Posted on: March 15, 2009 2:11 pm

Memphis vs. Utah State: Perception Matters

Both Utah State & Memphis won their conference tournaments so both are in the NCAA Tournament field. The point in posting this is not to down Memphis or to raise up Utah State, but it is to create conversation. Let's break it down:

Record: 30-3
Projected Seed: 2
Longest Winning Streak: 25
Wins vs. Tournament Teams in that Span: 2
Wins over Tournament Teams Overall: Gonzaga, Tennessee, Chattanooga

Utah State:
Record: 29-4
Projected Seed: 10
Longest Winning Streak: 19
Wins vs. Tournament Teams in that Span: 1
Wins over Tournament Teams Overall: Utah

Now once again I am not arguing that Memphis' resume isn't better because it is. My point is both play in weaker conferences where neither were really challenged all year long. Why do we reward Memphis, a team with three wins over NCAA Tournament bound teams, and not reward Utah State with a higher seed? Perception matters folks.

My FINAL bracketology is coming soon!

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 26, 2009 12:07 pm

Thursday Picks UAB over Memphis (Trust me)

I cannot wait for the UAB-Memphis game. It's a game I wish I was going to but tickets are sold out. Let me put the magnitude of this rivalry into perspective for those that don't understand. Last time Memphis came to Bartow Arena, where they play tonight, the Tigers left with UAB fans/students trashing them with stuff from the stands. UAB led that entire game but Memphis found a way to win it in the closing seconds. The Tigers have won 54 straight Conference USA games. Any guess who their last loss was to in conference? That's right, UAB. John Calipari spoke about it on ESPN yesterday and referred to it as a war.

"Off the court, we're all OK. On the court, there's no friends between Memphis and UAB."-Robert Vaden. There's nothing like the UAB-Memphis game in Conference USA. If the Blazers want to go dancing then they will win. If Memphis wants a 2 seed then they will win.

But I am going out a on a limb. Matter of fact I will say it right now. The streak ends tonight at Bartow. UAB knocks off Memphis as the students rush the court. And to even to add to it I will put the most confidents possible on it.

6-UAB over Memphis
5-West Virginia over Cincinnati
4-Illinois over Minnesota
3-Michigan over Purdue
2-California over USC
1-Washington over Arizona State


Category: NCAAB
Tags: Memphis, Picks, UAB
Posted on: February 6, 2009 11:54 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2009 11:36 am

Mailbag: The best session yet!

I am L-O-V-I-N-G the mailbag questions you guys are sending my way. Here's the latest:

Gonzaga vs. Memphis .. who ya got? -gonzagafan62

First off I've been excruicatingly tough on Memphis.  The Tigers are a team I've described as one of the most talented, poorest shooting teams I've ever seen. Gonzaga was a team I once thought was a top five team and then they struggled for a few games. These two teams are pretty even talent wise but when I look at which team is the best I see the Zags. Gonzaga is loaded with talent. Plus Gonzaga is playing at home. The most talented team, playing at home, is usually a good bet. I like Gonzaga by five or less.

Couple issues. I'm assuming the star means you think they will get the autobid. You have Kentucky as the autobid of the SEC and an 11th seed? I would think running through the SEC tourney would yield a higher seed than that unless its last year's Georgia team...which I believe Kentucky is certainly doing better than them at this point. Also Wake Forest has lost 3 of the last 4 games to subpar competition and they weren't 'good' losses. Of course one would argue the UNC and Duke wins..."who else can boast that", etc. However, those were both at home by 3 and 2 points. Fortunately for them the UNC fluke won't be exposed in regular season but Duke has their shot. Anyways I think you have to take into account the last couple weeks and put them as a 3 seed. Who is a 2 then? Probably Louisville, less shame in losing to UCONN than VT, @GT, and @Miami (a smashing btw).-mastertim

This is referring to my bracketology , but I put it here since it was posed to me as a mailbag question. The autobid asterisk is something I need to change around a little more often than I have so far, but right now I'd say that out of the six power leagues that the SEC is the toughest to judge. Until someone takes a firm lead I will probably just give the Wildcats the asterisk, since it's not really important until someone actually does win the SEC Tournament.

Wake Forest is a team I had on the 1 line before their losses. I think you are putting too much into the last few weeks. How many teams can say that they have wins over both Duke, North Carolina, AND Clemson this year? I think those three wins, all over top ten teams, prove how good the Demon Deacons are.

