Bracketology

I’ve never put a ton of stock in the whole “Bracketology” business. But, as of right now, my favorite team is getting some love from the Bracketologists. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Bearcats set to be the 8-seed in the West Region in his latest projection. In that same region reside two of my least favorite teams ever: Kansas and Xavier. Assuming the Bearcats could get past a surprisingly pesky Georgia squad, they’d likely get kU. The chances they beat the Jayhawks aren’t good…but let’s say for argument’s sake they do. Then it’s likely Wisconsin or Washington in the Sweet 16. Get past that and they’re in the Elite 8. The 6-seed in that same region is the Xavier Musketeers. Assuming Chris Mack’s squad can get past the likes of Vandy, Florida State or St. John’s, Syracuse and San Diego State, that sets up a Crosstown Shootout rematch in the Elite 8. Which basically guarantees the ‘Cats will be heading to Houston in early April for the Final Four. Boom.
The projections from CBSSports.com think far more highly of the Bearcats than Mr. Lunardi. Cincinnati is projected as…get this…a freaking 5-seed. Can you believe that? I would be shocked to see this team get any higher than a 7-seed. (**And then they could wind up playing Mizzou in the second round. Boy, would I be in a bind then. I probably pull for Cincinnati, but everyone here at school gets pissy at me. But the chances of that happening aren’t all that great.**) Obviously, they could really earn that 5-seed (maybe even higher) if they get some quality Ws the rest of the way in Big East play. I’ll talk about that a little more as I go on, but for now, I’ll just say this: when Bracketology projects the Bearcats to be in the Big Dance, I like it. So, right now, I like Bracketology.

Cincy finally picked up a somewhat quality Big East win this past weekend on the road at St. John’s. Granted, the Red Storm isn’t a great team, by any means. An early loss at St. Mary’s isn’t bad, but two non-conference losses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham? That hurts a little. Other than that, though, three Big East losses to top 20 teams and a loss to UC. Not too shabby. That win for Cincy could go a long way. Now, it’s just a matter of getting a couple more quality Ws. The schedule breakdown from here on out gives the Bearcats a chance to get a few more conference wins. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be quality wins. You assume they can take care of Rutgers tonight, then St. John’s at home, then Providence and DePaul on the road. So, if St. John’s can continue to play pretty well, the only good win in there is probably against them. You figure there’s no chance they can play with Pitt anywhere, much less on the road. Then they get UConn in the Shoe — another game I don’t see them winning. That’d make it 8-5 in conference with a group of winnable games: home against West Virginia and Louisville, at G’Town and Marquette, then a rematch with the Hoyas at home. Give them two wins in the other five games, and you’ve got a team that’s 10-8 in the Big East and 23-8 on the season. It wouldn’t be a stretch for a Big East team with a .500 conference record to make the Tourney. Hard to see a Big East team at 10-8 with a 23-8 overall record not making it, even if they did play arguably the easiest non-conference schedule of all time. So, my projections show there’s almost no chance for this team to miss the Big Dance for the sixth straight year.
At the same time, this team hasn’t proven to me that they’ll meet my expectations yet. They’ve won the games they should (all their non-conference, DePaul, Seton Hall, etc.), but they haven’t proven they can play with the better teams in the country. They make a lot of mistakes that, to their credit, they overcome against the bad teams. But those mistakes can’t be made if you want to beat Villanova or Syracuse or Notre Dame. All three of those games, the Bearcats shot themselves in the foot, then did just enough the rest of the way to keep a small bit of hope alive. As I described it on Twitter:

Hopefully that changes soon. If this team can avoid silly mistakes, I believe they can play with the best teams in the Big East and even the country. It’s just a matter of avoiding those mistakes and playing like they do whenever they fight back after falling behind by 15-20 points. This team could make some noise come March, but they need to make a little noise before then in order to do it.

