Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thanks to YocoHoops.com

Thanks to YocoHoops.com for adding this blog to their BlogRoll.

Gonzaga is overrated in the Polls

As much as I like Gonzaga, and as much as I hate to admit this, they are overrated in the Polls. Granted, polls (especially the Coaches Poll) are a beauty contest not necessarily in touch with reality. But Gonzaga is just 3-3 against the RPI Top 50. That record is not indicative of the 5th best team in the country. They can be that good, but their resume so far is not that of the 5th best team in the country. Yes, EK is slowly getting back to full form and if Heytvelt returns healthy it will be a nice boost. But that's potential. Gonzaga's resume is simply not the 5th best in the country. Period.

Speaking of the polls, how about some love for LSU in the Polls? How about a few LSU games on TV? So many TV stations showing college basketball games nationwide, but not LSU? Come on!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Coaching Carousel - spin spin!

The Quinn Snyder resurgence didn't last long. So he is back on top.

Top(!?!?) Coaches (on the Hot Seat)
1. "Adam" Kennedy @ Cincy (he is interim, and Huggins friend, so most likely to go)
2. Ernie Kent - Oregon. Can't beat USC at home despite the Burger recruits. Ouch!
3. Quinn Snyder - Missouri. On the plus side, L'Oreal may be interested in hair styling product endorsements.
4. Rob Evans - ASU. Nice guys finish last in the Pac10.

Seth Davis of SI, CBS and CSTV mentioned during CSTV's Crystal Ball that Louis Orr is gonna be gone regardless and among the interested/interesting replacements (with NY ties and roots) are: ESPN's Fran Frachilla (formelly Manhattan and StJohns), NBA's and former Seton Hall coach PJ Carlissimo, and Manhattan's Bobby Gonzalez. Keep in mind the show's name is ...Crystal Ball.

Comparing NCAA and NBA stats...

Comparing NCAA and NBA stats is not easy. The NBA game is 20% longer than the NCAA game and the NBA shot clock is 20% shorter than the NCAA shot clock.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The secrets behind the RPI numbers

First of all thanks to kenpom.com for providing a very useful and up-to-date RPI website (for free even).

Browsing through the sets of numbers reveals some interesting things:

  • Arizona and UCLA have played ZERO games against teams with 201+ RPI. No cupcakes! Strong RPI/SOS along with the designer name may be what pushes Arizona in the NCAAs despite their struggles.
  • Top 10 RRI teams with a 50-50 record vs Top 50: Tennesse and Gonzaga
  • Top 20 RPI teams with triple-digit Out of conference SOS: UConn (234!), Illinois, Pitt (178!), Ohio State, Indiana, Boston College
  • UCLA has a 12-0 record against the Top101-200 RPI

    Top 30 RPI teams with...
  • ... low SOS compared to the rest: UConn, Illinois, Pitt, Wisc-Mil (can't blame them as their OOC RPI/SOS is 5/14), Florida and Georgetown.
  • ... a losing record against the Top50: Iowa, Arizona, Wisc-Milw, BC, Maryland, Wichita St, Syracause (horrible 1-5), Michigan, LSU, Marquette and Georgetown. Georgetown may be 1-4 but their one W is against Duke, so that probably counts for 3 :)
  • ... a less than stellar Road/Neutral record: Tennessee, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Maryland, LSU and NCState.
  • ... losses to Top201+ RPI teams: Indiana, Cincy, SoIllinois, Creighton
  • ... signifantly better overall SOS ranking than RPI ranking: Arizona, Cincy, LSU

    Beyond the Top30 RPI
  • Embarassing OOC SOS for "BCS" teams: West Virginia, Washington, Vandy, Clemson, Kansas State, Colorado, Louisville, Georgia, California, Wake Forest, FSU, Kansas, and on and on
  • Great road/neutral records: Iona, NW St, GW, Nevada, Montana
  • Significantly better overall SOS ranking than RPI ranking: Kentucky, Iowa State, St Joe's, Providence, DePaul, South Carolina, Rutgers
  • Good OOC SOS ranking: Kentucky, St Joe's, Providence, DePaul, Houston, TN Tech and Samford (not Stanford)
  • Inflated OOC RPI rating because of very poor SOS of opponents: Missouri St, Iona, Washington, Kansas St, Vandy, Clemson, Xavier, Nevada, Louisville, Ohio, Wake Forest, and many more
  • Great record against the Top50 RPI: West Virginia, Washington, George Washington
  • Embarassing: Two losses to Top201+ RPI: NC Wilmington

  • Weekend Rewind

  • It may feel good for fans to chant "overrated" when beating a ranked opponent but if they stop and think, they would realize that once you beat a team, you want to convince everyone they were VERY VERY good, because that makes your victory even BETTER. Chanting "overrated" does not help, but it "feels good" :)
  • TV talking heads do not seem to grasp the difference between a "short bench" and a "short rotation". Take Duke for example. They don't have a short bench. They have a short rotation. Duke has Top 100 recruits sitting on the pine (Boatang, Boykin, Pocius) and not playing because Coach K doesn't want to play them. That's a short rotation. Short bench means you don't have anybody there, or just walkons. Get it?
  • More and more weekend preview shows have sprung up on the national level. CSTV's Crystal Ball (1hour long) has transitioned from football to basketball, and it is shown every Wednesday night (along and multiple reruns). ComcastSports has its own show with Bob Wenzel (Basketball Weekly every Friday afternoon). ESPN finally woke up and added a Friday preview edition of College Gamenight.
  • What was strange about the Arizona-North Carolina game? Both small forwards were actually of NBA small forward size, something rare in the college game (Marcus Willliams and Rayshawn Terry).
  • Redick and Morrison each score 40+
  • Louisville is in trouble. They may not even make it to the Big East tournament, let alone the NIT or the NCAA.
  • Is this Pitt team really for real?
  • While the Pac10 is officially struggling, the ACC has quietly managed to be almost as bad as the Pac10. The Seton Hall rout at NC State points in that direction.
  • The post-season NIT may end having a regional filled with Pac10 teams
  • The Missouri Valley may end having more teams in the NCAAs than the SEC, Big12 and Pac10

  • Monday, January 23, 2006

    NCAA statistical leaders

  • Shawn James is a one-man block party at Northeastern with 6.1 per game. Wyoming's Justin Williams is not far behind (how many goal-tends does he average?). Lasme, Hicks, Shelder Williams, LSU's Tyrus Thomas and Erek Hansen are next.
  • Paul Millsap continues to be a rebounding machine at almost 13 per game.
  • JJ Barea can score but he can also dish almost 9 assists per game. Nice combination with Shawn James! Jared Jordan of Marist averages 8 per game, while the rest of the pack (and there's a lot of them) is at around 6 per game.
  • Tiny Tim Smith leads all thieves.
  • In what is shaping as a three-horse race, Adam Morrison leads Andre Collins (of Loyola-MD) and JJ Redick at 27ppg. Then a handful of small/mid-major players follow. Among the BCS schools, the next big scorers are Douby-Douby-doo of Rutgers, Gardner of Mizz, Foye, Ager, Killingsworth, Gansey, Powe, Hot Sauce, Pittsnogle and Justin Gray.

  • Coaching Carousel - an update!

    Just like any good reality show, the Coaching Carousel has many twists and turns. Once upon a time on the way out, Mike Davis has delivered a solid Indiana season and team so far. He may go from Hot Seat to Nice Extension. Quinn Snyder is also off the Hot Seat at least for now after a solid Big 12 showing. But if he does get fired, he will do well with hair styling product endorsements.

    Still on the hot seat: Orr @ Seton Hall, Evans @ ASU, "Adam" Kennedy @ Cincy (interim).

    The Seat is getting Hot: Ernie Kent @ Oregon, Monson @ Minnesota, Collier @ Nebraska, Triangle Offense @ Kansas State

    One rumor: Skip Prosser realizes what Dave Odom did: Being the 4th team in the Triangle sucks. So he bolts for Cincinatti, Belein takes over at Wake Forest, where the high SAT scores help him find players that fit his system, while Bob Huggins returns to West Virginia along with former West Virginia natives OJ Mayo and Billy Walker. Clark Francis of hoopscooponline has been on the Huggins-WestVirginia bandwagon for a while now. Belein's seniors are graduating, his son also graduating, so this is as good as any time for him to bolt out of West Virginia. No ripple effects from this one as the circle closes.

