Archive

Posts Tagged ‘UCLA Bruins’

Top Five Potential Landing Spots for Brad Stevens

Dr. Stevens: Professor of Hoops

If Brad Stevens is to leave a perennial Final Four school, Butler, to move up to a bigger job, it has to be one of the traditional, iconic basketball powers. He’s proven that he can win consistently at Butler and moving to another school that hasn’t seen a Final Four in decades or ever, just for a few more dollars, doesn’t seem like the kind of well calculated decision that Stevens would make.

In the four years since replacing Todd Lickliter as the Butler head coach, Stevens has won 116 games going into Saturday’s national semifinal matchup with Virginia Commonwealth. He’s already surpassed the accomplishments of fellow national mid-major darling Gonzaga and other non-BCS schools like Xavier. Memphis is the only other non-BCS school to have comparable success to Butler over the past four seasons, but their compass of success has headed downward since John Calipari left for Kentucky two years ago.

When looking for a situation to compare with Steven’s job at Butler, the coach to look at would be Mark Few at Gonzaga. Few could probably get most, if not all of the jobs that open up every year. But Gonzaga has been able to keep him through big sponsorship money and made-for-TV out of conference matchups that bring in good money and give the program the type of national exposure needed to compete for top recruits. Butler, located in metropolitan Indianapolis, should be able to greatly exceed the revenues generated by Gonzaga, which is in sparsely populated Spokane, Washington. Butler could most likely compensate Stevens more than Few given their market size.

Assuming that money wouldn’t be the ultimate draw for Brad Stevens, which jobs might be able to entice the hottest coaching prospect to come around in years?

Indiana

This one is pretty obvious and could be realized as soon as next year if Tom Crean is still unable to register his first winning season after four years in Bloomington. Stevens is an Indiana native and grew up dreaming of playing for Bob Knight in Assembly Hall. If Crean were to leave (unlikely) or be let go, Stevens would be the first and, maybe, only call the administration would need to make.

Purdue

If not Indiana, how about Purdue? The interesting part of this hypothetical situation is that Purdue coach Matt Painter is currently flirting with Missouri and has an interview scheduled for Tuesday with the Big 12 school. While it’s extremely unlikely that Painter would leave his alma mater to go to another job, especially one that would be at best a lateral move, Purdue could call his bluff and let him go to Missouri instead of giving him a raise. Then the door for Stevens to go to Purdue would open. For Purdue to just let Painter walk now, they would have to have assurances through sources that Stevens would be amenable to taking their coaching position.

Duke

How can Stevens go from lovable underdog to hated frontrunner? He can replace Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. Coach K isn’t going to coach forever (we all hope). Who would be a better selection to fill the shoes of the soon-to-be all time leader in wins than Brad Stevens? Coach K has turned Duke into the biggest brand name in college basketball. Coach K has built the program into one that chooses recruits, not the other way around. Avoiding the recruiting cesspool could be a major draw to Stevens. In addition, Duke will be looking for a coach who understands how things work at a smaller, private school and Stevens brings that experience.

UCLA

The seat in Westwood might be lukewarm for Ben Howland right now, but another season like 2009-10 and the Bruins could be looking for a new coach. The last time UCLA hired an Indiana native with spectacles; he ran off 9 NCAA championships in 10 years and added another one to make it 10 out of 12. Based on his professorial look, persona, and on-court success, Stevens is beginning to resemble a modern day John Wooden.

NBA

What makes Stevens so unusual at the college level is his coolness under fire. He always seems to be in control of his emotions and rarely shows any on the sidelines. One of the reasons why college coaches have difficulty adjusting to the NBA is their inability to take a step back from the micromanaging world of college basketball. Most college coaches who didn’t last in the NBA, like Rick Pitino and John Calipari, have difficulty with pulling back and letting their players go and play. Stevens’ sideline demeanor is what NBA teams want on the sidelines, as opposed to the typical emotional college coach.

For the good of the college game, it would be nice if he stayed. Hopefully, with Stevens, all good things don’t have to come to an end.

Advertisements

NCAA Tournament Daily Breakdown March 20

Here comes Butler again

Here’s a look back at Saturday’s excitement in the NCAA tournament.

Best Finish

The San Diego State and Temple game went to two OT’s, but the Pittsburgh and Butler game easily takes the honors. Butler coach Brad Stevens drew up another brilliant end of game play to give the Bulldogs the lead. But the two subsequent fouls on each team and the drama surrounding those calls overshadowed Stevens’ coaching. Should those calls have been made? The first one was Butler’s Shelvin Mack definitely impeding Gilbert Brown as he was going to attempt a half-court shot. The following foul in a tie game with no chance of a 90 foot made shot, was questionable. But at the end of the day, you can’t make contact and Jamie Dixon shouldn’t have had anybody on that foul line. A John Chaney coached team goes to overtime, because he never had his players on the foul line when his players were shooting for that reason.

Best Performance – Team

Brigham Young: Everybody was picking Gonzaga to beat BYU last night, but The Jimmer and his teammates had other plans. Gonzaga guard Marquise Carter had a career high 24 points against St. John’s on Thursday, but didn’t even score a point against the Cougars. As for the Cougars offense, they shot 14-28 from three point range and shot 52.5% overall. It didn’t matter that the Bulldogs won the battle of the boards by 11, 34-23. All of that resulted in a 22 point win for BYU.

Best Performance – Player

(Tie) Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker: Was there any doubt? These two should share the national player of the year award and last night’s performance is why. The Jimmer went for 34 points and also dished 6 assists as Gonzaga had no answer defensively for the Cougars sharp shooting. Kemba scored 33 and had 6 rebounds and 5 assists as Connecticut beat fellow Big East member Cincinnati last night. It’s too bad that the only way these two could face off would be in Houston on the Monday night. Or that could just be what this season deserves. Honorable mention to Kentucky‘s Brandon Knight who scored 30 against West Virginia.

Best Performance – Player on Losing Team

The Beard, Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen went out with a tremendous performance against Wisconsin. He had 38 points on 13-22 shooting, but went 6 of 8 from three point range. The only blemish on his performance was that missed free throw in the final ten seconds that could have helped tie the game. Pullen is a special college player who probably won’t have a long NBA career due to his size. He’ll be hard to replace not only for K-State, but for college hoops in general.

What’s Happening to the Big East

Notre Dame is now the conference’s last hope to send more than two teams to the Sweet 16 next week. If the Irish lose to Florida State tomorrow night, then the only Big East teams to advance past this weekend would be the winners of the two Big East matchups. This was unthinkable when the tournament started but injuries (Georgetown), collapses (Villanova), peaking too soon (St. John’s), and March Madness (Louisville) thwarted the chances of this formerly (last week) mighty conference.

Coach Who Made the Most $$$

Chris Mooney of Richmond heads to the Sweet 16 as a 12 seed after the Spiders beat Morehead State yesterday. Rumors are already rampant that the Princeton grad will be a top target of the two ACC schools that have openings, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State. Based on his experience and the expectations at each school, Tech looks to be the better fit due to not being on Tobacco Road with Mike and Roy. Mooney could get overwhelmed, like others, in Raleigh.  

Coaches Who Will Have a Little Pressure on them Next Season

Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon worked together at Northern Arizona and then again at Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, because of where he coaches, UCLA’s Howland will have pressure to make at least the Sweet 16 every year. Dixon will have to answer questions about annually coming up short in March until he reaches a Final Four. While not under the same scrutiny as his mentor, Dixon will have the stigma of an underachiever until he guides his team to that final weekend.

Worst Host City

Hello, Tucson, you have the NCAA tournament in town this week. The fans in the desert didn’t show up and there were over 3,000 empty seats for yesterday’s session. Evidently exhibition baseball is more compelling in Arizona this time of the year. None of the other host cities had attendance problems.

Look ahead to Sunday:

Remember About the Gus Johnson Special:

Gus surely will be involved in another buzzer beater this weekend and there are two games to choose from. First will be George Mason and Ohio State at 5:15 EST on Sunday and that will be followed by Marquette and Syracuse. One of those games is GUARANTEED to have a great ending. I’m offering a free subscription to my blog to anybody who doesn’t get their money’s worth out of those two games on Sunday.