My favorite team is Iowa. I have a question about Arizona, though. IN the wake of Arizona's comeback against Oregon State, do you think they get a tourney bid now, or do you think that they are going to fade out??? Just wondering, because I have a friend that likes Arizona.-yankeecyclon

Great question yankee. I don't think Arizona gets in, mainly due to the weakness of the Pac 10, despite their newest efforts to make it happen. The Wildcats have the name to get some recognition and a winning streak that is helping them gain momentum, and that will count in March. They are going to have a few more big wins and move up in the Pac 10 standings to get in though. The computer numbers (RPI: 59, SOS: 44) need to improve a little.

SDSU just beat UNLV at the thomas and Mack, that coupled with a home win against Utah is a solid resume, no bad losses as Wyoming is undefeated at home and not in the top 100, but how can you not move up SDSU what so ever, they were in the alst 4 out before the UNLV game on the road, and they still are. I think they are more deserving than a few teams on your list and if you want I will back it up with facts, here are the teams I don't think that should be on over SDSU, Penn State, USC, Georgetown, and Virginia tech (by the way I don't think we have seen an at large bid getting a 13 seed in a long time if ever).-sdfananduclafan

First of all sdfananduclafan in most years we do see an at large team get a 13 seed. What is the committee going to do if teams like Siena, Butler, Davidson, and Utah State (all projected auto bid winners) keep winning? Make it so there are 6 12 seeds? Of course not. That's impossible. That explains the seeding of Penn State and Virginia Tech.

About San Diego State I can't say you don't have an argument because you certainly do. The main problem I have with San Diego State is their OOC SOS, which is 121.  Plus the Aztecs are 3-5 against the RPI top 100. I mean NO disrespect to San Diego State and I agree, the MWC is at least a three bid league. Remember my bracketology is a guess at what I think the selection committee would decide if today was Selection Sunday.

I have a question. What would Xavier have to do to jump to the 2 seed and why wouldn't they be seeded in the Midwest since they are probably the number 1 three seed right now.-crazylegs0721

Crazylegs this is a pretty simple question. Xavier would probably have to win out or just about win out. The Musketeers aren't my top 3 seed either, that honor would go to Louisville. I will worry more about location the deeper we get into February. Right now seeding is more important and more difficult to figure out.

Dan, what have you heard about the recruiting of DeMarcus Cousins? Thanks.-huskyonspeed

The main thing I've heard is that Cousins wants to play at UAB (which would be great because I could watch him play almost every game) but that he wants it put in writing that Mike Davis will be the head coach there next season. This has been going on for months, and for some reason UAB will not put it in writing that Davis isn't going anywhere. This might have a lot to do with Davis' interest in the Alabama job, if he has any interest at all. Other than that I can tell you that Memphis, LSU, Kansas State, UAB, Missouri, N. C. State, Wake Forest, and Washington have offered him a scholarship.

Dan, this is not a criticism of your bracket in any way, I only have 4 at-large bids going to "mid-majors" (and three of those are to the Mountain West, so if you count the 7th best conference as a major conference then there would only be one). I guess my question would be: Are the Mid-major teams and/or conferences down this year? You can put that as a mailbag question if you'd like.-lobofan2003

I love the mid majors and questions about them. The Mountain West deserves three bids and if they don't get three bids it's going to be tough to determine which two teams should get in and which two shouldn't out of the San Diego State, UNLV, BYU, Utah group. I only have the conference getting two right now but it was mainly due to the strength of the power conferences. As far as mid majors being down I guess I have to say they are. Look at this Lobofan:

Bubble Teams-Mid Major Conferences:
Conference USA: 2 (Memphis, UAB)
Horizon 1 (Butler)
Mountain West 4 (Utah, UNLV, San Diego State, BYU)
WAC 1 (Utah State)
Missouri Valley 2 (Northern Iowa, Creighton)
Socon 1 (Davidson)
MAAC 1 (Siena)
Atlantic 10 2 (Xavier, Dayton)
CAA 3 (Northeastern, VCU, George Mason)
MAC 1 (Buffalo)
Summit 1 (North Dakota State)
Sun Belt 1 (Western Kentucky)
WCC 2 (Gonzaga, St. Marys)

This is being EXTREMELY generous in a lot of cases, but it shows the weakness of some of the usual power "mid major" conferences. For instance it really wouldn't be a surprise for CUSA, WCC, Missouri Valley, and Atlantic 10 to end up with only one bid apiece.

-Daniel Evans

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 28, 2009 11:53 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2009 12:01 am

Make Your Case: Which Team is Really #1?