    Weekend breakdown


  • Georgetown gets an NCAA-bid-worthy win over Duke
  • West Virginia holds off Farmar's comeback and gets a big W at Pauly Pavilion

  • Clemson steals one at Ga Tech
  • Maryland beats VaTech but loses McCray
  • North Carolina steals one at FSU. FSU has been on the brink of a breakout for the last ten years it seems. Still on the brink...

  • Arizona outgrinds Cal to a W. This is almost like a new season for Arizona with Rodgers and McClelland gone and Fendi Onobun lifting his redshirt.
  • Stanford wins at ASU thanks to a career high by Haryasz playing in front of his family (visiting from Page, AZ)
  • Washington beats the Nike Ducks

    Big (y)East
  • Gameday feature: UConn easily beats the spirited but Dean-less Lousville Cardinals. Making an occasional 3 helps. The only ring Pitino has a chance to get this year is the NIT ring :)
  • The Red Storm is back! Back to back Ws over Lousville and Pitt. They handed Pitt its first loss on the day the Johnies all-time-greats were honored. This has been a milestone week for Norm Roberts and has probably accelerated his rebuildling project. Imagine if half of the NY-based players on Pitt's rosters were playing for the StJohns! The future is bright for Norm Roberts.
  • Syracuse flakes once again before attempting a comeback. If G-Mac is not the most overrated player, then who is? Good win for Villanova as it keeps them in Tier 1 of the Big East (along with UConn and West Virginia)
  • Providence edges DePaul by one. Someone had to win that one.

    Big 12
  • Oklahoma beats Texas Tech. Oklahoma is still overrated.
  • Baylor is now looking at a winless season. Ouch!
  • Kansas drops the hammer on Nebraska. Bill Self is still overrated.

    Big Eleven (aka Big 10)
  • Michigan State drops the hammer on Iowa
  • Once upon a time a big game, Indiana walks all over Purdue
  • Dee Brown wakes up, Illinois wins at Northwestern

  • Duke has Redick. The Zags have Adam Morrison. Duke stole one on a last minute three by Dockery. The Zags stole one with EK's first three of the season.
  • The Tigers continue to own C-USA (this time they win @ So Miss)
  • UAB squeaks by Houston (pun intended)
  • Northwestern State meets Southeastern Lousianna: two teams that created a stir with their out of conference wins earlier in the season.

  • The NCAA surprises a few...

    If Orwell wrote 1984 in the 1990s, it would not be a stretch to claim that "Big Brother" was modeled after the NCAA.

    But in the Myles Brand era the NCAA has taken more forward steps than backward steps. The latest surprise is the equivalent of Gorbatchev's "Gladstonst": The NCAA's RPI ratings will be posted (!) at ncaasports.com for all to see !!!

    January Rewind

  • Conference USA wins the "common sense" award for reprimanding the zebras for giving Turnaround Tom a technical (!) for fainting. As if the zebras did not have a bad reputation to begin with. How insecure where they to think that someone would fake fainting to show them up! Lame! I hope C-USA kicks them out! I'm sure they can officiate the games of Dave Bliss's new team :P
  • As if Alabama didn't have enough guards to begin with, Justin Jonus decides to transfer on January 23 over lack of playing time. Curious decision, probably premeditated. With Chuck Davis down and out for the season, this is a disasterous season for Mark GottFRIED.
  • They didn't do their homework: Disappointing, disheartening, sad, disasterous: Chris McCray of Maryland and Marcus Landry of Wisconsin failed to maintain a 2.0 GPA in the previous semester and are now academically ineligible. This is really bad for McCray as this is his last year as a senior: He is DONE. Sad :-(
  • Duke does not consider Maryland their rival. Yet JJ Redick's only career dunk came against Maryland. "Not our rival?"
  • The last two Saturdays have been epic if not historic: The last three unbeatens go down last Saturday, while the previous Saturday the three Blue-bloods (North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky) all lose on the same day. First time in history for that!
  • So many season-ending injuries... Nate Funk, Demario Eddins, Stan Gaines, Jawann McClelland, Chuck Davis, Armen Kirkland, ...
  • Bill Self is overrated. Period. Roy Williams won with Matt Doherty's players. Bruce Weber won with Bill Self's players. Both Roy and Weber have overachieved this season when they were universally expected to have mediocre seasons. Bill Self stumbled with Roy William's players and underachieved this year with a super-talented freshman class. Enough said!
  • The Silver Fox likes drama. With one hand he suspends Chris Rodgers indefinately (essentially ending the student-athlete's career), and with the other hand he lifts the redshirt from Houstonian power-wing Fendi Onobun. Onobun looked very promising in the minutes he played since the redshirt was lifted. And more drama, Jawann McClelland gets injured right after he became eligible again. The irony/drama of the Chris Rodgers situation: just 3 weeks ago Lute Olson was praising (!) Chris Rodgers on his "Lute On the Air" coach's show (can be seen nationally on CSTV) both academically and as his best ever on-the-ball defender (!!)
  • I can understand it when play-by-play guys utter BS. After all they cover multiple sports and events, so they are not really experts at anything. But the expert analysts (mostly former coaches and players) should know better than divide players in "stars" and "role players". This is far from the truth. This is more of a continuum, not a binary star system :)

  • Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    College basketball - the TV landscape

    Over the air networks
    This is mainly CBS with weekend coverage along with full NCAA tournament coverage. ABC has a few games the last couple of months, with regional action overflowing to ESPN's FullCourt. NBC and Fox have shown no interest in college basketball. That's all on a national level. On a local/regional level, there is more stuff, featuring the local teams or conferences.

    Basic/Expanded cable (analog channels)
    This is mainly ESPN and ESPN2, along with FSN/FSN+ offering national/regional games. WGN offers the early season Wooden classic games, but that's about it. Other channels that typically show sports like TBS, TNT and USA do not carry any college basketball. (You may also remember Fox's FX experiment a few years ago).

    Digital cable
    This is where things get very interesting. ESPN's FullCourt is the grand-daddy of them all but you have to pay an annual fee to sign up for this pay-per-view package. But ESPN has expanded with ESPN-U, which has their own live games, along with games they pick up from ESPN+/Full court, along with reruns of exciting games from ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The emergence of ESPN-U has reduced the need for ESPN-Classic to carry games, although their "Turn Back the Clock" games were really cool.

    Fox is bundling national and regional action into the three Fox College Sports channels. You can get lots of games here, as well as reruns of games you may have missed. The downside of FCS is that they are just showing games, there is no studio programming or anything else. They are basically showing things from all the regional FSNs.

    CSTV was doing well on its own and I am guessing things can only get better after the CBS takeover. They have already created regional CSTV networks available by satellite. They should also make sure they take advantage of CBS Sports. They can show reruns of CBS games, and during March Madness they can show repeats of games later at night, or even show alternate games that are not shown on CBS.

    Last but not least is Comcast Sports Net, which is building up momentum, and being owned by the cable company itself has certain advantages. They have a competitive slate of games, including their own productions, ESPN+ games, along with whatever else they can pick up.

    You will also find a few games on the Black Family channel (formerly MBC) and BYU TV.

    ESPN Classic used to show college basketball classic games. Now those are rare. But there are some classic games on CSTV, Fox College Sports and Black Family channel.


  • Is there any doubt the Chief Blue Devil has sold his soul to the ...Devil? Clemson played well but just couldn't make a free throw! Coincidence? :-)
  • The weekend was blues for the Blues. Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina lost at home on the same time, for the first time in history. The only one who gets a pass is Ole Roy. As time goes by, Bill Self is proved to be more of a PR guy than the next great coach: both Roy Williams and Bruce Webber have done well with other people's programs, but Bill Self has not.
  • Silly TV analysts please stop dividing players into Stars and Role players. It is not that simple. It may be simple enough for your simple minds, but it is not fair for the players, or the game :-)
  • If you watch only one coach's show, make sure it is "Hawk Talk" with Phil Martelli. And you don't have to live in Philly. You can catch it weekly on CSTV - with multiplay even. And a little known secret: Joe Lunardi of Bracketology/ESPN fame has been (and still is) Phil Martelli's sidekick on "Hawk Talk". I bet you didn't know that!

  • Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Weekly rewind

  • Rennainssance (sp?) overhyped? The duo that came out of that school is proving just that. Both Oregon and Kentucky are struggling. Both Hairston and Crawford are struggling. Looking back, it looks like that duo of teamates was overrated
  • So many injuries to key players, it's not fair. Not fair to the players, the teams, the fans, the game. But they are part of the game :-(
  • Dumbest play of the weekend? Trent Strickland of Flake Forest going for a circus dunk when Wake Forest badly needed the bucket, trying to mount a comeback against Duke. After the dunk-miss Duke answered with a barrage of 3s. Ouch!
  • Game of the weekend: West Virginia at Villanova. The first 30 minutes was basically a three-point shootout. Very entertaining if you like offense. The last 10 minutes it was about defense, and the team that played "D" won the game.
  • More play-by-play clones: Dave Barnett tries to sound like Mike Patrick.

  • Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Weekend rewind

  • National coming out party for LSU's Tyrus Thomas. Too bad the first ten minutes of the game where not shown in most markets because the previous game took longer than expected. How about national exposure for LSU? They have Glen "Big Baby" Davis and highly touted Tasmin Mitchell, and senior Darren Mitchell! Get LSU some PT baby! Some for LSU please!
  • CBS acknolwedged their purchase of CSTV during the half time show on Saturday. Hopefully they will get clever and show the alternate games on CSTV (when CBS has regional instead of national games on the weekend), as well as reruns for those who missed them. With CBS's resources CSTV can accelerate its grown and programming.
  • Beat on the Cats! This is the new slogan for Kentucky opponents. I am sure the die-hard KY fans will increase their whining now that Tubby Smith has had his two worse defeats (by margin of victory) in the last few weeks. Can Randolph Morris save the day? Granted Kentucky fans expect/demand a Final Four appearance every year which is almost impossible, but is Tubby on the hot seat?
  • Are the Pitt Panthers for real this time? Just because they have been beating up on cupcakes once again, it doesn't necessarily mean they are a middle of the road team with an inflated record. I have seen them play twice, and they exceeded my expectations. A number of players have made significant progress (Aaron Gray, L. Kendall, Krauser under control), some of the wings have filled up (flashbacks of Julius Page and Jarron Brown), and the freshmen are delivering. Granted Sam Young is a freshman only in name as he was stowed away @ prep school, but he could be the next big player at Pitt.
  • Air Georgia returns to Michigan, and they almost lose to a Purdue team that has nothing to lose - apart from the games they play ;-)

  • Attempt at humor

  • Pete Gillan is averaging 16.4 timeouts per game as a CSTV analyst
  • IBM is interesting in featuring Marcus Williams in their new secure laptops
  • JamesOn Curry wanted to get number 420 at Oklahoma State but when informed that it had to be double-digit, he went with 24.

  • Sunday, January 01, 2006

    Game of the Year Candidates

  • Gonzaga - Michigan State 3OT (Maui)
  • Duke at Indiana
  • Gonzaga - Washington
  • Arizona - Washington 2OT (Pac 10)
  • South Carolina - Marquette (Alaska)
  • Big East Rewind

    UConn With Marcus Williams this is probably the best team, the team that rolls over competition, blows out NCAA-bound teams, etc, etc. This season may look like a two horse race, a Duke-UConn NCAA final rematch perhaps. But the last time we had this, both Kentucky and Arizona didn't make it past the Elite 8. If Marcus Williams comes back and re-integrated smoothly, I am not sure who can beat this team.

    Syrcause Eating cupcakes in the cold frozen weather of Syracuse is good idea calorie-wise, and a recipe for a Hall of Fame induction. But we don't know how good this team is until they are forced to play road games in the Big East.

    Louisville Once a super-star coach, Rick Pitino has to reclaim his status the hard-way. Getting to the Final Four prematurely last year helped. This year's team was severely overrated because of the silly way polls operate (and the silly people who vote in them). This team has a lot of potential, but as of this moment, they are an average team. If all the pieces fall in place, an Elite 8 is not unreasonable.

