Sunday, December 30, 2007

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Dec. 24-30

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List
Dayton
Dayton officially ended the “Best Team in the A-10” debate this week in stunning fashion, destroying Pitt by 25 at home. The Flyers beat up the normally physical Panthers on both ends of the floor, using the inside-outside game of Brian Roberts (31 points) and Kurt Huelsman (12 points, eight boards) to perfection on offense, and holding Pitt to just 30 percent shooting on defense. The Flyers are playing like a 5 or 6 seed right now, and they now have two nice wins on their OOC resume. A memo to Joe Lunardi: it’s about time you put them in your bracket. You're a little late to the party.

A.J. Graves, Butler
Graves’ leaning, 35-foot heave at the buzzer against Southern Illinois not only put him in the early lead for Shot of the Year, it gave the Bulldogs another seed-boosting OOC road win. It’s easy to feel bad for the Salukis (who have had to endure an extremely tough non-conference schedule this season), until you realize that they missed nine of 12 free throws Friday night. Tyrone Green’s late miss from the line was particularly brutal, as it gave Butler – and Graves – one last chance to pull off a miracle.

Michael Flowers, Wisconsin
Flowers’ game-winner at Texas might have come from 15 feet closer to the basket than Graves’ did, but that doesn’t mean it was any less dramatic – or meaningful. His three (and subsequent steal and fling of the ball into the air) capped an impressive second half comeback by the Badgers and gave Wisconsin a signature win that they desperately needed after missing chances against Duke and Marquette. The victory was also a huge one for the Big Ten which, excluding Michigan State, has not fared all that well this season against big teams from the other major conferences.

Oklahoma
Has there been a team that’s done more for its resume over the last two week than Oklahoma? The Sooners made it into our Field of 65 last week after wins over Arkansas and Gonzaga in a five day span, and they continued their superb play this week with an 88-82 double overtime win at West Virginia on Saturday. Oklahoma’s inside combo of Blake Griffin (18 points, 16 rebounds) and All-Name team member Longar Longar (22 points, including eight in the second OT) were the difference as the streaking Sooners moved to 10-3 on the year.

Memphis
Make it three wins over ranked teams already for the Tigers, who put another double-digit smackdown on a quality opponent Saturday in crushing Arizona 76-63. We hate to completely fast forward the entire C-USA season, especially the way Houston has played (albeit against weak competition), but a case could easily be made that Memphis is only a victory over Tennessee on Feb. 23 away from an unbeaten regular season. That game, like the Gonzaga game on Jan. 26, is at Memphis. At this point, is anyone willing to bet against Calipari and Co. running the table?

Also receiving votes: Boise State (the Broncos opened some eyes with their upset of BYU on Saturday), Drake (the Bulldogs opened conference play with a nice win at Wichita State to move to 10-1 on the year), Tennessee (make it back-to-back quality wins for the Vols after an 82-72 victory over Gonzaga on Saturday), Billy White (the San Diego State forward forced overtime against previously unbeaten Sam Houston State Friday with a tip-in with 0.2 seconds left, and then won it for the Aztecs with a put-back with 11 seconds left in OT), Eniel Polynice (the sophomore guard had 14 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists in Mississippi’s blowout of Southern Miss on Friday), J.J. Hickson (the freshman had 33 points and 13 boards as N.C. State beat Western Carolina 74-62 on Friday), Jamar Butler (the senior guard had 22 points and 12 assists in Ohio State’s win over UMBC on Saturday), Eddie Sutton’s chances at 800 career wins (the newly-named interim coach at San Francisco needs just two more Ws to reach the 800 mark)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
The Big East
As other conferences continue to pick up steam (and bids), the Big East has been pretty unimpressive of late – and the events of this past week certainly didn’t do anything to change that. Seton Hall lost its bubble battle with N.C. State on Thursday, West Virginia lost at home to Oklahoma Saturday, and to top it off, the league’s best team to date – Pitt – got smacked around at Dayton. Couple those results with Georgetown’s poor showing against Memphis, and the injuries and inconsistency that have plagued Louisville and Syracuse all year, and the league is not nearly as deep or as strong as most predicted. Marquette’s win at Wisconsin on Dec. 8 is about all the Big East has to brag about OOC-wise so far.

Pitt’s seeding
No team in the country took a bigger step backwards this week than Pitt. The Panthers had moved up to a two seed in our Field of 65 after Levance Fields’ miracle three against Duke last week, but all of that good karma evaporated in a hurry on Saturday. Not only was Pitt embarrassed at Dayton, but Fields was lost for eight to 12 weeks with a broken foot. Senior Ronald Ramon, who has struggled mightily all season and who scored just two points in 32 minutes against the Flyers, will take Fields’ place in the lineup. With Mike Cook and redshirt freshman Austin Wallace also out, the Panthers are down to just nine scholarship players as they prep for Big East play.

Florida State
The Seminoles wish they had nine scholarship players left. They have six, count ‘em six, remaining after losing two more important pieces this past week. Freshman Solomon Alabi is done for the year with a leg fracture, and freshman Julian Vaughn will be out indefinitely because of a medical condition that, because of privacy laws, coach Leonard Hamilton can not talk about. With sophomore forward Ryan Reid also out because of an undisclosed suspension, FSU has only one true post player (Uche Echefu) left on its roster. The ‘Noles did manage to beat Georgia Tech on Sunday, but with a ridiculous lack of depth for the forseeable future, wins are probably going to few and far between down the road. (We hope this doesn’t mean die-hard FSU fan and loyal B101 reader Bryan stops posting). On the bright side, at least Seminole fans still have a respectable, hard-working football team to root for…oh wait…

ACLs in NC
In the span of less than a week, both North Carolina and North Carolina State lost their point guards for the season with torn ACLs. Reserve Bobby Frasor tore the ACL in his left knee in the Tar Heels’ win over Nevada on Thursday night, four days after it was learned that N.C. State’s starting point guard, Farnold Degand, would miss the rest of the year with an ACL tear in the same knee. Degand was leading the Wolfpack in assists and three-point shooting when he went down. Frasor’s stats weren’t all that impressive (3.0 ppg), but his intensity – especially on the defensive end – will certainly by missed. Roy Williams was almost in tears as he talked about Frasor’s injury after the game and called him a “coach on the floor” for the top-ranked Tar Heels.

Miami-FL
The ‘Canes unbeaten season wasn’t going to last forever, but it came to an end in pretty weak fashion on Saturday against Winthrop. Miami blew an 11-point second half lead at home, as the Eagles hit 10 of their final 13 shots and scored 49 points in the last 17-plus minutes to win 76-70. Miami coach Frank Haith called out his team afterward, saying that they “relaxed” and were “too casual.”