Are Blake Griffin and Oklahoma the nation's best team? Over the next few months you are going to hear a lot of commentary from me, your official NCAA Tournament blogger, so I'd loving nothing more than to get some feedback from you guys. Now that #1 Duke and #3 Pittsburgh lost on Wednesday the conversation about who the nation's best team is has started back up.

The Blue Devils ran into a Wake Forest squad ready to take out revenge on whichever team was next on its schedule, and the Blue Devils just happened to be that team. Duke has been playing exceptional basketball, including a absolute domination of Maryland in Cameron Indoor on Saturday.

But guess who is sneaking back into the #1 picture?

Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons last second win over Duke showed that they aren't going to just fade away after their loss to Virginia Tech last Wednesday night.

Duke's loss brings a lot of teams into the mix though. Oklahoma, Connecticut, and North Carolina are in the mix along with Wake Forest. I can't argue with people that want to still claim Duke or Pittsburgh either.

So what I want from you guys is the answer to a couple of questions.

  • Who should be ranked #1 in the country?
  • Who is actually the best team in the country (in your opinion)?
  • Who is playing the best basketball in the country?

And then I want to know which one of these three things is the most important to you when you create a top 25.

If you want my opinion North Carolina is the best team in the country. Louisville is playing the best basketball but after their win tonight Wake Forest should be ranked #1. Go figure.



Just a few quick nuggets from tonight's games:

  1. Michigan is not playing well right now, and it's making everyone forget about those two early wins over UCLA & Duke. I've received a lot of criticism for having the Wolverines outside my bracketology, but at 14-7 and losers of four of their last five it's hard to believe Michigan is one of the best 65 teams in the country right now.
  2. Remember the argument about Villanova? You know the one I'm talking about, it's the one where they don't have any big wins. Well scratch that. 
  3. Providence has me dying to do my bracketology right now. The Friars win over Syracuse showed that they can beat good competition and that their 6-2 Big East record...yes 6-2...is no fluke. Syracuse is 5-4 now in Big East play.
  4. Georgetown is in a lot of trouble. Teams that only win 12 of their first 19 games usually aren't even on the bubble. The Hoyas are because they've played the nation's hardest schedule and because they play in the Big East. The Hoyas have now lost four games in row, but they have the computer numbers to fall back on. Don't sleep on Cincinnati (who knocked off Gtown tonight). The Bearcats are 4-4 in Big East play.
  5. What is it about struggling powers right now? Notre Dame, Georgetown (as previously mentioned), Wisconsin, and Tennessee are struggling to find themselves. The Volunteers lost again at home on Wednesday, their fourth home loss this season. LSU picked up a huge win and is even arguably now even/ahead of Tennessee in the SEC pecking order for an at large bid. The Volunteers computer numbers and sheer talent can only count for so much when the NCAA Tournament committee looks at their profile. Next up? Florida with College Gameday in the house.
  6. Remember that this was the year that Memphis was suppose to have some road blocks in Conference USA? Well mark down a 48th consecutive win, this one over East Carolina. I am planning on seeing the Tigers in person when they travel to Bartow Arena to take on UAB in February.
  7. Northern Iowa showed who the real power is in the Missouri Valley conference. It looks like Illinois State was a early season Cinderella that has lost its slipper sometime way before Midnight was suppose to strike.
  8. Ty Lawson should be in the POY race. I have said that before tonight's games, but after his three lifted North Carolina past Florida State tonight at the buzzer I think it proves it. Sure Stephen Curry, Jodie Meeks, Blake Griffin, and Tyler Hansbrough are all great candidates, but so is Lawson.
  9. Jerry Palm might be on to something . If you haven't seen CBS' guru's latest 'Projecting the Field' he has Northwestern in his field. The Wildcats barely escaped tonight against lowly Indiana and although it was close a win is a win. The Wildcats are 3-5 in conference play but they do have some nice wins and pretty good computer numbers. Maybe just maybe they can make their first ever NCAA Tournament, although I'm still not counting on it.
  10. On an unrelated note, if you guys have used March Madness on Demand the last couple of years to get NCAA Tournament games outside of your area then listen up. This year I'm told they have a brand new player set up and it's suppose to be better than ever. It's not ready just yet, but here's the link where you can sign up to get an email notification for when it is.

Just a few quick things I want to add aside from my post. I am considering moving my bracketology here as well, although it will always be on OSF. A new bracket will be available tomorrow night since I did not have time to create one tonight, and I apologize for that.

-Daniel Evans

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