    Villanova Another team that is a bit overrated. Yes they have four great, sensational, aggressive guards, but what's inside? Without Sumpter I don't see them having a chance to the Final Four. Jay Wright enjoy your 15 minutes :-)

    West Virginia A team with a "weird" offense and a 1-3-1 defense. Can be confusing during the NCAAs and that helps in getting the Ws and moving on. But now that they are famous, they are probably being scouted and analyzed by just about every coach who has NCAA-run aspirations. They won't sneak on anybody this year, but an NCAA bid and one NCAA win are to be expected.

    Georgetown The rebuilding continues with this assortment of players. Hibbert may be too good for his own right and bolt for the NBA prematurely, derailing the Hoyas rebuilding. For now they remain a mystery until the Big East season gets well underway.

    DePaul This team has a lot of potential. Potential to lose to a Divison 3 team, and potential to win big on the road. An NIT bid is almost guaranteed after three big OOC road wins, and an NCAA bid is not far-fetched with a decent Big East schedule.

    Marquette Just like DePaul this is a young team. This trio of guards is the foundation for the future for Crean. They may struggle this year to get to the post season but the future is bright for 2006-2007 and beyond.

    Notre Dame This is the 3rd Big East team laying the foundation for the future, along with DePaul and Marquette. This class of freshmen is laying the foundation for the future. This year they may struggle, they may go to the NIT again, but there is promise for 2006-07 and beyond.

    Pitt Lots and lots of cupcakes. Winning at South Carolina is not really a big deal since Odom's team hasn't beaten anyone of note. Pitt has to have a really good Big East season otherwise NIT they go.

    Cincy With Huggins gone, "Adam" Kennedy has a difficult task ahead as the local fans are very local and appreciative of Huggie-Bear. In a surpring twist, Dr Nancy D gets dethroned and a pro-HuggieBear administration is installed at the University of Cincinatti this summer, Huggins is rehired, and two days later OJ Mayo and Billy Walker commit to Cincinatti. But this team has talented seniors and an NCAA run is possible, although the selection cmte may take a pro-Huggins stand and leave them out if they are on the bubble :-)

    St Johns Long rebuilding project here, but lots of potential for this storied program, and a coach that has the patience to go along. With time, they could be competitive again.

    Rutgers Making the Big East conference tournament would be a success. Need I say more?

    Seton Hall Another coach on the Hot Seat perhaps, but didn't they beat Arizona two years ago in the NCAAs? Making the Big East conference tournament would be a success.

    Providence Making the Big East conference tournament would be a success. And that's not just for this year I'm afraid. Too many powerhouses are in the Big East now, and Providence is just too small to compete.

    South Florida Yes, they are here for football. Lucky are the Big East teams who play them once or twice a year. They should definately storm the court if they make it to the NIT once in the next four years. That was harsh, but that's not far-fetched I'm afraid.

    Big Eleven Rewind

    The Big Eleven (sometimes referred to as the Big 10):

    Illinois Bruce Webber could be the new superstar coach. Why? Look at his record the last two season. SCOREBOARD :-)

    Michigan State Izzo has a solid nucleus but somehow this team does not have bite or killer instinct. A return to the Final Four is possible, although this is more like a Sweet16/Elite 8 team.

    Indiana Make or break year for Mike Davis but this year's team is solid. They almost beat Duke even. How far will they go? I do not know :-)

    Wisconsin Bo Ryan keeps on winning. Another NCAA trip for the Badgers, with the Sweet 16 probably being the ceiling.

    Ohio State Thad Matta is probably the other budding super-star coach, at least recruiting wise. Greg Oden and friends have not played yet, but this team is undefeated. Given how well he has done so far, I am not sure where to put the ceiling on this team for this year. Sweet 16?

    Michigan Another struggling Coach K disciple. Ouch! But this looks like a godo year so far. To his credit Tommy Amaker undertook the arduous task of cleaning up Michigan basketball, and it is going to take a while. Michigan was an overrated program to begin with.

    Minnessotttta Speaking of cleaning up the mess, Dan Monson has a few "get out of jail" cards in his back pocket as well. Promising year, but you can't get to the NCAA when your best wins are at home over UAB and UNLV.

