory. They finished the conference campaign with a 15-1 record, and the RPI has now moved into the top 20. Given the soft bubble, it is going to be very tough turning down a team with those numbers. On the flip side, though, Utah State has just two top-100 wins, with a borderline top-50 victory over Saint Mary’s. I think the Aggies are in good shape, although any loss in the WAC tourney is a bad loss.

San Diego State 66, Colorado State 48: About two weeks ago, Colorado State was 8-4 in the Mountain West and looking good for a bid heading into a difficult stretch. Well, the Rams went 1-4 down the stretch and are now going into the conference tournament needing to win it. They have two top-50 wins, although one is over Southern Miss. Colorado State has a very weak non-conference resume and three sub-100 losses. The Rams went only 1-5 against the top three of the MWC.

UAB 66, East Carolina 48: The Blazers won the outright Conference-USA title with the victory. While the Blazers are not really in great position for a bid (in my opinion), a regular-season title combined with their excellent computer numbers, and they are in the mix. UAB came into the day with an RPI of 28, and has now won seven of eight to the end the season. Now, for the negatives. The best non-conference wins are over Kent State and VCU, and the three top-50 wins – Southern Miss and a sweep of UCF – turn into zero top-50 wins by the morning. The Blazers should play it safe and win the auto bid. 

Butler 76, Cleveland State 68: The Bulldogs knocked off Cleveland State for the third time this season, earning a spot in the Horizon League title game on Monday. They have now won seven in a row, moving to 21-9 overall. Outside of those three wins over the Vikings, though, Butler has just one other top-50 win – on a neutral court against Florida State. When you throw in all the bad losses the Bulldogs have, it might be best for them to just win the automatic bid.

Seton Hall 85, Marquette 72: Big East getting 11 bids? Hold off on that for just a few minutes. The Golden Eagles seemed like a lock after winning at Connecticut last week, but back-to-back losses to Cincinnati and Seton Hall put them squarely on the bubble. Marquette drops to 9-9 in the Big East and 18-13 overall, meaning another loss would be the 14th of the season. The Golden Eagles don’t have any bad losses and own four top-25 wins. They need to win at least on in the Big East tourney.

Oklahoma 64, Oklahoma State 61: Oklahoma State had very slim at-large hopes heading into the weekend, but now the Cowboys are heading into the Big 12 tournament with only the automatic bid as an option. The Cowboys have some good wins, including over Kansas State and Missouri, but 6-10 in the Big 12 simply won’t get it done.

Memphis 66, Tulane 61: The Tigers are still hanging in there, despite a long list of bad losses and negatives on the resume. They technically have six top-50 wins, although that number can quickly drop to two if UCF and Southern Miss fall out of the top 50 at some point. A run to the Conference-USA final is necessary for Memphis to think about getting a bid.

UCLA 58, Washington State 54: Washington State had an outside shot at a bid if it could pull off the upset over UCLA and then make a run in the Pac-10 tourney. With Klay Thompson suspended and Reggie Moore injured, though, the Cougars couldn’t get it done, falling in overtime. They have wins over bubble teams Baylor and Gonzaga, as well as two over Washington, but 9-9 in the Pac-10 and three sub-100 losses don’t look good.

Indiana State 61, Wichita State 54: Without a single top-50 win on the resume, the Shockers had little-to-no shot at hearing their name called on Selection Sunday without the automatic bid. Getting to the title game and being competitive was a necessity; they did neither.

Michigan 70, Michigan State 63: The intrastate battle had big-time bubble implications. With the win, Michigan now owns a season sweep of Michigan State – a significant trump card if the two teams are on the fence come Selection Sunday. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, their only other top-50 win was over Harvard. They still have work to do in the conference tournament. Michigan State dropped to 9-9 in the Big Ten, joining a logjam of potentially four teams. The Spartans have better wins than Michigan, with victories over Wisconsin, Washington and Illinois. A loss in the league tournament would be their 14th of the season, tough.

Alabama 65, Georgia 57: Alabama kept its at-large hopes alive with an impressive home win, bringing its SEC record to 12-4. If Florida loses at Vanderbilt this weekend, the Crimson Tide will earn a split of the SEC title. The Tide already had solid wins over Kentucky and Tennessee, but their non-conference resume is horrendous and they have a slew of bad losses. They might need to win their first SEC tourney game. Georgia would have clinched a bid with the road win, but the Bulldogs are still in decent shape. They have a solid computer profile and zero bad losses. They need to avoid bad losses in the SEC Tournament.

Missouri State 60, Creighton 50: The Bears needed to come back again in the Missouri Valley tournament, overcoming a halftime deficit. It remains to be seen whether they even have an at-large shot, but the best way to end the questions would be to win the title game on Sunday.

