Monday, November 24, 2014

Scoreboard Watching: November 24, 2014


Plenty of action over the last few days leaves us with a ton of games to look back on, and a great slate of action to kick off Feast Week.

IN THE BOOKS -

Wednesday, November 19
Creighton 65, Oklahoma 63:  After trailing by 18, Creighton used a 24-4 run on the road to down the Sooners.  A big win for the confidence of a team that many wondered may be lost without Doug McDermott.
Arkansas 83, Wake Forest 53: Danny Manning's first test is a dud as Wake falls hard.
Wisconsin 84, Green Bay 60: The Badgers cruise over a likely tournament-bound Green Bay team.

Thursday, November 20
Texas 71, Iowa 57: The Longhorns take control in the second half.
Dayton 55, Texas A&M 53: A tip-in at the buzzer saves the Flyers, who were dominated on the glass, including surrendering 24 offensive boards.
Indiana 74, SMU 68: Credit the Mustangs with scheduling tougher opponents this year, though grabbing some wins will be much needed moving forward.
Cal 73, Syracuse 59: And just like that, Cuanzo Martin makes his impact fort he Golden Bears, grabbing a win in "Carrier Dome South".  Cal controlled much of the second half, a very impressive win.
Charlotte 106, Penn State 97 (2OT): Charlotte explodes for 16 in double-overtime to pull away.
Boston College 69, New Mexico 65: Many are expecting a down year for the Lobos.  This early loss certainly reaffirms those expectations.

Friday, November 21
Syracuse 66, Iowa 63: Syracuse narrowly avoids disappointing 0-2 showing in NYC.
Texas 71, Cal 55: The Golden Bears can't pull off the double, falling to superior Texas a day after downing the 'Cuse.
UConn 75, Dayton 64: A day after Dayton stormed back to beat Texas A&M, it was the huskies who outscored the Flyers 20-6 over the final 10 minutes to claim the victory.
Florida 61, Louisiana-Monroe 56 (OT):  I covered this game for the SEC Network, and let's just say this: the Gators have issues.  Injuries have ravaged their team, and nobody looks like a consistent offensive threat.  With the Georgetown looming to open the Battle 4 Atlantis, then a road trip to Phog Allen, Billy's Donovan's team might be in quite a hole before long.

Saturday, November 22
Providence 80, Florida State 54:  Florida States shows that it's nowhere close to it's potential this early in the season as Providence rolls.
Notre Dame 81, UMass 68: The Irish pick up a nice resume builder.
Rhode Island 66, Nebraska 62: If the Cornhuskers finish as high as many think they might in the B10, this could be a big time win for the Ram's tournament hopes.
Duke 70, Stanford 59: The Blue Devils roll on.
Wisconsin 78, Boise State 64: The Broncos miss an opportunity for a quality road win, though winning against this Wisconsin team in Madison - or anywhere - will be a tough task for almost every team in the country.

Sunday, November 23
Providence 75, Notre Dame 74: Wins over FSU and Notre Dame make for a strong start to the season.
UMass 75, Florida State 69: On the flip side, a very disappointing start to the year for the Seminoles after going 0-2 in Connecticut. 
Miami 77,  Charlotte 58: The Hurricanes are passing the eye test with flying colors.  A great week that started with a comeback win at Florida ends with an impressive with over a decent Charlotte squad.
West Virginia 78, UConn 68: The Mountaineers announce their presence by knocking off the defending champs.

Tipping Off Tonight - Monday, November 24
Villanova vs. VCU: The first true test for both teams highlights Monday nights action.
Michigan vs. Oregon: The Wolverines' freshmen didn't look up to the test in their narrow win over Detroit last Thursday.  They'll need to play a role with tough back-to-back games in Brooklyn on the docket. 
BYU vs. San Diego State: Two teams with tournament hopes collide in late night action from Maui.
Alabama vs. Iowa St: The Cyclones look impressive so far.  'Bama hopes to be one of the SEC West's strongest teams.
Purdue vs. Kansas St: Two likely tournament bound teams collide.
Arizona St. vs. Maryland: A tough test for the Terps, who should contend for a top 4 B10 slot this season.
Murray St. at Xavier: Two non-power conference favorites meet up in Cincinnati.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Scoreboard Watching: November 19, 2014


With ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon in the books, let's set the table in college hoops.

