Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---What a Crazy Week Edition

News flash: Duke 55, Virginia 49. No, wait, that was the score in last November's football game between the two ACC rivals. Last Wednesday night's meeting on the basketball court was far less dramatic and lower scoring. This time, Duke won, 56-41.

What a wacky week. DePaul wins after losing 25 straight Big East road games…Ohio State loses after winning two dozen in a row…Pitt loses to St. John’s…Kansas loses to K-State…Texas loses to Nebraska…Notre Dame loses to West Virginia…Purdue made it two in a row for OSU…and I am pleased to report, Georgia waxed Tennessee in Knoxville.

Duke held serve during the week and was voted number one in both polls. What were those voters smoking? Beating Virginia and Georgia Tech isn’t the most taxing schedule.

Pitt’s one point loss was due to questionable call (or noncall) in the final seconds to a team (St. John’s) that blew out Duke. Lest we forget, Pitt has road wins over Villanova, West Virginia and Georgetown; home wins over Connecticut and Syracuse, and a neutral court win over Texas back in November.

Ohio State lost on the road to Wisconsin and Purdue (both Top 15 teams)---how many other teams would have done better than 0-2 in that sequence? By the way, Wisconsin and Purdue are a combined 29-0 at home this season. OSU (25-2) has seven top 50 wins highlighted by a blowout of Purdue (No. 7 in the RPI) and a road win over Florida (No. 13 in the RPI), and the Buckeyes are the only team with at least six wins over top-50 schools and zero losses to schools currently outside of the top 25.

Texas was the last power-conference school with a perfect league record…then they ran into the Nebraska defense. Texas (23-4) probably has better wins than OSU, but the Longhorns also have losses to Nebraska (No. 63 in the RPI) and USC (No. 86 in the RPI), and four losses total.

Kansas has seven wins against the top 50 of the RPI…all of them have been at home or on neutral courts. Their best road win was at California.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Duke (25-2) doesn't have wins as good as OSU's wins and the losses are worse considering one came at Florida State (No. 50 in the RPI). Duke faces an excellent Temple team this Wednesday, and travels to Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Blue Devils have a history of poor performances at Virginia Tech.

My opinion: The Buckeyes still have the nation's best body of work -- seven top 50 wins and both losses on the road to top-15 teams.

As they tipped off, Utah State and St. Mary’s had 46 wins between them…just two vs. Top 100 RPI teams.

Must see TV: San Diego State hosts BYU on Saturday--- a rematch with the only school that's beaten them. BYU has won 15 of 16 since losing to UCLA on Dec. 18.

Purdue has just one loss outside of the top 40 -- plus wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Get well quickly Chandler Parsons (Florida).

UNC has won eight of nine and climbed into the top 10 of the RPI.

Kentucky has now won 32 consecutive games at Rupp Arena.

Syracuse has won 21 of their past 24 OT games, including Saturday's against Rutgers.

Kansas' free-throw shooting ranks 10th in the Big 12 at 66.8%. Even while they were beating up on Colorado, they still made just 12 of their 21 attempts, attempts.

San Diego State guard James Rahon ranks fourth in the Mountain West in three-point shooting at 43.1 percent. Yet he's eighth on his own team in free-throw shooting at 65.7 percent.

Ohio State played nine games this season using only seven or fewer players. The only team that has done that more often is USC with 14.

The last Duke/North Carolina game when both teams were unranked was played February 25, 1955. They have played 145 straight games where at least one team was ranked.

Since the inception of the 64-team tournament, Duke and UNC have combined for seven national titles and 20 Final Fours…that is more than any other conference.

The quickie interviews when the coach is on the way to the locker room for halftime are just plain stupid. Now on ESPN’s SEC broadcasts, the coaches give interviews during timeouts…even more stupid.

Does anyone even know what traveling is anymore?

Old Dominion will give a headache to whatever team they play in March…a strong zone defense, excellent passing and stout three-point shooting. In their game vs. Cleveland State, I finally got to see C-State’s Norris Cole. He is as good as advertised…more than one basketball pundit has said he is as good as anyone in the game…that might be correct.

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