Friday, February 19, 2010

10 comments Pat Forde Ranks College Basketball's Best Conferences

I am not going to write anything about Tiger Woods today because, let's be honest, he isn't going to say anything of substance at his press conference. Writers are going to accuse him of not really coming clean and just the typical stuff like that no matter what he says. I think I will let it sit for a few days before I comment on it, if I do.

I absolutely love college basketball. Because of the NFL and other professional sports, I don't pay as much attention to college basketball as I really want to on this blog. Not to mention it is really hard to follow 347 (I think) Division I teams as a hobby and not sound like a dumbass sometimes trying to talk about it. I can't watch all of those games. It's easy for me to follow the NBA, NFL, and MLB because they only have 30-something teams, but there are just a lot of college basketball teams so I don't always feel like I can speak even halfway authoritatively about each team. I would never want to be a sportswriter, but if there was one sport I would love to write about, and get paid for it, is college basketball. That's a sport I would be willing to travel all over and cover. Now that I have expressed my undying admiration for the sport, I want to talk about it today.

I also want to just throw this at you all really quickly. Remember that Duke Lacrosse rape case that many mainstream writers just jumped all over (I am talking to you Selena Roberts) and never apologized for their quickness in assumption of guilt? Look at what the accuser is up to nowadays. I like how Mike Nifong refused to initially believe she had been arrested. I am so glad that case didn't occur while I was writing on this blog. There is a good chance my head might have exploded.

Ok, back to the college basketball post for the day. This column by Pat Forde isn't terrible but he ranks each conference and there are definitely parts I disagree with.

The buzzword today is "embarrassment." Maybe UConn coach Jim Calhoun (2) should announce his embarrassment more often if it's going to prompt his Huskies to beat a top-five team on the road.

Perhaps Pat Forde should also recognize that UConn matches up incredibly well with Villanova, rather than just say Calhoun being embarrassed motivated the team. UConn has tall frontcourt players and athletic guards. That is not a good matchup for Villanova who doesn't have the low post depth they need to play well against a team like UConn. Villanova's 2nd leading rebounder is Taylor King, who is a 6'6" perimeter player who is 6th on the team in minutes per game. That can't be a good thing.

Not that any team with height can beat Villanova, just teams with athletic height like UConn has. The three big guys that play the most for UConn combined for 27 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 blocks. Of course I am completely ignoring the monster game Kemba Walker had, but those three guys only had 9 less rebounds than the entire Villanova team.

I picked Villanova to play in the NCAA Championship Game against Kansas before the season began and I am really regretting that pick right now. They have great guard play but they have very little skilled height. I don't think this is a death knell for them but Antonio Pena tends to get in foul trouble and there isn't a whole lot behind him. I am sticking with my pick of Villanova in the championship game, reluctantly, because I have to at this point.

And maybe Mississippi State (3) students who got hold of DeMarcus Cousins' cell number should feel some embarrassment after, according to Cousins, they phoned in racial epithets (and other salutations) to the Kentucky center.

The term "asshole" was invented for how the MSU fans acted at home on Tuesday night against Kentucky. The officiating was terrible but that doesn't excuse the actions of the crowd. Down the stretch there were 10 foul calls against MSU and 0 against Kentucky (see, college basketball officiating is terrible like the NBA), but that's no reason to act like jerks. There are two things that annoy me the most about college basketball fans:

1. Rushing the court. I don't want to turn into Bill Simmons but there are rules for rushing the court. I think fans can only rush the court when:

a. An unranked and unheralded team beats a team ranked in the Top 10 of the country. The more highly ranked one team and the more unheralded the other team are can be inverse from each other as to whether the crowd can rush the court.

Example #1: #2 Pittsburgh losing on the road at South Florida. This is acceptable for the USF crowd to rush the court...barely.

Example #2: #17 Texas losing on the road to Washington State. This is not acceptable for Washington State fans to rush the court.

