Monday, December 30, 2013

Worst Game of the Year

There is a game being played by Southern University and some school known as Champion Baptist.

Southern leads 57-6 at halftime.  At one point, they led 41-0.  In basketball or something resembling it.

UPDATE:  Southern is on a 16-0 run and lead 73-6.  Single-digit watch is FO REAL

UPDATE 2:  Champion Baptist playing like champions the last few minutes have reached double-digits.  Now down 82-10

FINAL UPDATE:  Southern 116 Champion Baptist 12

And then, there's this:

Utah led this school 71-14 at one point.  That's just good scheduling

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Marquette: Recalibrated

Looking at Brian's last bracket of 2013 is a bit depressing for Marquette basketball fans. Being 8-5 with no significant wins of note outside of conference can do that. Marquette's best win to date is handing George Washington their only loss of the season. GW looks like a team that can hang around the bubble but are no lock to dance.

Marquette was getting blown off the court by Arizona State before having a chance to tie or win at the end. They lose in what was, quite frankly, embarrassing fashion at home to Ohio State prior to that. They lost at the Kohl Center which isn't a bad loss. The two losses that hurt are the loss to San Diego State and against New Mexico who beat them without Hugh Greenwood in what was probably Marquette's worst game of the year.

Despite this, Marquette still ranks 42nd overall in KenPom which shows there is room for growth. Problem is, they've been beset with more bad news seemingly on a weekly basis. Vander Blue announced his going pro last spring seemed to catch the coaching staff off guard and they haven't quite figured out how to replace him. Prior to that, Jake Thomas had announced he would transfer but after Vander's decision, he decided to stick around.

Two heralded newcomers won't play a single minute for the Golden Eagles this season. JUCO transfer Jameel McKay decided shortly after October Madness, he would transfer, eventually ending up at Iowa State. Freshmen PG, Duane Wilson, a player many thought would see significant minutes and possibly even start by conference play, suffered a stress fracture and was eventually redshirted.

McKay's loss probably hurts more next season but Duane Wilson was expected to be Derrick Wilson's primary backup this season. Derrick does okay running the point but at this point, simply isn't any kind of threat offensively. His predecessor, Junior Cadougan took a while to turn into at least a bit of a threat to attack the rim but Wilson the Elder hasn't yet. He is a very good rebounder for a small guy but the Golden Eagles need more offensively and I'm not sure he can provide it. His running mates have been Jake Thomas and Todd Mayo for the most part. Entering today's game, Thomas was 1-14 shooting from 2 and 22-53 from long range. He's a one-trick pony who is a sieve on defense. Mayo is easily Marquette fans most polarizing player. Exceptionally athletic, the ball far too often disappears when he gets it.

The wild card in conference play will be freshmen JaJuan Johnson who has flashed what made him a top-50 type recruit. His shot is akward from deep and he's light but given the lack of overall production in front of him, one wonders if Buzz will trust him enough to give him more minutes as the season goes on. Historically, Buzz doesn't play freshmen very much.

The frontcourt has been a strength as expected. Otule and Gardner combine to give Marquette a versatile and tough duo inside while Jamil Wilson plays in and out. Wilson continues to be erratic and needs to step up as Marquette's best player in the Big East this season. Depth is an issue. Deonte Burton is starting to get more minutes but has a lot of work to do defensively but is an energy guy offensively and will be a highlight regular throughout his career attacking the rim. More and more, it looks like Steve Taylor is suffering through a lost season as his knee injuy persists. Will be curious to see whether Taylor plays much more, if at all this season. Juan Anderson looks like a more conident player and off everyone, is the most improved. He's a fantastic rebounder. When healthy, Taylor has been a rebounding machine as well.

The numbers bear out the issues plaguing this unit. They're a good rebounding team on both sides of the ball amd they protect it for the most part. Like last season, they're atrocious from deep, shooting only 31%. They shoot a respectable 50.5% from 2 but that number should be much higher given the effectiveness of Gardner and Otule. Defensively, teams typically don't shoot well against Marquette. Scoring inside against them is very tough but teams have been able to find open deep shooters. Teams making 3's will almost certainly beat this team. The backcourt needs to better on this side.

