Posted on: March 13, 2009 10:19 am



 This morning, CBS is predicting only 5 ACC teams to make the NCAA tournament: UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, FSU (finally!), Clemson.  Those on the bubble are Boston College, Maryland, Miami, and VT. 


Now, Miami is just done.  The VT game was an eliminator and the Hurricanes lost.  I think Boston College is in, if only because the Eagles had a winning record in the conference and beat both Duke and UNC.  If there is any team in the ACC that can bow out early in the conference tournament and still get into the NCAAs, it's BC.  Maryland and VT both finished 7-9 in the ACC and that's not good.  Both need to win today (vs. Wake and North Carolina, respectively), and then probably also win again to get in.  Unlikely.


Now, here comes our yearly reminder that life isn't fair: the Big East and Big Ten are both projected to get 7 teams (2 more than my beloved ACC) into the NCAAs.  The Big East is fine; it's a bloated conference with a lot of bottom-feeding teams packed in the middle, but most of the teams did well this year and there are legitimate sleeper teams (like Syracuse, clearly) lurking just below the top tier.


But the Big Ten.  Have you ever noticed that the name, "Big Ten" isn't even accurate?  This whole conference is a lie!  It's hollow and rotten from the inside out.  Seven NCAA teams?  Really.  With Penn State on the bubble, supposedly. Why is this so wrong?


Picture this: the Big Ten gets 8 bids, but what nobody notices is that the worst team to make the postseason, Penn State, is exactly as mediocre as the best team, Michigan State.  2 teams lose in the first round, say Minnesota and Ohio State.  Embarassing, but there are still 6 hanging around (still more than the ACC!).  But that second round...I predict 2 Big Ten reps play each other in a bracket, simply because they'll have middle seeds and wind up in an eliminator.  Which is great, because it means one of the undeserving wanks goes home, but it's also terrible, because it means one of them stays, even if it's a 35-30 PSU/Illinois game all over again.  Barf!  I predict that 4 of the 6 Big Eleven teams go out in the second round, with only Illinois and Michigan State making it to the Sweet Sixteen.  If the ostrich-like fan base of the CornBelt Conference actually pulls its head out of the hole it's in the other 11.5 months of the year and looks around at this point, it will notice that the Big Ten has fewer remaining bullets than, say, the Pac-10, which is a bad conference.  Or the SEC, another bad conference. 


Bottom line: I'm not just hating the Big Ten (though I am doing that).  The point here is that this is one of those things where a conference shouldn't have this much leverage but somehow does, too many teams get in, most lose right away, everyone is unhappy, and in the end, only one team actually plays like a contender.  The splash-back of this scenario is (trust me; I follow the ACC and it happened there) the "Notre Dame football effect;" to wit: if the Big Eleven flops after getting 7-8 bids, for the next 10 years talk surrounding the tournament will always include some mention of the "over-entitled" and "overrated" Big Ten, and remember that time a bunch of really average teams got bids and then all flopped the first weekend?  What a mistake that was!

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 12, 2009 3:19 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2009 3:22 pm

And so long, Miami

Miami drops to Virginia Tech, after trailing nearly the whole game, to boot.  The Hurricanes looked like a near-lock a month ago, boasting a win over Wake Forest and razor-thin losses to Duke and North Carolina in the next 2 games.  But when you look beyond that 3-game stretch, Miami did so very little the rest of the season: a really soft non-conference schedule punctuated only by a solid win at Kentucky, and then exactly zero quality wins in conference aside from Wake, and bad losses to NC State and Georgia Tech.  Bleech.  Probably for the best they lost now, so we don't have to even wonder if the committee will make a mistake on Sunday by issuing an invitation to the U.


How about Baylor?  Nice win, but if Providence's 19 wins don't get the Friars a berth, hard to imagine Baylor's will, especially at 5-11 in regular season conference play.  The Bears need to win out.


Back to Georgia Tech a minute -- how about the Jackets taking Clemson to the half tied at 39?  That pace favors the Tigers, I think, but GT obviously wants to get a shot at the postseason.  They have absolutely no business in any tournament, mind you, but that 2nd half should be fun to watch.


My only other thoughts right now are: UNC, watch out for VT tomorrow -- that's a classic upset matchup and you know it already!  And, ASU needs to absolutely thump Arizona, a team it beat twice this year, because you cannot give the NCAA selection committee any excuse whatsoever to sneak the Wildcats into the tournament.  They're like junkies and teams like Arizona, ND, etc. are crack.





Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 11, 2009 9:31 pm

So much for Notre Dame


 The Irish lost the bid for the upset and, in so doing, also snuffed any chance of an NCAA berth.  Looks like they'll finish 11th or so in the Big East and might scratch out an NIT spot.  Notre Dame had a great win over Louisville this season, but lost to virtually every other halfway-decent team it faced.  So much promise, gone so fast.


Let's see, what else happened the Horizon League women's bracket, UIC got thumped by 20 pts by last year's tournament champ, Cleveland State.  Tough way to go out for the 3 seniors on that team, but bright spots abound among the underclass(wo)men, including future POY Jasmine Bailey.  UW-Milwaukee pulled off an upset, shocking #2 seed Butler and ending a great run by a team that started 1-4.  Looks like both 11-time regular season champ UW-Green Bay and Valparaiso are locked in tough battles with upset-minded foes as well.


Back on the men's side, when are the good games going to start?  Tonight is seriously some of the least-compelling beasketball all season, and as you have just seen, I follow women's mid-major games.  Not a single good matchup on the cards this evening.  Ah, Thursday: the start of the ACC tournament.  My reason to lay off work.  Bless us, every one.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 5, 2009 12:14 pm

Should the ACC have 6+ NCAA tournament teams?

Every year, the ACC gets shafted by the committee, while the Big 10 and SEC seem to always get the "benefit of the doubt" because of "how tough" the competition is.  The Big East, surely, deserves to have 6+ teams get bids, but that's because the Big East is a bloated conference with too many teams.  In the past, a good-average team like Florida State or Virginia Tech would have some bad losses, but also wins over a handful of top-20 teams, and still get no consideration from the committee.  This year, I hear a lot of people claiming the ACC doesn't deserve many NCAA berths because of all the unexpected wins by lower-ranked teams.  Simple logic dictates that when underdogs win, they should be considered better than before they won.  That same logic would also suggest that teams that win against higher-ranked teams should move up the list for an at-large NCAA bid. 


Let's look at the ACC this year and make some determinations about who "deserves" a bid (all the Big 10, SEC, Big 12, Big East, et al, fans can do this for themselves):

Clemson: Lots of whiners out there today, claiming Clemson should get no credit for the win vs. Duke, because suddenly Duke is "overrated" and "sucks."  Funny -- not at all what people were saying just last week.  As a Carolina fan, I have always said they suck, but I also think they should always be in the tournament as long as they finish 6th or better in the ACC, because they are well-coached and you always know what you are getting with Duke -- it's a consistent product.  Clemson, by comparison, has good road wins against Temple and Illinois, as well as at Miami, and now has a win over Duke.  With an overall record of 19-2, and losses against two teams they were expected to lose to (UNC and Wake), unless the Tigers lose 5 of their last 9 games, they're in and deservedly so.


Maryland: Yes, Gary Williams is in hot water -- you lose to Morgan State at home, you get that.  But the Terrapins' other losses are understandable: UNC, Duke, Gonzaga, @ Georgetown before we knew they sucked, BC, Miami, @ FSU (one of the toughest places to play, ask any #1-ranked team).  If the Terps somehow pull off wins against 6 of their final 8 opponents, including 2 of either: UNC, Duke, Wake, or Clemson, they could actually get into the tournament (plus, they'd be 9-7 in league play, which does count for something).  Crazy but true -- you'd have to take those 2 wins over the body of work of some SEC or Big 10 middle-of-the-pack teams, is my guess.


Miami: The Hurricanes have road wins against Kentucky and Boston College, and losses to UConn, Ohio State, Clemson, and UNC before their recent slide (losing to NCSU and Maryland on the road, and VaTech at home).  Still, if the Hurricanes win 5-of-7 to finish the season, they'll be 9-7 in the ACC and that has to be "good enough" to get them into the NCAAs.  If they happen to get a win against Duke or UNC, they're a lock.  Plus, there's always the bonus opportunity of the conference tourney...


