Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bracket Busters Recap

After a wild Bracket Buster Saturday, some mid majors proved that they have upset potential in the tournament. The College Court is here to recap the games for you and tell you which teams are true contenders in being Cinderellas in March.

Murray St. 65, St. Mary’s 51: What was expected to be the best game of the bracket busters actually turned into a blowout. Matthew Dellavedova was the only Gael to score in double figures, as he got 17 points on a bum ankle. Meanwhile, the Racers picked up the signature win they needed behind five three pointers by Isaiah Canaan.

For Murray St., I’m now convinced that they are for real and can do some damage in the tournament. At first I was iffy because they had not beaten anyone, but I can tell that the players on this team can certainly contend with some of the bigger schools in the nation. Andy Katz said that Canaan has Kemba Walker-like ability, and while that may be a stretch, he is certainly one of the best point guards in the nation. As for the Gaels, I’m not too high on them. I don’t think they’re going to win the West Coast Conference and they’ll probably get a low seed, so don’t be shocked if St. Mary’s makes an early exit.

Drexel 69, Cleveland St. 49: The Dragons wiped the floor with the host Vikings as we saw an incredibly hot team beat one that’s slumping. Damion Lee led Drexel with 18 points while Trevon Hamon’s 23 points for Cleveland St. was the only bright spot for the Vikings. Drexel has now won 21 of 22 games while Cleveland St. has lost four in a row.

At this point, Cleveland St. is very much still in the Horizon League race, but with Valparaiso in the lead and Detroit and Butler right on their tails, I don’t expect them to come out of that conference. As for Drexel, they still need to fend off George Mason and VCU, but if they can get into the tournament, they’ll be one of the hottest teams in the nation and one nobody wants to face.

Wichita St. 91, Davidson 74: You can read my full recap of this game in the archive of our site, but I’ll give a quick recap here. Davidson played the Shockers close for the first half, but they shot lights out in the second behind 30 points from Joe Ragland. The Wildcats did look impressive however, especially the inside-outside presence of Jake Cohen (25 points).

I think Wichita St. is the best mid major team in the country. They are incredibly balanced and have multiple prolific scorers. Expect a deep run in March. Davidson isn’t too shabby either. They showed some promising signs against the Shockers and they did beat Kansas earlier this season, so watch out for them in the dance.

South Dakota St. 86, Buffalo 65: The nation got a treat as Nate Wolters was on national television, scoring 22 points, grabbing six rebounds, and dishing out eight assists as the Jack Rabbits dominated the Bulls. Mitchell Watt led Buffalo with 15 points.

There isn’t a very good chance that Buffalo makes it to the Dance. They have to contend with Akron, Kent St., and Ohio in the MAC. However, South Dakota St has a shot. They will need to beat Oral Roberts and win the Summit League tournament, but if they do the world will get to see Wolters in postseason play.

Oral Roberts 67, Akron 61: The Golden Eagles fended off the feisty Zips to pick up a big nonconference win. Dominique Morrison had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Oral Roberts. The key for the Golden Eagles was holding Akron’s Zeke Marshall to only one rebound.

Right now, both of these teams lead their conferences, but face tough challengers. Oral Roberts may have an easier route because all they really have to worry about it South Dakota St. For the Zips, they must go through Ohio, Kent St., and Buffalo. If Marshall plays the way he did yesterday, they won’t win the conference tournament.

New Mexico St. 71, Drake 55: Ever since Drake was selected for Bracket Busters, they have been in a slump. Losers of six of their last nine, they are now six games back in a loaded Missouri Valley Conference. Wendell McKines led the way for New Mexico St. with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Drake struggled from the field, shooting only 34%.

Like I said, the Bulldogs are in the tough Missouri Valley Conference and barring a miracle, won’t be in the NCAA tournament. As for the Aggies, they have a tough road too. Unless they can knock off Nevada in the WAC conference tournament, they will be NIT bound.