Also receiving votes: Illinois (forget the Brian Randle injury: losing to Tennessee Tech at home is indefensible), Creighton (the Bluejays opened the MVC season by losing at home to Illinois State), Kentucky (the Wildcats’ freefall continued with a home loss to San Diego on Saturday), Bradley’s first half against Northern Iowa (the Braves scored eight points before halftime before eventually falling 59-46 in their MVC opener), Bobby Knight (Knight was reprimanded by the Big XII this week for comments he made about the officiating in a loss to New Mexico on Dec. 15), Herb Pope (the New Mexico State freshman, who hasn’t played this season due to eligibility issues, was arrested on a DUI charge after police found him unresponsive behind the wheel of a car that was stopped in traffic in Pittsburgh early Friday morning), Jerret Smith (the junior point guard was dismissed from the team by Michigan coach John Beilein this week for “not meeting the expectations of a student-athlete”)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Dec. 24

The Breakdown
This past week featured several games between two ranked teams and several more that pitted two bubble teams against each other. The results of those games caused some movement at the top and at the bottom of the bracket this week. The Big XII continued to impress, as Oklahoma beat Gonzaga and jumped into the field as the league’s (wow) seventh bid. The biggest losers of the week turned out to be a pair of teams from the Sunshine State. Inconsistent Florida State lost to Providence and were ultimately replaced by the Friars in our field. The two-time defending champion Gators also bowed out of the bracket after their blowout loss to Ohio State. Their defection leaves the struggling SEC with just four bids.

The biggest debate for us each week continues to be 11 and 12 lines, as many teams on those lines – especially those teams in our Last Four In list – remain in the bracket based on our belief they will turn things around. Arkansas and Southern Illinois, especially, don’t have glowing resumes at this point to say the least (both suffered bad losses again this week), but we think that each of them has the talent to bounce back and be tourney-worthy come March.

Our next bracket will come out Jan. 7…

Out This Bracket
Florida State, Florida

In This Bracket
Oklahoma, Providence

Last Four In
Arkansas, Southern Illinois, Kansas State, Louisville

Last Four Out

Syracuse, Boston College, Arizona State, Houston

Next Four Out
Florida State, Florida, Drake, Valparaiso

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big XII (7), Big East (7), Pac-10 (7), ACC (6), SEC (4), A-10 (4), Big Ten (4), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - UMBC

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Miami (FL), Virginia, North Carolina State

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Rhode Island, Xavier, Dayton, Massachusetts

Big East - Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, West Virginia, Providence, Louisville

Big Sky - Northern Arizona

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State

Big 12 - Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Nebraska

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - George Mason

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy
- Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Hampton

MVC – Creighton, Southern Illinois

MWC - BYU

Northeast - Wagner

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Washington State, Arizona, USC, Stanford, Oregon, California

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Arkansas

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama A&M

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas, UCLA

The 2s
Pittsburgh, Washington State, Texas, Duke

The 3s
Michigan State, Tennessee, Marquette, Texas A&M

The 4s
Georgetown, Indiana, Butler, Arizona

The 5s
Vanderbilt, Miami-FL, Mississippi, Villanova

The 6s

Clemson, St. Mary’s, USC, Wisconsin

The 7s
BYU, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Rhode Island

The 8s
Xavier, Baylor, Dayton, Virginia

The 9s
Stanford, Creighton, Ohio State, Oklahoma

The 10s
Oregon, North Carolina State, Providence, California

The 11s
Massachusetts, Nebraska, Louisville, Kansas State

The 12s
Southern Illinois, Arkansas, Kent State, George Mason

The 13s
UC-Santa Barbara, Sam Houston State, Western Kentucky, Davidson

The 14s
Siena, Utah State, Holy Cross, Winthrop

The 15s

Cornell, Belmont, Hampton, Northern Arizona

The 16s

IUPUI, UMBC, Wagner, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Alabama A&M (Play-In Game)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Happy Holidays!

Bracketology 101 wants to wish all of our readers and their families a happy and healthy holiday season.

Our gift to you is one final bracket for 2007, which is posted above. We'll be back on Jan. 7 with a new bracket. Until then, enjoy the holidays (and the games).

Chris and Craig
Bracketology 101

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Dec. 17-23

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List
Levance Fields, Pittsburgh
Fields admitted that his eyes welled up as he watched his best friend and teammate Mike Cook go down with a torn ACL against Duke. Then the junior guard went out and caused some tears of his own. His gutsy, step-back three with less than five seconds left gave Pittsburgh an emotional 65-64 OT win over the Blue Devils on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Fields finished with a game-high 21 points and added four assists and two steals as Pitt came away with a huge OOC win (and a two seed in this week’s bracket).

Michigan State
In a game that featured a slew of talented guards, it turned out to be a relatively unknown perimeter who made the difference, and in this case gave the Spartans a signature OOC win. Playing 15 miles from his old high school, freshman Kalin Lucas scored 18 points and added six assists and six rebounds as Michigan State edged Texas 78-72. Add that win to MSU's victories over N.C. State, Missouri, BYU, and Bradley, and the Spartans can easily claim one of the best resumes in the country as conference play begins.

Memphis

Several top 10 teams made statements this week, but none did so as loudly as the Tigers. Memphis destroyed Georgetown in the second half en route to a convincing 85-71 win – their 37th straight win at home. Chris Douglas-Roberts (24 points, eight rebounds), Derrick Rose (18 points, six assists), and Joey Dorsey (13 points and 11 boards in limited PT) led the way for the unbeaten Tigers, who held Roy Hibbert to a season-low six points in the win. Our apologizes to Houston and Co., but if Memphis keeps playing like this, they have only three potential roadblocks (Arizona on Saturday and Gonzaga and Tennessee later on) left between them and a perfect regular season.

Mississippi
The Rebels have been ridiculed by some for their extra-fluffy schedule, but they shut those critics up in a big way Saturday by beating Clemson 85-82 to win the San Juan Shootout. Dwayne Curtis and Chris Warren each scored 19 points for Mississippi (11-0), which equaled the best start in school history with the win. The Rebels, who are up to a five seed in this week’s bracket, look like the overwhelming favorite right now to win the SEC West.

Oklahoma
The Sooners got some Last Four Out love last week by beating Arkansas, and then went out and made an even bigger statement this week. Their four-point, down-to-the-wire win over Gonzaga on Thursday earned them a nine seed in our new Field of 65 and gave the super-deep Big XII a total of seven bids. After a few days off for the holidays, Oklahoma comes right back with another opportunity to make a splash, as they play at West Virginia on Saturday.

Also receiving votes: Michael Beasley (racked up a season-high 40 points and added 15 boards and three blocks as Kansas State crushed Winston-Salem), Brook Lopez (Stanford’s newly eligible forward had 39 points and 10 rebounds combined in two games this week), Gavin Grant (he hit two FTs with 3.9 seconds left as N.C State held off Davidson 66-65 on Friday), Stanley Robinson (had 24 of his career-high 32 points in the second half as UConn cruised past Maine on Saturday), coaches needing milestone wins (Rick Pitino picked up No. 500 as Louisville downed Marshall 85-75 on Tuesday, Bob Huggins got No. 600 as West Virginia beat Canisius 77-54 on Saturday), Providence (the Friars beat bubble mate Florida State on Saturday to get back into our Field of 65), Arizona (the Wildcats picked up a nice road win Wednesday at UNLV)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
The SEC
Could the SEC be a three-bid league? Probably not, but the way conference has performed thus far, anything more than four bids is looking like wishful thinking. This week alone, Florida got crushed in its championship game rematch with Ohio State, and Georgia, who came into the week with a 6-1 record, lost on back-to-back days to East Tennessee State and Tulane at the Rainbow Classic. Not to be outdone, Arkansas lost to Appalachian State on Saturday and Kentucky (remember them?) got smoked by Houston on Tuesday.