Florida State: That loss to Northwestern, on the road, doesn't look nearly as bad as it used to.  Then the Seminoles lost to Pittsburgh, Duke, @ Miami, and to UNC.  No shame in any of those, I think we can all agree.  FSU has 10 games left, needs 4 wins to get to 20 for the season, has a chance at road wins against Wake, Duke, and Clemson, and I believe they can go 6-4 over that stretch, have a 9-7 conference record, and still get strong consideration from the NCAA selection folks.  What they don't have, yet, is a signature win.  One of those, and you can't ignore them (that probably jinxed them, though, since they always, always get shafted on Selection Sunday).


Virginia Tech: The Hokies are a ridonkulous team: they beat Wake, but lost to some real crap teams, like Georgia and Seton Hall.  Overall, they're only 14-7, so in order to get consideration, I think they have to win 6 of their last 9 games, finish 10-6 in the ACC and 20-10 overall, and a win against Clemson, UNC, or Duke wouldn't hurt (it could come in the ACC tournament and make a big difference).  Basically, VaTech is about the most "blah" team in the conference right now.  The good news for them is their final 9 games include NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and 2 against FSU -- winnable.  Among the questionable trio of Maryland, Miami, and Virginia Tech, I think the Hokies have the best chance to slip up, lose 5 games, and slide out of NCAA contention.


Boston College: Everyone wrote them off after they lost to Ha-fricking-arvard, then lost to pretty much everyone else.  But the Eagles are 18-6 and in 4th place, so yeah, they're probably already an at-large team.  If they win just 4 of their final 7 games, they get 10 conference wins, including a nice one over UNC, and they can pick up a lock-it-in-type win against Clemson or Duke on Feb. 10 or 15, for insurance.


In a nutshell: in my opinion, the top 5 teams in the ACC are already in: UNC, Duke, Wake, BC, and Clemson.  There are four teams with a legitimate shot to join them, in this order: Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Maryland.  My best estimate is that unless there are a slew of upsets in the next few weeks and also in the conference tournament, we'll see 7 ACC teams in the NCAAs.  Since the same could be said for the Big 10, and of course the Big East may get even more, I guess the power conferences are back.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 27, 2008 9:45 pm

Final Complaint Tonight

Finally, CBS:

If I'm watching NCAA men's basketball, just what in the hell makes you think I care how Gwen Stefani's tranny doppelganger finds her "creativity" with HP?  (Is techno music, sampling, and nasal warbling "creative"?  No, really, I want to know.)

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 27, 2008 8:56 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2008 9:24 pm


OK, I give up: I'm watching the glitch-and-glamour online broadcast of my beloved Tar Heels.  They look good.  But Washington State, I have advice:

Cougars: don't shoot any more 3's, please.  First, because it makes baby Jesus cry.  Second, because you are bad at it, apparently (I don't know anything about you except what I have seen in the last 30 minutes or so), and you need to get back into this game by scoring points, not missing threes.  Missed threes = long rebounds, which = fast breaks for UNC, which = you lose.

Please make a game of this.  Please.  I can't take two more days hearing how overrated UNC is because they keep blowing people away (how bizarro is this world we live in when a team like UNC thumps quality opponents and gets called "overrated," but UCLA looks like hammered-down dog-doo and sportswriters drool over the Bruins "amazing talent"??).  Please make this a close game.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 27, 2008 8:40 pm

I Hate CBS!

Big Head Gumbel busts in to say, "the second half is about to begin in Charlotte...let's get you out there for UNC vs. WSU!"...and then the feed goes to that game for the announcers' blather about, "welcome back, we're about to start..." and then Big Head Gumbel busts in AGAIN! and says "let's go back to WVU and Xavier, as it's a 1-point game!"...and we go right back to the game WE WERE JUST WATCHING BEFORE YOU MADE THE FIRST POINTLESS INTERRUPTION, Xavier scores, there's a timeout and now, INSTEAD OF WATCHING NORTH CAROLINA we're...back to commercials!!  YAY!!!!

1. Eat it, CBS.  Eat it raw!!


3. I hope you someday have to watch tapes of this whole tournament, in Hell, and it makes you cry.  You all stink.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 27, 2008 8:35 pm


I am in full-on CBS hate now.  Who was the genius who thought it would be awesome, and that America would thank him for it, if the network only showed one game at a time?  I live in the midwest, but I love the Tar Heels.  And yet, here is Xavier and WVU on my teevee.  I could not care less.  Note to CBS: I live in Illinois because I have to, not because I want to.  Why don't you show the other games on other channels and let me decide what I want to watch?  Just a thought.


PS-before you suggest it, I tried your internet crap.  It sucks.

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or