Blogpoll – Week 9

Posted by rtmsf on January 10th, 2008

We’re back in action, and actually contributing to the blogpoll again!

Week 9 Blogpoll

Note: keep in mind that the blogpoll did not take into account games from Tues. and Wed. nights (i.e., Ole Miss’s loss to Tennessee, or Clemson’s loss to Charlotte).

Justifying Our Ballot. We haven’t voted for a while, but the last time we did, we were voting UCLA #1. We still think they’re the team to beat in March, but they have sice lost to Texas, so we dropped them down a tad. Most of our colleagues are voting Memphis to the top spot, but after Carolina’s scintillating comeback win against Clemson on Sunday night, we’re convinced the Heels deserve the pinnacle for now. It’s notable that every pollster believes that Memphis or UNC is the best team in America, but nobody is voting for Kansas (also undefeated and looking great) at that spot. As for the rest of the poll, we’re pretty closely aligned with the rest of the bloggers with the exceptions of Vanderbilt (we think they’re much better than people are giving them credit for), Clemson (you’ve heard our tirades on the Tigers, but they’ll be outie next week anyway), Oklahoma (not sure why they’re rising faster than, say, Ohio St.), and West Virginia (not sold on them quite yet). We had Stanford (#21), Arizona (#23) and Notre Dame (#24) on our ballot instead.

The Curious Case of Vanderbilt. We understand Marquette, Pitt and Villanova all dropping from last week (hint: they all lost). But we wanted to figure out how an undefeated team actually fell a spot, as Vandy did (from #16 to #17) this week. As far as we can tell, is responsible for this strange occurrence. Slackers like us, they didn’t provide a ballot last week, but this week they ranked the ‘Dores #22, which aggregated their average total a little lower than last week. So send all your hate mail to those guys, Vandy fans. :-)

Variance. As we alluded to earlier this week in our post about the lack of parity this year, the top nine teams are tightly woven into their respective positions. Among the Top 10, only Georgetown creates some dissonance (ranked from #4 to, shockingly, STF has them unranked). Dayton and Clemson (as usual) are the other two teams that have widely variable positions this week.

Conference Call.

  • Big East – 5
  • Big 12 – 4
  • A10, ACC, Big 10, SEC – 3 each
  • Pac-10 – 2
  • CUSA, Horizon – 1 each
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ATB: Kenny George & the Lilliputians

Posted by rtmsf on January 10th, 2008

ATB v.4

Real quick ATB today…

Kenny George. Yeah, UNC won the game 93-81, Asheville kept it reasonable, and all the other stuff (Psycho-T: 23/9; Lawson: 17/5/7 assts)…

But all we really want to talk about is the sheer enormity that is Kenny George. This was the first time we’d actually seen him standing near other players, and to say that he dwarfed the rest of them is to insult the word itself. George absolutely miniaturized them. It was like some gentle giant had been released from his cave to mortify and terrorize the citizens of Far Far Away or Whoville. Look, for the college game, Tyler Hansbrough is a beast of a guy – 6’9, 250 lbs and cut like a Rodin sculpture – but he looked like a little snot-nosed kid when standing next to George (which isn’t to say that George could handle the Psychotic One – taking advantage of his superior quickness (a hint right there that George is um, rather, lumbering), Hansbrough had a nasty cram below right in George’s mug).

George is listed at 7’6, 360 lbs on the UNCA roster, but we’d like to take a look at the calibration of that scale. He looks more like four bills to us. The thing is, unlike some supersize-me players we’ve seen in the past (Shagari Alleyne and Escalade, er, Troy Jackson come to mind), this guy may actually have a little game. He’s contributing 13/9/5 in just over 22 mins per game (14/11 against Carolina), which is more than double his output from last year. Who knows – with a little more conditioning… he might just redefine the damn sport.

Other interesting games.

  • Tennessee 85, Ole Miss 83. Looks like Ole Miss is better than we thought. The Rebs were very close to winning this game, and UT has become a difficult place for opponents to win games. Does Cincy regret letting Andy Kennedy get away yet?
  • Charlotte 82, Clemson 72. Here we go! The annual Clemson collapse is now under way…
  • Arizona St. 64, Arizona 59 (OT). Hmm… ASU is now quietly 13-2 while Arizona is 10-5. Maybe Herb Sendek can coach a little bit after all?
  • Dayton 92, Rhode Island 83. The Flyers draw first blood in what will be an exciting and competitive A10 this year.
  • Mississippi St. 61, LSU 39. Clearly John Brady’s charges were partying all week with the football team. This was in Baton Rouge too.