Schedule:

(7 East)Washington vs. (2 East) North Carolina on CBS at 12:15 EDT

(8 West)Michigan vs. (1 West) Duke on CBS at 2:45 EDT

(8 East)George Mason vs. (1 East) Ohio State on CBS at 5:15 EDT

(5 West)Arizona vs. (4 West) Texas on TNT at 6:10 EDT

(11 Southwest)Virginia Commonwealth vs. (3 Southwest) Purdue on TBS at 7:10 EDT

(11 East)Marquette vs. (3 East) Syracuse on truTV at 7:45 EDT

(9 Southwest)Illinois vs. (1 Southwest) Kansas on TNT at 8:40 EDT

(10 Southwest)Florida State vs. (7 Southwest) Notre Dame on TBS at 9:40 EDT

Ranking the NCAA Men’s Hoops Major Job Openings

Wooooooooo! Pig! Soooooey!

There are many factors that go into making a college coaching job better than another. Sometimes it can just be based on timing, as schools change administrations, conferences, or upgrade facilities. The biggest factor, however, is the total commitment by the administration and the fan/alumni base. It’s that commitment that can make or break the non-elite coaches.

1. Arkansas

The Hogs are the most recent national champion in this group. This is a program with a tremendous amount of success starting with Eddie Sutton in the 1970’s and followed by Nolan Richardson’s 40 minutes of Hell-era. Since Richardson, Stan Heath and John Pelphrey have only made 3 NCAA tournaments in 9 seasons and Arkansas hasn’t been a major player nationally.

The expectations are higher in Fayetteville than many places and for good reason. Since Bud Walton Arena opened before the 1993-94 season, the Razorbacks have been in the top 10 nationally in attendance 11 of 17 seasons it’s been open. They play in the extremely weak SEC West where football reigns supreme. The only other traditionally good SEC West basketball school is LSU and they are going through worse times in Baton Rouge than Arkansas. There’s no reason why Arkansas can’t be the class of the SEC West given their tradition and competition.

If the SEC is a five or six bid league annually, then Arkansas should be in the running for one of the spots competing right behind Kentucky and Florida. That leaves three or four spots for the ten remaining teams. Arkansas shouldn’t be taking a back seat to any of the remaining teams as long as they have the right coach. As a school that has been to 3 Final Fours and has one championship since 1990, more is expected from this program. The right hire here and the Hogs could be national powers again in the near future.

2. North Carolina State

If the rumors are true, then Sidney Lowe should be unemployed shortly after his midday meeting with AD Debbie Yow. The word is that NC State will be offering upwards of $3M per season to the next coach to compete on Tobacco Road against the heavyweights of college basketball.

The tradition of this program has taken a hit over the past 20 years, but the passion of the fan base remains rabid. Many forget, but there are only a handful of schools that have more national championships than the Wolfpack’s two in 1974 and 1983. Their rich history spans decades with successful coaches like Everett Case, Norm Sloan, and Jim Valvano. But with only six NCAA bids since 1989, the prestige of the program has taken a hit, both locally and nationally and this hire can go a long way to restoring the success in the program.

Like the SEC, the ACC is typically a five or six bid league annually. That usually leaves four bids for the ten teams behind Duke and UNC every March. There’s no reason why NC State should be behind football schools Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. They also have a better tradition and history of success than Virginia and Wake Forest. They belong with Maryland in the next tier below UNC in the ACC.

Duke is different animal. They are in a special situation where they might have the best coach ever in college basketball. The key question that the new head coach needs to know is: How much longer will Coach K be at Duke? Once Coach K leaves Duke, that will open up the competition for the #2 spot in the ACC behind UNC. With the right coach, the Wolfpack could easily fill the void that Duke will leave when Coach K leaves. If this happens within the next 3-5 years, this new coach should benefit.

3. Utah

The Utes? Yes. The 1998 national runner-ups have a very good tradition that has gone under the radar due to their media market and conference affiliations. But beginning next season, they will be a part of the Pacific 12 conference and there will be an opportunity for major success.

The Utes have a national championship during World War II and also played in three other Final Fours, including 1998. The Utes have appeared in 27 NCAA tournaments and also won the NIT in 1947 when it was still bigger than the NCAAs. In addition, the Utes are tied with Indiana for 11th on the all-time win list with 1651 wins.