Example #3: #17 Texas losing on the road to Alcorn State. This is absolutely acceptable for Alcorn State fans to rush the court.

b. You can NEVER rush the court when playing a team in your conference. I know it sounds harsh and very strict. This is just embarrassing and I don't care how bad your team is or has been, you are in the same conference as the team you beat...you need to learn to beat the teams in your conference. Rushing the court says, "we aren't very good and didn't expect to win this game." That attitude is for losers.

Exception to this rule: If a team has been in the conference for less than 3 years. If South Florida joined the Big East two years ago and beats #8 Georgetown at home, rushing the court is acceptable. Just that once though.

c. Extenuating circumstances.

Example #1: The recent death of a player, coach, or other member of the school and then your team as the underdog beats a far superior team at home...then rushing the court is fine.

Example #2: There is a fire in the stands and all exits in the stands are closed.

As you can tell, I hate it when teams rush the court. Have some pride in your program and act like you expect to beat good teams. I have seen a ranked team win a home game and rush the court after beating another ranked team. I have seen this happen. This is absolutely unacceptable and I think NCAA sanctions should be initiated against the school that rushed the court and perhaps the students should be expelled.

I am sure there are other examples of when it is fine to rush the court, but I just made those up and couldn't think of any others. Those are the reasons that stick out in my mind.

2. I also hate it when fans act like jerks towards players. Here are some examples of what is acceptable and unacceptable:

Acceptable: Loud noises from a non-game affecting device. Keys, etc.

Unacceptable: Whistles or anything that sounds remotely like a whistle or shot clock buzzer.

Acceptable: Chanting J.R. "Can't" Reid. Sorry, that's just amusing. There is no need to bust out with SAT scores to prove J.R. Reid did better than Danny Ferry on the SAT. I am talking to you Dean Smith.

Unacceptable: Chanting "Phil Ford's wife" when a player reportedly slept with the assistant coach's wife. Even if it is reportedly true, that is not cool.

Acceptable: Yelling things at players within their earshot. Depending on the people around you, expletives may/may not be acceptable.

Unacceptable: Throwing shit on the court. This is never acceptable, except in hostage situations.

Acceptable: Getting a player's cell phone and waking that player up and just being annoying.

Unacceptable: Calling that player and saying anything that would have that player kick your ass if you were 10 feet in front of him.

Now that I have rambled some, back to the column...

Then Pat Forde starts talking about teams/coaches/players that would make good Winter Olympics athletes.

Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus (4) as a curler. He'd be a terrific skip -- that's the guy who pushes the stone, then yells at everyone else to sweep. And as a Milwaukee native, he's from the Curling Belt of Minnesota-Wisconsin-Michigan.

I think Rick Majerus would make a better Paraolympic athlete or coach. That way he could yell at them for being cripple and have Gene Wojciechowski write another book about this experience with him.

Kansas (5) as hockey players. The Jayhawks are plenty willing to fight; just ask the Kansas football team. Center Cole Aldrich already is down a tooth, and he's shown some goon potential by leveling Texas' Damion James with an elbow to the chops and sending Texas A&M's Dash Harris to the locker room with a hard foul.

Speaking of Cole Aldrich, Bill Simmons asked one of the ESPN college basketball guys on Twitter about who will be better between Aldrich and Ed Davis in the NBA. I think it ended in a toss-up. It is not a toss-up. Ed Davis is going to be a much better NBA player than Cole Aldrich. Aldrich should be a serviceable center, but I look at Ed Davis and see Chris Bosh. At worst, I see Udonis Haslem, though obviously Davis is currently a little smaller. I look at Aldrich and see Andrew Bogut or Chris Kaman...maybe. At worst, I see every white center that has done well in college basketball because he is just tall and skilled enough to do well against people shorter than him.

Plus, he's from Minnesota -- he has to know how to skate. (That alone gives him an advantage over elbow-throwing Alabama native Cousins for the enforcer spot.)

There you go Pat, great stereotyping. African-Americans can't skate. Real funny.