Vandy & Memphis also remained unbeaten last night, so there are five remaining (+UNC, Kansas and Wazzu).

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Checking in on… the Big 12.

Posted by rtmsf on January 9th, 2008

Continuing our midseason check in with the BCS conferences… next, the Big 12.

Big 12 Midseason Check In

F4 Caliber. Kansas would be another huge disappointment if they’re not playing in April this year. Texas and Texas A&M both have the talent to make the F4 if things broke right, although we’d say the Horns have the better shot. Neither team is a favorite to make it, though.

Most Likely to Collapse. Kansas St. This team has seemed shaky in the nonconference schedule, and the rugged Big 12 is no place for teams to get their sea legs. Michael Beasley is awesome, but the rest of the team doesn’t seem to understand what they’re supposed to be doing.

Most Likely to Rise. Missouri. The Tigers have better talent and coaching than their record indicates. If Anderson can get his 40MoH style clicking, Mizzou could be considerably better by late February/early March.

Biggest Surprise. Baylor. One of the biggest in the nation in our eyes. The Bears have several solid wins on neutral courts and played Wazzu and Arkansas very tough in their only two losses. Let’s see if they can improve upon consecutive 4-12 finishes in the Big 12.

Biggest Disappointment. Oklahoma St. Sean Sutton’s tenure hasn’t been marked with the same tenacious defense that his father’s teams were notorious for. A third straight NIT appearance won’t be handled very well in Stillwater.

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Wed. Night Preview

Posted by rtmsf on January 9th, 2008

Since we admittedly pretty much suck, and didn’t do an ATB last night, we felt it necessary to step away from our oh-so-important work for a few moments to preview some of the better games going on tonight.

  • #2 UNC v. UNC-Asheville (ESPNU) 7pm – UNCA is 10-3, but they’ll get bombed no matter what tonight
  • Duke (-13) v. Temple (ESPN) 7pm – another made-for-tv garbage Duke game on the WWL
  • #14 Dayton (-3) v. #19 Rhode Island 7pm – two ranked A10 teams? why would ESPN want to show that??
  • #20 Pittsburgh (-2.5) v. South Florida (ESPN2) 7:30pm – Pitt needs to be careful to avoid dropping this game on the road
  • Georgia (-1.5) v. Georgia Tech 7:30pm – two teams going nowhere fast…
  • UMass (-3) v. St. Joseph’s 7:30pm – another key A10 game that isn’t shown nationally
  • #22 Clemson (-15.5) v. Charlotte 7:30pm – can Clemson bounce back strong after their heartbreaking loss to UNC on Sunday night?
  • #1 Memphis (NL) v. East Carolina 8pm – the 16-0 CUSA slate begins for the Tigers
  • #16 Vanderbilt (-8.5) v. South Carolina 8pm – Vandy looks to stay unbeaten
  • #7 Tennessee (-9) v. #17 Ole Miss (ESPNFC) 9pm – Vegas giving no respect to Ole Miss and its unbeaten record in Knoxville
  • Arizona St. (-2) v. #24 Arizona 9:30pm – a surprising Wed. night Pac-10 game
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Checking in on… the ACC.

Posted by rtmsf on January 9th, 2008

Since we’ve pretty much reached the halfway point of the regular season, and conference play is beginning across the land this week, we thought it would be worthwhile to take a moment to briefly check in on the six BCS conferences to see how its roundball citizens were doing this year.

Let’s start with the venerable ACC (who has had a great non-conference slate):

ACC Mid-Season Check In

F4 Caliber. Really only North Carolina, and they may end up cutting the nets down this year if Wayne Ellington can have a masterful March from the perimeter. Duke is what it is – they’ll win 10-12 ACC games buoyed by the CIS advantage, and get a #2-#4 seed in March. But they are completely withouth any inside presence (esp. now that Zoubek is injured again), and that won’t play very well in March. The rest of the league are pretenders when it comes to the F4.

Most Likely to Collapse. Is there really any question? Clemson. Their recent history of monumentally epic nosedives, plus their heartbreaking loss against UNC on Sunday night, may conspire to psychologically destroy a fairly talented team. We’ll see. Their RPI is good at this point, so even a 7-9 ACC record could get them in.

Most Likely to Rise. Wake Forest. Largely because we don’t know what to expect from this excruciatingly young team. The moxie shown in Wake’s December comeback ACC win against Virginia Tech, in addition to last night’s dismantling of a solid BYU team, shows that this team has some promise. We predict an NIT finish, but maybe Dino Gaudio’s team is this year’s Virginia?

