Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tuesday Night Thoughts

- What ever happened to the B? When did it become an M? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you aren’t watching enough basketball.

- Saturday Night I asked the question whether New Mexico St. would be this year’s Air Force. Seth Davis did the same thing Tuesday. Right now, the answer is no.

- Can you top this? After a sensational CAA final, the Horizon league tried to do them one better Tuesday. Butler made a furious comeback after trailing by eight in the second half, but DaShaun Wood out-dueled A.J. Graves to send the Wright St. Raiders to the NCAA tournament. Who can top that tomorrow?

-Wednesday Express Preview
DePaul vs Villanova: My pick for Big East freshman of the year, Scottie Reynolds, takes on a DePaul team that beat Kansas early in the season. Villanova put together a spirited run to finish above .500 in the Big East standings which combined with a good overall profile means Villanova is a lock for the NCAA tournament. Was the late season surge a sign of a young team playing better, or will Villanova suffer a letdown now that they think they have an at-large bid wrapped up? Must win for DePaul.

Syracuse vs UConn: If you look at the numbers you can see why some people are calling this a must win game for Syracuse. I think Syracuse is in regardless.

West Virginia vs Providence: Bubble teams unite in cheering for Providence. A West Virginia loss sends the West Virginia to the NIT.

Marquette vs St. John’s: Welcome back to the Big East Tournament St. John’s. Pittsburgh awaits the winner in the next round. Pittsburgh lost to Marquette twice and they might appreciate a third chance to prove themselves, but they would probably rather avoid Marquette entirely.

Washington vs Arizona St.: The bad news is that Washington only won one road game all year and the tournament is not being held in Seattle. The good news is the one win was at Arizona St.

-Full Bracket Projections are now available below. As things evolve during the major conference tournaments, I’ll have updates on where teams stand.

-Finally, special correspondent Lynn Gottschalk files this report after returning from the MVC tournament.

“I have been attending the MVC tournament, affectionately known as ArchMadness, for over a decade now. In that decade, I have never seen anything like the attendance I saw last weekend. Previously, it was easy to pick up tickets from scalpers below face value right before a game and the tournament was lucky if they could fill two-thirds of the lower bowl for the Championship game. Last Saturday the scalpers didn't even have tickets to sell and Championship Sunday was sold out as well. Oh the power of a Sunday game on CBS.

The attendance was deserved, as there were some great games. On Friday, a Bradley player who was 1 of 13 from the field hit a contested go ahead three in the final seconds of their quarterfinal. SIU needed a last second tip in to send that same Bradley team packing a day later.The title game saw not only the match-up of the 1 and 2 seeds, but also a display of the most heated rivalry in the Valley.

Here's a little information on the teams likely to be dancing next week.SIU is a solid defensive team that is going to force you into playing a half-court game. Their offense isn't explosive and they at times stand around too much. However, they're used to running the shot clock down and Jamal Tatum has the ability to shoot from anywhere on the court.Their worst match-up would be against a patient team that draws fouls.Think any Bo Ryan Wisconsin team.

Creighton struggled at the beginning of the season, but they looked outstanding in the MVC tournament. Dana Altman's teams are smart,skilled and find a way to exploit the opposing team's weaknesses. Their biggest problem is that there is a big drop-off when they have to go to the bench and this is especially true when Tolliver is not in the game.(See the Drexel loss.) Their worst match-up is an athletic team with a strong inside presence. A team like Georgetown would be a tough draw.

Missouri State is hoping that they'll not be snubbed by the committee again. If they don't, this could be a dangerous team. The team starts only Juniors and Seniors and they've played tough competition this year.The big question I have regarding Missouri State is whether they can play a complete game. They have a tendency to go through bad stretches during games where both their defensive and offensive intensity falters. A bad match-up for them would be a team like Butler that plays evenly throughout the game.”

Thanks for the info Lynn! Do you have your own basketball thoughts that you want to see published here? Email me at