Oregon
The Ducks should be thankful that they play in a stacked league – one that gives them plenty of chances at resume-boosting wins – because their almost-completed OOC slate couldn’t have gone much worse. Oregon followed up its loss at Nebraska last week by falling to (oops) Oakland this week, leaving them with only one good non-conference win (at Kansas State) as league play starts. The Ducks have slipped to a 10 seed in our bracket after beginning the year on the four line.

The Big Ten bubble
By the end of the season, the Big Ten may better than a four-bid league, but it won’t be because of anything the league did last week. Former bubble boy Purdue lost games to Wofford and Iowa State over a span of four days, and Illinois lost a look-ahead game at home to Miami (OH) on Thursday before bouncing back to beat Missouri in the annual Braggin’ Rights game. Is Minnesota, with its cupcake schedule, really the fifth best team the Big Ten has to offer?

Dick Vitale’s vocal cords
Believe it or not: Dickie V puts an above-average amount of stress on his vocal cords. That stress caught up with Vitale this past week, as he had to undergo surgery in Boston to treat ulcers on his left vocal cord – a procedure that will keep him off the air until early February. Before this setback, Vitale (as Dan Shulman is well aware) had not missed an assignment in 28 years at ESPN. We wish Dickie V. well...get back soon.

Torre Johnson’s college basketball career
Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s leading scorer and rebounder was dismissed from the team this week after he was arrested for allegedly striking a woman in the mouth and causing a cut that needed 10 stitches to fix. (In case you’re keeping track, four arrests and two suspensions have now been featured on our “Academic Probation” list so far this season…Happy Holidays, everyone!)

Also receiving votes: Maryland (the Terps’ miserable season continued with an inexplicable eight-point home loss to - yikes - American on Saturday), Florida State (lost a big bubble battle with Providence and dropped out of this week’s bracket), California (the Bears are barely in the bracket this week after losing at home to Utah on Saturday), North Carolina Central (the Eagles scored eight points in the first half in a 71-28 loss to Nebraska on Saturday)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Dec. 17

The Breakdown
Despite a pretty light schedule of games last week, there were still several key changes to this week’s bracket. The A-10 and Big XII continued to impress, and each picked up an additional bid thanks to wins by Massachusetts (over Boston College) and Nebraska (over Oregon). After a one-week stay, BC drops out of the bracket, as does Syracuse. The Orange didn’t do anything wrong on the court this week, but losing second-leading scorer and on-court leader Eric Devendorf for the year to a torn ACL is a gigantic blow to the Orange’s tourney chances. Syracuse must rely that much more heavily on super frosh Jonny Flynn and Donte Greene and, while that may turn out OK for them in the end, it's a reality that currently has them on the outside of the bracket looking in.

Despite another loss this week, Louisville is still (barely) in our Field of 65. We admit that their inclusion (like North Carolina State’s inclusion) is based almost entirely on potential and not on performance, but we think that when the Cardinals finally get healthy and finally get Derek Caracter's head screwed on straight, they’ll turn things around and earn themselves a bid.

The rest of the changes in this week’s bracket came in the form of seed adjustments. Teams are starting to have enough games under their belt to make comparing resumes a little easier, and we adjusted each team’s seeds based on these head-to-head comparisons…

Out This Bracket
Boston College, Syracuse, Montana

In This Bracket
Massachusetts, Nebraska, Portland State

Last Four In
Massachusetts, Louisville, Nebraska, Florida State

Last Four Out
Syracuse, Boston College, Oklahoma, Notre Dame

Next Four Out
Drake, Houston, UNLV, Valparaiso

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
ACC (7), Pac-10 (7), Big XII (6), Big East (6), SEC (5), A-10 (4), Big Ten (4), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - UMBC

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Miami (FL), Virginia, North Carolina State, Florida State

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island, Massachusetts

Big East - Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville

Big Sky - Portland State

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State

Big 12
- Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas State, Nebraska

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - George Mason

C-USA
- Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Hampton

MVC – Creighton, Southern Illinois

MWC - BYU

Northeast - Wagner

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, USC, California, Stanford

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida,

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama A&M

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas, UCLA

The 2s
Texas, Duke, Georgetown, Washington State

The 3s
Michigan State, Marquette, Tennessee, Texas A&M

The 4s
Indiana, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Butler

The 5s
Gonzaga, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Miami-FL

The 6s
Xavier, Villanova, Oregon, USC

The 7s
BYU, Wisconsin, St. Mary’s, West Virginia

The 8s
Virginia, California, Dayton, Mississippi

The 9s
Arkansas, Baylor, Rhode Island, Creighton

The 10s
Stanford, Ohio State, Southern Illinois, Florida

The 11s
North Carolina State, Kansas State, Florida State, Nebraska

The 12s
Louisville, Massachusetts, Kent State, UC-Santa Barbara

The 13s
George Mason, Western Kentucky, Davidson, Sam Houston State

The 14s
Utah State, Holy Cross, Winthrop, Cornell

The 15s

Siena, Belmont, Hampton, Portland State

The 16s
IUPUI, UMBC, Wagner, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Alabama A&M (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Dec. 10-16

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List
The A-10 (again)
The Atlantic 10 has been the best mid-major conference in the country so far this season, and after this week, the league officially has the bids to prove it. Thanks to UMass’ win over Boston College on Thursday, the A-10 has four teams in this week’s bracket – the same amount as the Big Ten and just one fewer than the SEC. While those four bids may not hold up come March, three is looking like a near certainty – and that’s a huge step forward for a conference that had been completely (and rightfully) ignored the last few years.

Big XII
Two months into the season, it’s (surprise!) the Big XII (and not the Pac-10 or the ACC) that sits atop the conference RPI rankings. The conference continued its strong play this week, as Oklahoma downed Arkansas, and upstart Nebraska shocked – and rushed on – Oregon. That win earned the Huskers a spot in this week’s bracket, and gave the nation’s most underrated league a total of six bids.

DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh
Pitt’s stud freshman is picking a nice time to play his best ball of the year. Blair followed up his 14-point, 11-rebound outing against Washington last week with a 20 point, 10 board, five block performance in the Panthers’ beatdown of Oklahoma State on Saturday. Pitt faces its toughest test of the season, and its biggest non-conference game in years, on Thursday against Duke at Madison Square Garden.

Jack McClinton, Miami-FL
McClinton’s scoring output has been pretty inconsistent this season, but one thing’s for sure – the Hurricanes wouldn’t be unbeaten without him. The junior fueled Miami’s late-game comeback against VCU back on Nov. 18, and then did the exact same thing Thursday at Mississippi State. He finished with 29 points, including three late three-pointers, as the ‘Canes stormed back to edge the Bulldogs 64-58.