Who Else? Miami (FL), NC State and Virginia are all conundrums. Miami has looked the best so far, but none of these three have looked great. Yet all have enough talent to make a run to the NCAAs this year. If we were betting we’d say Virginia > Miami (FL) > NC State, but we really have no clue.

Biggest Disappointment. Maryland, Maryland, Maryland. This team has played uninspired ball all season long, and should really be a borderline NCAA team with the talent they have on the floor. Vasquez, Gist and Osby alone should have this team doing better than losing to the likes of American and Ohio at home. Get it together, Gary.

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ATB: Good Grief Savannah State!

Posted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2008

ATB v.4 

Recap. Only one game of note tonight (aside from OSU’s usual title game loss on the gridiron):

Kansas St. 85, Savannah St. 25. Yes, that’s the correct score. KSU outscored Savannah St. 48-4 in the second half, who managed to set a new record for futility in both shooting percentage (4.1%) and points scored in a half during the shot-clock era (since 1986). Wow. We think we experienced a game like that once back in grade school. From the WWL:

Savannah State (8-13) missed its first 15 shots of the second half, falling behind 72-22 as Kansas State opened with a 35-1 run. Joseph Flegler finally ended the drought with 5:48 left, hitting a 3-pointer from the wing, and the Tigers figured to at least get a couple more baskets.

Nothing else fell.

The previous records were set just last week, when Pennsylvania went 1-for-17 (5.9 percent) and scored six points in the first half of a 60-30 loss to Florida Gulf Coast. Savannah State shot 15.5 percent overall, making just nine field goals — four from 3-point range.Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax, a guard for Georgetown’s 1984 national championship team, has seen his share of defensive dominance. But even he had to just throw his hands up after this one.”It was good — I was hoping that we’d set a record,” Broadnax said sarcastically. “Hey, what can I do? The guys were playing hard, they weren’t making shots. I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning, if I’m fortunate, and I’m going to move on. And I expect them to move on. “

We love this scoring chart – straight line = bad:

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.450749&w=425&h=350&fv=null]

#13 Butler also won tonight (Butler 66, Loyola (Md) 55) and BC lost to someone named Bob Morris at home (Robert Morris 57, Boston College 51).

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What Parity?

Posted by rtmsf on January 7th, 2008

Is it just us, or has college hoops halfway through the season been almost completely devoid of big upsets so far this year? Last night’s UNC-Clemson game was exciting on many levels, but it failed to deliver in the one key area that makes the college hoops regular season so great – the big upset (leading to a home team RTC, of course).


On the Horizon – More of This?

In the aftermath of the wild and wacky college football season that saw several teams out of the national title hunt/back into the picture/out/then in again, as well as some eye-opening early college basketball losses (ahem, Gardner-Webb, Mercer), pundits wondered aloud whether we were in store for another zany hoops season where a new #1 team would last about as long as it takes to hang the banner (sup, Carolina fans).

This may all become completely irrelevant as conference play begins in earnest, but this is one of the quietest pre-conferences we’ve seen in many years. It turns out that the Kentucky loss to Gardner-Diego wasn’t that much of an upset as anyone with a starting five can beat UK this year, and the few other eyebrow-arching intra-top 25 losses (e.g., Texas over UCLA and Tennessee) aren’t what we’re talking about. Don’t agree?

  • Consider that we’re two months into the season and the AP top 10 consists of nine of the same teams as the preseason poll (Louisville has been replaced by Duke).
  • Consider that those preseason top ten teams are a combined 127-9 and four of those nine losses are accounted by Rick Pitino’s injury-prone Louisville squad.
  • Of the five other losses, two of them came against other preseason top tenners (Georgetown against Memphis; Michigan St. against UCLA), and two of them were against Texas (#15 preseason). The other top ten loss was Indiana against Xavier.

So this means one of two things. Either we can expect an oligarchy of about 6-8 power teams this year running roughshod through their respective conferences; or, none of this analysis means a damn thing and we’ll have a brand new top 10 in a couple short weeks of conference play. Let’s lace em up and find out.

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ATB: Saturday Preview

Posted by rtmsf on January 4th, 2008

ATB v.4


Recap. There weren’t any games worth a damn tonight, typical for a Friday, so we’re just going to give a preview for tomorrow.  There are a handful of good games, but we wouldn’t say it’s going to be a sick Saturday.  So here goes…  

On Tap Today (all times EST).