The Pac 10 hasn’t been that great in recent years and a good hire should get Utah into the top third of the conference quickly. Only UCLA and Arizona are the traditionally stronger programs than Utah in the Pac 12. The other top programs are very similar in history and success. The Huntsman Center is a very good facility that has hosted the NCAA tournament as recently as 2006 and is bigger than any building in the new Pac 12.

Athletic Director Chris Hill has made two hires since Rick Majerus left seven years ago. Unfortunately, it has only resulted in two appearances in the NCAAs. This is now a good job in a BCS conference now; they appear to want to make a strong commitment, so will they be able to attract the right coach?

4. Oklahoma

Jeff Capel was let go on Monday and it’s now hiring season in Norman. While the Sooners have a solid basketball program, it will always be in the shadow of its perennial top 10 football program. The program has been very good over the past 30 years but competing annually against Kansas and a now stronger Texas makes this job more difficult than the others above on the list. In addition, Bedlam rival Oklahoma State has a much longer and richer tradition of success on the hardwood than the Sooners.

The departure of Colorado and Nebraska tightens up the quality of the conference basketball wise. But there are unknowns about the future of the league and how a conference shift based on football might affect the basketball program. This is a solid job, but not a great job. They will always be clustered in a group behind Kansas in the conference. The resources are there, but the fan base isn’t as passionate as the other schools on this list.

Since Billy Tubbs arrived for the 1980-81 season, the Sooners have played in 23 NCAA tournaments, with two Final Fours, and also two NIT appearances. They made 25 straight postseason appearances from 1982-2006 which was snapped after Capel’s first season. The AD Joe Castiglione is definitely committed to excellence. But will he be able to find that special coach who can lead the Sooners back to the Final Four?

5. Georgia Tech

The Rambling Wreck was an also-ran in the ACC forever before they brought Bobby Cremins into the program in 1981. In the 19 seasons with Cremins, the Yellow Jackets went to 10 of their 16 NCAA tournaments and one Final Four. Recently fired Paul Hewitt went to 5 NCAAs in 11 seasons and lost in the 2004 championship game.

What makes this program somewhat intriguing is the size of the school and their alumni base. Even though they are a traditional football school, Georgia Tech has gotten a taste of success in hoops over the past 25 years and the right hire might be able to reenergize the fan base. This biggest problem facing Tech is similar to NC State, playing in the competitive ACC. Except that they lack the Tobacco Road fanaticism and tradition that State has.

Georgia Tech is an ACC school located in Atlanta. That should be enticing, right? But you start every year playing for third in the ACC and the expectations are generally high. Hewitt got eleven years, but he was given extra time based on his early success. His replacement isn’t going to be guaranteed that kind of support. As with NC State, the timing could be right here. The conference is down across the board, save UNC and Duke, so the right hire could catapult the Yellow Jackets to the top third of the ACC.

6. Providence

Here’s an example of why all big conference jobs aren’t created equal. The Friars were great under Joe Mullaney and Dave Gavitt in the years leading up to the formation of the Big East conference in 1979. Since then, the Friars have struggled to compete against the nationally recognizable conference mates.

Rick Pitino had a short tenure at PC, but took the Friars to their second and last Final Four in 1987. In the decade or so after Pitino left for the Knicks, the Friars became a stop on the basketball coaching ladder as Rick Barnes and Pete Gillen both left PC for the ACC.  Before firing Keno Davis after only three seasons, the Friars were incredibly patient with his predecessor, Tim Welsh. Welsh spent 10 years at PC with only two appearances in the NCAA’s after taking over for Pete Gillen in 1998.

So what is the deal here? The fanbase is terrific as the Friars are essentially the “pro team” in the state capital of Rhode Island during the winter. The problem is that the Big East is ridiculously difficult to compete in now. Ten coaches in the conference have made it to the Sweet 16 or farther. Six have been to the Final Four and three have won NCAA championships.

While the fans probably want a lifer, the best possible coach for them would be in the mold of a young Pitino or Barnes who are working their way up in the profession. Maybe they can get lucky and that coach sticks around for a few years longer than expected.

Road to Selection Sunday for March 11

Another Garden party for Pitino?

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 11

News and Notes:

Lafayette is comfortable as the underdog going into today’s Patriot League Championship against Bucknell.

Depth and defense are driving Louisville’s success according to Rick Bozich.