Demetric Bennett, South Alabama
There’s carrying your team, and then there’s what Bennett did against Mississippi State on Saturday. The senior guard scored South Alabama’s first 20 points, hit the game-clinching free throws with nine seconds left, and finished with 39 points on 14-of-17 shooting as the Jaguars erased a 13-point second-half deficit and stunned the Bulldogs 71-67.

Also receiving votes: Syracuse’s first half vs. ETSU (the Orange put up 68 points on 76 percent shooting), Butler (nice bounce-back win at home against Florida State), Brian Williams (the freshman had 16 points and 14 boards in Tennessee’s win over Western Kentucky), Eric Gordon (had 26 points in his return to the lineup to lead Indiana over Western Carolina on Saturday), Samuel Haanpaa (had 10 three-pointers and scored 32 points in Valparaiso’s win over Chicago State), Robert Vaden (the junior had 33 points, including 28 in the second half, as UAB won at Kentucky), Todd Brown (hit a last-second, game-winning three in Wright State’s miracle win over Miami (OH))

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
Basketball in the state of Kentucky
When the season started, residents of the Bluegrass state probably had dreams of a late-March meeting between Louisville and Kentucky. They still might get that meeting – but at this rate it might be in the NIT. In what is becoming a recurring theme, both the slumping Cardinals and underachieving Wildcats suffered losses again this week – Kentucky to UAB and Louisville to Purdue – and neither are looking anything like an NCAA tourney team at the moment. Louisville has more excuses (injuries, suspensions, etc) than Kentucky does, but both have significant kinks to work out before conference play starts up.

Derrick Caracter, Louisville
The last thing Louisville needed was another hole in its injury-depleted frontcourt, but thanks to the selfish, idiotic behavior of Derrick Caracter this week, that’s exactly what they got. Caracter was suspended indefinitely by coach Rick Pitino Monday for what Pitino called a “curfew violation.” As is turns out, it was much more than that. Pitino had wanted to suspend Caracter for last Saturday’s game against Dayton, but Caracter’s teammates campaigned for him to play and Pitino gave in – sort of. He had Caracter sign a personal conduct contract that included a curfew. Caracter broke curfew the same night. Now he won’t play for, as Pitino put it, “a while.”

Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament hopes
Eric Devendorf may not be as athletically gifted as teammates Jonny Flynn or Donte Greene, but anyone who watches the Orange knows that the feisty junior guard is the team’s heart and soul. His season-ending ACL injury – suffered in Saturday’s 125-75 blowout of East Tennessee State – is a crushing blow to Syracuse’s already tenuous tourney chances. We won’t count the Orange totally out of the picture just yet (we kept them on the Last Four Out line), but things just got a whole lot harder for Jim Boeheim’s inexperienced squad.

ACC
Does anyone want to be the sixth, seventh, or possibly the eighth team out of the ACC? This week alone, Boston College lost to UMass, Florida State missed out on a golden opportunity for a big win at Butler, and Maryland lost at home to Ohio. Couple those results with the struggles of North Carolina State, and the middle of the ACC is very messy right now to say the least.

Xavier
Are the Musketeers even the best team in the A-10 right now? They certainly didn’t show it last week, barely beating Cincinnati and then losing by (ouch) 22 points to Arizona State. In both games, Xavier’s anemic shooting did them in. The Musketeers shot just 30.6 percent from the field against the Sun Devils and just 38 percent against the Bearcats.

Also receiving votes: Southern Illinois (the Salukis finally snapped their three-game losing streak by beating St. Mary’s at home Tuesday, only to lose 56-51 to Saint Louis Saturday), Charlotte (the 49ers got passed on the A-10 bubble by UMass after losing by two at Hofstra Saturday), Mississippi State (the Bulldogs’ disappointing season continued this week with two more losses), George Washington (the Colonials followed up their 36-point scoring effort against Virginia Tech last week with a 12-point loss at Binghamton on Thursday), Tyler Hansbrough’s head (the All-American suffered a concussion after taking a charge in UNC’s win over Rutgers), Roger Clemens (the Rocket and his steroid habits have nothing to do with college basketball, but including him on the list gives us an excuse to show you this)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Dec. 10

The Breakdown
The only major changes in this week’s bracket came as a result of the resurgent A-10. After feasting on the Big East this week, Dayton and Rhode Island made their way into the field, with fellow conference mate Charlotte not far behind. The only major conference shake-up was in the ACC, as Boston College joins the bracket after its nice win at Maryland. The Eagles replace one-week wonder Providence, which lost both of its games last week and dropped out. The only other developing story bracket-wise this past week was in the Horizon, where Wright State beat Butler, again, at home. That result, plus the play thus far of Valparaiso (the Crusaders are 8-1 and already won at Wright State), means the Horizon might have enough talent to steal a second bid again this season. Just something to keep an eye on…

Out This Bracket
Providence, Bradley, St. Joseph’s, Miami (OH), Albany, Robert Morris

In This Bracket
Boston College, Dayton, Rhode Island, Kent State, UMBC, Wagner

Last Four In
Rhode Island, North Carolina State, Mississippi, Creighton

Last Four Out

Charlotte, Missouri, Notre Dame, Drake

Next Four Out
Houston, UNLV, Connecticut, Valparaiso

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown

ACC (8), Big East (7), Pac-10 (7), Big XII (5), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), A-10 (3), MVC (3), A-10 (2), Horizon (2), WCC (2)

America East
- UMBC

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia, Miami (FL), Boston College, North Carolina State, Florida State

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island

Big East - Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Louisville, West Virginia, Syracuse

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State

Big 12 - Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas State

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - George Mason

C-USA
- Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Hampton

MVC - Southern Illinois, Creighton

MWC - BYU

Northeast - Wagner

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, USC, California, Stanford

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama A&M

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas, UCLA

The 2s
Texas, Duke, Georgetown, Washington State

The 3s
Michigan State, Marquette, Tennessee, Texas A&M

The 4s
Indiana, Oregon, Clemson, Xavier

The 5s
Gonzaga, Butler, Pittsburgh, Arizona

The 6s
USC, Vanderbilt, Villanova, BYU

The 7s
Virginia, Wisconsin, Arkansas, St. Mary's

The 8s
Louisville, California, Ohio State, Miami-FL

The 9s
West Virginia, Baylor, Boston College, Dayton

The 10s
Stanford, Florida, Kansas State, Syracuse

The 11s
Florida State, Southern Illinois, Rhode Island, North Carolina State

The 12s
George Mason, Mississippi, Creighton, Davidson

The 13s
Holy Cross, Kent State, Utah State, Winthrop

The 14s
UC-Santa Barbara, Belmont, Western Kentucky, Sam Houston State

The 15s
Siena, Hampton, Montana, Cornell

The 16s
IUPUI, UMBC, Wagner, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Alabama A&M (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)













Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Dec. 3-9

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List
The A-10
It’s been four years since the Atlantic-10 sent more than two teams to the NCAA Tournament. That streak may have been erased in a span of five days this past week. Thanks to Brian Roberts’ 28 points, Dayton won at Louisville to pad a resume that already includes road wins over Miami (OH) and Holy Cross. Rhode Island took out two Big East teams – Providence and Syracuse – to improve to 10-1 on the year, and Charlotte beat Davidson and Southern Illinois to move to 6-2. In a down year for some big conferences and some other mid-major leagues, it’s going to be tough to ignore some of the A-10’s resumes come March.

