Posted on: March 3, 2009 5:52 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2009 5:59 pm

Champ. Week: Who could be this year's Georgia?

One of the key questions everyone keeps asking is this: Which teams can make a run like Georgia did last season? Remember last season the Bulldogs ran through the SEC Conference Tournament and shocked the world. Nobody saw it coming. The Bulldogs crashed the Big Dance from nowhere, grabbed a 14 seed, and had Xavier on the ropes in the closing minutes of the first round.

Minnesots & Illinois also made deep runs in the Big Ten Tournament before losing in the semifinals and finals. That's what is great about the system we have in college basketball. It's March and any team can still win the national championship (outside of Independents). So who could be this year's Georgia? Here's my five best guesses.

NOTE: Remember to qualify to become this year's Georgia type team the team must have absolutely no chance at an at large bid (or at least a minimal chance) and should not be among the favorites to win their conference tournament. This does NOT include teams like Georgetown, Notre Dame, UAB, or other teams not meeting the criteria. All the teams listed below would be Cinderella stories are none of them are considered one of the top FIVE favorites in their conference tournaments.

Five Potential Championship Week Cinderellas:

Auburn Tigers: It's March and we are still talking about Auburn basketball. Go figure. The Tigers are in the same crazy league Georgia was in last season and has been on fire lately. It's important to note that unlike Georgia the Tigers actually have a winning record in the SEC and appear to be on their way to a second place finish in the SEC West. The key to this is that nobody sees it coming. Auburn will be overlooked and needs to win the SEC Tournament to get in. Beware though because I also think Mississippi State could be a team to keep an eye on.

Northwestern Wildcats: The Wildcats have proven that they can win tough games. The Wildcats have wins over Minnesota, Michigan State, and Ohio State this season. At one point they were actually on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but since then they've fallen off their early season pace. Incredibly Northwestern is the only team from a BCS Conference never to make the NCAA Tournament. They look like they will be the #9 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

Baylor Bears: Last season Baylor was one of the best at large bid stories in the NCAA Tournament. This season they aren't even on the bubble entering the last week of their regular season. Despite the bad year, Baylor has one of the Big 12's best players in Curtis Jerrells. Jerrells can take over games and lead Baylor to a Big 12 title if the dominoes fall the right way. Before the season nobody would've been surprised if Baylor had finished in the top three in the Big 12. When everyone's back in the same boat in a must win situation anything can happen.

Washington State Cougars: Where has this team been all season? The Cougars have won three straight games over Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA to garner some national attention. The problem is that Washington State is still only three games over .500 and is now 8-9 in Pac 10 play. It's unlikely they can get back an at large bid. Right now WSU is line to be the #6 seed in the Pac Ten Tournament. Hot teams usually play well in their conference tournament.

Evansville Acers: I can't sit here and give all the love to the major conferences can I? Of course not. Let's just call this a big time hunch. The Acers are quietly in the middle of the pack in the Missouri Valley, but that's fine with them. In these smaller conference tournaments the pressure is on the 1 and 2 seeds, allowing other teams to quietly make runs.  In the competitive MVC I think Evansville is the team that can do that.

Please remember to check out my conference tournaments previews:

Atlantic Sun , Big South , CAA , Horizon , Ohio Valley , Patriot League,  Sun Belt



Posted on: February 25, 2009 1:49 am
Edited on: February 25, 2009 1:53 am

CBB Nightly: 10 Thoughts & Providence's Shocker

1. Providence, 81, #1 Pittsburgh 73: If you saw this coming please raise your hand. Actually stand up, raise both hands, do the macarena, turn yourself around, and take a huge bow. And then go buy yourself something really nice, because you are either the luckiest gambler on earth, a descendent of the great Nostradamus, or you thought Providence was the "p" team with 1 beside its name.

In all seriousness what about what the Friars just did? Not only did they go from afterthought to potential at large berth winnner, but they also shook up the entire national championship picture. Maybe this is what it takes to beat the Panthers. A few hot shooters, a frustrated Dejuan Blair, and an ecstatic crowd. A lot of teams are throwing that formula together right now, and it probably won't work the majority of the time against one of the nation's most phyically gifted teams. Tonight it did though, and for Providence that's all that matters.

