Tag: Missouri Valley

Conference Tournament Previews Pt. 2

OHIO VALLEY: The OVC protects its best teams until the semifinals. That means Belmont and Murray St won’t be playing until Friday night. On the other hand, the 5-8 seeds will have to win four games to win the championship. It’s happened before, but I have a hard time seeing that happening with how dominant the Bruins and Racers have been. Belmont clipped Murray St earlier this season, but that was at home. It was the only time the two squads played and here’s hoping we get a rematch. If we do, I predict Belmont to win that one too.

NORTHEAST: Wagner is one of the better mid-majors in the country and its 14-4 NEC record justifies that. The Seahawks performed admirably in the non-conference and are the favorites as they’ll have homecourt throughout. They made a critical mistake though. They let tournament-tested Mount St. Mary’s beat them in the last regular season game. That’s the last team you need to give confidence to. For that reason the Mountaineers will make a return trip to the NCAA tournament.

MISSOURI VALLEY: Loyola-Chicago is the favorite after having one of the more impressive seasons in all of conference basketball. The Ramblers have a sneaky at-large resume as well. They’re one of the newer programs in the MVC so they don’t have much history in this tournament. That being said its difficult to see a team that did what Loyola did in and out of conference losing in this version of the MVC.

METRO-ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: This is a tournament that always seems to provide upsets. There have been pretty good Iona and Monmouth teams in the past that have failed to finish the deal. This year Canisius and Rider finished in a first-place tie. Rider won the tiebreaker and gets the No. 1 seed. That helps the Broncs avoid a possible quarterfinal road game against Siena. That said I expect to see Canisius and Rider in the final. They split both games – winning on their homecourt by one point. Canisius will find away to get it done in its home state.

 

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SHOCKing Results

Fred VanVleet has led Wichita St to a 19-0 record

Threw almost three months of the season there is one team whose undefeated record is as surprising as its run to the Final Four last season.  Wichita St rolled through its non-conference schedule and with Creighton in the Big East, it looks like the Shockers will face little resistance in the Missouri Valley this season.

Led by one of the best point guards in the country in Fred VanVleet, the Shockers destroyed Indiana St, the only other team in the Valley with real at-large aspirations.  He runs the show and is surrounded by talent that plenty of high majors schools are probably envious of.  Throw in Gregg Marshall, a man who’s legitimately one of the best coaches in the country and this is a team that looks like a national title contender.

Stock Up: Tyler Ennis.  The Syracuse freshman has taken this team to another level.  Any thoughts of a drop off after Michael Carter-Williams have been erased as Ennis has made the Orange the favorite to win the ACC.

Stock Down: Big East favorites.  Both Georgetown and Marquette are sputtering to find themselves as injuries, suspensions and early departures have crushed their respective rosters.  Both squads thought they’d perform much better this season but neither have been close to upholding the standard the each program has set.

Stock Up: Kansas.  The Jayhawks are putting it together and its going to get scary for everyone else.  It appears that Joel Embiid has taken the reigns as the best player on this team and everyone else has followed.  Kansas already has four losses, but it could be a good while before it losses again…if it losses again.

Stock Down: VCU. The Rams have been figured out.  If you limit VCU’s transition opportunities they can’t score.  This team can get hot from deep, but it’s not consistent when the Rams are off, they’re extremely easy to defend.

On to the bracket:

First one of the year.

Last Four In: North Carolina, Stanford, Providence, SMU

Last Four Out: Saint Mary’s, Boise St, Purdue, Georgetown

 