Washington State
The score may not have been pretty, but Washington State’s 51-47 win at Gonzaga sure looks beautiful on an OOC resume. Before Wednesday, the Zags had never lost at home as a ranked team and hadn’t lost to the Cougars at home since 1985. As is usually the case with Washington State, they won the game with their defense, holing Gonzaga to 26 percent shooting from the floor. Matt Bouldin and Austin Daye were a combined 1-for-20 from the field.

Wright State
Not only did Wright State remind everyone that they own Butler at home by beating them again on Saturday, they made the idea of two Horizon teams dancing come March that much more of a reality. If the Raiders can duplicate the kind of defense they played against the Bulldogs (Butler scored two points over the last nine minutes in a 43-42 loss), they could no doubt beat them again in the conference tournament and steal a second bid. Wright State’s win also gave some credibility to another solid Horizon team, Valparaiso, who already beat the Raiders on the road this season.

Southland
It may not have been A-10 caliber, but the Southland’s week was pretty impressive by their standards. The underrated league picked up three nice wins over bigger conference opponents as Stephen F. Austin won at Oklahoma, unbeaten Sam Houston State won at Saint Louis and unbeaten Texas-Arlington won at Wichita State. With these wins, and others so far, the Southland is looking at a possible 14 seed on Selection Sunday.

Grinnell College 151, North Central University 112
Junior guard David N. Arseneault has made headlines all week for his NCAA-record 34 assist performance in Division III Grinnell’s win Saturday (and deservedly so…congrats, David), but lost all the assist talk was the rest of the ridiculous numbers put up in this game. Here’s the full box score, and here are some of the highlights: Grinnell shot 83 threes in the game (83!!!) and junior John Grotberg shot 38 of them (38!!) and scored 49 points…in 27 minutes!! Unreal…

Also receiving votes: Arizona (huge come-from-behind OT win over Illinois), Bill Walker (the often-overshadowed freshman’s 30-point explosion led Kansas State to a much-needed OOC victory over previously-unbeaten Cal), Drew Lavender (28 points and 10 assists in Xavier’s convincing win over Creighton), Michigan State (two impressive road wins over Bradley and BYU), players named D.J. (Indiana’s White had 29 points and 13 boards in Eric Gordon’s absence Monday, Texas’ Augustin had 29 points and 10 assists in a win over North Texas Tuesday)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
North Carolina State
The enigmatic Wolfpack added another head-scratcher to their early-season resume on Saturday by losing (and getting rushed on) at East Carolina 75-69. Before the season started, N.C. State was widely regarded as the third best team in the ACC; now they have the eighth best resume in the conference and are on the brink of falling out of our Field of 65.

Davidson
Give the feisty Wildcats credit – they were the better team for the first half against UCLA in the wooden Classic on Saturday. Unfortunately, rules require that teams play a second half, and that’s when Davidson let a golden opportunity for a ginormous upset slip away. Led by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Kevin Love, the Bruins erased an 18-point first half deficit and pulled away late for a 75-63 victory.

LSU
Davidson’s collapse, bad as it was, paled in comparison to LSU’s meltdown. After building a 21-point lead with eight minutes to play against Villanova on the road Thursday, the Tigers – somehow – couldn’t put the game away and lost on a Donte Cunningham bucket with five seconds left. LSU had no answer for ‘Nova’s Malcolm Grant down the stretch, as he scored 13 points in the final three minutes to fuel the Wildcats’ improbable comeback.

Brandon Rush’s memory
If anyone’s looking for last-minute gift ideas for Rush, a 2008 daily planner would be a nice addition to his gym bag. The junior forward was arrested this week after (oops!) forgetting to show up for a court appearance on traffic charges (he was later released on $500 bail). Rush was originally supposed to be in court November 28 on charges of speeding and driving with a suspended license; he also faces charges from a December 2006 case for driving on the wrong side of the road and having no proof of insurance.

The MWC
The Mountain West had plenty of chances to establish itself as a two-bid league last week, but none of its teams were able to step up to the challenge and join MWC favorite BYU in the bracket. San Diego State, which had been playing very well coming into the week, lost at home to St. Mary’s, Utah lost at Oregon, and New Mexico lost to struggling New Mexico State.

Also receiving votes: The referee crew for the Pittsburgh-Washington game (it took waaaay too long to make a ruling on Justin Dentmon’s apparent game-winning bucket), Jim Calhoun (he got tossed after getting two technicals in UConn’s 69-60 sluggish W over Northeastern), Southern Illinois (three straight Ls after falling to Charlotte on Saturday), Providence (a two loss week, including a home defeat to South Carolina, knocked them out of our Field of 65 after a one-week cameo)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Dec. 3

The Breakdown
After a crazy week of conference challenge games - many of which pitted two ranked teams against each other - there was, as expected, considerable shakeup in the bracket. Most of the biggest changes came in the form of seed adjustments, both positive and negative, for big conference teams. What made seeding difficult this week - and what makes it so challenging this early in the season in general - is that many mid-major or middle-of-the-pack big conference teams have played tougher schedules, and have better wins in a lot of cases, than their more talented or higher seeded counterparts. It's up to us to project whether those teams will maintain their level of play once conference play starts, and we then seed the teams based on what they have done and how we see them finishing in their respective leagues.

In this week's bracket, the only conference to pick up an additional bid was the Valley, as Creighton took New Mexico's place in the field after the Lobos lost to Mississippi. The last couple of spots out of the Big East and SEC continue to be very fluid, with three changes being made this week in those conferences alone.

Out This Bracket
Connecticut, Seton Hall, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina A&T, Monmouth, Alabama State

In This Bracket
Providence, Creighton, Mississippi, West Virginia, Hampton, Robert Morris, Alabama A&M

Last Four In
Mississippi, West Virginia, Bradley, St. Joseph's

Last Four Out
Connecticut, New Mexico, Kentucky, Purdue

Next Four Out
Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Boston College, Houston

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), ACC (7), Pac-10 (7), Big XII (5), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), MVC (3), A-10 (2), WCC (2)

America East - Albany

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia, Miami (FL), North Carolina State, Florida State

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, St. Joseph's

Big East - Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Villanova, Providence, Syracuse, West Virginia

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State

Big 12 - Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Baylor

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - George Mason

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Miami (OH)

MEAC - Hampton

MVC - Southern Illinois, Creighton, Bradley

MWC - BYU

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, USC, California, Stanford

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama A&M

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s
North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas, UCLA

