Month: January 2015

American’s Team?

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane is rolling through the American

In the American Athletic Conference, more ballyhooed basketball programs like UConn, Temple, Memphis and Cincinnati were supposed to keep the league afloat in its second year of existence. However, it’s a program that was left behind that is making the most noise.

Tulsa is 7-0 in league play and has continued it’s great run after ending last season with a blitz through the Conference-USA tournament to the Big Dance.

The Golden Hurricane has managed to sneak its way to an undefeated start by excelling at the free-throw line.  No one is as adept at getting to the line as Tulsa as it gets almost a quarter of its points from the charity stripe.

When Frank Haith left Missouri to take this job at the end of last season, everyone wondered why.  Now it appears he was just ahead of the curve.

Stock Up: Murray St.  It’s been a couple years since the Racers have gone dancing, but they looked primed and ready to not only being the Ohio Valley representative in the NCAA tournament, but also a dangerous out once they get there.

Stock Down: Seton Hall.  At the beginning of January, the Pirates looked like a force to be reckoned with.  Now they just look like a wreck.  They need Isaiah Whitehead back badly.

Stock Up: D’Angelo Russell.  The Ohio State freshman is quietly having an All-American season.  He’s averaging 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for a team that needs him to be as good as he’s been in all three of those areas.

Stock Down: Saint Mary’s. The Gaels will inevitably be on the bubble.  Their SOS and lack of strong wins will do them in.  They’ll have to win the West Coast Conference tournament to get in despite the predictable pontificating on their behalf, which is sure to come.

On to the Bracket

Last Four In: Washington, NC State, Old Dominion, Tennessee

Last Four Out: Michigan St, Seton Hall, Mississippi, Texas A&M

It’s good for games thru 1/25

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.North Florida/Alabama St Louisville

8.Miami(FL)9.Stanford

5.West Virginia12.Murray St Jacksonville

4.Louisville13.Yale

6.Arkansas11.Kansas St Portland

3.Utah14.Kent St

7.Indiana10.Oklahoma St Columbus, OH

2.Notre Dame15.Coastal Carolina

SOUTH

1.Duke16.New Mexico St Charlotte

8.Dayton9.Colorado St

5.Oklahoma12.Green Bay Jacksonville

4.Maryland13.Stephen F. Austin

6.Providence11.Old Dominion/NC State Columbus, OH

3.VCU14.Iona

7.San Diego St10.Xavier Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.Georgia Southern

WEST

1.Arizona16.North Dakota St Portland

8.Northern Iowa9.Georgia

5.Georgetown12.Tulsa Seattle

4.Iowa St13.UC Davis

6.Texas11.Western Kentucky Louisville

3.North Carolina14.William & Mary

7.Butler10.Ohio St Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.Sacramento St

EAST

1.Virginia16.St. Francis(NY)/Colgate Charlotte

8.LSU9.George Washington

5.Baylor12.Wofford Portland

4.Wichita St13.Wyoming

6.Cincinnati11.Tennessee/Washington Pittsburgh

3.Villanova14.North Carolina Central

7.SMU10.Iowa Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

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Nothing Cavalier about the Cavaliers

Virginia guard Justin Anderson (Photo: Amber Searls, USA TODAY Sports)

In a conference boasting the likes of Duke, Louisville,North Carolina and Syracuse, there’s one team that’s standing out above all those. The Virginia Cavaliers are one of the best teams in the country and looks to be the class of the ACC.

With Virginia, it’s all about defense.  Virginia’s pack line defense has befuddled foes ever since head coach arrived on campus. This year has been no different as Virginia is fifth nationally in defensive efficiency, second in field-goal percentage and second in points per game.

That kind of defense keeps the Cavaliers competitive in every game and if they’re able to continue to do this all year, they might be on their way to the Final Four.

Stock Up: Kentucky. This is the only team with better defensive numbers than Virginia. Kentucky’s size, length, athleticism and skill makes it the heavy favorite to win the national championship.

Stock Down: Pac-12.  I thought the league was on the cusp of a basketball renaissance, but it looks like its going to take a step back this season.  If it weren’t for the surprisingly good season for Utah, the Pac-12 would really be in trouble.

Stock Up: Wichita St.  The Shockers clearly aren’t undefeated this year, but they’re still a real threat to go to the Final Four.  They have one of the best backcourts in the country and can play with anybody.

Stock Down: WAC. Quietly, the biggest loser in conference realignment.  The WAC went from having teams like Utah, New Mexico and BYU to Grand Canyon, Utah Valley and Cal State Bakersfield.  Even the MEAC has a better RPI as a conference.

On to the bracket

Last Four In: Mississippi, Kansas St, Tennessee, Washington

Last Four Out: Colorado St, Texas A&M, Ohio St, Alabama

It’s good for games through 1/19/2015.

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.Grand Canyon/North Florida Louisville

8.Old Dominion9.Oklahoma St

5.Texas12.Green Bay Jacksonville

4.Louisville13.Buffalo

6.Iowa11.Xavier Columbus, OH

3.Notre Dame14.Murray St

7.SMU10.NC State Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.Coastal Carolina

SOUTH

1.Duke16.St. Francis(NY) Charlotte

8.Seton Hall9.Stanford

5.Oklahoma12.Western Kentucky Jacksonville

4.Wichita St13.Harvard

6.Indiana11.Tennessee/Kansas St Columbus, OH

3.Villanova14.Texas Southern

7.Arkansas10.George Washington

2.Wisconsin15.Louisiana-Monroe Omaha

WEST

1.Arizona16.Monmouth Portland

8.Northern Iowa9.Cincinnati

5.San Diego St12.Tulsa Seattle

4.Iowa St13.Northeastern

6.Georgetown11.Washington/Mississippi Louisville

3.North Carolina14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Dayton10.Miami(FL) Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.UC Davis

EAST

1.Virginia16.North Dakota St/Colgate Charlotte

8.Butler9.Georgia

5.West Virginia12.Wofford Pittsburgh

4.VCU13.Eastern Washington

6.Baylor11.Michigan St Portland

3.Utah14.North Carolina Central

7.Providence10.LSU Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany