February 9, 2008

College Basketball Recap, Feb 9th

Osby fights for a rebound in the purty gold unis (Photo: ESPN)

Maryland pulls out a big win at home over NC State after struggling early. The Terps are now 6-3 in conference and will occupy 3rd place alone in the ACC if Clemson loses at UNC tomorrow. As much as the Terps struggled early, it's clear that they are playing like a top 20 team now. Elsewhere, Miami upset VT in Blacksburg, a crippling loss for the Hokies and a crucial road win for the Canes (now 3-6 in conference, but still top 50 in RPI). BC lost to Duke as expected, and must rally from their 6 game conference losing streak if they want a shot at the tournament. Remember when BC and Miami met early in the year and both were undefeated in conference? Now they're both 3-6.

Big 12:
Texas and Kansas both won, setting up a showdown between the two on Monday. Texas Tech's loss at Nebraska may eliminate them from tournament contention, and Oklahoma's loss to Colorado may do the same for the Sooners. Meanwhile, A&M and K State chalked up important wins.

Big Ten:
Purdue's win at Wisconsin legitimizes their status as a top team in the conference and solidifies their status in the tournament. A big road win over a top ten team that's plays well at home will do wonders for the Boilermakers' tournament resume (now 9-1 in the Big Ten). Minnesota continues to hold serve against the chumps of the conference, but is desperately in need of a victory over one of the top five to even get on the bubble.

Other notable upset: Louisville beat G'Town, though this isn't as much of an upset as one would think because the Cardinals are healthy now and playing like the team that was highly ranked preseason. Both teams will be a force in March.

How About Some More Maryland - NC State Photos?

As Russell pointed out, the Terps have worn yellow before. Check out this Len Bias jersey from Ebay.

21 Responses:

Dewey Hammond said...

And Villanova finally won a game!

If they can rattle off five or six in a row, starting Monday at G'town, then maybe, just maybe, they'll be worthy of the NIT.

Brien said...

I'm not sure why Villanova isn't a perennial power. They have a lot of tradition, and they've been good recently. It seems like they should be able to recruit better than they do.

The turnaround this Maryland team has gone through in the past month became really evident to me at halftime. The Terps had rallied back from a 9 point deficit to trail by only 2, and I had no doubt that they were going to come out fired up for the second half and put the game out of reach. I don't think there are any teams looking forward to playing Maryland the rest of the year.

Russell, how could you skip the Marquette-ND game? I know it probably ended before you woke up (2PM), but it was a match-up of two ranked teams. Notre Dame extended its home winning streak to 34.

big tuna said...

You sure that isn't Minnesota in those photos?

J-Red said...

I don't think anyone has ever sported the yellow and red to the extent we have twice this year (also against Holy Cross).

Russell said...

J-Red, go to ebay and look at Len Bias jerseys. Maryland has sported the gold in the past, it's just been a long time.

Dewey Hammond said...

"I'm not sure why Villanova isn't a perennial power. They have a lot of tradition, and they've been good recently. It seems like they should be able to recruit better than they do."

Jay Wright's actually a really good recruiter, but a terrible X/O guy. Plus this year there are ego issues in the locker room. The freshmen aren't happy with their PT, and it appears as though they haven't realized that you can't make a living in college off your HS resume alone. They need to pipe down and put up.

But even though they suck, at least the jerseys are nice. Those yellows are nasty. It's probably what killed Len. That or the huge mound of blow.

Russell said...

I don't think the gold is that bad, but it was a little confusing to be playing NC State (in red) and have us in neither white nor red. I think I need to devote a post to the hideous suit choices by coaches to match school colors, Pitino in white being the most recent example. Now those were bad.

michael said...

A college basketball rundown without mentioning the best conference in the country? How about a little Pac-10 love?

J-Red said...

Didn't UCLA choke again? Maybe we could just make "Pac-10 Chokes" a running feature.

Russell said...

Here's how impressed I am with Pac-10 basketball: Stanford played two teams with an RPI in the top 100 out of conference (lost to Siena, def Texas Tech by 1). Washington St. beat Baylor and Gonzaga, and their best other non-conference opponent was #125 Boise St. Arizona St beat #12 Xavier but didn't play anyone else in the top 100 out of conference. The result when overrated teams play each other is that they continue to be overrated because they're beating a ranked team.