The 2s
Texas, Duke, Georgetown, Washington State

The 3s
Michigan State, Marquette, Tennessee, Texas A&M

The 4s
Butler, Indiana, Oregon, Clemson

The 5s
Gonzaga, Pittsburgh, Xavier, Louisville

The 6s
Arizona, USC, Virginia, Vanderbilt

The 7s
BYU, Villanova, California, Wisconsin

The 8s
Ohio State, Arkansas, Miami (FL), Providence

The 9s
St. Mary's, North Carolina State, Southern Illinois, Stanford

The 10s
Florida State, Syracuse, Kansas State, George Mason

The 11s
Florida, Baylor, Davidson, Creighton

The 12s
Mississippi, West Virginia, Bradley, St. Joseph's

The 13s
Miami (OH), Utah State, Winthrop, Holy Cross

The 14s
UC-Santa Barbara, Belmont, Western Kentucky, Siena

The 15s
Sam Houston State, Hampton, Montana, Cornell

The 16s
IUPUI, Albany, Robert Morris, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Alabama A&M (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)













Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Nov. 26 - Dec. 2

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List
Texas
After Texas beat Tennessee, Longhorns coach Rick Barnes said that he felt like his team was stronger in a way this year without Kevin Durant. Blasphemy? Apparently not. The red-hot ‘Horns pulled off the biggest win to date this college basketball season by upsetting top-ranked UCLA 63-61 Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. Sophomore Damion James had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and the game-clinching dunk with eight seconds left and D.J. Augustin added 19 points and four assists to lift Texas to a ginormous road win.

The ACC
It doesn’t take a Bracketology degree to tell you that the ACC is better than the Big Ten, but this week’s annual conference challenge showed just how much better it actually is. The ACC won 8 of the 11 games played between the two leagues, highlighted by Duke and North Carolina spanking Wisconsin and Ohio State, respectively. Michigan State’s beatdown of overrated NC State was the lone bright spot for the Big Ten, which is looking every bit the four-bid league we had them at as the year opened.

Eric Gordon, Indiana
It’s still up for debate as to who is the best freshman in the country, but make no mistake about it: if any frosh has the tools to put his team on his back and carry it Carmelo-style to the Final Four, it's Gordon. He has been unstoppable over his first seven college games, scoring at least 20 points in each game and averaging 26.6 on the year. This week, he dropped 29 on Georgia Tech and 22 on Southern Illinois as the Hoosiers picked up a pair of Ws.

Ryan Anderson, Cal
Oh yeah, the country has some pretty talented sophomores, too. Anderson put up 36 points in Cal’s six-point win over Nevada on Wednesday and had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Bears’ 86-72 win over Missouri on Saturday. Cal (B101’s preseason sleeper pick out of the Pac-10) is still unbeaten and will take its spotless record on the road to Kansas State this weekend in what should be a good one.

Bobby Knight’s neighbor
James Simpson of Lubbock, Texas, provided all of us with an early holiday present this week when he unveiled his videotaped confrontation with an angry, defensive, shotgun-holding Knight. All Simpson wanted to do is hang out by his pool; instead, he was allegedly dodging Knight’s shotgun pellets, resulting in this classic footage – and a spot on this week’s Dean’s List.

Also receiving votes: Gonzaga (two more nice road/neutral Ws over St. Joe’s and UConn), Mississippi (still unbeaten after a nice W over New Mexico), Harvard (Tommy Amaker gets a little revenge on Michigan and lots of smart kids get to rush the court), Greg Paulus (18 points in Duke’s thrashing of Wisconsin, big shots and a big steal late in the Devils’ win over Davidson), St. Mary’s (strong start continues with an 85-70 victory over Seton Hall), Arizona (huge OOC win over Texas A&M)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
Ohio State’s FG percentage
In what is becoming an alarming pattern for a team that began the season with high hopes, the Buckeyes’ offense was nothing short of atrocious in losses this week to North Carolina and Butler. Ohio State managed only 23 second half points and didn’t have any field goals in one 11-minute stretch against the Tar Heels. They followed up that performance with a 16-point second half effort against the Bulldogs in a 65-46 loss.

George Mason
People continued to sing the praises of the Patriots earlier this week when they put a 47-point beatdown on (at that point) 5-1 Drexel, but all those good feelings came to a halt three days later when they lost to (gulp) C-USA bottom-feeder East Carolina in the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C. Mason killed itself from the line, missing 13 of 25 free throws, as East Carolina beat its first D-I team of the year.

Syracuse
Apparently the Syracuse football team doesn’t have the worst defense on campus after all. The Orange basketball team can claim that honor after allowing 107 points to UMass in a seven-point loss on Wednesday. The Minutemen hit 14 threes and scored 59 points in the second half – and then insulted Syracuse again by going out and losing their next game to IUPUI.

Baylor
Oh, what could have been for the surprising Bears, who blew a 14-point second half lead at home against Washington State and eventually lost a heartbreaker, 67-64. Baylor, which at 5-0 was off to its best start since 2000-2001 when it began the year 12-0, still has a soft enough schedule to get to 11-1 by the end of this month. But this was a golden opportunity and one that could come back to haunt them in March.

VCU
The underachieving Rams finally notched a quality win by beating Maryland, but that came in the wake of an inexplicable 64-55 loss to Hampton on Thursday. VCU, which has been hurt in the early going by a real lack of depth, turned the ball over 21 times in that game and managed only 18 first half points. One bid from the Colonial is looking like a distinct possibility right now.

Also receiving votes: Bobby Knight’s exchange with the Centenary fans, the nine D-I teams who still don’t have a win (three are from the pathetic SWAC), Stephen Curry’s “supporting cast” at Davidson (the Wildcats better find a second scoring option before conference play starts), Arkansas State’s Adrian Banks (team’s leading scorer suspended indefinitely for his arrest on gun charges)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Nov. 27

The Breakdown
As expected, it's been a wild, unpredictable first few weeks of the college basketball season. A handful of small conference "cupcakes" shocked big-conference opponents, and several early-season tournaments crowned surprise winners. Our first bracket of the regular season reflects many of these surprises - there are 13 teams that made their bracket debuts this week, and many teams saw major adjustments to their preseason seeding.