Here’s a link to the Kansas City Star’s Big 12 tournament page.

Brandon Davies travelled with BYU to the MWC tournament and will sit on the bench during the games.

Kenny Frease tweaked his back and didn’t practice yesterday for Xavier. Coach Mack said that he should play.

The Gators are loose and confident going into their quarterfinal matchup with Tennessee tonight.

Winners:

Colorado: The Buffs got beat K-State for the 3rd time this season and could have sealed their ticket to March Madness. A win over Kansas today would seal their bid. What might work against them is that if they lose, they will be 7-9 in their final 16 games. Pretty mediocre, but that’s what a lot of the bubble looks like.

Connecticut: Solid comeback win by the Huskies complete with an ankle breaking move that led to Kemba Walker’s buzzer beater to win the game. The Huskies could have shut it down early as they trailed by 12 for awhile until they pulled even just before halftime. It should be interesting to see what they have left as they play their fourth game in four days tonight against the Orange. They better hope they don’t go to 6 OT’s in this one, like two years ago.

New Mexico: Better late than never for Steve Alford’s Lobos as they get another shot at BYU and the Jimmer tonight. They might be able to finagle an at-large bid if they win this game and keep it close against San Diego State. It’s possible that they might have to beat UNLV if they play them.

Washington: The Huskies came back from multiple deficits to finally get a win over their in-state rivals last night. This win could get them over the hump on the soft bubble.

Notre Dame: The Irish are looking like a national championship contender and could pass by Pittsburgh or another team for a #1 seed if they win the Big East tournament. They look like Ohio State without Sullinger right now.

Losers:

Pittsburgh: Gary McGhee got his ankles broken as Kemba Walker worked him over and drained the game winning shot as time expired. As long as the selection committee doesn’t overrate the conference tournaments, the Panthers could still be a #1 seed when the brackets are announced. But that 3-3 finish won’t help.

DJ Kennedy and St. John’s: Kennedy tore his ACL in the loss to Syracuse yesterday afternoon and is gone for the season. That means the senior will not be able to participate in the NCAA tournament for the first and only time. It’s a tough break for a quality player who put his ego aside to play a winning role this season.

UAB: Losing in the quarterfinals wasn’t the recipe for a tourney invite for the Blazers. They probably one the wrong side of the bubble since their only good win is over VCU.

UCLA: Nice loss to Oregon. That loss probably moves to Bruins to a double digit seed when the brackets come out. The performance of the team last year and early this year caused a lot of grumbling by the fan base. Losing to the Ducks, who haven’t been really good, can’t help Ben Howland.

Coaches who might be out now: The following coaches might have just coached their last game at their current school last night. Their departure won’t be on their terms: Arkansas’ John Pelphrey, NC State’s Sidney Lowe, Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt,

Colorado State: Last night’s loss to New Mexico probably finishes their at-large hopes. Their only win over a probably NCAA team is just UNLV and that isn’t enough. They lost 5 of 6 to close the season and failed to register a high profile win.

Marshall and Southern Miss: These two CUSA schools were longshots to get an at-large and probably needed to be playing on Saturday to have a chance. Losing yesterday ended that.

Cal: The Bears can’t possibly get in after losing by double digits to USC yesterday, can they? Hope not.

Missouri: The Tigers continue to struggle away from Columbia during 2011. This one wasn’t even close and you have to wonder how close to the bubble they really are. They were 8-8 in the Big 12 and went 1-7 on the road. The wins over Illinois, Vanderbilt, and Old Dominion will probably pull them through.

Marquette and Cincinnati: Hide the women and children. Last night’s games at the Garden were hideous they lost by 25 and 38 respectively. Marquette should be good, but the RPI is still in the 60’s.

Washington State: The Cougars blew a big lead and most likely their scant at-large chances last night against Washington. Now they hope for a NIT bid.

