Archive for the ‘NCAA Tournament’ Category

This entire season, I have believed that college basketball, as a whole, was down. I feel there are only but a few great players and no really great teams. A case could be made for Ohio State if they would have won the championship, but that ship sunk when they were dealt a loss by the Wildcats of Kentucky. However, I think with no great teams really available, that makes a great tournament, and clearly I was right. We’ve witnessed one of the more memorable NCAA tourneys that I can remember. Some players and teams have stood out, and some have disappeared. So, here is my list of Tournament Studs and Duds.

Studs:

Will Rodriguez and his Rams emerge as NCAA champions?

  • Joey Rodriguez: A case could be made for the entire roster of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, but Rodriguez has had one of the most memorable tournament performances in quite some time. He has been the main catalyst of a very dynamic Ram offense, and has run the point guard position the way it is supposed to be played. While he had great games against USC, Georgetown and Florida State, his best game of the tournament was against Purdue, a known great defensive team. His stats weren’t the greatest (12 points and 11 assists) but he had no turnovers, and that is tough to do against Purdue.
  • Butler University: The Butler did it again. Nobody gave this team a chance to return to the Final Four after their main star Gordon Heyward left for the NBA. This team was supposed to win maybe one game in the tourney. Clearly Butler didn’t get the message. Butler has pulled off very impressive wins against Old Dominoin, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and Florida. Senior Matt Howard and Junior Shelvin Mack have played excellent basketball and Butler will play the winner of Kansas and VCU. I have learned to never pick against the Bulldogs until the Final Four again.
  • Kemba Walker: This guy is amazing. After he pulled off, perhaps the best Big East tournament performances of all time, he decided to make the NCAA Tournament his playground and led his UConn Huskies to the Final Four. In games against Bucknell, Cincinnati, San Diego State and Arizona Walker has a combined 107 points, 27 assists and 21 rebounds. After the Big East Tournament, I became a Kemba believer and picked the Huskies to go to the Final Four. I think UConn will beat the winner of Kentucky vs. North Carolina and will be the NCAA champions.
  • Atlantic Coast Conference: This conference has been disrespected the entire season, and that showed with only four teams getting invites to the big dance. However, the ACC led all conferences with three teams in the Sweet 16 (Duke, North Carolina and Florida State.) Duke and Florida State both lost in the Sweet 16, but the fact remains that as a conference, their record is an impressive 8-3, with the possibility of North Carolina winning even more games.

Duds:

  • University of Louisville: This team was THE disappointment of the tournament. After a great showing in the Big East Tournament , where they lost in the championship to UConn, many people believed the Cardinals had a Final Four run in them. Thankfully I wasn’t one of them, but that is neither here nor there. The Cardinals came out flat against a disrespected in-state rival Morehead State team, in which the Eagles were playing like it was their national championship game. With playes like Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles, the Cardinals underachieved and head coach Rick Pitino decided to do in-studio analysis after his team lost.
  • E’Twaun Moore: The Purdue senior didn’t show up this tournament. He did have 19 points against a terrible St. Peter’s team, but only had 10 points against VCU. During the VCU game, he looked uninterested and lost at times. That is not what you want out of a senior leader on your team. Moore had a great college career, but he probably wants to forget this tournament.
  • University of Notre Dame: What a disappointment the Irish experienced this tourney. They were a 2 seed and many thought they were deserving of a 1 seed. Akron kept the game close, only losing by 13, and then Florida State completely dominated the Irish. Notre Dame had established that they were an outside shooting team with players like Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis draining threes all season. However, thisĀ  proved to be their downfall. If their shots are not hitting, they are a very vulnerable team and Florida State exposed that.
  • Big Ten Conference: A case could definitely be made that the Big East had a worse tournament than the Big Ten, but I feel I made my point with having Louisville and Notre Dame listed as duds. The Big Ten looked to be in a very good position to be big things this tournament, but that wasn’t the case at all. The conference only had two teams in the Sweet 16 and they have no teams in the Elite 8. Their combined record is 7-7. The Big Ten was supposed to be the premier conference of the season, but that is definitely not the case. There was no Michigan State magic. Purdue underachieved like usual. Penn State showed why they were on the bubble. The only team to really say they had a good tournament is Michigan. They beat Tennessee by 30, and gave Duke a hell of a game.
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Butler?! AGAIN?