Iona 90, Nevada 84: A back and forth game between two very talented mid majors saw the Gaels just edge out the Wolfpack at home. The balanced effort of Iona was a huge factor as they were led by Momo Jones with 18 points and Scott Machado with 15 assists. Five Gales scored in double figures. 49 combined points from Olek Czyz and Deonte Burton was not enough for Nevada.

Both of these teams should be in the tournament, but Iona is the one I expect to make the most noise. The Gaels will probably wind up with a 13 seed and could pull off an upset if they get the right matchup.

Ohio 81, UNC-Asheville 62: The Bobcats showed that they are still a contender in the MAC by defeating the Bulldogs of UNC-Asheville. Walter Offutt led Ohio with 19 points. The Bobcats did a good job of limiting UNC-Asheville’s Matt Dickey and J. P. Primm to a combined 4 of 19 shooting.

Ohio has a tough road in the MAC as I mentioned already, but it’s not a cakewalk for UNC-Asheville by any means. Coastal Carolina isn’t too far behind them, and the Chanticleers won’t forget how Dickey and the Bulldogs spoiled their season last year.

Creighton 81, Long Beach St. 79: What better way to end the night than a bracket buster buzzer beater. Talk about alliteration. Antoine Young’s buzzer beater led the Blue Jays to a come from behind victory over the 49ers. Doug McDermott was unstoppable with 36 points and 11 rebounds. 21 points from Casper Ware and 20 from T. J. Robinson were not enough as Creighton overcame a sloppy end game to pick up a huge win.

The win for Creighton showed that they are never out of a game and that McDermott can carry them for stretches. While they may rely on him too much, they need to be taken seriously in March. Long Beach St. needs to be taken seriously as well. Their battle-tested schedule will serve them well in the Big Dance.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bracketology 2/8/12

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for the second installment of Chris’ Bracketology. In a wild week of college basketball, a lot of teams moved up and down. In the heat of rivalry week, there is still plenty that can happen, but my bracketology is now updated as of last night. Here are what the seedings should be if the season ended today. You can see where teams sit now in terms of seeding and bubble status, and what they must do in the remainder of the season.

#1 Seeds: Syracuse, Kentucky, Ohio St., Missouri

#2 Seeds: Baylor, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke

#3 Seeds: Michigan St., Georgetown, Wisconsin, Michigan

#4 Seeds: Indiana, Marquette, Florida, Florida St.

#5 Seeds: Louisville, Southern Miss, UNLV, San Diego St.

#6 Seeds: Temple, Murray St., Mississippi St., Vanderbilt

#7 Seeds: Creighton, West Virginia, Memphis, Gonzaga

#8 Seeds: Colorado St., Wichita St., St. Mary’s, Connecticut

#9 Seeds: Kansas St., Alabama, Notre Dame, Virginia

#10 Seeds: Illinois, BYU, Minnesota, Harvard

#11 Seeds: Seton Hall, Iowa St., Miami (FL), Washington vs.Northwestern

#12 Seeds: Saint Louis, California, Arizona, New Mexico vs. Purdue

#13 Seeds: Long Beach St., Iona, VCU, Cleveland St.

#14 Seeds: Davidson, Middle Tennessee, Nevada, Weber St.

#15 Seeds: Akron, Oral Roberts, Mercer, Texas-Arlington

#16 Seeds: LIU-Brooklyn, UNC-Asheville, Norfolk St. vs. Mississippi Valley St., Bucknell vs. Stony Brook

Dropped Out From Last Week: Xavier, Ole Miss, Dayton, Massachusetts

Last Four In: Washington, New Mexico, Purdue, Northwestern

First Four Out: Xavier, Colorado, Dayton, St. Joseph’s

Other Bubble Teams to Watch: N. C. State, Texas, Northern Iowa, Pittsburgh, UCF

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Saturday Preview 2/4

In college sports, the most glorious day of the week is Saturday. No one has class, everyone is going to the games, and the calibers of the contests are very high. I am here to bring you a preview of Super Saturday and put the biggest games under three categories: Upset potentials (games with top teams who should win against underdogs hoping to grab a victory), bubble bursters (games involving teams that desperately need a win to keep their postseason hopes alive), and top matchups (games between to very good teams).