Is Providence in my field right now? I honestly can't say for sure since I haven't created my new field after tonight's games just yet, but I do think they are. And I know whar your thinking. Wait a minute Dan this team is 17-11 overall and you are putting them in the NCAA Tournament? Look closer. The Friars now have wins over #1 ranked Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and they swept Cincinnati. That pushes them above the Bearcats in the pecking order and puts them above Georgetown & Notre Dame at this point.

2. LSU is one of the most athletic teams in the country. Laugh when you see the Tigers in your team's bracket on Selection Sunday but be warned. This team is a matchup nightmare. They have the length of Tayshaun Prince everywhere and a player that can absolutely take over any game in a split second, Marcus Thornton.

3. Florida's loss pushes them farther towards the NCAA Tournament bubble. I keep asking for heart from bubble teams and aside from Providence, Maryland, and Arizona I've been let down. The Gators are probably still in at this juncture, but fourth best in the SEC East may not be good enough on Selection Sunday. You are reading it here first, so remember I said this. Do not be surprised if Florida makes a run over the next few games, including a deep SEC Tournament run. Billy Donovan has got the youngesters buying into his system and slowly but surely it will churn out some results.

4. Boston College looks safer and safer as every day goes by. The Eagles now have wins over North Carolina, Duke, and Florida State in ACC play, which should be more than enough to get them into the field barring a collapse. At this point I don't see how anyone can keep them out.

5. BYU put together a tremendous second half comeback against hungry San Diego State. For the Cougars it means the line for dance tickets is getting shorter. The Aztecs are about to get a "sold out" sign unless they do something spectacular or win the Mountain West Tournament.

6. Everybody seems to keep sleeping on Creighton, but don't be surprised if the Blue Jays sneak into the at large field ever so quietly on Selection Sunday if they lose in the Missouri Valley Tournament.  The Blue Jays win over Missouri State pushed their overall record to an impressive 24-6.

7. The Texas A&M-Nebraska finish was the best of the night. Josh Carter hit a three at the buzzer to win the game for the Aggies, and keep alive their slim at large hopes in the process. Texas A&M is now 6-7 in conference play but still in need of big wins.

8. Baylor's hopes of reaching back to back NCAA Tournaments now relies on the Big 12 Tournament. Losing to Iowa State is unacceptable, especially when you barely have a pulse as it is.

9. I can't really say I've done my job unless I mention Ohio State's win over Penn State in tonight's first round of games. The Buckeyes jumped out to a quick lead before allowing the Nittany Lions to come back. Eventually Ohio State pulled away, enlarged its at large chances, and damaged Penn State's NCAA Tournament hopes all in one package.

10. One more thing I don't want to forget to mention is conference tournaments. On March 3rd the Big South & Ohio Valley tournaments start, so stay tuned for coverage of those on this blog. Radford will more than likely be the #1 seed in the Big South while the Ohio Valley race is still up in the air.

March Madness on Demand : This is one of the really cool features CBS has for us college basketball lovers during the NCAA Tournament. This season there are new features including High Quality live streaming video of the entire NCAA Tournament. I have used it in the past and I cannot wait to do so this year. Click the link and sign up!


Posted on: February 11, 2009 4:47 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2009 12:05 am

Wednesday Night Live Blog: Ask ?, Add Comments!

11:04 PM: Utah knocks off San Diego State in a huge game for the MWC lead. With their high RPI & SOS the Utes are now looking a 7 seed or higher.

10:56 PM: Utah leads San Diego State late in the firat half. Following that game the live blog will sign off for tonight and my brand new bracketology will be posted.

10:22 PM: North Carolina knocks off Duke 101-87. How about the Tar Heels scoring 101 points in Cameron Indoor? Like I've said all year, North Carolina appears to be the nation's best team.

10:02 PM: Tonight's games are wrapping themselves up as UNC and Oklahoma have now opened up sizeable leads. Creighton knocked off Bradley as well. The one big game remaining tonight is San Diego State-Utah.

9:54 PM: Ty Lawson has taken over the Duke-UNC game in the second half. North Carolina has a 88-71 lead over Duke with under four minutes left. It is Duke's fourth straight loss to North Carolina at home.

