Posted on: March 1, 2011 2:45 am
Edited on: March 6, 2011 8:06 pm
The Big East is good. Real, real good. Top-conference-on-Sagarin-by-a-wide
-margin good. But are they really 11 NCAA tournament teams good?
Well, no. But will they get 11 teams in? Most likely, yes.
Let me explain my weird, but not contradictory, statement. The Big East is projected by both Palm and Lunardi to put 11 teams in the dance. That's huge. That's 16% of the tournament field (For those of you saying "Yeah, well, it's also the biggest conference," the Big East has 4.7% of the teams in D1). If you want to talk percentage of the at-large bids, it even more incredible: 27%. Over a quarter of the at-large bids are projected to go to Big East teams. Eleven would bust the old record of most teams from a single conference in the NCAA tournament. But is the Big East really the best conference ever, deserving of setting that record?
Frankly, no. The story this year is one of Big East dominance, for sure, but it's also a story of extreme mediocrity from every other conference without a number in its name (and one with a 10).
The SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 are all projected to get 6 teams in, which loses out in terms of percent of conference in to the Big East by a margin of >10%, but is respectable and the amount a BCS conference should get. Meanwhile, the Pac-10 is projected to get three teams in (Arizona, Washington, UCLA), and the ACC is projected to get four teams in (Duke, UNC, Virginia Tech, Florida State), both bad showings for a Big Six conference.
On top of all this mediocrity by two of the BCS conferences, your usual mid-major threats are all down this year. Sure, the MWC is up significantly, but they are likely only to get three teams in (Colorado State just got beat by Air Force, badly, so I'm not counting the fact they were projected as "in" on Palm's). More importantly, though, the three teams you think of when you think "mid-major" (Memphis, Xavier, and Gonzaga) are all fairly down this year (Xavier has a HUGELY favorable projection IMO. Who have they beat ? Seton Hall? Butler? Some in-conference teams? All of the tournament teams they have played OOC, they have lost to). Butler crashed massively after their championship game appearance, to the point where they're on the very edge of the fence, looking in.
A lot of the mid-major teams making appearances this year are going to be teams like St. Mary's, who rose up in the face of dominant conference rivals to start challenging the Xaviers, the Gonzagas, and the Memphises in the world, running the table year after year until recruiting came in for the rest of the conference. Some of them are teams tailor-made to beat the top team, and therefore, while they are able to beat the top team, they struggle OOC, and the committee doesn't care when you say "But we play a different style... "
So, no. The Big East is not the best it has ever been. But it's more dominant then ever, and that's less its own doing than the other conferences. Thanks for reading to the end of this long one.
Posted on: March 26, 2009 11:13 pm
OLYMPIA, WA -- As you might or might not be able to tell based on my location, today was a travel day for me. I'm writing this in the middle of a fake House meeting here in the capital, and I'll post it when I'm back in Seattle.
Without further adieu, here is my game preview:
MOST IMPORTANT MATCHUP: Ty Lawson vs Ty Lawson's Toe.
This could be a game-changer. If Ty isn't at full strength, the Heels could be in for some trouble. Without an offensive playmaker, they could have some problems against the Zags hard zone. I can't really tell you who the victor will be in this matchup, but I can assure you, the odds that the winner will decide the game are 65%.
MOST IMPORTANT STRATEGY: Defense.
These are two excellent offensive teams (both have an average score of above 75), so the game will probably come down to the defense. Whoever can hold the other to a worse FG% while still getting rebounds will most likely go to the Elite Eight. IT's looking like North Carolina has the advantage here.
ODDS: North Carolina 64%, Gonzaga 36%
This game in my mind is going to come down to who wants it more, and Gonzaga has not showed me that they are capable of playing with heart. Unless MArk Few can do some great inspiring, this game is going to the Tarheels. Even if the Zags want it, they'll still have a tough time with UNC.
Posted on: March 23, 2009 7:01 pm
From now on, this blog will be called State Update, and it will be posted any time there's sports news that doesn't come out of Seattle specifically. I'm trying to bring this blog back to what it was created to be, so I'll post less nationwide stuff. With that...
SEATTLE, WA -- Well, Dawgs, I'm sorry, but you just can't get that ball in the basket.
Demetri Goodson, however, can.
Round two was not helpful to most Seattleites, as the Washington Huskies bowed out at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers. The game was decided on two blocks made by JaJuan Johnson. Both shots would have tied the game and potentially sent it into overtime. But, alas, the Huskies did not get past his 6' 10" frame, and they went 144 miles back to Seattle.
The Bulldogs then took the court in the Rose Garden for a showdown with 12-seeded Western Kentucky. Mendez-Vasquez showed everyone that the Hilltoppers weren't going home without a fight, scoring five threes in the opening five minutes. In the end, the Zags pulled away, but some quick turnovers and missed shots by the Zags with some effort by the Hilltoppers tied the game up with 7.2 remaining. Demetri Goodson got the inbounds pass and went from baseline to baseline to make the gamewinning layup with 0.9 seconds left, giving the Zags a victory 83-81.
The Zags will play North Carolina on Friday, a game that happened two years ago. Josh Heytfelt held then-sophomore forward Tyler Hansborough to just 9 points while scoring 19 himself. Jeremy Pargo and Heytfelt both started that game, and Matt Bouldin came off the bench. Hansborough and Wayne Ellington started for UNC with Ty Lawson coming off the bench. The Zags won then, 82-74. I'll try to get a game preview up on Thursday, if anyone's interested.
In the meantime, I highly recommend you read this article that was in today's Seattle Times. It's pretty good.
Posted on: March 20, 2009 2:04 pm
SEATTLE, WA -- Man, are we lucky!
We've got two teams from Washington playing insanely close to home, just a bit south of the Columbia. And therefore, we have two teams that could potentially make the Sweet 16.
Washington beat Mississippi State convincingly, never trailing in the second half. While Jon Brockman never exploded, and Isaiah Thomas never quite got his shooting down, Quincy Pondexter had a monster night, leading the Huskies with 23 points to a 71-58 victory.
Jon Brockman and Venoy Overton both hit the deck hard during the game. Brockman fell on his side after fielding a rebound, and Overton ran into a wall of a screen. Both made fans everywhere cringe, but they both got back up in about two or three seconds. Overton even went coast to coast after getting a steal on the same possession.
Gonzaga played Akron in a street fight. Gonzaga went on a late run to pull it out, 77-64. Josh Heytfelt continued to show everyone why he will be a first-round draft pick with 22 points and 8 rebounds.
Both teams will play on Saturday for their spot in the Sweet 16. The Huskies will take on the Purdue Boilermakers, a game which could go either way in my opinion. The Zags will play Western Kentucky, a game they should be able to win, but Western Kentucky will be coming off of a thrilling upset over Illinois.
I'll keep posting blogs like this until our teams are out, so keep cheering!
Posted on: March 15, 2009 7:37 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2009 11:05 pm
Top Ten Teams to watch out for:
Top Ten Teams to make early exits:
Top Eight Teams with the easiest path to the regionals:
Your Final Four:
Posted on: March 10, 2009 10:39 pm
Based on PAST RESULTS AND HOME PROXIMITY ONLY, not player-to-player matchups, here are my predictions for the Pac-10 tournament, in slight detail:
Feel free to call out my homerism in the comments if you feel the need, but just so you know, my take-everything-into-account prediction is the one I posted on Beer's blog, UCLA over Arizona State in the finals.