VCU 62, Drexel 60: It might be time to dust off the VCU profile after Jamie Skeen’s buzzer shot sent the Rams to the semifinals. Quality wins over UCLA and Old Dominion are more than some bubble teams can claim. A litany of bad losses and a 12-6 CAA record brings the profile down.

Clemson 69, Virginia Tech 60: A huge bubble match-up in the ACC could result in neither team making the NCAA Tournament. Virginia Tech went down 24-9 in the first half and was never able to recover. With this and the blowout home loss to Boston College during the week, all the good will the Hokies picked up with their win over Duke has disappeared. As for Clemson, the Tigers join Tech at 9-7 in the ACC. However, Clemson’s two best wins are over Boston College and Florida State – not exactly marquee victories. Both teams might need two wins in the league tournament. 

Richmond 68, Duquesne 56: Richmond continues to do what it has to do in order to get a bid on Selection Sunday. The Spiders ended the first half on a run and then coasted for most of the second half. They finished 13-3 in the Atlantic-10, winning their last four games, and 11 of their last 13. Richmond doesn’t have many marquee wins, but it does own a neutral-court victory over Purdue. Avoiding a bad loss in the conference tournament is a necessity.

Illinois 72, Indiana 48: The Fighting Illini certainly took care of business on Saturday, jumping out to a big lead early to avenge an earlier loss to the Hoosiers. Of course, the victory doesn’t do much to enhance the profile, other than the fact it gets them to 9-9 in the Big Ten. With wins over North Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as victories over fellow bubble teams Gonzaga, Michigan State and Michigan, Illinois should be in good shape.

Others: Maryland ended its season on a sour note, losing at home to Virginia by 14; Dayton finished 7-9 in the Atlantic-10, completing a disappointing regular season. 

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 4:03 pm

Parsing KU's point guard situation

Posted by Eric Angevine

KU has plenty of point guard options, and that’s a blessing.

However, at this late point in February, I’m sure Bill Self would rather know which one he’ll be counting on to lead his team in the postseason. Right now, he can’t know that.

We know that Tyshawn Taylor, the regular starter, played the most minutes of any Jayhawk before his latest indiscretion – 27.1 per game, to be exact. He also had a 1.7 to 1 assist to turnover ratio and a good defensive impact, with 1.2 steals per game. Most importantly, he had the speed that Bill Self craves.

So, if Taylor sits, where does Kansas go from here? Does Bill Self suddenly forgive all and bring Taylor back for the postseason run? Or has this opened the door for another of those weapons we touched on?

The number one option most fans would look to in this scenario is freshman Josh Selby. He has the speed of a Tyshawn Taylor, but combines it with superior shooting range. The only problem there is that Selby has been injured. He also sat out the first nine games of the season, and has never really found a rhythm. When he does play, it’s as more of a combo guard than a pure point guard. His flashes of potential would probably warrant any kind of experiment Self might want to conduct, assuming his foot is up to the task.

The foot and its various accoutrements are what gave us a good look at our other intriguing point guard option. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star told the story in today’s recap of KU’s decisive Big Monday win over Oklahoma State:

Josh Selby and Brady Morningstar also played at the point, and Selby was in the plan to start. But at the 3 p.m. shootaround, just before the team’s live 10-minute scrimmage where the starting lineup is identified, Selby didn’t have an insert he uses for the shoe of his injured foot. Selby couldn’t practice without it, and the nod went to Johnson.

“We can’t let him practice without it,” Self said. 

If you don’t practice, you don’t start, obviously.

Elijah Johnson put himself in the picture with a great performance against Oklahoma StateWhich creates a bit of a conundrum, because sophomore Elijah Johnson (right), who has been something of an invisible man for KU up to this point, got the start and played very well. He had 15 points on 5-6 shooting, and most of that was an amazing 4-4 night from behind the arc. Johnson also played super-sticky defense on OSU’s Keiton Paige, who had trouble even getting his hands on the ball, let alone shoot it. The diminutive sharpshooter ended his miserable evening 2-of-11 from the floor. As Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World points out,
Johnson’s defense on Jacob Pullen a week ago was more effective than anything Taylor threw at him.

As Kerkhoff noted, Brady Morningstar also plays some point, but it’s pretty clear at this stage that a lack of speed is going to limit the senior to role player duty.

If I had to guess (and I think I do, since I asked the question), I would say that Johnson has earned his start as the nominal point, with Selby alongside and steady Tyrel Reed in the third slot. Morningstar will continue to come off the bench, and I suspect Taylor will – at least for a while – if and when he returns.

The truth is that KU has operated without a true point guard all season long. A Johnson/Selby backcourt is a pairing of two combo guards who can both score and pass. I discussed the KU guard rotation with Paul Biancardi – ESPN’s recruiting director and former Horizon League coach of the year – and he told me at the time that it’s fine to use such a rotation as long as one of the two athletes can act as the primary scoring option. Selby can do that.