9:44 PM: LSU wins at Mississippi State 97-94 in 2OT! What a win for the Tigers. It keeps LSU in first place in the SEC West and keeps them in my bracketology (which will be released around 11 CT).

9:36 PM: North Carolina is on a huge run to grab the lead against Duke. The Tar Heels lead 73-69 with 8:37 left to play.

9:28 PM: LSU-Mississippi State is now in 2OT. This is a HUGE game in the SEC West.

9:20 PM: I can already say this.....Duke-North Carolina has been one of the best played games of the year. Duke leads 58-56 right now.

In a huge game in the SEC LSU leads Mississippi State 77-76 in overtime. San Diego State-Utah is now underway as well.

9:07 PM:

dan, Would a UNC loss tonight be enough to knock them down from a #1 seed in your bracketology...for now at least? And how many losses does OU need to take to drom them from a #1?-vshman

A loss would certainly make things interesting. A Duke win would move the Blue Devils up to the 1 seed line and in turn drop North Carolina to a 2 (I think). Oklahoma really needs to just keep winning because their lack of a big road win is going to kill them if they start losing games.

9:02 PM: Oklahoma is leading Baylor 35-30 at halftime. I should've already mentioned this game before now, but I've been blown away by the great offensive play in the North Carolina-Duke game.

8:57 PM: A lot of bubble teams- BYU, Tennessee, Wisconsin - took care of business tonight or are in the process of taking care of business tonight. In another note Memphis' Conference USA winning streak will continue as they blow out Tulsa .

8:54 PM: Duke outplayed North Carolina after trailing 28-18 early. The lead at the half is 52-44. That means the Blue Devils outscored UNC 34-16 over the rest of the half after trailing by ten. The Blue Devils are lighting it up.

8:35 PM: How about Duke ? The Blue Devils were just down 10 points but they are now within one, 34-33, of North Carolina in the first half at Cameron Indoor. Dick Vitale looks like a five year old on Christmas morning that just saw the big present underneath the tree.

8:31 PM:
Great questions from pittbaster tonight:
Looks like the Vols are playing with a chip on their shoulder. Impressive so far, albeit against the likes of Georgia. Where do you see them finishing in the SEC East mess, and what seed do you think it'll land them?- pittbaster

Tennessee looks like the team that will win the SEC East if they can knock off Florida again and beat Kentucky in Lexington. Right now I think Florida also has a great shot to win the East. Right now I have Tennessee as a 9 seed because of their bad losses (like Auburn). If they win the SEC East and win the SEC Tournament they could get a 5. If not they will probably finish in the 6-9 seed range.

8:23 PM: Dayton finished off their upset of Xavier , which really opens up the Atlantic 10 to a very very good chance at two NCAA Tournament bids. Meanwhile North Carolina leads Duke 28-18. Keep sending in your questions!

8:17 PM:

I don't see how losing @ the number one team in the country hurts a resume. Syracuse's resume is exactly the same as it was yesterday, in my eyes. They'll be fine. -pittbaster

The loss to the #1 ranked team in the country won't hurt them but five losses in six games will. Plus their Big East record is only 6-6. They are VERY far from a lock at this point, and I think their seed in my bracketology might open some eyes.

8:12 PM: North Carolina State has finished off its upset of #6 Wake Forest 82-76. The Demon Deacons seed is dropping like a rock off the Empire State Building at this point. Right now the Demon Deacons chances of a 1 seed are very low unless they win the ACC Tournament.

8:07 PM: North Carolina and Duke is underway.

8:00 PM: Connecticut knocked off Syracuse , explaining that last question by boogieboy.  The Huskies will remain the #1 team in the country.

7:51 PM:

Dan, can you see Syracuse playing themselves out of the tournament. They will have lost 5 of 6. Losing by double digits to the big three in the BE. Throw in their home loss to Cleveland St and their resume looks pretty weak. Looking at their schedule, I can see at least 3 or 4 more loses.-boogieboy

Syracuse is falling towards the bubble very fast, but I don't still don't see them missing the NCAA Tournament. The reason is because the Big East has went from nine potential teams going to the Big Dance to just 7 in my latest projection. I really think Syracuse will get in, but it is starting to get wishy washy for the Orange and their fans. Could they miss the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons?