How would Maryland's record look if we hadn't played #56 Ohio and #57 VCU? Maryland played 5 teams in the top 100 out of conference. Florida St played 6 teams in the top 100. Duke played 6 teams in the top 100, and UNC played 8.

The worst team in the ACC beat Arizona in the desert. The Pac-10 might get more teams in the tournament, but I'm not buying that it's a better conference. UCLA is legit, but everyone else has something to prove in March.

big tuna said...

Maryland, we're all behind you.
Lift high the black and GOLD.

michael said...

What you are describing is inconsistency, which is also indicative of how young the conference is. It is a conference full of individual stars, but almost all are freshmen. Only the Lopez twins at Stanford and Chase Budinger at Arizona are sophomores, and the rest are just freshmen. And while they are great, they are inconsistent.

And I don't just mean Kevin Love (who is as good as advertised) and O.J. Mayo (finally growing into the system)...but Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless (who went for 39 points on only 18 shots last night), and Arizona State guard James Hardin, who didnt have a great game yesterday, but is probably the most talented of the entire bunch...and his freshman backcourt running mate Jamelle McMillian (yes, son of Nate), who will be far better than his dad. And I like how you brely glossed over ASU beating a top ranked team. Nice.

Also you forgot that USC played perennial tourney team Southern Illinois (okay, its not our fault they suck this year). And also played (back to back games, no less) Memphis and Kansas. Two decent teams, no? They did lose them both by 4 points, with one game being tied with 30 seconds left and the other going to overtime. When a team starts three freshmen, these things can happen, and early December is very different than early March.

Our freshmen are getting experience and the teams are gelling. Just wait another 6 weeks. Let's just see what conference will have the most teams in the Sweet 16. I am betting that it will be the Pac-10.

J-Red said...

"Raise high", Tuna, though some versions also have "Wave high". "Raise high" is correct though.

I just wish there was more black and less gold.

J-Red said...

But Michael, many of those freshmen are gone after this year. The West Coast attracts a lot of one-and-done because of L.A. exposure. The conference is young this year, and won't be any older next year.

michael said...

L.A. exposure? How about Tucson and Tempe exposure? Thats where the best ones are.

Russell said...

The Pac-10's non-conference strength of schedule is 20th of 32 conferences. Obviously there have been some games against good teams, but the high rankings sported by Washington St and Stanford for much of the year are pretty questionable. Stanford's 20-3 should be considered about the same as Maryland's 16-8. There are certainly a lot of young stars in the Pac-10, more than the rest of the country, but the conference is overrated right now based on inflated records.

Why couldn't they schedule anyone decent? Stanford's non-conference SOS is 271, and Washington State's is 235. Arizona State's is 319 of 341!!! I don't think it's ridiculous to gloss over the one game against Xavier when they're 319th. Obviously, teams improve over the course of the season, but we have to remember where those pretty records come from.

michael said...

I don’t know where you found just non-conference strength of schedule, but I found this one listing RPI ratings along with overall strength of schedule (http://rpiratings.com/mensrpi.html). As you can see here, Arizona has the #1 overall toughest schedule (which included Texas A&M; at home, as well as games at Illinois, at Memphis, and at Kansas), Oregon is 15th, USC is 28th, UCLA 29th. Even if your theory is correct, it wouldn’t be nearly that high without some quality non-conference opponents. Teams in every conference play some cream puff schedules. How do you think Clemson looks so good? I am sure Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian put up a great fight. Some Pac-10 teams played creampuffs, and some played great schedules…just like the ACC.

J-Red said...

I'd like to take in some Tucson and Tempe exposure.

Russell said...

The conference RPI I used is here:

and the team RPI's with conference and non-conference SOS, etc is here:

You can see the Pac-10 teams compiled at:

The ACC teams did play some creampuffs, just not as many:

Russell said...

And btw, I'm sure Kentucky fans would argue with you about how much of a fight Gardner-Webb can put up... If only we had readers from Kentucky to take that bait...

To give you an idea of why I think the Pac-10 schedules were so soft, the Clemson schedule, which you picked out, comes in at 140th in non-conference SOS, and I agree it's not the toughest.

big tuna said...


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