    Purdue The prequel to a rebuilding project. Gene Keady couldn't take it and left for Toronto. Not much else to say here.

    Northwestern A couple of Ws against struggling BCS teams raised a few eye brows. And nothing more :-)

    Penn State The rearguard of the Big Eleven. Lucky are the Big 11 teams who play them twice.

    SEC Rewind

    Kentucky Three seven-footers that produce little and play a few minutes per game collectively. Now Randolph Morris is seen as the savior for this team that has three small forwards pretending to play power forward. Okay, Sheray Thomas may be a semi-legit PF. Not sure what Tubby Smith was thinking recruiting wise, but he could have picked up some guards of size, maybe? Rondo is the only bright spot this year. Watch out next year as their 2006 recruit Derrick Jasper is severly underrated.

    Florida Billy-ball is back. The prima donnas (Walsh, Roberson) are gone, and team-play is back in fashion at Gainsville. And a team that plays like a team wins big - at least in this case. It's hard to find any faults with this team as they are versatile, interchangeable, selfless and athletic.

    South Carolina Tim Duncan's coach thought he had a chance this year. But he lost every single game against an opponent of note. They may not even get to the NIT to defend their title this year.

    Tennessee Bruce Pearl's raised eyebrows with his blowout win at Texas but his undermanned team is going to run out of steam this year. But the future is bright orange...

    Georgia The rebuilding is going according to plan here. Five solid guards and four interchangeable bigs - a couple with potential, along with more talent coming in next year. Dennis Felton is building a new powerhouse. And he didn't need Lou Williams to do it.

    LSU Despite having Glen Davies this team can't get on TV! The best they can do is ESPN Full Court and regional. Having a backcourt of two 5'10" guards may be coming back to haunt LSU. Iffy decisions were made recruiting-wise, as serviceable guards are easy to find. But this team has potential for a March run.

    Arkansas This is another "almost there" team like Florida State. They have beaten all the teams they were supposed to and with a decent SEC record the Hogs will go dancing. Oh yes they have Ronnie Brewer too!

    Alabama Another case of recruiting failure. Where are the guards? Guards are easy to recruit, especially since this team is loaded with talented forwards. So loaded Richard Hendrix can't find any PT, and he could start for almost any other team. Imagine what Tubby Smith would do if he had Richard Hendrix! But there is still time for the Crimson Tide to pick up the pieces. They probably have to win the SEC West and make it to the SEC title game.

    Mississippi State Once upon a time they had a promising coach who signed promising super-talented players who bolted for the NBA before settting foot on campus. Now reality bites - a mediocre team this year, but this recruiting class could be the foundation for the future.

    Ole Miss This team has probably the highest turnover ratio since 5-8 was tossed out. No noteable wins means that they have to win the SEC to get into the post-season.

    Auburn Rebuilding project here, could take a while. But who knows, there are so many new faces here, it's hard to tell.

    Big 12 Rewind

    Kansas Lots of growing pains, but plenty of talent. 13 players in the rotation but only 200 minutes of playing time per game. One or two will probably transfer out. But despite their struggles, this team can gel by February and surprise a few people in March. Bill Self is a darling at ESPN - they even carry his coaches show on ESPN-U. But can he deliver? Bruce Webber is having two great seasons with his players @ Illinois, Roy Williams won the championship with Matt Doherty's players, what has Bill Self done with Roy's players? An Elite 8 and a Bucknell :-) As charming as Bill Self is, he may be OVERRATED. Perhaps.

    Texas The curse of "Turnaround Tom" is haunting the Longhorns? They have a couple of first rounders, but are they really a team? PJ Tucker is great when he plays to his strengths, but a perimeter player he is not. This team needs to do some soul-searching, but given the back-to-back blowouts (Duke, Tennesee), a WakeForest-style flake-out is possible in the post season.

    Oklahoma This is one of the most overrated teams. Taj Gray is great, but then what?

    Oklahoma State Lots of new pieces, this team lost as much as UNC and Georgia Tech did, so it will take a while to blend all the new pieces and recover from the injuries. But there is plenty of raw talent, despite losing Gerald Green to the NBA and Keith Brumbough to academics. Eddie Sutton is closing in on 800, and perhaps the Hall of Fame. They may depend on heroics at the conference tournement for an NCAA bid. On the other hand, as Bob Knight would say, for such a young and inexperienced team, an NIT run with a Final Four trip to MSG may be much better for the long run.