7:31 PM: Another great question.

Dan I'm from Rhode Island but I'm a Duke fan. I haven't seen them (URI) in your bracket so I was wondering if you thought they have any chance at an at large bid. *This might have been off topic but URI's playing tonight.-Gocavs33

Nothing is off topic if it is a NCAA Tournament question. At this point Rhode Island has little chance for an at large bid after another promising start to the season. The computer numbers don't add up and neither do the lack up big wins.

7:25 PM: Score updates:

Purrdue 61, Penn State 47

2nd Half Scores:
Connecticut 52, Syracuse 40
Dayton 42, Xavier 39
N. C. State 62, Wake Forest 45
Cincinnati 39, St. Johns 22 (Halftime)
Virginia Tech 50, Georgia Tech 42

And one score I just have to throw in because I can't believe it.....

Iowa State 37, Colorado 9 (Halftime)

7:21 PM: What North Carolina State is doing to Wake Forest should be illegal. Remember when the Demon Deacons were #1 in the country? That seems like an eternity ago now.

7:14 PM: I just got home in time to watch the 2nd half of the UConn-Cuse game...can the 'Cuse hold on to the finish, to make it VERY interesting?- vshman

If they are going to then they have to withstand this Connecticut run. Right now the Huskies have their biggest lead of the night, five.

7:10 PM:

Dan if Wake lose tonight, Will you think about bringing them down to a 3 seed? -bskballer89

Honestly it will drop them to AT LEAST a 3 seed. The Demon Deacons struggles on the road are getting a little ridiculous at this point. How can a team that can't win a big game away from home win in the NCAA Tournament?

7:07 PM: #1 Connecticut is in trouble at home. Connecticut and Syracuse are tied 30-30 early in the second half. Syracuse needs a big win for their NCAA Tournament resume and this could be it.

6:57 PM: Duke-North Carolina is about an hour away, but the winner of that might get a little less attention if the score at N. C. State holds up. The Wolfpack lead #6 Wake Forest 42-34 at halftime. Apparently WF can beat anyone in Winston-Salem but nobody slightly talented away from there.

6:53 PM: In between my dinner and these great games it has been a great night, unless your Penn State. The Nittany Lions are down 48-31 to a Purdue team playing without its best player. I don't get it, but I guess the Nittany Lions have decided they want to go back to their terrible basketball program instead of the one that gave Penn State fans hope for a couple of weeks.

6:38 PM: I haven't really given any mention to this game but so far North Carolina State is beating Wake Forest in the first half. The Demon Deacons have had trouble in road ACC games and it looks like that trend is still going in that direction.

6:33 PM: Dayton is impressing me a lot tonight. I Picked the Flyers to win but they are truly just outplaying Xavier in the first half. The crowd is loud and the Muskteers look a little bit shooked early. At this point Xavier is losing 22-14 and still making almost 50% (6 of 13) of their shots.

6:28 PM: Just a minute ago it was Dayton dominating Xavier in every facet of the game, but now the Musketeers are making a run. In Connecticut the Huskies are in trouble early. You know, the number one ranked Connecticut Huskies. Syracuse is playing them well midway through the first half.

6:23 PM: Without Robbie Hummel Purdue leads Penn State 28-26 at halftime. The Nittany Lions have Minnesota, Illinois, and Ohio State up next so they'd like to win this one to improve their standing in the selection committee's eyes. Neither team is shooting it well and both teams are playing pretty good defense, which has resulted in the low score.

6:15 PM: Here's an early score rundown of games that affect NCAA Tournament bids:

Syracuse 10, Connecticut 9 (1st half)
Penn State 26, Purdue 25 (Late 1st Half)
Dayton 9, Xavier 3 (1st half)
Wake Forest 7, N. C. State 6 (1st half)
Virgnia Tech 17, Georgia Tech 10 (1st half)


6:11 PM: How about Dayton's start against Xavier ? Make sure it's noted that I did pick the Flyers to win tonight against Xavier, and so far theya re playing well. The lead is 8-1 Dayton VERY early.

6:01 PM: Penn State leads 21-16 after back to back threes. The Nittany Lions know how important this game is to their NCAA Tournament hopes and so far in the first half they are playing like they have something to prove. That might be because they do have something to prove. Syracuse-Connecticut is among the games about to tip.

