Morning Five: 03.12.13 Edition
Posted by nvr1983 on March 12th, 2013
- One of the undersold stories of March is that for every Cinderella that surprises in their conference tournament to earn an automatic bid there are nearly as many dominant teams that suffer crushing defeats that relegate them from being potential threats in the NCAA Tournament to the NIT. As Jeff Goodman points out there are a number of people who feel that the system is unfair. Goodman points to the example of top-seeded Middle Tennessee State (won its conference regular season by five games before losing in the conference tournament) and Stony Brook (won its conference regular season, but lost in the conference tournament playing a lower seeded team on the road). Although we can sympathize with these teams this sudden change of fortunes is part of what makes March so memorable and to undermine it with Goodman’s strategy of having the tournament champ play the regular season champ in a playoff undermines the appeal of March to a degree. Now if they want to offer the regular season champ more advantages such as hosting the conference tournament we would not mind that, but it should not take away some of the randomness that makes March so tantalizing.
- By now you have all seen and heard about Tom Crean‘s exchange with Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer (a former Indiana assistant under Kelvin Sampson) where Crean yelled “You helped wreck our program!” at Meyer after the game. Like everybody else we are all familiar with the back story of Sampson committing NCAA violations that put Crean in the place to rebuild Indiana. What we are not sure of is what triggered Crean to unleash his wrath on Meyer at this time. Crean and Meyer have since spoken on the phone about the incident and Crean apologized so it would probably be best to consider the incident closed, but it is unfortunate that this unseemly incident took away some of the spotlight from Indiana’s impressive road win (aided of course by some late mistakes by Michigan).
- Teams across the country may be fighting for spots in the NCAA Tournament, but at least the field for one tournament–the 2K Sports Classic (benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project–is set. The Gazelle Group announced yesterday that the semifinals (this is one of those fake tournaments where they have regional rounds where the winner does not necessarily advance) would feature Indiana, Connecticut, Boston College, and Washington on November 21 with the winners (we are going to pencil in Indiana and Connecticut even though we don’t know what the semifinal match-ups are) playing on November 22. The other 12 teams that will complete the 16-team regional rounds will be announced at a later date.
- With Victor Oladipo‘s rise from a complementary piece in Indiana’s machine to a legitimate national player of the year candidate we have seen plenty of columns analyzing his growth as a player and how he went from a relatively lightly recruited prospect to the star at one of college basketball’s premier programs. The one thing we had not seen was an in-depth feature on him until The New York Times profiled him on Sunday. Outside of the usual inane comments about how Oladipo “fills a stat sheet with the zeal of a locavore at a farmers’ market” the piece is actually filled with interesting information about Oladipo’s background and his relationship particularly with his father who has never attended an Indiana game.
- One of the biggest driving forces in the popularity of college basketball and college sports is the passion its fans have for the games. Usually that passion is directed in a positive way (camping out for games, etc), but sometimes that passion is based in hate. That hate can go too far sometimes (see European soccer fans), but at times that hate (or intense dislike if you are into semantics) can make the games more interesting. With the NCAA Tournament just around the corner the folks at Grantland created their Hate Bracket, which is comprised of 32 players (perhaps longing for the 1975-1978 NCAA Tournaments), with regions for Duke, the 1980s, the 1990s, and 2000s (actually post-2000 for the last group). The field is fairly evenly split in terms of race with 15 Caucasians and 17 African-Americans even if the former is probably too heavily represented given their relative impact on college basketball during the period being voted on, but we will leave that discussion to someone else.