IN THE BOOKS - 

Monday 11/17
Gonzaga 72, SMU 56: SMU's offense is nowhere to be seen as the Zags roll at home.
Temple 82, Louisiana Tech 75: The Owl's came out hot in the second half to pick up what will likely go down as a quality win.
Iowa State 81, Georgia St. 58: No upset here as the Cyclones roll pas the Sun Belt conference favorites.

Tuesday 11/18
Kentucky 72, Kansas 40: Kentucky = good at basketball.  The Wildcats held the Jayhawks to 0.67ppp, including just 8-41 from inside the arc.
Duke 81, Michigan St. 71: Jahlil Okafor's first test at the NCAA comes against a Tom Izzo team that with a small front court after losing Adrian Payne.  Izzo's team will scrap, but it's hard to see them playing at the Blue Devils level this early in the season.
Wichita St. 71 vs. Memphis 56: Ron Baker led the way for the Shockers, scoring 21 and dishing out 6 assists.  Wichita State will comes back from Thanksgiving with four games against teams in the KenPom top 100.
San Diego St. 53, Utah 49: A low scoring game between two teams eying tournament bids.  A solid victory for the Aztechs, which will prove to be important on a schedule without any major challenges (only two games against teams in the KenPom top 50, none in the top 40)

TIPPING OFF TONIGHT - 

Oklahoma @ Creighton: The Sooners head on the road to take on a Creighton team adapting to life after McDermott (Doug, that is).
Wake Forest @ Arkansas: The first test of the season for new Demon Deacons head coach Danny Manning.
Green Bay @ Wisconsin: If the Badgers come out flat, an upset isn't entirely out of the question.  The Phoenix are the favorites in the Horizon and know how to play good ball.

Monday, November 17, 2014


A look at the weekend that was, and the next couple nights of college hoops.

IN THE BOOKS - 

Friday 11/14
VCU 85, Tennessee 69: The Vols lack of a true point guard will be what holds them back this season.  19 turnovers against VCU's pressure is evidence of just that.
Louisville 81, Minnesota 68:  The Cardinals and Montrez Harrell look every bit as good as advertised.  If Harrell has continues to show he's a threat from deep, he'll run away with POY honors in March and April.
Georgia Tech 80, Georgia 73: Quinton Stephens went for 22 on six treys to lead the Yellow Jackets to the season opening win.
Iona 78, Cleveland St. 73: One for the resume for the Gaels.
Boise State 81,  San Diego 75:  The Broncos with a solid road win to start the season. 
Kentucky 85, Grand Canyon 45:  Kentucky falls short of the billion point win that many expected them to get in this season opener.

Sat 11/15
Florida State 81, Manhattan 66:  The return of Keil Turpin to the 'Noles lineup may be an undervalued gain for FSU.  The 7-footer went for 13 in his first game after sitting out with a leg injury last season.

Sunday 11/16
George Washington 70, Rutgers 53: A solid tone-setting win for the Colonials.
UMass 71, Boston College 62: The Minutemen scored only 24 points in the first half before taking control in the second stanza.

TIPPING OFF THIS WEEK - 

Monday 11/17
SMU @ Gonzaga: Last year SMU got left out of the dance thanks to a putrid SoS.  They're doing what they can to correct that by traveling to the Pacific Northwest to take on the 'Zags on the road.
Louisiana Tech @ Temple: LaTech will be an entertaining watch as their experienced team pushes the pace.  A road trip to Temple could prove to be a solid early season test. 
Georgia State @ Iowa State: One of the more intriguing games of the season as a strong Georgia State team travels to one of the Big XVII's powers.  If the Cyclones sleep on the Panthers, this one could be upset city.

Tuesday 11/18
Kentucky vs. Kansas: The first test of the season for this year's ultra-talented Wildcats team.  With several players actually returning this season, they won't have to shake off the normal freshman jitters in this game.  Meanwhile the Jayhawks kick off an impressive non-conference slate that includes Florida, Georgetown, Utah and UNLV.
Michigan St. vs. Duke: Jahlil Okafor's first test at the NCAA comes against a Tom Izzo team that with a small front court after losing Adrian Payne.  Izzo's team will scrap, but it's hard to see them playing at the Blue Devils level this early in the season.
Wichita St. vs. Memphis: Though devoid of elite teams, the Shockers season starts with 7 of 8 opponents in the KenPom Top 100, while the Tigers open their season with against one of the nation's best point gaurds in Fred VanVleet. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Scoreboard Watching: November 11, 2014

Hey, look everybody - College Basketball is back!