My other favorite college squad has looked pretty good this season. 17-3 (two of the losses they pissed away with bad luck and bad mistakes), ranked 11/13 in the nation, 3-2 in conference with a chance to chalk up a HUGE win this weekend. After blowing a chance for a huge road win against Texas A&M a week and a half ago, beating Texas on the road — especially after they trounced A&M, knocked kU off at Phog Allen, then handled OK State in Stillwater tonight — would be enormous. This team probably won’t need a real marquee win to make the Big Dance, but a win over Texas would really prove this team is one of the best around. I’m kinda worried they’ll get thrashed with it being in Austin, especially given the way they’ve played on the road this season. I will believe this team is capable of bigger things than just a deep tourney run if they can get a W in Austin.
At the same time, this squad has been impressive. Ricardo Ratliffe has been as good as advertised. Phil Pressey has been a huge lift off the bench and runs the point extremely well for a freshman. Michael Dixon is a great court general off the bat. Marcus Denmon has made a legitimate case for Big 12 Player of the Year. You still get solid contributions from Kim English, Laurence Bowers and Justin Safford. Steve Moore is giving a significant number of quality minutes, and Ricky Kreklow and Matt Pressey provide lifts off the bench. This team is capable of doing some pretty special things. They’re fun to watch, they’ve got a ton of talent and the younger guys are still learning. As good as this squad is now, they could be even better as the season wears on.
By the way, Dana O’Neil wrotea great piece on potential Big 12 POY candidate Marcus Denmon.

As for the rest of the NCAA, I have only a few observations…
–Ohio State is scary good. Sullinger gets all the press, but this is a team in every sense of the word. They’ve got more than one guy who can play — they were up 20 on Purdue last night at the half…Sullinger had four points. Everyone on their team plays hard on every possession. Their fundamentals are outstanding and they look like they enjoy playing with one another. That means they’ll play for each other, too. When a team this good cares this much, they’re tough to beat.
–Texas’s win at kU said more about the Longhorns than it did about the Jayhawks. Both teams are really, really good. Kansas showed how good they can be in the early going against Texas. Then Texas showed even more by withstanding that onslaught, overcoming it and beating the Jayhawks on the road. I thought Kansas was the undisputed Big 12 favorite. Now it’s tougher for me to decide.
–The Big 12 was supposed to be one of the best conferences in the nation this year. Instead, it’s become a top-heavy league with a couple of teams that wilted under high expectations. K-State and Baylor were supposed to compete for a Big 12 title. Now, they’re fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The talent levels on these two teams aren’t much different than last year when both went to the Elite 8. Shows that talent doesn’t mean success. There’s more to it.
–Duke has looked shaky since Kyrie Irving went down. If, by some miracle, they get him back, I still take them against anyone. The Plumlees and Ryan Kelly are starting to play strong inside. Nolan Smith has become the National Player of the Year candidate instead of Kyle Singler. Kyle Singler’s still exceptionally good. This team has weapons. Kyrie Irving added another one and made the others better. If he comes back, Duke is hands down my national title favorite.
–HUGE game tonight between BYU and San Diego State. Jimmer Fredette is incredible. BYU is a complete team with a dominant scorer. San Diego State is very good, too. I have no idea who will win tonight’s game (though I give the Cougars the slight edge in Provo), but it should be a good one. Quite an exciting year for the Mountain West athletically. TCU with the Rose Bowl win, now two MWC basketball teams in the top 10 in late January, one of which is one of the two remaining NCAA Division I unbeatens. Not too bad. It’s just a shame the MWC sucks and has to air its games on channels no one gets. Boo.

Now for a major link dump…it has been a while.
–Weather has been really crappy in mid-MO lately. I’ve began using something to help warm me when the cold, snowy weather gets me down:

–I’m sure everyone has seen the video of that lady falling into the fountain in the mall while she was texting. I found that humorous. Apparently she didn’t, because now she’s suing the mall. Absolutely ridiculous.

