Morning Five: 03.01.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on March 1st, 2011
- See that number up there… the one that looks like two-thirds of an eight? Yeah, that means it’s the third month of the year, the one we commonly know as March. Starting tonight, the road to the 2011 national championship begins. As slim as that shot might be, roughly 325 teams have a chance to win it all beginning this evening. The Big South and Horizon League Tournaments start with their opening round games tonight, and if the teams playing in those win, and win again, and keep winning, they’ll be standing atop the world of college basketball five weeks from this morning. That’s the beauty of this sport — you’re not voted into a chance at the title through incomprehensible algorithms, relative popularity and a heap of politicking. You just have to keep winning — the championship is won on the court.
- It seems incredibly elementary to us, but we’ve actually had people argue about this with us, so it bears repeating. There’s a strong correlation between winning on the road during the regular season and success in March among elite teams. Mike DeCourcy points out that of the last twenty Final Four teams, nineteen had a winning road record and many of those had a superb (80%+) one. Contrastingly, elite teams that had terrible road records during the same five-year period struggled to get to the Sweet Sixteen — one of fifteen such teams. Are you reading this, Kentucky (3-7), Illinois (3-6) or Missouri (2-6) fans?
- The NPOY race has been an especially exciting one this season, and even today, the first day of March, there’s no consensus on which of a number of players most deserves the award. Do you go Jimmer, Kemba, Nolan or Jared? Certainly all have had outstanding seasons, and you really can’t go wrong with the choice of any of the quartet, but CBT takes the next step and handicaps the field. Hint: sportswriters often like the best hook, and the best story in college basketball this year involves a certain LDS guard from Provo.
- It’s somewhat hard to believe when you consider all the outstanding players who have passed through Lawrence, Kansas, over the years, but with six more wins this season (a fair presumption), KU’s Tyrel Reed will tie Sherron Collins (2006-10) as the winningest Jayhawk player of all-time. Collins won 130 games in his four-year career, even though he only played in a single Final Four (2008); Reed has a great chance to play in his second final weekend and without question if Kansas makes it that far this March, he will own the record.
- Another year has nearly passed by and The Forgotten Five schools who have never made the NCAA Tournament in its entire history dating back to 1939 remain no closer to getting a bid to the Big Dance than they ever have. Northwestern, Army, St. Francis (NY), William & Mary and The Citadel will all have opportunities in the next two weeks to play their way into the NCAA Tournament, but none are anywhere near an at-large bid, and the likelihood of any of these five making a substantial conference tournament run is rather minimal.