Ten Tuesday Scribbles: On Virginia, Middle Tennessee, Stony Brook and More…

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 12th, 2013

tuesdayscribblesBrian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey

  1. Does Virginia want to make the NCAA Tournament? Since beating Duke almost two weeks ago, the Cavaliers have lost to Boston College and Florida State and barely escaped Maryland in overtime on Sunday in a game that each team tried to give away multiple times. The more and more I look at Virginia’s resume, the more I think this team will be in the NIT. It has gotten to the point where there are too many bad losses to overcome, barring a run this week in the ACC Tournament. The Hoos have a couple things going for them, mainly the win over Duke and the victory at Wisconsin in November. Home wins over North Carolina, NC State and bubble buddy Tennessee also help but Tony Bennett’s club has a stunning EIGHT bad losses on its resume. Virginia went 11-7 in the ACC but went 0-3 against Colonial Athletic Association teams. Go figure. From an efficiency perspective, this is a strong team that plays stifling defense, has a couple of great players in Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell to go along with a solid supporting cast. The resume lacks some punch though and Virginia has a lot of work to do this week in Greensboro. The Cavs will likely open with NC State on Friday, a game they really need to win.

    Tony Bennett will sweat it out this week

    Tony Bennett will sweat it out this week

  2. One team fighting with Virginia for a tournament berth is Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders were eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament by Florida International on Sunday and now have to sit and sweat out the next five days. Kermit Davis’s team finished with an impressive 28-5 overall record and lost just once over a 20-game conference schedule, on the road in overtime to Arkansas State (the next best team in the league). Davis has been with the program since 2002 and has built it up to respectable mid-major status. Is this a team worthy of a chance at a bid? Absolutely. The question is, will it get one? If I were on the selection committee, I’d probably have to say no unfortunately. Despite doing what it was supposed to do in its conference, Middle Tennessee didn’t do much out of conference. Yes, it beat two SEC teams (Mississippi and Vanderbilt), but neither of those teams is making the NCAA Tournament (unless the Rebels have a great conference tournament). But the real reason why I’d leave Middle Tennessee out is the fact that it was not competitive against Florida or Belmont, two of its better non-conference opponents. A competitive showing in either game would likely have changed my mind. In addition, the Blue Raiders lost a tough one in overtime to Akron. Those are missed opportunities that may end up costing this team a chance to dance.
  3. The fact that Stony Brook had to go on the road in the America East Tournament is a travesty. The Seawolves won the conference by three full games and their reward was a road trip to face #4 seed Albany in its own gym. It’s not right. I realize these smaller conferences don’t have the budgets that the power leagues do but would it be so difficult to host the tournament at whichever school wins the regular season title? Is that too much to ask? Instead, the America East picked Albany to host the quarterfinals and semifinals with the championship being hosted by the higher seed. The final part makes sense but the rest of it seems like bizarro world. Stony Brook had a stellar year, going 23-6 (14-2) in regular season play. Hopefully Steve Pikiell’s team will be rewarded with a nice seed in the NIT and maybe even a home game! Read the rest of this entry »
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RTC Live: Stony Brook @ Boston U. (America East Championship)

Posted by rtmsf on March 12th, 2011

Game #204.  There will only be one NCAA Tournament team from the America East, so the intensity from this one will be enormous.

When Vermont’s star forward Evan Fjeld went down with an injury in the middle of the Catamounts’ final regular season game at home against Boston University, the ensuing America East Tournament became wide open for the rest of the league. Vermont was the clear favorite to win, but Fjeld’s injury not only hindered himself but his team the rest of the way. Subsequently, Stony Brook played one of their most complete games of the season as they knocked off Vermont in the semifinals to move on to the championship game with Boston University. The sixth seeded Seawolves upset both of their opponents en route to the championship game, while Boston University had an easier road taking down #7 New Hampshire and #6 Hartford. The Terriers’ boast arguably the league’s best player in John Holland who has averaged in double figures in scoring for his entire career at BU, but Steve Pikiell is the architect behind one of the stingier defenses in the America East that does a great job of taking away the opposition’s main threat. Both coaches and teams will unquestionably be gunning for the coveted America East title. Boston University has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2002 and their head coach Patrick Chambers has never reached the Tournament as a head coach. Similarly, Pikiell—Stony Brook’s head man—has never been to the Tournament and Stony Brook has never won the America East. This will be an old-fashioned rock fight in Boston as Boston University and Stony Brook butt heads for the right to advance onto the most prestigious Dance in our nation. Join RTC live for an early 12:00 start to kick off your day full of college hoops.

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