Sunday, March 15, 2009

The SEC, stealing bids two years in a row

What a crazy ending to the Mississippi St. vs Tennessee game. First we have the two foul calls that could have been travels. (The first one was clearly a travel for Mississippi St. because there was no contact made by the Tennessee defender.) Then we had Tennessee getting called for a very quick 5 second in-bounding call when it looked like they called time out. Then we had the Mississippi St. player stepping out of bounds on the double team, but only because his upper body was clearly shoved. And finally, didn’t Tennessee foul with 1 second left? No call, game over, Mississippi St. in the NCAA tournament, and the bubble teams left out of the NCAA tournament in a few hours are clearly going to be cursing the officials from this one.

I never released my favorite SEC players team because I quite frankly haven’t watched many games this year. Here it is anyway:

Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi St., more blocks than Hasheem Thabeet
JaMychal Green, Alabama, a younger version of Arizona’s Jordan Hill
Marcus Thornton, LSU, 118.2 offensive rating despite shooting a ton
Brian Williams, Tennessee, when they must play half court, he gets the boards
Devan Downey, South Carolina, Mr. Run and Gun

South Carolina went from 179th in adjusted tempo last year to 9th this year in large part to Downey’s speed and his ability to create turnovers. He’s 11th nationally in steal percentage according to Sadly, it looks like South Carolina will be relegated to the NIT and we may have to wait until next year to see their run and gun attack in the NCAA tournament.

I’m embarrassed to even put Thornton on a favorite players team because he’s such a clear star, but I really don’t hear many people mention him nationally.

Bracket Update

I continue to stick by my Saturday prediction with USC and Mississippi St. knocking out Auburn and New Mexico in my contingency scenarios.

Relative to Joe Lunardi, my bracket has San Diego St. in and Minnesota out.

Relative to SI, my bracket has Creighton in and Arizona out.

Relative to the bracket project compilation, my bracket has Creighton in and Minnesota out.

The bracket is almost here!