Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 3:32 pm
Stay strong, Jay Bilas . It's not the fact that Virginia Commonwealth is in the Sweet 16, people. The fact remains that VCU didn't deserve to be in the bracket in the first place. Colorado could have gone in place of the Rams and also gone to the Sweet 16. Tell me Missouri State wouldn't have had a shot with the right matchup.
It's a separate argument -- 1) Did VCU deserve to be in the bracket? No. 2) Does winning in the tournament justify that spot in the bracket? No. I can give you the name of five teams that could have gotten hot and won two games.
Big East flop. After the first round, the Big East was guaranteed at least two teams in the Sweet 16. That's all it got. For what is believed to be the first time in the seeding era, the selection committee knowingly made it possible for not one, but two games between conference foes in the second round.
The committee long ago had to abandon the principle of conference rivals not being able to meet until the regional final. A 16-team Big East made the committee get rid of that principle for obvious reasons. But it was lazy that the committee didn't try to eliminate the possibility of Connecticut-Cincinnati and Marquette-Syracuse in the second round. That looks more like Big Monday than the NCAA tournament.
It wasn't fair to the Big East to have to eat its own so early in the bracket. It showed the committee didn't do its diligence. That being said, the fact that the Mountain West has as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the Big East (two) is embarrassing -- for the Big East.
Most entertaining regional? It isn't the Southwest where Kansas is surrounded by three mutts (Richmond, VCU and Florida State). I'll give you the Southeast with Butler still alive, again, going against the immovable force in Wisconsin. The Southeast also has Jimmer (Fredette) and Billy (Donovan).
But I'll take the West where I dare you to pick the best player in Anaheim. Is it Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker or Kawhi Leonard? There are so many storylines at the Honda Center, my head is spinning.
--San Diego State is expected to take over the Honda Center. The school is less than two hours from Anaheim. "The Show" almost blew the roof off the McKale Center last week.
--Is it possible to have too many good players? Duke barely survived Michigan while trying to integrate Irving back in the lineup. That's a problem every other team would love to have. Also, if Coach K gets to the Final Four out of this regional, he will tie a certain Bobby Knight for the Division I record in career wins, 902. Go, Mike, go!
--San Diego State fans were chanting "We want Kemba!" after beating Temple in the second round. Be careful what you wish for, Aztecs. I'll kind of answer my previous question: Walker might be the best player in the regional and maybe the country.
--Arizona's Derrick Williams comes back home to his native L.A. As of this moment, Williams is the most important and charismatic player in the tournament. (That's different than "best".) His block in the first round against Memphis preserved the win. His and-one late against Texas on Sunday was the difference. Think Williams will be a little energized going back home playing for a spot in the Final Four?
Easiest road to the Final Four: You kidding? It has to be Kansas. If it wins, it won't face a single-digit seed until the Final Four. On the one-year anniversary of losing to Northern Iowa in 2010, the Jayhawks destroyed an Illinois team Sunday that brought to mind an obvious question: How did VCU and Illinois get in the bracket?
Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 30, 2010 4:15 pm
Jan. 8 -- I'll never forget a crushed Mack Brown in the Rose Bowl hallway leading to the Texas lockerroom after losing to Alabama. I ask him, "Would Colt [McCoy] have made a difference?" Mack: "It wouldn't have been close."
Feb. 1 -- What's so special about Cretin-Derham Hall High in St. Paul, Minn. No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson? A lot. But the kid's nationally televised commitment to USC turns out to be a mockery of the system.
March 17 -- Before Butler bounces a ball in the NCAA Tournament I was there to chronicle what was then a stepping-stone job.
Also in May -- Haley Dodd graduates from high school, commits to the University of Missouri.
June 1 -- Big 12 spring meetings begin in Kansas City with all hell breaking loose.
June 3 -- Big 12 schools are so spooked by impending conference realignment that an ultimatum is issued: Declare loyalty or else. Nebraska won't commit, having been in talks with Big Ten since January.
June 9 -- Colorado announces it is joining the Pac-10.
June 11 -- Nebraska trashes Texas on the way to announcing its departure for the Big Ten in 2011. The Longhorns take their worst beating in seven years.
A portion of the remaining Big 12 have nots (Missouri, Iowa State, etc.) agree that Texas should get an increased share of conference revenue just because it's Texas. There is no Big 12 with it. The Horns spend the rest of the year establishing its own network, reportedly with ESPN for $15 million per year.
June 16 -- Troy is burned to the ground.
July 21 -- Nick Saban goes there with the p-word.
August 15 -- Haley moves into her University of Missouri dorm 30 years after her dad moved out of Columbia. Yes, a few sentimental tears were shed.
August 27 -- It's the Year of the Comeback.
September 7 -- Boise State launches itself into a season-long national conversation with a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech.
