Most people knew this would be a bad year for the Pac-10. However, no one would predict the conference’s performance would be this bad. I’ve never seen a BCS conference be this bad. What compounds the problem is the Pac-10’s best team may be USC, and it has self-imposed sanctions that makes it ineligible for the NCAA Tournament.
Washington was the preseason favorite and it has started 0-3 in league play. The Huskies just wrapped up a weekend in the desert where they lost to Arizona and Arizona St by 17 points each. Oregon looked like a team that was on the come up until it lost at home to Oregon St, a team that lost by 51 to Seattle (not the Supersonics-theyre in Oklahoma City now).
Cal started slow due to the absence of Theo Robertson. The Bears have picked up their play since he’s returned and I expect them to be the team people expected them to be in the preseason. However, who’s going to step up with them? Arizona St., Washington, Washington St, Oregon? Somebody else has to show they can play good basketball or the chance that a BCS conference only gets one team in the NCAA tournament becomes a very distinct possibility.
Stock Up: Jamie Dixon. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but I’m not sure anyone expected Pittsburgh to be this good this season. The lost Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, and LeVance Fields and they’re still rolling. They’re win at Syracuse last week may have been the most impressive win by any team all year. Then, they followed that win with another road victory at Cincinnati. Dixon is definitely doing his best to win Big East Coach of the Year honors.
Stock Down: Creighton. I don’t know what’s going on in Omaha, but this team is in the top-5 of my most disappointing teams this year. I was confident in predicting this team as a strong at-large candidate, but any team that can’t beat Iona at home doesn’t deserve any postseason consideration.
Stock Up: The Ivy League. Last week, the nation witnessed Cornell take Kansas to the brink of one of the biggest regular season upsets in college basketball history. What people need to realize is the Ivy is a one-team show. Harvard is there as well and after it has beaten William&Mary, Boston College, and given UConn all it can handle, this conference may make a case for multiple NCAA tournament bids.
Stock Down: Schedule makers at North Carolina and Missouri. Both of these teams were in the Elite 8 last season. Both of these teams are in power conferences. Why would they play road games at the College of Charleston and Oral Roberts respectively. There’s a lot more risk than reward in playing those games and for both teams, they experienced the worst possible outcomes.
This week’s bracket projections:
Last Four In: Richmond, Louisville, Texas Tech, Notre Dame
Last Four Out: Old Dominion, Northwestern, Alabama, Missouri St
1.Texas16.Prarie View/Long Island Oklahoma City
5.North Carolina12.Texas Tech Jacksonville
6.Vanderbilt11.St. Mary’s Providence
3.West Virginia14.Murray St
7.Northern Iowa10.Florida St Buffalo
1.Purdue16.Morgan St Milwaukee
8.Texas A&M9.Miami (FL)
6.Tennessee11.California San Jose
3.Kansas St14.Northern Colorado
7.Wake Forest10.Illinois Buffalo
2.Syracuse15.East Tennessee St
1.Kansas16.Vermont Oklahoma City
5.Butler12.Notre Dame Spokane
6.Oklahoma St11.Mississippi New Orleans
3.Wisconsin14.College of Charleston
7.Rhode Island10.William&Mary Providence
5.UConn12.Siena San Jose
6.Dayton11.Mississippi St New Orleans