Duke guard Jon Scheyer (6) is perfect for biathlon. He's a great shooter, and averaging 36.6 minutes per game shows he has the stamina to handle the cross-country skiing, too.

I don't know how Scheyer would do. In the biathlon, he can't fall down and pretend like he got fouled and get a 1 minute headstart on his competitors because of this.

Syracuse forward Wes Johnson (11) is a natural for cross-country skiing, since he's already crisscrossed much of the country, going from Corsicana, Texas, to Ames, Iowa, to Detroit to Syracuse.

I realize Forde typed "much" but I still don't think leaving out the entire west half of the United States from Texas on is really even "much" of the country. Johnson hasn't crisscrossed any of the Northwest, the Pacific, the Southwest, nor any states west of Detroit. Yes, it is ultra-specific day here at Bottom of the Barrel.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams (14) would feel right at home in the kiss-and-cry area adjacent to the figure-skating rink. College basketball's resident drama queen teared up -- again -- during a recent interview with Yahoo! about the Tar Heels' struggles this season. Get the man a sequined jump suit, please.

I haven't bashed Roy Williams in a few days, so here we go. He did an interview on Wednesday where he said he has been offered or invited to interview for "11 to 12" NBA jobs over the years including the Celtics and Lakers. Ironically those are the two NBA teams that have had the most public interest in Coach K in the past. I am sure that is just a coincidence. The Celtics wanted Coach K in 1990 and the Lakers really wanted him in 2004. I like how Roy just threw that out there to let everyone know he has had job offers from the NBA like Coach K has.

For a guy who doesn't "give a damn" about other coaching jobs when he is currently at a school, when asked a question he isn't really shy in sharing private interest by NBA teams with the general public.

Roy is a hell of a basketball coach, but he is also a bit of a drama queen. The Heels are having a tough year, they will bounce back next year. They have a great recruiting class coming in and these current players are getting great experience this year. Every great college basketball program has to deal with young teams at some point, especially after winning the National Championship the year before.

The Minutes went into this exercise believing the Big East is the best league. That belief hasn't changed -- but the Big 12 is a very close second.

There are two ways to rank a conference. A conference can be ranked top-to-bottom or a conference can be ranked based on how many NCAA Tournament bids that conference will get (basically how many good teams are in the conference). I prefer the 1st method personally, but I am still not sure which method Pat Forde likes. He just sort of ranks the conferences based on their record against the other conferences, which could be misleading depending on the matchups of the teams between conferences...or he ranks them based on projected NCAA Tournament bids. I am not 100% how he did it exactly to be honest.

1. Big East (17). We know the league is good at the top, but how about some Valentine's Day love for the bottom? Rutgers, St. John's and Seton Hall all won Sunday -- and according to Tom Luicci of the Newark Star-Ledger, that hasn't happened on the same day since Feb. 12, 2002.

The fact those three teams all won on the same day is an example of how STRONG the conference is? Who did these teams play? DePaul, Syracuse and Georgetown. That does look impressive, but it also brings up my longest running problem in figuring out if a team is good or not when playing teams in-conference.

The problem is, do these losses mean the Big East is a tough conference or supposedly "good teams" like Georgetown can't win on the road, so they may not be that good? Georgetown is currently 3-3 on the road in-conference, including a loss to unranked Marquette. The other losses have been to Syracuse and Villanova, both of which are good teams, but those weren't even really close games. Villanova was up 15 points at halftime. So it is the eternal problem of whether the Big East (or any conference) is deep or the "good teams" aren't that good in the Big East (or that conference) when playing on the road.

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 5-7 vs. ACC; 17-5 vs. A-10; 2-1 vs. Big 12; 2-5 vs. Big Ten; 7-1 vs. C-USA; 2-0 vs. MVC; 0-1 vs. MWC; 3-0 vs. Pac-10; 7-8 vs. SEC. Total: 45-28.