If this was an isolated incident for Taylor, I’d say he might get his job back sooner rather than later. But at some point, I have to believe that his litany of poor off-court decisions are going to trump the fact that he makes pretty good on-court decisions. Not knowing what his latest indiscretion is, it’s hard for me to guess, but this is the first one that’s put him on the bench in street clothes, and I think that’s at least a meaningful symbolic gesture. We saw Morningstar sit a whole semester last season for a DUI incident, but we’ve also seen Taylor play after being openly critical of his coach, so I’m pretty much in the weeds on where this might be going.

Kansas probably has the talent to reach the Sweet 16 no matter which starting backcourt they go with. For this team to reach its Final Four potential, however, the rotation must be settled before the end of the season.

Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:40 pm
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Posted on: February 7, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 1:41 pm

Oklahoma State player charged with rape

Posted by MATT JONES

Oklahoma State player Darrell Williams has been charged with three counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery in connection with an incident that took place in Stillwater, Oklahoma in December. The charges against Williams include complaints by two different victims and were brought Monday by the District Attorney in Stillwater. In addition to the charges against Williams, the District Attorney also charged two other individuals stemming from the same incident.

According to First Assistant District Attorney Tom Lee, the charges against Williams carry with them a possibility of up to 15 years in prison for each count of rape by instrumentation and up to 10 years for sexual battery. Local television station, News 9 of Stillwater, asked Williams if he was aware of the charges and he responded by saying, "Don't know nothing about it ... I mean no comment."

According to Okblitz.com, the investigation into the Williams incident stemmed from an anonymous letter that claimed three female Oklahoma State students were sexually assaulted at a party in Stillwater in December. Police investigated the charges and interviewed a number of witnesses from the party before turning over the case to the District Attorney to determine what charges could be brought against the three young men. The announcement on Monday was the result of the culmination of that investigation.

Williams in a junior in his first season with Oklahoma State, after transferring from Midland College last year. He is averaging 7 points and 7 rebounds a game and was also coincidentally named Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Monday, based on his performances against Missouri and Oklahoma. The announcement on Monday suggests that due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, Oklahoma State has been aware of its existence, but chose to allow Williams to play during its duration.

An Oklahoma State spokesman said today that Cowboys' coach Travis Ford was aware of the charges, but had no comment at this time as he was out of town. No announcement has been made about Williams's future with the team.

Photo: AP
Posted on: January 27, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 12:20 pm

The Oklahoma State plane crash, 10 years later

Posted by Matt Norlander

It's commonplace to lament the seemingly quick passing of time but, my goodness, I cannot believe it's been 10 years to the day since the Oklahoma State plane crash tragedy.

Their names: Kendall Durfey, Bjorn Fahlstrom, Nate Fleming, Will Hancock, Daniel Lawson, Brian Luinstra, Denver Mills, Pat Noyes, Bill Teegins and Jared Weiberg.

There's already been so much written and plenty of things done to honor those perished. And that's in the past week, not to mention the past decade. I can't deny: It's tough to read some of the stories. Like this one, a devastating account and fantastic piece of sports writing by ESPN's Tom Friend. I implored you in the Layup Line and I'll do it again here. An excerpt:

Nate was somber about the defeat. "We played bad, didn't we?" Nate said. "Sorry we lost." Nate was like a coach in that way; he hadn't turned the page yet. Kyle told him, "Hey, you and I are switching planes." Nate didn't bat an eye.

Because it was the slowest plane, the King Air was scheduled to leave Jefferson County Airport first. The same passengers climbed aboard, except Nate had replaced Kyle and his teammate Daniel Lawson had replaced Dirato, who had a bad back and was moved to one of the plush jets. Kyle remembers walking out to the hangar to check on the 10 of them and can still recall seeing their faces through the airplane windows. It was 5:18 p.m., dusk, when the King Air took off. A light snow was falling.

Read that piece. Put aside some time and read it. For those of us not directly affected or close to the tragedy, indulging these stories is the least we can do. Also, I've particularly appreciated Doug Gottlieb's point of view as well. Though Gottlieb was a year removed from playing at the university, he was incredibly close to so many who were a part of the program in 2001. His writing and television and radio appearances the past week have been enlightening.

This is my small, from-afar contribution to giving memory and honoring those who died 10 years ago today. I remember hearing about the crash. It is one of my five or six know-where-you-were moments. It was during my year off from college, a few years before I even realized I was going to pursue writing as a way of getting through life. I was watching ESPN in the dark in my living. The news came to me during the network's late-night college basketball show. At first I thought it was the entire team.

An entire college basketball team died in a plane crash? This is modern-day Marshall.

Fortunately, that didn't happen. But whether one or 10 or 200, a death by way of a plane crash is always shocking and devastating and hard to digest.

Last night, Eddie Sutton got up and addressed the crowd in historic Gallagher-Iba Arena. Gottlieb said, for Sutton, it wasn't an easy thing to do, but it was something he knew he had to do. I leave you with the video from last night's tribute, including Sutton's speech.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 25, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 12:11 pm

Introducing: Line 'Em Up, a résumé examination


Posted by Matt Norlander

We’re debuting a new weekly feature today. The title I’m not so nuts about (it won over “Rivaling Résumés”), but the objective should be pretty fun. Call it a twist on bubble watching, only it’s not just that. Every Tuesday I’ll be taking teams and stacking their ledgers against each other. Sometimes it will be to debate and determine at-large inclusion into The Tournament; sometimes it will be about seeding. To start, we’ll take two pairs this Tuesday, looking at two teams firmly on the bubble, and two more you might be surprised are closer in seeding than expected at first glance.

Battle on the bubble: Duquesne vs. Oklahoma State

Duquesne has come out of nowhere, streaking with an eight-game winning streak, to be tied atop the Atlantic 10 with Xavier (both are 5-0). It’s the best start for this program in decades, so why not give them the inaugural treatment with this feature? The Dukes have a 36 ranking in KenPom world and 46 in the Sagarin universe (both objective, beautiful places to live, despite a lack of sand and constantly warm weather). Full disclaimer: I have not seen Duquesne play yet this season. There’s a strong chance you’re in my company.

With that out of the way, let’s look at what the team’s accomplished. The losses are all OK, save for the road one at Robert Morris; that did come in the Dukes’ second game of the season, the first one against a D-I opponent. As we move further and further away from the RMU loss, its meaning does diminish. Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia and George Mason (two OTs) are the others who’ve picked off the Dukes. Not embarrassing whatsoever, considering George Mason is a top-40 KenPom team. Win-wise, home vs. Temple on Jan. 15 is the only thing to hang outside the window for the Dukes.

Okie State is 14-5 and has a 73 KenPom ranking, 58 in Sagarin. Same number of losses, but the opponents are a little worse, collectively, and the teams who did fell OSU are worsening the Pokes’ reputation by the day. Losing to Texas A&M is fine and dandy, and even the Virginia Tech loss on Nov. 26 has improved with age. But Baylor, Colorado and Gonzaga are tailspinning and pulling Oklahoma State into the spiral with them.

Missouri State, who is atop the Missouri Valley, and Kansas State, those are the two wins Travis Ford’s team can be proud about right now. A win against Texas tomorrow would easily catapult Oklahoma State past Duquesne.

The pick: Oklahoma State, but it’s way close. The strength-of-schedule probably is what does it (OSU: 59; Duquesne: 127). The good news for Duquesne is the still-undefeated conference record and the fact it turns teams over at a higher rate than anyone else in the country. Chances are this team won’t be vaporizing its chances any time soon. Plus, if the Dukes finish with two losses, maybe three, in the A10, this won’t be a debate.

Who should be seeded higher: Georgia vs. Marquette

Both teams are safely in the field as of now, by my count. What’s intriguing about this pairing is how familiar you likely are with one team compared to the other. Marquette’s on national television with regularity; Georgia is not. Georgia hasn’t been for some time. Now, the Bulldogs get a game tonight on ESPN against helter-skelter Florida, and if they win, we could be looking at a 7-seed for them. Marquette gets a home game against Connecticut, which, as Andy Glockner notes this week, is now 1-seed-worthy.

So what types of seeds are we looking at for these teams? As of this moment:

Georgia, 9-seed. Wins over Colorado and UAB, two teams that will likely be irrelevant by late February, are paying off right now in bubble-watch ways. (This field is so damn weak.) The Bulldogs have the 89th-toughest schedule, according to Sagarin, which doesn’t matchup to Marquette’s No. 31. However, the Golden Eagles are a benefactor of the Big East. Georgia lost in double-OT to Notre Dame, looking better by proxy after what the Irish did last night. But let’s get right to it: beating Kentucky Jan. 8 is what gives Mark Fox’s team a lift right now. The sweep over the Mississippi schools is another trump card, but UK is the primary scalp on Georgia’s shoulder.

Marquette, 11-seed. The Eagles are below .500 in close games again, with a 2-6 record in tilts decided by five points or less. Does this sort of information get factored into seeding? It should. Marquette is 2-6 against the Sagarin top 50 and did zip outside the conference. Not one good win, unfortunately. That puts them below the dreaded 8/9 game in this year’s field as of now. Beating Notre Dame, since Georgia didn’t, is why I lined these two teams up. Will that win eventually look better than Georgia’s over Kentucky? Will be interesting to see, because the Big East is so deep, and UK will probably stay atop the SEC, per usual, bloating the significant of Georgia’s win. Buzz Williams’ team needs to win close ones, especially on the road, to climb up the seeding ladder.

Photos: AP
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