The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

Who played their way out today?

I expected to be blogging tonight about bubble teams losing and hurting their chances or about small-conference favorites losing and taking away a bubble spot. You know–the things that have been happening all week.

None of that happened today though. Arkansas and St. Joseph’s both won, basically ensuring they’ll be in. Virginia Tech and Temple won, keeping themselves alive. Kent State, Memphis, UNLV, and BYU all won, protecting the bubble.

That’s not to say today was any less exciting. Today was one of the most exciting days of basketball I’ve seen since…March of 2006. Tornadoes screwing up the SEC tournament, close games in all tournaments, great buzzer-beaters…even the Big Ten had exciting games after Wisconsin/Michigan ended.

For the first time ever tonight, I was glad I have the Big Ten Network. For the second time in as many nights Illinois tried to throw away a win but survived at the last second. The law of averages is in play here. Illinois led in the second haf of most of their losses this season and led in the last five minutes of many of them. Eventually the shots would start to go in their favor, and it’s starting to happen at the right time. As for Minnesota and Indiana, if you haven’t seen the end of that game, turn on ESPN. Or just watch this video that was probably illegally taken with a cell phone:

That’s the same kid who won the state championship from his back a couple years, by the way.

In the Big 12… Everyone has Kansas State easily in the tournament but Syracuse easily out. If you look at all the numbers, the two are very similar. They have the same number of wins (although Syracuse has two more losses). Kansas State has a better conference record, but how many of their conference wins are against potential tournament teams? Both teams have three good conference wins. Both have one key win (Kansas and Georgetown). They both have RPI rankings in the 50’s and 5 road wins and both struggled down the stretch, but Syracuse’s strength of schedule is higher. In their non-conference schedule, KSU beat 0 potential tournament teams, despite playing George Mason and Oregon at home. Syracuse beat Siena, St. Joseph’s, and Cornell–not the greatest collection of teams but better than Kansas State’s wins. That’s my point. I don’t think Syracuse should be in, but I don’t think Kansas State should be either. I think they’re overhyped because they have one great player. Last year Texas got a lower seed than I thought they should have but ended up proving they were no better than a 4-seed. The selection committee was correct then, and I think they’ll look past the one great player again and leave Kansas State out.

As for the SEC…that’s a bad situation. Someone is going to have to play two games in one day. That is, unless they can convince Georgia to forfeit. They have 14 wins this year; Kentucky has 12 SEC wins. When I first thought of this, I thought it was a bad idea because it would send the wrong message to the Georgia players. But I think I’ve changed my mind. Now I think it would send a good message to the players–that basketball isn’t everything. Letting a freak act of nature force either Kentucky or Mississippi State (teams with realistic chances of winning the tournament) to play two games in one day because Georgia has unrealistic dreams is teaching the kids selfishness when you could teach them to be unselfish and giving.

But even that leaves the problem of Kentucky playing one fewer game than everyone else. How is that fair to MSU, Tennessee, or Arkansas? It’s not, but let’s just be glad no one was hurt in the incident and that none of the teams left are legitimate “bubble” teams 😉

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March 15, 2008 - Posted by | Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, NCAA, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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