So the Big East has losing records against Pat Forde's #3, #4, #5, and #6 conferences? Against the #2 conference, the Big 12, they are 2-1. I don't have time to see which teams played against each other in these conferences, but to rank the Big East #1 in conference ranking doesn't sound very persuasive when the conference has a losing record against 4 of the 5 conferences ranked below them.

NCAA teams as of now: Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Louisville.

7 NCAA Tournament teams as of right now. I consider the Big East the best conference just based on the fact they have the Big 4 teams at the top of the standings in Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, and Georgetown, and the rest of the conference is pretty good as well. Still, that record against other conferences makes me wonder if the Big East is really the #1 conference or not.

2. Big 12 (18). This league has the nation's No. 1 team in Kansas, one of the nation's biggest surprises in Kansas State, and then a large pack of pretty good pursuers. There might not be as many Final Four contenders here and the bottom of the league is probably worse than the bottom of the Big East, but all seven prospective NCAA teams could be first-round winners.

I would say any team that makes the NCAA tournament could be a first-round winner. I would argue that point in regard to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, because they are going to most likely draw a #7, #8, #9, #10 seed which could beat them, but I won't argue right now.

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 2-1 vs. ACC; 8-3 vs. A-10; 1-2 vs. Big East; 6-1 vs. Big Ten; 6-4 vs. C-USA; 3-3 vs. MVC; 5-4 vs. MWC; 13-4 vs. Pac-10; 6-4 vs. SEC. Total: 50-26.

The conference has a winning record against every conference ranked in Pat Forde's rankings except for the Big East, which are #1.

NCAA teams as of now: Kansas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma State.

7 NCAA Tournament teams as of right now. I think an argument can be made the Big 12 is the best conference in college basketball.

3. ACC (19). Duke is the class of the league --

That's like saying "I date the prettiest girl in Phi Mu at Appalachian State University." Or saying, "I am the most athletic player on the Duke basketball team."

and Duke was drilled by Georgetown just a couple of weeks ago.

Saying Duke was "drilled" is being polite. They were destroyed. Georgetown is a good home team against Duke, which is a crappy road team. Not to make excuses for the loss, but I don't know if this is the best way to compare these two teams since there is such a discrepancy in how these two teams play at home and on the road.

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 5-4 vs. A-10; 1-2 vs. Big 12; 7-5 vs. Big East; 7-7 vs. Big Ten; 5-0 vs. C-USA; 0-1 vs. MVC; 0-0 vs. MWC; 2-2 vs. Pac-10; 7-5 vs. SEC. Total: 34-26.

The ACC has a winning record against every conference except the Big 12 (#2 in Forde's rankings) and the MVC (#10 in Forde's rankings).

NCAA teams as of now: Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech.

The ACC has 7 NCAA Tournament teams as of now. I don't think it is an especially good conference this year. I do have to say Florida State is the team I think may do well in the NCAA Tournament among this list of NCAA Tournament teams in the ACC. They are going to be a tough draw for some other NCAA Tournament team. Of course Maryland has the best player in the ACC, Greivis Vasquez, and a good team around him with great coaching so I think they are going to do well in the NCAA Tournament. I wouldn't call those two teams "sleepers" but they are two teams that could do well in March.

4. Big Ten (20). The top half is really good, with Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin all having Final Four potential. But the bottom half is miserable, thanks primarily to Penn State, Iowa and Indiana. Michigan's underachieving season offsets Wisconsin's overachieving.

That really didn't all make sense to me. Whatever, let's move on.

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 7-7 vs. ACC; 3-2 vs. A-10; 1-6 vs. Big 12; 5-2 vs. Big East; 0-1 vs. C-USA; 2-3 vs. MVC; 0-2 vs. MWC; 3-0 vs. Pac-10; 3-5 vs. SEC. Total: 24-28.

The Big 10 has a losing record against the Big 12 (#2), C-USA (#9), MVC (#10), MWC (#6), and SEC (#5). This appears to be the epitome of a top heavy conference. I like top-to-bottom strength so I am not impressed by this.

NCAA teams as of now: Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois.