Out This Bracket
Mississippi State, Maryland, Auburn, VCU, Missouri, New Mexico State, Akron, Vermont, Texas A&M-CC, Sacred Heart, East Tennessee State, Delaware State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

In This Bracket
Vanderbilt, Seton Hall, Miami (FL), Baylor, St. Mary's, New Mexico, Miami (OH), Albany, Sam Houston State, Monmouth, Belmont, North Carolina A&T, Alabama State

Last Four In
St. Mary's, New Mexico, Bradley, St. Joseph's

Last Four Out
Missouri, VCU, Maryland, Illinois

Next Four Out
Texas Tech, West Virginia, Boston College, Creighton

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), ACC (7), Pac-10 (7), Big XII (5), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), A-10 (2), MVC (2), MWC (2), WCC (2)

America East - Albany

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia, North Carolina State, Miami (FL), Florida State

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, St. Joseph's

Big East - Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse, Connecticut, Seton Hall

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Big 12 - Kansas, Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - George Mason

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Miami (OH)

MEAC - North Carolina A&T

MVC - Southern Illinois, Bradley

MWC - BYU, New Mexico

Northeast - Monmouth

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, USC, Arizona, Stanford, California

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s
UCLA, North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas

The 2s
Georgetown, Duke, Washington State, Texas A&M

The 3s
Michigan State, Marquette, Texas, Tennessee

The 4s
Indiana, Louisville, Oregon, Butler

The 5s
Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Xavier, Clemson

The 6s
Gonzaga, USC, Virginia, North Carolina State

The 7s
Arizona, BYU, Villanova, Wisconsin

The 8s
Vanderbilt, Stanford, Syracuse, Southern Illinois

The 9s
Kansas State, Connecticut, Arkansas, Miami (FL)

The 10s
Florida, Seton Hall, Baylor, George Mason

The 11s
Florida State, California, Davidson, Kentucky

The 12s
St. Mary's, New Mexico, Bradley, St. Joseph's

The 13s
Miami (OH), Utah State, Winthrop, Holy Cross

The 14s
UC-Santa Barbara, Belmont, Western Kentucky, Montana

The 15s
Siena, Cornell, Sam Houston State, North Carolina A&T

The 16s
Albany, IUPUI, Austin Peay, Monmouth (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)













Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Monday, November 26, 2007

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Nov. 19-25

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List
The ACC

The nation’s best league thus far couldn’t have dreamed of a better showing in the early-season tournaments. A week after Miami stunned everyone by winning in Puerto Rico, the rest of its conference brethren followed suit: Duke beat Marquette to win its fourth Maui Invitational, NC State upended Villanova to win the Old Spice Classic, and North Carolina downed BYU to win the Las Vegas Invitational. The ACC still has six undefeated teams at this point in the season – two more than any other power conference.

The state of Texas
The Lone Star State single-handedly boosted the reputation of the Big XII this week. Undefeated Texas A&M crushed Ohio State to win the NIT Tip-Off, D.J. Augustin put up 23 points and eight assists to lead Texas to an eye-opening blowout of Tennessee, and 5-0 Baylor (this season’s most pleasant surprise) win the Paradise Jam with victories over Notre Dame and Winthrop. Even inconsistent Texas Tech got in the act with an upset W over Gonzaga.

Butler
The Bulldogs turned last season’s NIT Tip-Off win into an eventual Sweet 16 appearance, and after this week, it’s going to be tough to bet against that happening again this season. Led by the most underrated backcourt in the country in A.J. Graves and Mike Green, Butler knocked off Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Texas Tech to win the Great Alaskan Shootout.

St. Mary’s
Even the WCC has its share of impact freshman this season. Australian rookie Patty Mills dropped a school-record 37 points on Oregon Tuesday as St. Mary's blew out the visiting Ducks 99-87. The win earned St. Mary’s (who has some tough games ahead) a spot in our next bracket, and also earned Gaels fans the early lead in the race for Rush of the Year. Check out the ESPN video footage of the rush here or watch a nice commemorative slide show of it here.

Xavier
Perhaps no team did more for its resume – or for its league – this week than Xavier, who blew out No. 8 Indiana to win the Chicago Invitational Challenge. The Musketeers’ stifling defense was the difference – Eric Gordon was held to just four field goals and the Hoosiers shot just 38 percent as a team in Xavier’s 80-65 victory.

Also receiving votes: Seton Hall (nice W over Virginia to improve to 5-0), Cornell (good home W over a Siena team fresh off its upset of Stanford), USC (held Southern Illinois to 45 points in Anaheim Classic title game), Brandon Rush (17 points in Kansas’ OT win over Arizona), Kevin Love (21 points, 11 boards in UCLA’s CBE Classic win over Michigan State)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
New Mexico State

The Theus-Aggies divorce has proven to be a disaster on both ends. The Sacramento Kings are 4-9 under everyone’s favorite “Hang Time” coach, and New Mexico State – pegged by many, including us, in the preseason as the team to beat in the WAC – already has four losses. The Aggies’ only two wins this season are against UC-Davis and the law firm of Lemoyne-Owen.

Mississippi State
The Bulldogs were fixture in everyone’s preseason bracket, but they have already managed to find their way on the bubble. Mississippi State has lost to all three quality opponents it has faced, including defeats this week to Southern Illinois and Miami-Ohio.

Winthrop
Give the Eagles credit for putting together a decent OOC schedule, but it’s about time they start winning some of those games. Losses to Baylor and Missouri State this week won’t look great on a resume, and it means Winthrop certainly won’t duplicate its 11 seed from a year ago.

Penn State
If any team was in need of deodorant this week, it was the embarrassingly-bad Nittany Lions. Their trip to the Old Spice Classic resulted in losses to South Carolina, Rider, and Central Florida.

Davidson
Maybe the Wildcats should have softened their OOC slate just a little. With a loss to UNC already in the bag and games with Duke, UCLA and North Carolina State still looming, Davidson ran into a buzzsaw on the road against Western Michigan – and fell 83-76 to the three-point-happy Broncos.

Also receiving votes: Joe Lunardi (up to his old first-place-in-conference tricks again with two Southern Conference teams in his new bracket), DePaul (L to North Carolina A&T, which ended last season with an RPI of 274), Sacred Heart (preseason favorites in the NEC fall to 0-6)

Monday, November 19, 2007

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Nov. 12-18

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List
Miami-FL

Is there a way the state of Florida can recount the ACC preseason basketball poll? Picked to finish dead last, the Hurricanes upset Providence and VCU last week to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Guards James Dews and James McClinton led the way for Miami, which has four more winnable games on the horizon before heading to Mississippi State on Dec. 13.

Siena
Eighteen years after the program’s biggest win – over Stanford in the 1989 NCAA tournament – the Saints orchestrated a little deja vu at the Pepsi Center Saturday afternoon. Transfer Josh Duell scored 16 points and held Robin Lopez in check as Siena stunned the 20th ranked Cardinal 79-67. The best part of this game - the first court rush of the year. Here's another angle.

Rhode Island
Their five wins are decent at best, but the Rams are still undefeated – and atop the back-to-respectable A-10 – after wins against South Florida, Stetson, and UAB this week. Senior forward Will Daniels has been a stud inside thus far, posting a double-double against Stetson and averaging 18 points and seven boards a game in the early going.

Virginia
Virginia's road win over Arizona is going to be golden come Selection Sunday. Sean Singletary led the way with 24 points for the Cavaliers, which now have only a home game with Syracuse on Dec. 5 standing between them and an 11-0 start.

Chris Douglas-Roberts
We could live without the weak “CDR” nickname (which Dan Shulman beat to death in the ESPN telecast), but Douglas-Roberts was nearly unstoppable against UConn in the 2KSports College Hoops Classic final, scoring 33 points to lead Memphis to an 81-70 win. Many of those points came when the Tigers needed them most – with Joey Dorsey on the bench in foul trouble.