    Iowa State They have the guards. They have many bigs but can they deliver? They lost two of their multiple bigs, and the ones lost were probably the ones that would have been most productive.

    Texas Tech Never count out Bob Knight, but this team is young and struggling.

    Texas A&M Cupcakes galore for Mr Gillespie, he will have to win big on the road in the Big 12 to earn an NCAA bid.

    Kansas State Is this the year the triangle offense gets vindicated? This team looks good on paper so far, but no big Ws on the resume.

    Colorado A team with ten thousand seniors on the roster is a rarity. Since they haven't beaten anyone of note in the preseason, they would need a solid Big 12 season with road wins.

    Missouri What a mess Quinnnn Snyder is in. I bet Coach K is not happy his star pupil has failed so badly.

    Nebraska There is promise if Joe McCray can get back in shape and play like ...a freshman. Promise for an NIT bid.

    Baylor Sight unseen, without an OOC schedule, they probably have to win the Big 12 conference tournament to get an NCAA bid since they are officially in the NCAA dog house.

    Non-BCS Rewind

    Memphis These Tigers are for real. No more hide and seek. No Sean Banks dramas, no Jeremy Hunt cycles of injuries and legal troubles. This is a real team. And they have four (!) road wins already and a neutral W vs UCLA. Oh yes and they almost beat Duke. Final Four is a possibility, Sweet 16 for sure.

    Gonzaga The Duke of the West is riding high again in the regular season. Will this team be tough enough in the NCAAs to avoid the fate of recent Gonzaga teams? They are missing key pieces, but they manage to accumulate the Ws. With Knight at full strength and Heytvelt back this team would actually play D.

    Bucknell The new mid-major super-star? Their high profile Ws continue to pile up. Bill Self shouldn't feel as bad for last year. Now if they beat Duke tomorrow...

    ACC Rewind

    Duke Despite being shaky - partly because of DeMarcus Nelson has missed a few games, the Dookies have beaten a handful of good teams, so love them or hate them, the ESPN darlings are one of the best teams in division 1. Although from what I have seen so far, I have a feeling that this team may get hounced in the Sweet 16.

    NC State Is this the Year of the Herb? Two road wins already at ND and at Alabama. Is this the year NC State breaks into the Elite 8? They have the depth and the talent, and the modified Princeton offense which makes it hard for opponents to prepare for in the NCAA tournament if they haven't faced similar teams.

    Maryland Is Duke's Nemesis back? The Terrapins have been shakey this year, but they have done well so far.

    Wake Forest Will they go down in history as the most over-rated and flakey team of all time? Year after year WF posts great numbers, but when it comes to crunch time, they flake. This year, after losing their two point guards (Chris Paul and the underrated Downey), they have more reasons (and excuses) when they flake out.

    North Carolina A team full of freshman running Roy's system sounds like a recipe for unpredictability. But Ole Roy is that good, and an NCAA bid would not be a surprise.

    Georgia Tech Rebuilding year for sure. They have lost as much as UNC, even though their losses were not the big names of UNC.

    Boston College How is life in the ACC for the undermanned Eagles? One thing is for sure, this team will surprise us one way or another.

    Florida State This team has had the "almost there" feeling for the last few years. Will this be the year L. Hamilton's team breaks out? NIT more likely.

    Miami Three guards that every single team in the ACC has now scouted and analyzed. They need to stir the pot, otherwise the recipe for shutting them down is public domain.

    Virginia Tech Reigning ACC coach of the year Seth Greenberg (!!!), almost pulled out the W of his life by beating Duke @ CIS. Will that be the highlight of the season for the Hokies?

    Virginia If this was the NFL draft, they would get Reggie Bush. Apparently Leito did not want to play him mentor (Calhoun) 2-3 times a year in the Big East so he ejected for this ...job. Rebuilding Virgina is a shakey/iffy project at best.

    Clemson Cupcakes upon cupcakes and then reality. They may get snubbed by the NIT even.

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