The Big 10 conference has 5 NCAA Tournament bids as of right now. I like Wisconsin and am not entirely on the Purdue bandwagon at this point.

5. SEC (21). Stop The Minutes if you've heard this before: It's Kentucky and everyone else.

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 5-7 vs. ACC; 5-4 vs. A-10; 4-6 vs. Big 12; 8-7 vs. Big East; 5-3 vs. Big Ten; 8-3 vs. C-USA; 2-1 vs. MVC; 1-1 vs. MWC; 3-3 vs. Pac-10. Total: 41-35.

The SEC has a losing record against the ACC (#3) and that is it. For a conference that supposedly doesn't have a whole lot more than Kentucky this is fairly impressive. It's really not a good conference in reality so this comparison Pat Forde uses between conferences is misleading.

How does John Calipari always end up in a conference that sucks? First it's the A-10, then Conference USA, and now the SEC. It's like he is afraid to coach a team in a good conference. Just once I want to see him coach in the Big East, Big 10, Big 12 or the ACC.

NCAA teams as of now: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee.

The SEC conference has 3 NCAA Tournament bids as of right now. I only think one of these teams is any good.

6. Mountain West (22).

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 0-0 vs. ACC; 1-0 vs. A-10; 4-5 vs. Big 12; 1-0 vs. Big East; 2-0 vs. Big Ten; 4-2 vs. C-USA; 4-5 vs. MVC; 5-6 vs. Pac-10; 1-1 vs. SEC. Total: 22-19.

The MWC has a losing record against the Big 12 (#2), MVC (#10), Pac-10 (#8).

NCAA teams as of now: BYU, New Mexico, UNLV.

The MWC has 3 NCAA Tournament bids as of right now.

7. Atlantic 10 (23).

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 4-5 vs. ACC; 3-8 vs. Big 12; 5-17 vs. Big East; 2-3 vs. Big Ten; 4-2 vs. C-USA; 3-2 vs. MVC; 0-1 vs. MWC; 0-1 vs. Pac-10; 4-5 vs. SEC. Total: 25-44.

The A-10 has a losing record against the ACC (#3), Big 12 (#2), Big East (#1), MWC (#6), MVC (#10), Pac-10 (#8), and SEC (#5).

NCAA teams as of now: Richmond, Xavier, Temple, Dayton, Charlotte.

The A-10 has 5 NCAA Tournaments teams of right now. That's a lot of teams from a conference that only has a winning record against 2 other conferences Pat Forde compared them to. This is more evidence conference records against each other may not be a good way to judge the overall strength of a conference.

8. Pacific-10 (24).

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 2-2 vs. ACC; 1-0 vs. A-10; 4-13 vs. Big 12; 0-3 vs. Big East; 0-3 vs. Big Ten; 1-0 vs. C-USA; 0-0 vs. MVC; 6-5 vs. MWC; 3-3 vs. SEC. Total: 17-29.

The Pac-10 has a losing record against the Big 12 (#2), Big East (#3), and Big 10 (#4). So basically if a conference is "Big" the Pac-10 will lose to that conference. This is the opposite of what happens in college football.

NCAA teams as of now: California.

The Pac-10 has one team on pace to make the NCAA Tournament. Pathetic.

9. Conference USA (25).

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 0-5 vs. ACC; 2-4 vs. A-10; 4-6 vs. Big 12; 1-7 vs. Big East; 1-0 vs. Big Ten; 1-2 vs. MVC; 2-4 vs. MWC; 0-1 vs. Pac-10; 3-8 vs. SEC. Total: 14-36.

Conference USA has a losing record against the ACC (#3), A-10 (#7), Big 12 (#2), Big East (#1), MVC (#10), MWC (#6), Pac-10 (#8), and SEC (#5). In other words, this conference sucks.

NCAA teams as of now: UTEP, UAB.

Conference USA has 2 teams in the NCAA Tournament as of right now. I don't like either of these teams.