Friday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(84) Dayton vs. (21) Xavier: Noon EST

(39) Georgia vs. (85) Alabama: ESPN3 at 1 EST

(38) Illinois vs. (56) Michigan: ESPN at 2:30 EST

(45) Boston College vs. (59) Clemson: ESPN2 at 2:30 EST

Patriot League Championship (226) Lafayette at (81) Bucknell: ESPN2 at 4:45 EST

(49) Michigan State vs. (8) Purdue: 6:30 EST

(16) Connecticut vs. (15) Syracuse: ESPN at 7 EST

(64) Colorado vs. (1) Kansas: ESPN3 at 7 EST

(30) Tennessee vs. (9) Florida: ESPN3 at 7:30 EST

(51) Penn State vs. (12) Wisconsin: 8:55 EST

(66) New Mexico vs. (5) Brigham Young: CBS College at 9 EST

(67) USC vs. (18) Arizona: 9 EST

(65) Virginia Tech vs. (44) Florida State: ESPN2 at 2:30 EST

(19) Louisville vs. (6) Notre Dame: ESPN at 9:30 EST

(28) Texas A&M vs. (14) Texas: ESPN3 at 9:30 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Pac 10 Basketball Overview March 6

Pac 10 Basketball Overview March 6

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 7th. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Arizona Wildcats RPI 17

  • 25-6, 14-4 in Pac10  Away: 7-5  Neutral: 1-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a win over NC State and losses to Kansas and BYU. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 18, schedule 45.
  • Pac10 Wins: at Ore, Cal, Stan, ASU, at WSU, UCLA, USC, at Stan, at Cal, at ASU, WSU, Wash, OSU, Ore    Losses: at OSU, at Wash, at USC, at UCLA
  • The Cats need to win the Pac 10 tournament to get a 5 seed. They should be a 6 seed if they make the Pac 10 finals. No wins and they could be in an 8-9 game.

UCLA Bruins RPI 35

  • 22-9, 13-5 in Pac10  Away: 5-5  Neutral: 0-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with wins over BYU and St John’s and losses to Villanova, VCU, Kansas, and Montana. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 74, schedule 40.
  • Pac10 Wins: WSU, at OSU, at Ore, Cal, Stan, at ASU, USC, Ore, OSU, at Stan, ASU, Ariz, at WSU  Losses: Wash, at USC, at Ariz, at Cal, at Wash
  • The Bruins need to win at least two games wear their white jerseys. Winning the Pac 10 tournament might get them as high as a 6 seed.

 

Bubble Territory:

Washington Huskies RPI 45

  • 20-10, 11-7 in Pac10  Away: 5-6  Neutral: 1-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with a win over Virginia and losses to Kentucky, Michigan State, and Texas A&M. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 47, schedule 71.
  • Pac 10 Wins: at USC, at UCLA, Ore, OSU, at Cal, Ariz, ASU, Cal, Stan, at ASU, UCLA   Losses: at Stan, at WSU, at OSU, at Ore, at Ariz, WSU, USC
  • The Huskies need to win against Wazzu to be safe on Selection Sunday. They can climb as high as a 7 seed if they win the Pac 10 tourney.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Washington State Cougars RPI 73

  • 19-11, 9-9 in Pac10  Away: 5-6  Neutral: 3-1
  • OOC rundown: 10-2 with wins over Gonzaga and Baylor and losses to Kansas State and Butler. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 55, schedule 154.
  • Pac 10 Wins: OSU, Ore, at Stan, ASU, Wash, at OSU, Cal, at Wash, USC   Losses: at UCLA, at USC, at Cal, Ariz, at Ore, Stan, at Ariz, at ASU, UCLA
  • The Cougars probably have to beat Washington and UCLA to have a chance.

California Golden Bears RPI 68

  • 17-13, 10-8 in Pac10   Away: 5-5  Neutral: 1-2
  • OOC rundown: 7-5 with wins over New Mexico, Temple, and Iowa State and losses to Notre Dame, BC, San Diego State, Southern Miss, and Kansas. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 70, schedule 6.
  • Cal doesn’t have a really bad loss on their record. The Bears need to beat USC and Arizona to be safe on Selection Sunday. Anything less probably won’t do.

USC Trojans RPI 69

  • 18-13, 10-8 in Pac10  Away: 5-8  Neutral: 1-1
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with wins over Texas and Tennessee and losses to Rider, Bradley, Nebraska, TCU, and Kansas. They also have 3 gimme wins. RPI 79, schedule 53.
  • The Trojans need to beat Cal and Arizona to be safe on Selection Sunday.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Stanford Cardinal RPI 141

  • 15-15, 7-11 in Pac10
  • OOC rundown: 7-4 with a win over Virginia and losses to Murray State, Tulsa, Butler, and Oklahoma State. They also have 5 gimme wins and a gimme remaining against Seattle. RPI 149, schedule 250.
  • The Johnny Dawkins watch will begin if they’re here next season.

