Thursday, November 15, 2007

Holiday Tournament Week

Championship Week lasts nine days in the spring. Holiday Tournament Week is really two weeks in the fall, but since the early rounds of the NIT are so watered down, I'm declaring that it officially began with the Coaches vs Cancer semis on Thursday. I'll have detailed coverage of the tournaments for the next 10 days, except when I'm sleeping, eating Turkey, working, playing scrabble, taking my mom to visit tourist stops in DC, watching the Vikings play even worse football without Adrian Peterson, and blogging about college football. OK, so I'm not taking a week of vacation like I do for Championship Week in the spring, but let's have some fun anyway shall we? Let's start with the brackets. I love all brackets big and small and I posted the main brackets here last week. So what are you waiting for? Print them off and let's get started!

Coaches vs Cancer: UConn vs Memphis is set for the final on Friday. UConn still looks like an amazing defensive team, holding Gardner Webb to 31.5% shooting, but we already knew that. Memphis never lost their cool against Oklahoma, well except for that weird technical foul incident. (I shoved you into my teammate and you were knocked down and we're off-setting. Sure.)

Puerto Rico: Arkansas, Providence, Miami, and VCU were the winners Thursday setting up two great semifinals Friday. VCU won despite Eric Maynor shooting 1 for 12 from the field. Both the Providence and VCU games were nailbiters. (VCU recap here. Providence recap here.)

NIT: The Final Four was actually set Wed. and all the expected teams won. Next Wednesday Syracuse plays Ohio St. and Washington plays Texas A&M. The NIT seems quite watered down. (NJIT, really?) But we did see one interesting development. Despite playing for the second day in a row, Syracuse used a five man rotation against St. Joe's. Check out the box score here. Yikes. I think Syracuse has the potential to be a real sleeper this year, but they won't win the NIT if they don't play a few more players.

CBA Classic: The Final Four is also according to plan. Missouri plays Michigan St. and Maryland plays UCLA next Monday.

The Top of the World Classic and Paradise Jam are also underway tommorrow.

Random Notes

The MVC has officially hit the big time. Now its recruits are making stupid decisions.

Although I feel that linking to ESPN appears to be a blogging sin, I do it all the time, so why not link to this excellent article by Kyle Whelliston. Kyle shows that we should fear the Atlantic Sun, a conference that abandoned its TAAC name in an apparent attempt to move up in the alphabetic listings of standings. Coming soon, the Aardvark Conference.

While I miss the flow of the Ken and John's old posts, I'm definitely warming up to Basketball Prospectus. I just wish they'd get rid of the NBA guy. I'm sure he's nice and all, but there's no natural synergy between college basketball and the NBA. The synergy is with college football ;). Did you see Arizona beat Oregon tonight? Oy, I feel bad for the Oregon fans. The injury to Dennis Dixon was critical. It now appears that the winner of the Big 12 quasi-playoff should have the inside track to face LSU in the national title game. Missouri vs Kansas, Winner vs Oklahoma. It's almost like a bracket.

Inside the Hoyas

Let's face it. Even if I'm trying to be a national blog, I'm still going to cover the team I have season tickets to more carefully then say a Pac 10 team that is never on while I'm awake. And like any actual fan, I get most excited by "my" teams preview. So despite several worthwhile previews on Basketball Prospectus, let me focus you in on the Big East preview. In particular, the Georgetown preview.

Last year the Hoyas had a lot of turnovers and a lot of high percentage shots. Obviously Georgetown could improve on their turnover percentage by throwing fewer risky post passes and taking bad shots earlier in the shot clock. But since that isn't exactly an appealing idea, Georgetown appears to be trying something different. BP recommended that Jonathan Wallace turn the ball over less. And the plan is in action through two games. To cut down on turnovers Jonathon Wallace has passed his primary point guard duties to Rivers, freshman Chris Wright, and even Jesse Sapp. Wallace is no longer taking the ball up the court, and while he will still try to create for others in the flow of the offense, he is focusing more on being a spot up shooter and 2 guard. Stats observant coach John Thompson the 3rd, I salute you. (As a side note, SI's preview issue discusses this exact move. Nice eye Ted Keith.)

Factoid that May Only Interest Me

College basketball, how I lover your random traditions. Last year the Hoya student section had a mid-game salute that involved clapping for Jeff Green's mom. Thursday Night, she once again took her seat in the stands, but she was now wearing a green and white Sonics jersey. It didn't matter that her son had now moved on to the NBA, she still received the same honorary salute. Attention loving and deserving moms everywhere take note, send your son to Georgetown!

Factoid that May Only Interest Big 10 Fans

Michigan doesn't quite have the three point shooting prowess to run Beilein's system yet. There were at least three bad air-balls shot in the loss to the Hoyas. Georgetown's experience and depth really showed in this game as Michigan looked intimidated from the start. (Box score here.)