Bottom line, the backcourt will determine whether this team dances or not. The Big East is littered with solid backcourts that will make this tough. As hard as Derrick Wilson plays and tries, he's limited and the shooting guards have been unreliable. Not having Vander Blue for his senior season has been a huge loss. And losing Cadougan at the same time has been far more crippling than imagined. 12-14 wins in conference will be needed to be a lock and I'm not sure they're guaranteed.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Last Bracketology of 2013

1 seed vs 16 seed
Arizona (P12) vs Bama St(SWAC)/Norfolk (MEAC)
Syracuse (ACC) vs Radford(Bsouth)/Colgate(Pat)
Ohio State (B1G) vs Elon (SoCon)
Wisconsin vs St. Francis (NEC)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Louisville (AAC) vs SFA (Sland)
Oklahoma State vs Stony Brook (Aeast)
Oregon vs Manhatten (MAAC)
Michigan State vs N.Colorado (Bsky)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Baylor vs E.Kentucky (OVC)
Villanova (Beast) vs UW-Green Bay (Horizon)
Duke vs Mercer (Asun)
Iowa State (B12) vs N.Dakota St (Summit)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Wichita State (MVC) vs Hawaii (Bwest)
Florida vs Drexel (Colonial)
Kentucky vs W.Kentucky (Sbelt)
Kansas vs New Mexico St (WAC)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Gonzaga (WCC) vs Toledo (MAC)
Connecticut vs LSU
North Carolina vs Dayton/St. Mary's
UCLA vs Notre Dame/Arizona State
6 seed vs 11 seed
Iowa vs Boise State
San Diego St (MWC) vs Minnesota
New Mexico vs Indiana
Massachusettes (A10) vs Florisa State
7 seed vs 10 seed
Colorado vs Southern Miss (CUSA)
Cincinnati vs Virginia
VCU vs Oklahoma
Memphis vs Harvard (Ivy)
8 seed vs 9 seed
Missouri (SEC) vs Georgetown
Pittsburgh vs Illinois
St. Louis vs Texas
Virginia vs Creighton

First Four Out
Next Four Out
Utah State
St. John's
Also Considered
George Washington
Central Florida
Wake Forest
North Carolina St
Louisiana Tech
Missouri State
Mississippi State

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ACC-Big 10 Challenge Day 2

Well, those predictions went well, 6-0 on day 1 of the Challenge. Let’s see how day 2 goes.

Maryland vs Ohio State – I still contend that Ohio State is overrated; however Maryland isn’t on their level.
Winner – Ohio State (ACC 4-3)

Virginia vs Wisconsin – in years past this would have been an unwatchable 43-42 game. There will be more scoring but I’m not sure it watchable.

Winner – Virginia (ACC 5-3)

North Carolina State vs Northwestern – home team, that is all
Winner – NC State(ACC 6-3)

North Carolina vs Michigan State – which UNC shows up? The UAB losers or the team that beat Louisville?
Winner – Michigan State(ACC 6-4)

Boston College vs Purdue – BC’s having a rough start to the season
Winner – Purdue (ACC 6-5)

Miami vs Nebraska – I’d rather watch Big Sky action.
Winner – Nebraska (It’s a tie 6-6)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

ACC-Big 10 Challenge

Day 1 of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge is today. The ACC hasn’t won it since 2008. Let’s take a quick glance at the matchups for tonight.

Indiana at Syracuse – this would have been a bigger game last year but Indiana isn’t a push over.
Winner – Syracuse (ACC 1-0)

Illinois at Georgia Tech – blah. I’ll take the home team
Winner – Georgia Tech (ACC 2-0)

Penn State at Pittsburgh – the battle for state of Pennsylvania. I’ll take the more physical team here.
Winner – Pittsburgh (ACC 3-0)

Michigan at Duke – the marquee game of the evening. I expect a ton of offense. Should be close but I’m siding with the home team.
Winner – Duke (ACC 4-0)

Notre Dame at Iowa – Iowa is no longer a sleeper; everybody sees what they are capable of.
Winner – Iowa (ACC 4-1)

Florida State at Minnesota – some of these games are dreadful. File this one in that bucket.
Winner – Minnesota (ACC 4-2)

Monday, December 2, 2013

A-10 Keeps Humming Along

With all the conference re-shuffling this off-season, one of the conferences expected to take a bit of a hit was the A-10. Early in the season, the A-10 looks as strong as it was last season when it sent 5 teams to the NCAA Tournament. It's early - way too early - but they have an outside shot at 5 again this year, with 4 well within reach. Can the A-10 put as many, or more in the dance than the new Big East or American? Maybe. Let's take a look at the early results.

- VCU:

Virginia Commonwealth started the season as the consensus A-10 pick and was a top-15 team. They may still be the class of the A-10 when it's all said an done but a bit of the shine has worn off. They have a nice win at Virginia and at Belmont but were manhandled by Florida State. The Seminoles look better than expected but the game wasn't close on a neutral court. They also lost to Georgetown in that same tournament. VCU isn't the clear favorite anymore but still a very good team.

- UMass:

The Minutemen are on a long NCAA drought that should end this season. I've been high on them since the pre-season and they haven't disappointed. They're 6-0 with neutral court wins over New Mexico and Clemson and a home court win over LSU. They also ran away from Boston College. That's two ACC scalps for UMass. LSU is probably a year away from dancing but still a good win.