Oregon Ducks RPI 154

  • 14-16, 7-11 in Pac10
  • OOC rundown: 7-5 with no notable wins and plenty of losses. They also have 5 gimme wins and a non division I win. RPI 203, schedule 136.
  • No tourney this year for the Ducks.

Arizona State Sun Devils RPI 153

  • 12-18, 4-14 in Pac10
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 with wins over UAB and Tulsa and losses to New Mexico, St. John’s, Baylor, and Richmond. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 75, schedule 77.
  • Time to focus on recruiting.

Oregon State Beavers RPI 232

  • 10-19, 5-13 in Pac10
  • OOC rundown: 5-6 with no notable wins and plenty of losses. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 291, schedule 327.
  • No tourney this year for the Beavers, unless the President gets involved.

 Make sure you check in every morning for a review of the previous day’s games on the Road to Selection Sunday.

Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 4-6

Send it in, Jerome!

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 4-6

News and Notes:

I can’t get enough of Bill Raftery and this piece on him is a must read if you’re a Raft fan.

Winners:

Washington: The Huskies needed a big win to solidify their questionable profile and beating UCLA helps that. CJ Wilcox was very good as he went for 24 points on 7 of 10 shooting while Isaiah Thomas struggled. The Huskies look solid now, but still need to win another game or two to secure their at-large hopes.

Arizona: With UCLA losing, the Wildcats clinched at least a tie for the Pac 10 title going into their regular season finale against Oregon.

Washington State: The Cougars keep their longshot at-large hopes alive after beating USC last night. They need to beat UCLA on Saturday and then win at least a couple more games in the Staples Center.

Losers:

St. John’s: The loss by the Red Storm to Seton Hall got ugly late as Steve Lavin was ejected by the officials and Justin Burrell was ejected for a flagrant foul on Anali Okoloji in the final seconds. The Big East office will surely look at the hard foul by Burrell. But what the announcers didn’t discuss was the lack of sportsmanship by Okoloji who appeared to be heading to the rim for a layup or dunk with the Pirates leading by 14 points and the shot clock turned off. Looking at it that way, Burrell’s actions can be justified a bit as there has to be consequences for an opponent who is trying to rub it in your face, right? If a baseball player is showboating at the plate after hitting a home run, that next batter’s probably getting a pitch near his shoulders.

UCLA: By losing in Seattle to the Huskies last night, the Bruins are most likely done for the Pac 10 title that Arizona clinched at least a share of with their win last night. The Bruins profile is decent, but they need to win another game or two to be secure on Selection Sunday.

USC: The loss in Pullman last night probably ended their at-large hopes (again). But, I’ve said that before.

This Weekend’s Games

Saturday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(1) Kansas at (31) Missouri: CBS at Noon EST

(20) Louisville at (16) West Virginia: ESPN at Noon EST

(63) Virginia Tech at (64) Clemson: ESPN2 at Noon EST

(100) Duquesne at (60) Richmond: CBS College at Noon EST

(37) Georgia at (89) Alabama: 1:30 EST

(45) Michigan State at (58) Michigan: CBS at 2 EST

(10) Notre Dame at (21) Connecticut: ESPN at 2 EST

(7) Georgetown at (34) Cincinnati: 2 EST

(33) Villanova at (9) Pittsburgh: CBS at 4 EST

Big South Championship: ESPN2 at 4 EST

(38) UCLA at (66) Washington St: 5:30 EST

(11) Florida at (24) Vanderbilt: ESPN at 6 EST

Atlantic Sun Championship:  ESPN2 at 6 EST

(49) Princeton at (43) Harvard: 7 EST

(53) Central Florida at (52) Marshall: 7 EST

(5) Duke at (8) North Carolina: CBS at 8 EST

Ohio Valley Championship: ESPN2 at 8 EST

(14) Texas at (77) Baylor: ESPN at 9 EST

(73) Nebraska at (79) Colorado: 9 EST

(47) Colorado State at (4) San Diego State: 10 EST

(80) USC at (35) Washington: 10:30 EST

Sunday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(12) Kentucky at (32) Tennessee: CBS at Noon EST

Missouri Valley Championship: CBS at 2 EST

(13) Wisconsin at (2) Ohio State: CBS at 4 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 3

Still Winning

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 3

News and Notes:

Joshua Smith is viewed as a turncoat in the Northwest, but could be the key to ending a 6-game losing streak in Seattle.