Top Matchups

#3 Ohio St. vs. #20 Wisconsin: The Buckeyes face a huge road test in the red hot Badgers. If Ohio St. wins, they could be considered a #1 seed. If Wisconsin wins, they would be firmly planted as a #3 seed.

#8 Kansas vs. #4 Missouri: These two top squads are not only battling for a #1 seed, but the Big 12 championship as well.

Vanderbilt vs. #11 Florida: Despite the ranking, both these teams are evenly matched in this battle for second in the SEC.

#18 Virginia vs. #24 Florida St.: The Cavaliers started off the season on a tear, but now it’s the Seminoles who look to be unstoppable. The winner of this can contend for the ACC title with Duke and UNC.

Bubble Bursters

#15 Marquette vs. Notre Dame: The Irish must build off of their recent success to continue to prove themselves tournament worthy. A win over Marquette would be huge.

#20 Indiana vs. Purdue: The Hoosiers are in a free fall and desperately need a win, but the Boilermakers need one even more to send Robbie Hummel to the dance.

Seton Hall vs. Connecticut: The Pirates have lost five straight and the Huskies have lost four straight. Something’s got to give in this rematch from earlier this season.

La Salle vs. St. Joseph’s: The Explorers want to hold onto the A-10 lead while St. Joe’s would like to add to their quietly impressive resume.

N. C. State vs. Wake Forest: Without a good win, the Wolfpack must continue to beat everyone in their path.

Xavier vs. Memphis: Both previously ranked teams have fallen from grace, so will a win against the other really be a resume booster?

Arkansas vs. LSU: The Razorbacks try to keep their slim hopes for March alive.

Arizona vs. Stanford: Now revived after a win over California, Arizona makes a push for the tournament, which is the same thing the Cardinal is trying to do.

UCF vs. SMU: UCF needs a win and the Mustangs need the season to end.

New Mexico vs. Boise St.: The Broncos have given good teams a scare; will they finally knock one off in the form of the Lobos?

Kansas St. vs. Texas A&M: The Wildcats are falling fast, so they can’t lose to the Aggies.

Arizona St. vs. California: This is a good bounce back game for the Golden Bears, who suddenly see themselves on the outside looking in.

Air Force vs. Colorado St.: The Rams have great computer numbers, but they need more wins to be taken seriously.

Dayton vs. St. Louis: The Flyers are flirting with disaster while the Billikens are surging. Both of these teams could be one of the last four in or first four out.

Old Dominion vs. George Mason: Now out of first in the CAA, the Patriots try to fend off the gritty Monarchs.

Iowa St. vs. Oklahoma: The Sooners’ chances for March are just about dead, but that won’t stop them from spoiling it for the Cyclones.

Drexel vs. Towson: A real contender in the CAA, the Dragons should roll over lowly Towson.

Massachusetts vs. George Washington: Massachusetts needs this game as a pick me up.

Texas Tech vs. Texas:The Longhorns have a shot at the big dance, but they must take care of the Red Raiders first.

DePaul vs. Cincinnati:The Bearcats’ resume doesn’t look that great, so they must beat the Demon Deacons.

Iona vs. Manhattan: The top two teams in the MAAC square off. Can Manhattan ruin it for the tournament bound Gaels?

Northeastern vs. VCU: The Rams are now in first in the CAA and should want to keep it that way.

Marshall vs. Tulsa: The losing streak hurt Marshall, but there is still time to make amends.

Ole Miss vs. Alabama: Both of these SEC teams are on the bubble, but the Tide is in better shape.

Wright St. vs. Valparaiso: The Crusaders are quietly making a run in the Horizon League.