- St. Louis:

I'm a bit bullish on the Billikens this year. They had an opportunity to make a statement with a win over Wisconsin or Wichita State but lost both, to the Badgers in Cancun and to the Shockers at home. The rest of the non-conference schedule doesn't have a team on it that will be a great win and they can't afford to slip up against Indiana State at home and winning at Vandy would be recommended.

- Dayton:

The Flyers stand at 6-1, with their only loss coming to Baylor by 1. Baylor figures to land in the top 4 of the Big 12. So, no shame in that loss. They have a very good neutral court win over Gonzaga and beat Georgia Tech by 10 at Tech. The Flyers also pounded Cal on a neutral court. Dayton travels to Ole Miss in early January. Win there would be very helpful and they need to keep winning the games they should in non-conference. They should be in a good place heading into the A-10 season. They need to play better in conference this year and if so, a return to the dance will be there.

- George Washington:

The Colonials had a big win over Creighton last night. Creighton has a couple of early hiccups but should finish in the top 4 of the Big East. That being said, Marquette whipped them on Saturday. GW is probably not a legit NCAA team but theyy'll have something to say about who is in the A-10.


Richmond is 6-2 with its best win being over Belmont. Its two losses were to a mediocre Minnesota team and an erratic North Carolina team. Richmond still travels to Wake Forest and Florida. They'll be underdogs at both and Florida would be a real long shot but a win over Wake would help the resume of them and the conference.

St. Joe's is 4-2 and plays Temple and Villanova this week. KenPom has them losing both. At the very least, they need to split. It isn't far-fetched for them to win both but is unlikely. They also play Drexel on the 18th. Drexel is the early favorite in the Colonial and would be a good win.

The disappointment is LaSalle. Fresh off the Sweet 16, the Explorers are 3-4 with losses to Manhattan, UNI & Providence. The Manhattan loss sounds bad but the Jaspers are favored in the MAAC. They also lost to Penn State who will probably win a few games they aren't expected to this season. Still, the Explorers are going to need to be real impressive in the A-10 to have a chance at back-to-back Sweet 16's. It won't be easy.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Quick Glance at How Conferences are Faring

Hard to believe we're nearly a month into the season and it's been full of some really good basketball. Hopefully, that holds through the remainder of the season. Doubt it can top yetserday in college football but that's almost impossible.

It's hard to rank conferences at this point. The ACC has had some close calls and bad losses but is it a bad conference? Let's take a quick look at KenPom's Top 40 heading into play today by conference:

1. ACC (7 teams):

Pitt leads the charge at 4 with Clemson at 28 and FSU at 34 as the surprises. I highly doubt Clemson stays in the Top 40 but I expect FSU will. Pittsburgh has always done well in these rankings so this isn't a surprise. They not hold the mantle of the ACC version of Wisconsin. Duke checks in at 27 and given their early struggles, that looks correct to me. Maryland is on the fringe and will be a very good team and a tough team in conference play.

2. B1G (6 teams):

The B1G has 3 teams in the top 10, no surprise as based on results, the B1G has been the best conference to the naked eye this year. Indiana at 29 is maybe the only slight surprise but they've gotten a lot of nice play from their youngsters. Will be worth a follow through conference play, even with the Crean factor. Though Iowa lost to Villanova last night at the Battle of Atlantis, I can see a team with a ceiling of a 2 or 3 seed.

3. (TIE w/4 teams): The American; Big 12; A-10:

Louisville is the top dog despite its loss to North Carolina and the rest of the Amercan teams are the usual suspects with Memphis, UConn and Cincinnati. Big 12 has two top-10 teams in Oklahoma State and Kansas. Those two matchups between those two ought to be must-see TV. The A-10 continues to be impressive. St. Louis and VCU are joined by UMass and Dayton. I really liked UMass heading into the season and should have stuck with them. Dayton has a good slate of wins thus far. I'll take a better look at these 4 tomorrow.

6. (TIE w 3/teams): Pac-12; WCC; SEC; Big East:

Before we declare the Pac-12 back, let's see how things play out. Arizona looks the part of a title contender but how's the rest of the conference? UCLA checks in at 22, Oregon at 35. Too early to draw a conclusion and I think Oregon is a real good team but how good is the rest of the league? The WCC checks in with 3 teams but I think only BYU and Gonzaga are tournament teams. Top 3 in the SEC are no surprise with Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee. The Big East has been okay so far with 3 teams in the Top 25. Villanova has been the most impressive winning the Battle of Atlantis, beating Iowa and Kansas. Their win over Towson is a good win, too. Creighton is 17 with Georgetown at 24.

The rest include Harvard (IVY) at 31, Wichita State (Valley) at 15 & San Diego State (MWC) at 40. Harvard has a chance to be a sleeper Sweet 16 type team this year though college basketball people already know this.