–We’ve gotten a lot of snow recently in Missouri. It is always problematic when you get a lot of snow. You’ve gotta shovel it, drive through it, walk through it and just put up with it in general. Well, one guy didn’t want to deal with it. Instead of shoveling the snow, he decided he’d just blow it up instead. He got arrested for it (I guess because of the explosives) but I want to give this dude a high five. Just like, “Take this Mother Nature. You think your snow is pretty cool? Taste it. Boom. That’s the power of man, right in your face.” If I trusted myself at all with explosives, I might try this method.

–Have you ever gone to a party and been really gassy? Come on…we’ve all been there. I know I have. I usually try to be pretty discreet about it. It’d take a pretty observant person to catch me dropping a bomb at a party. Someone like Sidney Fife…

Well apparently some kid wasn’t too discreet about farting at a party and other partygoers called him out on it. He didn’t take too kindly to that. I mean, would you? These people just caught you farting all over their good time. It’s pretty embarrassing. But what do you do about it? Blame someone else? Just leave? Apologize? Not if you’re this guy, you don’t. This guy stabbed four people for giving him, ahem, crap about it. So, next time you call someone out for gassing your good time, be careful.

–Ever wanted one million dollars? Well, this kid did…

And apparently, some douche bag millionaire (billionaire, whatever) actually did give this kid a million bucks.

I mean, really…this can’t be real. This kid actually got a million bucks? Sure, he was kinda clever at times, but not a million dollars-worth clever. If this is true, I will be pissed. Just goes to show that hard work never pays off. Why am I in school? So I can get a mediocre job when I leave and make like $35k/year for most of my life? And this kid just makes like three YouTube videos and he gets a million bucks? Life sucks.

–Some guys at a college in up in the New England area were out boozing on their porch, called some passing girls “sluts” and laughed about it. Later on, they went out to the bars and had a good ol’ time, then returned home to a note telling them the girls they had yelled at stole all their beer and wanted them to respect women. Seriously? I’m not saying it’s OK to call girls sluts for no good reason. But those guys were 100% within their legal rights to do so. This is America. Freedom of speech. That’s one of the things this country prides itself on. These guys exercise their right to free speech, and these broads come back and STEAL from them for exercising that right. I get it, ladies. These guys were being pigs, chauvanists, whatever. I’m not condoning what they did. But it makes absolutely no sense to retaliate by doing something ILLEGAL. Another reason I prefer to avoid relationships. Even though these guys really did nothing wrong, these chicks justified their illegal actions in the name of “respect(ing) women.” I’m not supporting calling women sluts. But I am supporting free speech. And I never support illegal actions. So, regardless of how morally virtuous their mission may have been, these girls are wrong. It’s just sad to think they could justify this to themselves.

–Some donor at UConn was not happy with the way things are going in the athletic department in Storrs. So, he decided to demand $3 million in donations back
and have his name removed from whatever building the money was supposed to go to. And as much as I think it’s completely ridiculous for this guy to do this (there is NO reason, even if the guy gives a bazillion dollars, that donors should be involved in day to day decisions just because they have a lot of money), I blame the AD. This guy clearly has an ego. Most people with that much money do. It’s his job to stroke that ego and massage the relationship. You don’t have to let him control the athletics, but you have to at least make him feel like he has a big part in it. You’ve gotta cultivate and manage those relationships. Now, you’re out more than $3M. You cannot let that happen.

–My roommate’s big brother is getting married. He decided to have a contest between his three younger brothers to see who’d be his best man. While Bryce and Kyle went with some sentimental (and good) videos, I decided to help Little Guy come up with a brilliant video that not only highlighted why he should be Andy’s best man, but also provided entertainment for anyone who watched.

Somehow, he didn’t win. Andy, if you’re reading this: how? The video quality, editing and filming may not have been top of the line, but the video was.

–And continuing with the “What Should I Do?” theme…how great is this Brett Favre commercial?

**UPDATE: As I finish up this post, the Bearcats win it 72-56.**

But that’s all I’ve got. I’m gonna get to a restaurant or bar or whatever and try to catch some of this BYU/SDSU game. Be good, loyal readers.
Carpe Diem.
Altiora.

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~ by nchaney3 on January 26, 2011.

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