10. Missouri Valley (26).

League record against the rest of the top 10 conferences: 1-0 vs. ACC; 2-3 vs. A-10; 3-3 vs. Big 12; 0-2 vs. Big East; 3-2 vs. Big Ten; 2-1 vs. C-USA; 5-4 vs. MWC; 0-0 vs. Pac-10; 1-2 vs. SEC. Total: 17-17.

The MVC has a losing record against the A-10 (#7), Big East (#1), and SEC (#5).

NCAA teams as of now: Whoever wins the conference tournament.

The MVC is on pace to get one NCAA Tournament bid.

This is one of the reasons I think the field should not be expanded to 96 teams, because they will probably still get one bid and some of the major conferences above them would get more bids. It wouldn't benefit the mid-majors much, but the major conferences would get most of the benefit, and I am not sure those major conference teams deserve to make the NCAA Tournament. For example, undeserving teams from a conference like the Pac-10 would probably make it over a more deserving team in the MWC, Atlantic-10 or MVC.

Here are my arbitrary rankings of the conferences:

1. Big East
2. Big 12
3. ACC
4. SEC
5. Big 10
6. A-10
7. MWC
8. Pac-10
9. MVC
10. Conference USA

Now Pat Forde takes a look at the teams that get the coveted, yet somewhat unimportant, #1 seeds (Teams that are #2 seeds really don't have that much more of a difficult road than a #1 seed in my mind).

Kentucky (28). What's to like: Stayed unbeaten longer than anyone else, and the lone loss was a six-pointer on the road in league play.

Kentucky is a strong team and they will get a #1 seed, but they have a scary combination for me when it comes to playing well in the NCAA Tournament. That combination is, they are a fairly young team that has played a fairly easy schedule so far. They aren't traditionally tested every night with some of the teams they are playing. Here's a theory I have and it is based on Calipari's teams at Memphis. My theory is that because Calipari's squad played in an easier conference they weren't as used to playing tight basketball games, so when it comes time to play a tough basketball game they aren't as well-equipped to pull the game out in the end. It's a stupid theory, but Calipari's teams have a reputation for falling apart in important games they should win (i.e. 2008 National Championship Game). College basketball teams that have played in tight games know how to manage the end of the game and pull the game out. Kentucky is more used to playing tight games, but they also rely on 3 freshman as part of their core, so they are a young team in regards to the most talented players on the roster.

I think Kentucky is going to be a #1 seed but I am going to be interested to see how they do against a more experienced team like Michigan State.

Syracuse (29).

Syracuse surprised me this year. I didn't know Wes Johnson would be this good and I didn't know they would be this good as a team. The formula I like for a good NCAA Tournament team: Strong point guard, athletic wing player, and a competent center (or two competent power forwards)...they have all of that. I didn't know Scoop Jardine would run the point like he has nor did I know Wes Johnson could be that athletic wing player this year. Throw in the zone defense that befuddles teams, and this is a good Syracuse team that is built for playing late in March.

Kansas State (33).

Every year a team looks like a great team around this time of the season and they end up taking an early loss in the NCAA Tournament. Last year it was Wake Forest. I nominate Kansas State for that team this year. They aren't a bad team, I just believe they have peaked too early in the season and the toughest road game they have played all season is either UNLV or Missouri...and they lost to Missouri. I don't hate them, I just don't think they will end up with a #1 seed.

Even their best win, Texas, doesn't look so hot right now. After that, the best win is either Texas A&M or Dayton. I reserve the ability to change my opinion on them, but for right now I am suspicious of their ability to get a #1 seed.

Of course, now that I have said this, look for them to make the Final Four.

West Virginia (34).

What's to like: Of the eight contenders, nobody has played a tougher schedule (rated fourth nationally by Lunardi's InsideRPI) than the Mountaineers, who have scads of quality wins both in and out of conference.