The Trojans are getting after it to try to keep their season alive.

Here’s more on Joshua Smith from his hometown.

Cougar talk with Coach Bone going into the LA weekend.

Winners:

North Carolina: The Heels now host Duke on Saturday night with the outright ACC championship on the line. Who would have predicted that two months ago? Harrison Barnes with the ridiculous 3 with a few seconds left to win the game. Barnes has quietly put together at least a 2nd team all-ACC season. It’s amazing how under the radar the Heels have been this ACC season.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers are one of the quiet Big East teams this season. Hard to believe that Huggy is quiet, huh? Great defense down the stretch as the Huskies offense went into vapor lock. Beating UConn last night keeps their hopes alive for a 4 seed on Selection Sunday. They can get it if they make a run to the finals.

Miami: The Canes got a big home win last night over Maryland and might have ended the Terps at-large hopes while sustaining theirs. They need to beat Georgia Tech on Saturday and then win at least one game in Greensboro.  Two wins in Greensboro would probably wrap it up for them.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats aren’t a great home team, but their win at Marquette last night was their fifth Big East road win this season and virtually guaranteed their at-large bid for March Madness. It wasn’t easy as Jimmy Butler went off for 30. The key for the Cats was their consistent scoring from their starters. Four players scored between 11 and 15 points, led by Cashmere Wright. The Cats are now playing for a seed, barring a loss to Georgetown and then a horrific loss in the Big East tournament opening game.

UAB: The Blazers won on a last second three by Preston Purifoy to keep their at-large hopes alive. In fact, they might be safer than most think. With a top 30 RPI, it’s going to be tough to justify the Blazers omission into March Madness.

Losers:

BYU Honor Code: Everybody else is praising this “code”. I’m here to throw a wet blanket over it. Are you kidding me? This is a situation where a player got caught doing what I’m sure a lot of BYU students escape campus to do. Expect this situation to be reversed and Brandon Davies to be reinstated after the MWC tournament.

Brigham Young: The Cougars lost last night, not because Davies wasn’t there, but because New Mexico continues to provide a matchup problem for the Cougars. The Lobos outscored the Cougars by 46-24 in the second half of the first matchup and then beat them by 18 last night. Every team these days has a bad matchup, BYU is a bad matchup for SDSU and the Lobos are bad for the Cougars.

Florida State: The Noles let a golden opportunity to secure their at-large bid slip away when Harrison Barnes ripped out their throats with that last second three to win the game. As long as they go on the road and beat the Wolfpack on Sunday, they should be dancing. They showed they belonged without Singleton during the past few weeks.

Connecticut: Along with Villanova, the Huskies appear to be feeling the effects of the treacherous Big East schedule. They have one more with the Irish on Saturday before the Big East tournament. They need to take a few days to rediscover what made them a top 10 team before conference play began. Specifically, Kemba Walker needs to break down the game tape of when he’s most effective and also needs to do a better job of identifying opposing defenses. He doesn’t adjust.

Marquette: Every conference seems to have one. A team that can’t seal their at-large bid and the Golden Eagles are the Big East’s candidate. Despite Jimmy Butler’s 30 points, they couldn’t stop the Bearcats offensively as Cincy shot 50% from the field.

Memphis: East Carolina? Winning the CUSA tournament in El Paso is going to be tougher than in Memphis.

Colorado: Here’s another team that can’t accept being on the bubble with a chance to secure a spot. It’s going to take multiple wins in KC for the Buffs to dance.

Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles needed to keep winning, but lost a heartbreaker on the last second three. The bad bubble might help, but they need to win probably 3 more games to get in.

Thursday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(35) UCLA at (41) Washington: ESPN2 at 9 EST

(78) USC at (70) Washington St: 10 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.