WEST

1.Arizona16.Robert Morris/Chattanooga               San Diego

8.Baylor9.Florida St

5.Ohio St12.Providence/Stanford             Raleigh

4.Duke13.Mercer

6.Memphis11.Texas       San Antonio

3.Wichita St14.Georgia St

7.Kansas St10.George Washington           Milwaukee

2.Wisconsin15.Vermont

SOUTH

1.Florida16.Radford        Orlando

8.UCLA9.Xavier

5.Pittsburgh12.Toledo   San Diego

4.Cincinnati13.Stephen F. Austin

6.Gonzaga11.Clemson   Spokane

3.Oklahoma St14.Boston

7.Michigan10.Harvard    Buffalo

2.Villanova15.Utah Valley

MIDWEST

1.Michigan St16.Southern            Milwaukee

8.California9.Southern Miss

5.Iowa St12.Missouri      Raleigh

4.Louisville13.Manhattan

6.Oklahoma11.Green Bay            San Antonio

3.UMass14.Northern Colorado

7.Virginia10.Oregon        Spokane

2.San Diego St15.UC Irvine

EAST

1.Syracuse16.South Dakota/Morgan St  Buffalo

8.Minnesota9.Colorado

5.Saint Louis12.SMU/North Carolina        Orlando

4.Kentucky13.Belmont

6.Creighton11.VCU         St. Louis

3.Iowa14.Towson

7.UConn10.New Mexico               St. Louis

2.Kansas15.Old Dominion

Meeks Shall Inherit the Court

Kentucky G Jodie Meeks
Kentucky G Jodie Meeks

Dan Issel, Pat Riley, Jamal Mashburn, Antoine Walker, Rex Chapman, Kenny Walker.  He beat all of them the way he beat Tennessee.  He beat all of them the way he beat history.  A college game is on 40 minutes, so to score 54 points in that amount of time is extroardinary.  Of course, Jodie Meeks is proving to be an extroardinary player.

Just think of long history of Kentucky basketball.  The great teams under Rupp and Pitino.  All of the national championships.  All of the All-Americans.  Jodie Meeks 54 points is a number that no one had touched.  The crazy thing is, he’s capable of doing it again.  He’s posted 39, 37, 32 and 46-point games as well this season and is light years ahead of anyone in the SEC player of the year race.  I’ll definitely be watching for the rest of season because he’s going to put up numbers the SEC hasn’t seen in a long time.

Stock Up: Marquette.  Quietly, the Golden Eagles have been going about there business in a workmanlike fashion.  They’ve won eight in a row including a 22-point pasting of a good West Virginia Team last weekend.  Marquette hasn’t gotten into the teeth of it’s Big East schedule yet, but they’ve set themselves up quite nicely.

Stock Down: Maryland.  I feel sorry, but I’m not sure who I feel sorry for.  I could feel sorry for Gary Williams because he looks like he’s working so hard to everything out of his team.  I could feel sorry for the fans because it’s pretty obvious there are players on that roster which shouldn’t be seeing the light of day on an ACC basketball team.  In any case, the Terps have lost three of their last four including a game to Morgan St and blown lead of 17 points to Miami.

George Mason G Cam Long
George Mason G Cam Long

Stock Up: George Mason.  Here come the Patriots again.  Clearly Jim Larranaga has a stranglehold over the CAA now.  He’s definitely making the most out of going to the Final Four.  They’re currently undefeated in conference play with two tough road games coming up at the Northeastern and Virginia Commonwealth.  If they can get past those, we’re looking at an at-large bid for the Patriots.

Stock Down: Missouri Valley.  I’m used to seeing at least one team from the MVC with a strong case for an at-large bid.  Right now, it looks pretty grim with just Illinois St as a possibility and the Redbirds’ case is weak.  Might be time to go back to the drawing board at league headquarters.

This week’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: UNLV, Arkansas, BYU, Utah

Last Four Out: USC, Stanford, Texas A&M, Illinois St

This bracket is good for games played through Sunday, January 18, 2009.

SOUTH

1.Wake Forest16.Robert Morris Greensboro, NC

8.Ohio St9.Kentucky

5.West Virginia12.UNLV Portland, OR

4.Texas13.George Mason

6.Florida St11.Villanova Minneapolis, MN

3.Xavier14.Weber St

7.Arizona St10.Oklahoma St Minneapolis, MN

2.Marquette15.Cornell

WEST

1.Pittsburgh16.Alabama St/Western Michigan Dayton, OH

8.Gonzaga9.Utah St

5.Minnesota12.Arkansas Boise, ID

4.Butler13.Long Beach St

6.Florida11.Utah Miami, FL

3.Syracuse14.VMI

7.Baylor10.Michigan Philadelphia, PA

2.North Carolina15.North Dakota St

MIDWEST

1.Connecticut16.East Tennessee St Philadelphia, PA

8.Missouri9.Davidson

5.Purdue12.Siena Boise, ID

4.UCLA13.Western Kentucky

6.Notre Dame11.Wisconsin Miami, FL

3.Clemson14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Dayton10.Tennessee Kansas City, MO

2.Oklahoma15.Austin Peay

EAST

1.Duke16.Morgan St Greensboro, NC

8.Kansas9.Illinois

5.California12.BYU Portland, OR

4.Georgetown13.Northern Iowa

6.St. Mary’s11.Miami(FL) Kansas City, MO

3.Louisville14.American

7.Memphis10.Washington Dayton, OH

2.Michigan St15.Albany