October 9 -- It's officially a national race again as defending national champ Alabama loses to South Carolina.
October 12 -- Turns out, South Carolina's win was a bigger deal than we thought. The Gamecocks become only the 45th team ever (in wire service era) to a beat a No. 1 team.
November 4 -- Story breaks of Cam Newton's dad soliciting $180,000 from Mississippi State.
November 6 -- Matt Hayes of the Sporting News and I get trapped in the LSU postgame celebration after an amazing win over Alabama. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the LSU's coach's "Lesticles."
Non-BCS story of the year: While covering that Boise-Nevada game on a bitterly cold night in Reno, a window in the press box has to be cracked so the clock crew "can hear the whistle." We're not exactly in Columbus, folks. Haven't heard a line like that since the Class 4-A state title game in 1984.
November 27 -- Miami's Randy Shannon is fired after an uninspired loss to South Florida. Jon Gruden gets his name in the search, as he always does, but in the first major hire of his career, AD Kirby Hocutt eventually picks Temple's Al Golden.
December 1 -- The best guy to talk about Kyle Brotzman's disappointment happens to be Boise resident and fan Bill Buckner.
December 5 -- Told you it was the Year of the Comeback.
December 19 -- Jack and dad enjoy the Chiefs and Rams in St. Louis during Christmas break. It's nice watching a game without a deadline to meet or a petulant coach to question. It's even better doing it with my wingman.
It was a great year. May 2011 be even better.
Tags: Alabama, Ascension Catholic School, Auburn, Baylor, BCS, Big Ten, Big Ten, Boise State, Butler, Cardinals, Chiefs, Colorado, Cretin-Derham Hall High, CYO football, ESPN, Final Four, Frozen Four, Haley Dodd, Heisman, Iowa State, Jack Dodd, Janet Dodd, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Magic Johnson, Mexico, Miami, Mississippi State, Missouri, NCAA Tournament, Nebraska, Newport Beach, North Carolina, Northern Iowa, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-10, Padres, Rams, South Carolina, Texas, Texas, USC, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, World Cup
Posted on: October 18, 2009 6:27 pm
Coaches of the year at the halfway point (seven weeks down, seven weeks to go)
ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. With the upset of Virginia Tech, Johnson is on track to win the league in his second season. Who says the triple option won’t work in major-college football. The Yellow Jackets completed one pass on Saturday.
Big East: Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. They were picking for the middle of the pack after losing 10 starters on defense. Kelly took a bunch of offensive players, made them linebackers and balanced a team that was going to score points with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard on offense. The question is how long can Cincinnati hold onto Kelly if he wins the Big East again, especially if Notre Dame opens up?
Conference USA: Kevin Sumlin, Houston. Not “Sumlan” as a wire story called him on Saturday. Be assured, the Cougars’ coach is known throughout the industry. After defeating three BCS-conference teams, Houston is the favorite to win Conference USA. Kelly should be up for every major job that opens.
MAC, Al Golden, Temple: The Owls have won four in a row for the first time since 1985 and are tied for the MAC East lead. The division could come down to a Nov. 27 date at Ohio. As late as 2006 this program had lost 20 in a row.
Pac-10: Chip Kelly, Oregon. In his first season as head coach, Kelly lost his best runner and his quarterback. All he did was win the next five after the opening-night loss to Boise. USC should be worried, very worried, when it goes to Eugene on Oct. 31.
SEC: Nick Saban, Alabama. Until Saturday, it might have been Steve Spurrier but Saban quashed that talk. In his third season, Saban has the Tide back among the elite. They control their road to the national championship; have a Heisman candidate (Ingram) and perhaps the nation’s nastiest defense.
Sun Belt: Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe. Among the lowest-paid coaches in I-A, Weatherbie has the Warhawks off a 3-0 conference start. That's the longest conference winning streak in 16 years. At a school that usually gets beaten down by guarantee games against BCS schools, Louisiana-Monroe is 4-2 overall.
WAC: Robb Akey, Idaho. The Vandals are 29th in the first BCS which should be cause for a street party in Moscow. Idaho is nine miles away from the BCS (Pullman, Wash., home of Washington State is that close), but miles away from a BCS bowl. Still, Akey has taken a program that was picked for the bottom of the WAC to contention with mighty Boise State. Halfway through the season the Vandals are bowl eligible. Their only bowl as a I-A program came 11 years ago.
National coach of the (half) season: Check back on Wednesday.
The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:
1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Behind Tebow, the best player in the SEC.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Cincinnati, Conference USA, Florida, Georgia Tech, Houston, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana-Monroe, MAC, Miami, Mountain West, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-10, Paul Johnson, Pittsburgh, SEC, Sun Belt, TCU, Temple, Virginia Tech, WAC, Washington State