Friday 11/14
Tennessee vs. VCU: The weekend's best match-up takes place in Alumni Hall.  It's Donnie Tyndal's debut for the tournament hopeful Vols, while Shaka Smart may have his best team yet. 
Louisville vs. Minnesota: The battle of the Patinos as father meets son in this opening night showdown.  The game should be dandy, as Richard Patino hopes to keep momentum rolling from the Gopher's 2014 NIT title.  All odds do lean the old man's way though, but don't be surprised if the Gophers keep it close.  If you're tuning in, don't adjust your TV, these are Louisville's new uniforms
Georgia vs. Georgia Tech: An early tone-setter for two rivals hoping to teams hoping to avoid mediocrity once again.  
Cleveland St at Iona: Opening night is never too early to start shaping your résumé.  Both teams are favorites in their respective conferences, meaning a win could be the eventual difference between a 12 and 13 seed.  KenPom: 
Boise State @ San Diego: The Broncos will look to contend for the WCC title this year.  Sending an early message would be a nice start. 
Grand Canyon @ Kentucky: The show begins.  
Michigan State @ Navy: The Spartans start the season not on a aircraft carrier, foreign country, hovercraft, or in the middle of a basketball megaplex, but in Annapolis' Alumni Hall.  Here's hoping MSU AD Mark Hollis can stay awake during such a mundane, non-gimmacky game of basketball.

Sat 11/15
Manhattan @ Florida State: The Jaspers are never an easy out, but Florida State has more talent with Aaron Thomas and now-eligble Xavier Rathan-Mayes than most people realize.  

Sunday 11/16
George Washington @ Rutgers: GW will likely be hoping for a bubble-birth come mid-march.  This isn't a blemish they want to have on their résumé
UMass vs. Boston College: Throw the Minutemen in that same conversation among A10 tournament hopefuls.  BC will likely be on the outside looking in again, so this is one UMass wants to have in the win column.

Bracketology 2015: Preseason Bracket

More details will be added later, but for now, a bracket likely to be full of many more reasons to be laughably off-base than accurate, the 2014-15 preseason bracket.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

If They Bracketed It: Week 9, 2014

If They Bracketed It is an exercise in imagination, the outcome of what would happen if I ran college football - a 16 team playoff.  In short, the field consists of the all 10 conference champions, plus six at-large births, with the first two rounds played at the higher seed and the final four all being held at a single site.  If you want to read the long version, click here.  Teams are seeded based on performance to date, not a prognostication of how teams will finish the season.


Notes for this week's bracket:

  • Mississippi State occupies the top slot, but barely.
  • Florida State - who I would still bet on to win this hypothetical tournament - moves up to #2 after beating Notre Dame.
  • Baylor and Oklahoma both drop out of the rankings after losses last weekend.  They're replaced by two Big 12 teams with solid wins.  Kansas State (over OU) and TCU (over Oklahoma State).
  • At the bottom, I choose Georgia and TCU as my last two at-large teams over Baylor, Arizona and Ohio State.  Though toughest decision came down to Baylor vs. TCU, as Baylor owns the head-to-head with TCU.  However, wins over both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State give TCU a better total body of work.  Baylor likely moves back in with a win over Oklahoma themselves in two weeks

Friday, October 17, 2014

If They Bracketed It: Week 8, 2014

If They Bracketed It is an exercise in imagination, the outcome of what would happen if I ran college football - a 16 team playoff.  In short, the field consists of the all 10 conference champions, plus six at-large births, with the first two rounds played at the higher seed and the final four all being held at a single site.  If you want to read the long version, click here.  Teams are seeded based on performance to date, not a prognostication of how teams will finish the season.

Welcome to the first actual edition of "If They Bracketed It".  I'll make this a short but sweet weekly column in which we rank the 16 team based on the process explained here.  
News and notes:
  • If the season ended today, Mississippi state's win over Auburn and Ole Miss' over Alabama are enough to capture the top two slots.  
  • I wouldn't bet against Florida State and a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback against anyone in the field, but the defense hasn't been nearly as dominant as last year and the running game needs to be more consistent.  Just too many questions at this point for me to see them surviving a weekend of vetting by the selection committee.
  • For at-larges, Oklahoma and Georgia earned the final two bids over the Big 12 threesome of Kansas State, Oklahoma State and TCU.