Also receiving votes: Baylor (nice W over Notre Dame), Clemson (ditto vs. Mississippi State), Providence (upset of No. 18 Arkansas), Tyler Hansbrough (27 points, nine boards in UNC’s win over Iona), Terrence Williams (triple-double in Louisville’s beatdown of Hartford)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
Florida State

Granted, three games in three days is a tall task, but beating Cleveland State and South Florida on two of those days shouldn’t be. The Seminoles weren’t able to defeat either one, and now have to scramble to find some confidence before their showdown with Billy Donovan’s boys Friday night.

North Carolina State
Rumor has it that the Wolfpack are the third best team in the ACC. What does that make (gulp) New Orleans? Read about the bank-shot ending of this one if you haven’t yet.

VCU
It’s not like VCU lost to awful teams this week, but falling to Miami and Arkansas is killer considering the team’s weak OOC schedule. The Commodores’ last chance at a resume-padder comes Dec. 2 at Maryland.

UAB
The race for second place in C-USA was anyone’s to win as the season opened, but after the first lap, UAB has already been left in the dust. The Blazers got blitzed this week, losing to Florida State, Georgia Southern (ouch), and Rhode Island.

The WAC
The WAC got a lot of two-bid love from people in the preseason, but through the first two full weeks of games, the league done nothing to justify that praise. Only two teams, Nevada and San Jose State, have winning records (and both of them have questionable losses, too), and last week alone, Utah State lost to Cal Poly and UC-Irvine, and Fresno State lost to CS-Bakersfield.

Also receiving votes: Oregon State (loss to DII Alaska-Fairbanks), Xavier (L to Miami-Ohio), UConn’s road uniforms, the 27-person crowd at the Oklahoma-Gardner Webb 2KSports College Hoops Classic semifinal game at the Garden, Louisville’s national title hopes (thanks to David Padgett’s season-ending kneecap injury)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dean's List-Academic Probation - Nov. 5-11

This season, B101 will feature a new weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's slate of games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week will make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule will be put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

The Dean’s List
Atlantic Sun
Give it up for the best story in the young college basketball season – the dominant force otherwise known as the Atlantic Sun Conference. Not only did Gardner Webb put the league on the map by stunning Kentucky, but Mercer pasted USC (scoring 96 points in the process), and Belmont drubbed Cincinnati. If nothing else, this week all but guaranteed the league a 15 seed on Selection Sunday.

Gardner-Webb
While it was an incredible week for the Atlantic Sun, the Runnin’ Bulldogs – picked to finish eighth in the league – deserve to be singled out for their monumental upset of 14th-ranked Kentucky (in case you were wondering, GWebb was a 26-point underdog). There will certainly be more memorable and more meaningful upsets as the season goes on, especially in conference play and during Championship Week, but none will be as utterly shocking as this one was.

Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Let the Kevin Durant comparisons begin. In his first two college games, Beasley is averaging 32 points and has 38 total rebounds for 2-0 Kansas State. In what is shaping up to be a legendary year for freshmen, Beasley’s name – so far – is at the head of the class.

Austin Daye, Gonzaga
With Josh Heytfelt on the shelf for four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his foot, the Zags need a scoring lift in a hurry – and they got one from the freshman Daye in their season-opening win over Montana. The 6’-10” Daye also added 10 rebounds in the 77-54 victory.

Josh Mayo, Illinois-Chicago
At the end of the first full week of games, a Mayo leads the leads the nation in scoring – and it’s not one you’ve ever heard of. Junior guard Josh Mayo dropped 34 points, to go along with five rebounds and four assists, in the Flames’ season-opening win over Bradley Saturday. He's your NCAA leader at 34.0 ppg.

Also receiving votes: UNC-Greensboro, Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, the unbeaten Horizon

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Probation
Kentucky
Enough has already been written about how upset/stunned Kentucky fans were with the debacle that was the GWebb game. We’ll only add the following: on the bright side, the Wildcats won’t be hurt too much by losing out on potential games against UConn and Memphis. Their OOC schedule, which features UNC, Indiana, and Louisville, is still impressive – and will give Billy Gillespie three chances to make fans forget the Runnin’ Bulldogs incident ever happened.

USC
It won’t matter how many points O.J. Mayo pours in this season if the Trojans can’t find a way to hold Atlantic Sun squads under 95 points. Then again, maybe Tim Floyd decided to play VMI’s defensive sets and just forgot to tell anyone.

Big East
Belmont beat Cincinnati, Creighton beat DePaul, Cleveland State beat South Florida, UConn barely beat Morgan State (by 4), and Seton Hall had to go to OT to beat Monmouth. Wake up boys, the season started…and the Atlantic Sun is better than you.

Michigan State
If the two played right now, Gardner-Webb might beat the Spartans by 30. Tom Izzo’s squad had already lost to DII Grand Valley State in double OT last week, and this week, they almost pulled off the DII double before barely beating Michigan Tech 61-55. Yes, it’s way too early to panic, but…wait, maybe it’s not.

The Cameron Crazies
For a group that considers itself in a class by itself in terms of fanaticism and tradition, this is beyond pathetic.

Also receiving votes: Auburn, New Mexico State, Georgia Tech

Friday, October 12, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 1

No. 1: The Bracket - Preseason Edition
Over the years, we have shied away from putting together a preseason bracket, only because preseason brackets - like preseason polls when they eventually come out - won't end up meaning jack in a few weeks. Our first bracket of the year has traditionally come out after a couple of weeks of games - usually in mid-to-late November...well, until now. After years of holding out, we decided to give the readers what they have e-mailed us about and wanted for three years now - a preseason bracket. We made it our Bold Prediction No.1 for the 2007-2008 college basketball season.

Here it is: B101's Preseason Field of 65:

Conference Breakdown
ACC (7), Big East (7), Pac-10 (7), SEC (6), Big XII (5), Big Ten (4), A-10 (2), Colonial (2), MVC (2), WAC (2)

Last Four In
Florida State, Missouri, California, Auburn

Last Four Out
Providence, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Houston

The Seeds
The 1s
UCLA, North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas

The 2s
Georgetown, Louisville, Tennessee, Indiana

The 3s
Michigan State, Washington State, Duke, Kentucky

The 4s
Marquette, Oregon, USC, North Carolina State

The 5s
Gonzaga, Texas, Arkansas, Southern Illinois

The 6s
Xavier, Arizona, Clemson, Texas A&M

The 7s
Ohio State, Connecticut, Butler, Stanford

The 8s
Virginia, Pittsburgh, Florida, Syracuse

The 9s
Wisconsin, Davidson, Mississippi State, Kansas State

The 10s
Maryland, Villanova, VCU, BYU

The 11s
Auburn, California, Missouri, New Mexico State

The 12s
George Mason, Bradley, Florida State, St. Joseph’s

The 13s
Utah State, Winthrop (Big South), Akron (MAC), Holy Cross (Patriot)

The 14s
Vermont (America East), Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West)

The 15s
Siena (MAAC), Montana (Big Sky), Texas A&M-CC (Southland), IUPUI (Summit)

The 16s
Sacred Heart (Northeast), Cornell (Ivy), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), Delaware State (MEAC, Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC, Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)













Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com