I really like the Mountaineers, but I don't like Bob Huggins. So it is hard for me to be high (or drunk as the case may be for Huggins) on West Virginia. They have quality wins and I think it will benefit them if they get an earlier exit in the Big East Tournament. Not that they are tired, but they have played some tough games so far. They have the formula I like in a good NCAA Tournament team, they may not have a competent center, but they do have Jones and Eubanks as the two power forwards that can rebound (in lieu of a competent center) and Butler as the athletic wingman. This is a team I really like...begrudgingly.

My #1 seeds: Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse.

Duke doesn't deserve it, but they have an easier schedule and a good chance to run the table, so I think they will back into the #1 seed slightly over Purdue, who still has to play Michigan State.

My #2 seeds: West Virginia, Villanova, Purdue, Michigan State.

My #3 seeds: Kansas State, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Ohio State. (I was going to put Wisconsin here but then they lost on the road to Minnesota)

Final Four: Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Villanova

I am still sticking with my Villanova-Kansas National Championship until I see the bracket (and they end up on the same side) or I get up the courage to change my mind. Of course, most of the picks I just made will change once I get a chance to see the brackets and the season is actually completed. For now, I feel 99% comfortable saying Kansas is the National Champion though.

I would love to talk about college basketball all-day-everyday, but I just don't have the time to watch all the games I want to. March is my favorite month of the sports year simply because of the NCAA and conference tournaments and the fact baseball is right around the corner.

10 comments:

Go said...

I'll first admit that the Big East has the most teams deserving of the tournament. The conference is a beast this year.
But I get irrated at those who say that since Big East got "x" amount of teams into the tournamnet, while another conference had one or two less, that the Big East is the superior conference.
Why doesn't anyone bring up how having sixteen teams will give you a greater chance of having the most playing in the tournament?
If the ACC or Big 12 picked up four more then maybe you could compare the conferences by how many teams they put in. Until that happens I think you have to compare conference a different way.

Go said...

By the way Ben. Duke did destroy us last week and are the best team in the conference by far. But I am certain Schyer will win ACC POY over Vasquez. The voters will do this. I say without bias (I think) that GV deserves it. His surrounding cast's talent is no where near Schyers and if you look at only ACC games, Greivis' numbers are just absurd. No disprespect the Scheyer.

Bengoodfella said...

Great point about the Big East having 16 teams, so therefore they will have more teams make the tourney because they have more teams. I don't like how Pat Forde did this article, I thought it was a bad way to look at who the best conference is. I think between the two ways he compared conferences, possibly comparing head-to-head games are the best...but then the Big East isn't the best conference.

I do think they have the best set of 4 teams.

I don't know if Duke destroyed Maryland. They did beat them, but they still have to play them at Maryland, which is always not fun. I don't think Scheyer should get PoY over Vasquez. Vasquez is the best all-around player in the ACC. In fact, Singler is a better all-around player than Scheyer. Scheyer will get it, but I don't think he should necessarily, though he has come up big late in games lately...but Vasquez is still better.

I saw statistics today that had Maryland (statistically) as the 12th best team in the country. If it is possible, I think the ACC may be underrated. I don't know of many teams that will want to run into Maryland, GT, or FSU in the tourney.

Disrespect Scheyer all you want when it is the truth.

Martin F. said...

28-23, that's the record of the Big East after pulling out it's dominance of the A-10. So it's basically .500 against the rest of the country. Not exactly the sterling numbers one would hope for from the #1 conference.

I think Pat might have been stereotyping folks from Alabama not being able to ice skate and not African-Americans there Ben :) He'd probably say the same thing about someone from SoCal.

ivn said...

I'm with Martin on the ice skating thing. Outside of New England, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and a couple of other states (the Dakotas and Colorado maybe?) its not like ice skating and hockey are much of a pasttime in the country. Hell I live in Washington state and there's probably only one or two rinks within 30-40 miles of where I am.

Not high on Purdue this year BGF? I know they have had some trouble closing out games recently but they're still so damn good. And what do you think UNM can do, assuming you've even seen enough to judge them?

Also the stats can't even begin to describe how terrible the Pac 10 is this year. Watching the games on FSN is brutal. I can't remember the last time one of the power conferences was only able to get one team in.