5:45 PM: The first tv timeout is called in the Purdue-Penn State game with the score tied 7-7 early. It looks like the first team to 40 will win this one. In about 15 minutes some other games get underway, but I will continue following this one.

5:33 PM: Just so it's known Robbie Hummel is NOT playing tonight for Purdue , as expected. That's not good for the Boilermakers but at least they are at home tonight against a Penn State team that has already beat them once this year.

5:11 PM: In the words of Terrell Owens get your popcorn ready because tonight's action gets under way in about 19 minutes. I know I've already talked a little bit about this huge Penn State-Purdue game but I don't think people understand the magnitude of it. The loser will have dropped its third consecutive game and at this time of the year that can be deadly.

4:50 PM: This game to get at least a share of the regular season title is more important for Utah. -sdfananduclafan

I disagree sdfananduclfan. I think this game is really more important for San Diego State than it is for Utah . The reason is because the Utes are #13 in the RPI and #14 in the SOS, which equals an at large bid unless the selection commitee wants to make Utah the highest team (by far) in the RPI ever to miss the NCAA Tournament.

4:42 PM:

No pick on the Duke-NC game? I'm liking Duke, to hand Hansbrough his first Cameron loss... Any chance of Tulsa or Syracuse pulling off huge upsets on the road tonight? I say no...but would love to see either. I saw an interesting question on your thread about Nebraska's tourney chances vs. K-State's...thoughts? I think it's very possible that Baylor could catch OU tonight. But being an OU fan, ending our 29 game win streak over Baylor, with one of our best teams EVER, would be a shame!

Some great questions from vshman. I will take them one by one.

I really think Duke has a great chance to win tonight against North Carolina , but I think the Tar Heels are the nation's best team and that even at Cameron tonight that will show. I don't see Tulsa or Syracuse winning tonight, but Memphis ' streak is going to end eventually. I really think the next time the Tigers will be in trouble is against UAB in Bartow Arena later this month.

I saw the question about Nebraska but haven't had a chance to respond. The main reason Kansas State is getting and publicity is because of their five game winning streak and their impressive victory over Texas during that streak. The problem is that the win over Texas is looking less and less impressive with every Longhorns loss. Nebraska is in the picture (and they have a win over KSU) but they need to keep winning and find a few statement wins for their resume.

The problem for Oklahoma tonight is that Baylor is playing a MUST win game while Oklahoma is just playing another game on their schedule against a weak Big 12. Baylor should be more hungry, although they are less talented.

3:47 PM: It just doesn't get any better than this boys and girls. College basketball is really a weekend sport that has big games spread out during the week, but rarely does a Wednesday stack up like this one does. Sure, there are always multiple important Wednesday night games spread out throughout the season, but in rare fashion do we see a night that can impact NCAA Tournament hopes across the country.

Just think about it. Utah-San Diego State is for the Mountain West lead, probably the Mountain West regular season crown, and a probably at large bid in March. The winner moves to 8-2 and improves its seeding at this point while the loser falls a little farther towards the bubble.

Mississippi State-LSU is a forgotten battle for the SEC West lead. A lot of people have forgotten about the SEC this season, and rightfully so with it's disappointing teams from top to bottom. The key is that since the SEC expanded to two divisions in 1992 both divisions have sent at least one team to the NCAA Tournament every year. That means the winner of the SEC West is probably going to get a NCAA Tournament bid.

Penn State just recently fell out of my bracketology after its loss to Wisconsin on Sunday. Tonight they play Purdue, which is sliding without Robbie Hummel. Last time around Penn State won at home against the injury plauged Boilermakers. If Purdue keeps losing then their seed will keep falling. It's going to be interesting to see how the selection committee will evaluate Purdue's results without Hummel in the lineup if he returns and is playing at near 100% for the NCAA Tournament (not likely). The Nittany Lions need a win extremely bad.

Syracuse has went from one of the nation's best teams to a perennial bubble team in the Big East. If they lose again tonight they are firmly on the bubble and the sweat will start pouring down from Orange fans who remember missing the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons. A win over #1 Connecticut will basically lock Syracuse in and shake up the entire country. 