Oregon vs. Colorado: Both Pac-12 teams need a win after tough losses the other night.

BYU vs. Portland: The last thing the Cougars can afford to do is slip up against Portland after beating Gonzaga.

Upset Potentials

#1 Kentucky vs. South Carolina: The top ranked Wildcats should have no problem with the Gamecocks, but a loss here would be devastating.

#2 Syracuse vs. St. John’s: The Johnnies are at home, playing better, and have won two of three; can they topple the Orange?

#6 Baylor vs. Oklahoma St.: The Bears should have this one in the bag, but they don’t want to end up like Missouri.

#6 North Carolina vs. Maryland: The Tar Heels seem to have righted the ship, but a road contest with the Terps looks dangerous.

#9 Murray St. vs. Tenn-Martin: After a close call against SE Missouri St., the Racers look for win number 23 against the Skyhawks.

#12 Creighton vs. Northern Iowa: In a battle of overachiever against underachiever, the Blue Jays look to keep their national credibility intact.

#13 UNLV vs. Wyoming: The last three times they’ve been on the road, the Runnin’ Rebels have either been forced to overtime or lost. Watch out; the Cowboys are sneaky good.

South Florida vs. #14 Georgetown: Despite their success in the Big East, no one is taking the Bulls seriously; they will if they beat the Hoyas.

TCU vs. #17 San Diego St.: The Horned Frogs beat Virginia earlier this season; are the Aztecs an upset target?

Auburn vs. #19 Mississippi St.: The Bulldogs have looked good all year, so they can’t afford to slip up now against the Tigers.

Columbia vs. #23 Harvard: Harvard is playing the night before as well, but they shouldn’t have trouble dispatching their Ivy League foe.

Rutgers vs. #25 Louisville: Maybe the Cardinals have gotten back on track, but the Scarlett Knights always seem primed for an upset.

Temple vs. Rhode Island:The Owls seem to be a lock for the tournament if they win all of the games they should win. This is one of them.

Middle Tennessee vs. Denver: The Blue Raiders have dominated the Sun Belt this year, but Denver (wins over Southern Miss and St. Mary’s) seems like a trap game.

Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine: The Zags need to get back on track after losing to BYU. A spoonful of pepper should make the medicine go down.

Indiana St. vs. Wichita St.: The Shockers have proven to be one of the best mid major teams in the country, so they don’t want to dispel that notion.

USC vs. Washington: The Huskies are now in control of the Pac-12; they must keep it that way.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bracketology 2/1/12

I used multiple stats, included ones that the tournament committee uses to select my field of 68. If the season were to end today, this is how I think the seeds would play out.

#1 Seeds: Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas

#2 Seeds: Baylor, North Carolina, Ohio St., Missouri

#3 Seeds: Michigan St., Marquette, Wisconsin, Indiana

#4 Seeds: Georgetown, Michigan, UNLV, Southern Miss

#5 Seeds: Vanderbilt, Creighton, Florida, Florida St.

#6 Seeds: Louisville, San Diego St., Temple, Murray St.

#7 Seeds: West Virginia, Mississippi St., Colorado St., Gonzaga

#8 Seeds: Memphis, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota

#9 Seeds: Wichita St., St. Mary’s, Seton Hall, Kansas St.

#10 Seeds: Iowa St., California, Virginia, Alabama

#11 Seeds: Harvard, Xavier, Purdue, BYU

#12 Seeds: New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ole Miss vs. Saint Louis, Dayton vs. Washington

#13 Seeds: Long Beach St., Nevada, Iona, Middle Tennessee

#14 Seeds: Davidson, Cleveland St., Weber St., George Mason

#15 Seeds: Oral Roberts, Akron, Mercer, Norfolk St.

#16 Seeds: Texas-Arlington, Long Island, UNC-Asheville vs. Mississippi Valley St., Bucknell vs. Stony Brook

We’re only one month away from March!