Before the season my Final Four was Kansas, Nova, MSU, and Purdue. Now (of course its useless without seeing the bracket) I would go with Kansas, Kentucky, MSU, and maybe Nova or Purdue.

Bengoodfella said...

Kent, maybe he was stereotyping Alabama people. On second thought, maybe so.

We'll see how good the Big East is here soon but the record you showed and their record against other conferences isn't impressive.

Ivn, I am not entirely on the bandwagon, I didn't say I did not like them. I think they are good but I don't know if I believe they are better than they are last year. That's all. Maybe they will advance past the Sweet 16 this year and I should have liked them more.

I haven't seen enough of UNM to judge them at this point. I wish I had.

The Pac-10 is terrible. I almost wish I had ranked them below the MVC.

That bracket may be a winner, of course like you said we don't know how teams will get matched up.

Bengoodfella said...

Jay Bilas just said the Big East tournament is the best tournament because all the teams are good. You know except for DePaul, Rutgers, and Providence...all of whom are just not very good basketball teams. Other than of course, they are all great.

Go said...

Agreed that Singler is the better player. He reminds me of Dunleavy. Tall, lankyand a great outside shooter. It's hard to guard those type of players in college. Nolan Smith may even be better than Scheyer.
Duke had its way with MD last week. I do think MD will play much better on March 3rd but Duke's size just kills MD. Zoubek is the 1st team All-American pick if he plays MD every game. I don't remember where MD last beat Duke.
MD's ceiling may be the second round. If we get a 7-10 seed, we'll have to play a team like UK, Syracuse, Kansas in the second round. No way we can handle any of those #1 or #2 seeds. We're incredible at home but don't play with a lot of energy away from Comcast.
The voters I think will take the best player on the best team. JS was incredible vs. MD while GV stunk up the place at Cameron. GV will have to have a great game against Duke to win POY.
His shimmies, which I love watching, could hurt him with voters.
Duke beats GTown now, especially if on a neutral court. I'm just so confused with K's recruiting the last ten years. His players are just not the same as they used to be in the 90s when they were dominating everyone.
I don't think UNC will be a lot better next year. They have a lot of holes to fill, especially at PG.

ivn said...

Re: Duke recruiting, didn't the administration get on Coach K's case when Brand, Maggette, and later Deng and McRoberts went pro early? I'm pretty sure he has to land recruits that plan on graduating from the school, which would limit his recruiting pool. I could be wrong though. BGF would definitely know more than I would.

Bengoodfella said...

Go, I think Singler is a better player but Smith has the best potential at the next level. Singler has a hard time trying to guard or score against a player that is a typical small forward. I think Maryland should get better than a #7 seed, but you are right, it may not happen. I still like Maryland in the NCAA Tournament, of course it will be hard road if they land a Kentucky or a team like that in the 2nd round. I have faith in them though.

Vasquez should be PoY over Scheyer. I would vote for him.

In regard to Duke recruiting, the recruiting has gone down not because the Duke Administration told Coach K to but it was a conscious decision by him to avoid players who he couldn't have in his program for more than 1-2 years. He actually is going away from this policy now because he has to in order to compete.

I don't think it was Duke Admin, but Coach K would saw Maggette and William Avery go pro before he viewed them as ready (He hated both Avery and Maggette turning pro). He started to change who he recruited a little bit at that point and didn't pay as much attention to guys who would stay only 1 year for a while after the Deng departure and committing time to Shaun Livingston only to have him enter the draft. He realized he was spending time on guys who weren't going to be around for 3-4 years.

That's not the real problem with Duke recruiting, because most of it involves him backing the wrong players. For example, Hansbrough was down between Duke and UNC and Coach K paid more attention and had McRoberts over Hansbrough. Also, other teams have straight beaten Duke out for recruits, specifically Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe, John Wall (sort of), and now Harrison Barnes.

I've read so many accounts about how few people in Duke Administration can tell Coach K what to do. He pretty much tells them he is the boss, which he is.