The Atlantic 10 is starting to look more and more like a one bid league unless Xavier loses in the conference tournament or unless Dayton can somehow improve its profile enough to steal an at large bid. The Flyers loss last week was disappointing, but a win tonight at home over Xavier would be huge for their NCAA Tournament hopes.

Remember the last time Tulsa played Memphis ? Antonio Anderson kept the Tigers long Conference USA winning streak alive with a buzzer beating layup. This time the Hurricanes travel to FedEx Forum. A win for Tulsa would put them on the bubble and give them slim at large hopes while a win for Memphis would keep their winning streak alive overall and in conference play.

Baylor can't afford another loss in Big 12 play, but tonight they play the Big 12's one monster. Oklahoma has loast only one game this season and is rolling towards a potential #1 seed. Winning in Waco won't be easy, and it will be interesting to see the Sooners (who haven't really been tested on the road this season) travel for a change.

Did I forgot one? Oh yea, there's some game going on at Cameron Indoor tonight. Duke-North Carolina ? Yes, that's the one. In all seriousness does it really get any better than this? I will answer my own question. No it doesn't. Tyler Hansbrough tries to win his fourth game in a row at Duke (which is unprecendented) while the Blue Devils try to show that last week's 27 point loss against Clemson was a fluke. Coach K has put point guard Greg Paulus back in the starting lineup. I think it's a great move, although I am glad to see a player like Paulus that never stopped fighting after he was benched. Now he's being rewarded for it.

Meanwhile in games I haven't mentioned yet (and games that won't be spotlighted unless they are upsets) bubble teams Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Creighton, Kansas State, VCU, and New Mexico cannot afford losses tonight.

And I'm blogging it all from now until the games go final. Join me and throw in your questions and comments. The best way to send in your questions is to my email in the following format:


-Daniel Evans

Posted on: February 2, 2009 11:51 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2009 12:30 am

CBB Nightly: Uconn wins, Butler & Baylor lose

For everyone that thought Connecticut's time atop the rankings would be short lived, well think again. The Huskies dispatched of #7 Louisville, red hot Louisville at that, easily on Monday night in Freedom Hall.

Elsewhere Baylor lost to Kansas at home and fell to 3-5 in Big 12 play. #11 Butler lost to Wisconsin Green Bay, ending their huge Horizon league winning streak.

Here's a nightly breakdown:

What Connecticut's Win Means: it means that Connecticut will stay atop the polls and that the Huskies are now the favorites in the crowded Big East. Connecticut will also remain a #1 seed in any bracketology you see before their next game.

What Louisville's Loss Means: The Cardinals now have a tougher road for a potential #1 seed, which now isn't likely to happen without another long winning streak and a Big East Tournament title. Right now Lousville looks like a 2 or 3 seed.

What Butler's Loss Means: The Bulldogs now fall from their #11 ranking and stay about where they were in my bracketology. I had them listed as a 7 seed because I remember how the committee under-seeded them last season. The loss isn't as bad as it looks because Wisconsin-Green Bay is a lot better than they get credit for.

What Baylor's Loss Means: Goodbye at large bid (for now). Baylor would fall out of my bracketology if I did it tonight with a 3-5 Big 12 record. Baylor will have plenty of chances to play their way back into the field though.

What Kansas Win Means: The Jayhawks continue to keep their unbeaten Big 12 mark going and they continue to look like a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament.



Other college basketball news from Monday

I've already had my say on Bob Knight going to Georgia, check it out here .

The bracketbuster matchups are also finished, and after an extensive search this is the only list of them on the net .

Apparently the people have spoken and Penn State SHOULD be in the NCAA Tournament.

Also apprently Maryland head coach, Gary Williams, job is safe. More on that tomorrow.


Remember this blog is for YOU guys. I want YOUR input so to make sure I get it I've created a few things so that I can encourage your help. My mailbag is a weekly (maybe twice a week at times) segment I am doing where I will answer any college basketball questions. The "thoughts" section is to get a feel of what games you think are important and who you think will win.


MAILBAG: Send your questions for next week's mailbag either by PM or to my email .

YOUR THOUGHTS: Tonight I want your thoughts on tomorrow's games. Which game are you most looking forward to watching?

-Daniel Evans

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com