Posted: March 27, 2011 by justinhoosiers in NCAA Tournament

As I sit here and watch Marcus Morris getting all Kansas’ points and VCU trying to stay in the game early (Nevermind they just took the lead), I can’t help think about how great of a tournament this has been. This has probably been my 2nd favorite tournament of all time right behind Indiana’s amazing run in 2002 with a coach barely anybody knew anything about. I can remember Indiana’s exact run to the National Title game. Started with us being the only 5 seed in the tournament to win their opening round game by just stomping Utah. We then went on to play UNC-Wilmington (scary game) and then Duke in that amazing game that I’ll never forget. A.J. Moye will forever be my favorite Indiana basketball player of all time. Then we played Kent State, Oklahoma, and then of course we lost to Maryland. That tournament will never be forgotten in my mind. We just came out of nowhere and it was awesome to watch.

I’m going to remember this tournament for some of the same reasons. I haven’t previously been a Butler fan but I have to admit, after seeing them march to their 2nd straight Final Four after struggling in the beginning of the season, I often find myself cheering for them. I also hate Kentucky will all my heart but I found myself happy when they beat Ohio State because I never expected it. I love when underdogs win. That’s why I don’t think I’ll ever forget this tournament. There have been so many unbelievable wins in this tournament that nobody ever saw coming! Anyone else watching this VCU game right now? I doubt they hang on to be honest but then again I’ve been saying that this whole tournament and teams have been proving me wrong. VCU is now on a 20-6 run. I can barely type this because I’m afraid to look away for one second because this tournament has been that good. My favorite moment from the tournament this year comes in picture form that I think you all will enjoy as well.

This picture isn’t about Robbie Hummel crying. I just love the score. I love that Purdue got what was coming to them. That loss doesn’t look so bad now as VCU is killing Kansas, but it was still a Purdue loss. Which I love. Regardless of who ends up winning this tournament, it has definitely been an enjoyable one to watch. Quality games. Quality announcers. Quality coverage. Overall this was just an amazing tournament. Hopefully the rest of it is just as enjoyable.

The College Basketball Invitational

Posted: March 27, 2011 by drunkonsports in NCAA Tournament

The College Basketball Invitational. It sounds so simple. The name is harmless. But honestly, what is it?

The CBI is a postseason NCAA-sponsored tournament that selects 16 teams out of those that did not receive invites to the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Teams play games at team sites and then finish with a “Best of 3” Championship format. The games are shown on HDNet, a company run by IU-alum Mark Cuban. The tournament is very new having its first annual tournament following the 2008 season.

Having watched a couple CBI games over the last couple of years, the best part about it was the coverage on HDNet. The picture quality is top-notch and just blows away the picture CBS and the other channels use for the NCAA Tournament. It really needs to be seen to be believed. Fans may remember a SportsCenter top play that happened in the CBI where the player held onto the rim too long and basically did a backflip.

The CBI is sometimes misconstrued as the tourney where the worst teams in the country play and that is definitely not the case. With over 300 NCAA teams, you are still in the top third of teams and just last year the tournament winner was VCU, who is playing in the Elite Eight today. Their star point guard Joey Rodriguez was also the tournament MVP. These are generally teams that finish toward the bottom of the major conferences and a few mid majors who just missed out on the larger tournaments.

While there was some talk about Indiana possibly playing in the CBI this season, I don’t think it would have been the best idea. People say IU has a history to maintain and the CBI would demean them. I just don’t think selling a half-full Assembly Hall to a team that had already given up would help the program. The CBI isn’t the culprit, its Tom Crean’s team. I will save the time talking about IU Basketball because I would go on all day and miss this baseball game, but I needed to at least mention the possibility IU had this year involving the CBI.

I really like the idea of the CBI as it gives teams an extra game or two in their home arenas and as a player, you just want to put on that jersey and play. The CBI does that. Also for a lower team, the CBI could be that first step in achieving a season goal. It is a postseason tournament whether its prestigious or not. However, here’s to hoping IU has more lofty expectations next season.

-Josh Bowles-