  • #3 Kansas (-11) v. Boston College (ESPN) 12pm – on paper, this looks like it could be upset city, but we’re just not seeing it (KU by 20).
  • Syracuse (-8.5) v. South Florida (ESPN FC) 12pm – here’s USF’s (10-4) first shot at legitimacy.
  • Charlotte (-1) v. Maryland (ESPNU) 12pm – another shot for the A10 to pick up a BCS victory.
  • #24 Arizona (-6) v. Oregon (FSN) 2pm – lose this one, and Oregon is officially in trouble.
  • Georgetown (-16.5) v. Rutgers (ESPN FC) 2pm – GTown looks like they can lose every game, but they rarely do.
  • #13 Butler (-11) v. Valparaiso 2pm – solid early Horizon matchup.
  • Michigan v. Purdue (-12.5) (ESPN) 2pm – this game being on the WWL tomorrow offends our sensibilities.
  • Louisville (-2) v. Kentucky (CBS) 4pm – didn’t this game used to mean something?
  • #16 Vanderbilt (-7.5) v. UMass (ESPN FC) 4pm – Game of the day – can UMass win at Memorial (after winning at Cuse and BC)?
  • #5 UCLA (-5) v. California (FSN) 6pm – possible coming-out party for Cal?
  • #15 Texas (-9.5) v. #25 St. Mary’s (FSSW) 6pm – second-best game of the day, but how will SMC react to a hostile environment?
  • Penn (NL) v. NJIT 7pm – not even the hapless Quakers can give up a win to NJIT (0-16 and counting…).
  • Stanford (-6) v. #23 USC 8pm – both teams very much need this game, as the loser ends up 0-2 in the Pac-10.
  • #12 Texas A&M (-15) v. LSU (ESPNU) 8pm – these teams seem to play a lot.
  • Gonzaga (-12) v. Georgia 8pm – an odd cross-continental matchup.
  • Baylor (pick) v. Arkansas (ESPN FC) 8:30pm – this game could make all the difference for one of these teams come Selection Sunday.
  • Notre Dame (-5.5) v. Connecticut (ESPN) 9pm – pretty nice Big East matchup in South Bend.
  • #4 Washington St. (-2.5) v. Washington 10pm – Wazzu goes for its sixth in a row v. the Huskies.
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ATB: Shipping Out

Posted by rtmsf on January 4th, 2008

ATB v.4


Game We Didn’t Watch (but wish we could have).  #5 UCLA 76, Stanford 67.  Actually, we very much would have liked watching this game, but NHL hockey got in the way on our local FSN channel.  Worthless.  Anyway, tonight UCLA very quickly got a significant leg up on the Pac-10 race by winning in Palo Alto – we suspect not many other teams will leave the Bay area with a win there this year, now that the Lopez twins (21/20 – wondertwin power… shape of… Dwight Howard?) are fully activated.  Tonight Stanford matched UCLA’s size inside, outrebounding the Bruins 32-28, but Howland’s team responded with superb shooting from beyond the arc (9-16), led by Josh Shipp’s  21 pts (5-8 3FGs).    

More Conference Play.  

  •  #10 Marquette 96, Providence 67.  Wow, the Friars clearly didn’t make the trip to Milwaukee.
  • Depaul 84, #18 Villanova 76.   How do you figure the team with the worst nonconf record would beat 11-1 Nova?
  • #24 Arizona 76, Oregon St. 63.   Nic Wise played well again (17/6 assts) in place of injured Jerryd Bayless.
  • Notre Dame 69, West Virginia 56.  Jeez, the Big East is going to be wild this year, isn’t it?
  • Connecticut 98, Seton Hall 86.  Solid road win for the Huskies, but are they legit (10-2 v. the #291 ranked schedule so far)?
  • Ohio St. 74, Illinois 58.   The Assembly Hall mystique is over (3 home losses already this year).
  • Arizona St. 62, Oregon 54.   Why is Oregon so bad away from Eugene (2-4 this year).  
  • California 92, USC 82.   Mayo blew up for 34, but Cal’s balanced attack prevailed.

Other Ranked Teams.

  • #1 Memphis 102, Siena 58.  Memphis had three players with dub-dubs tonight (Dorsey, Dozier, Robinson).
  • #16 Vanderbilt 76, Rice 58.  Why isn’t Vandy getting more respect from the blogpollers?

Oh, Virginia!

  • Xavier 108, Virginia 70.  The Muskies appear to be rounding out nicely.  
  • Richmond 52, Virginia Tech 49.  A10 > ACC (on this night).  
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Blogpoll – Week 8

Posted by rtmsf on January 3rd, 2008

Once again, slackers that we are, we didn’t submit a blogpoll ballot this week. But several of our colleagues did, and here was their results.

2007-08 Blogpoll Week 8

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