As a native of Phoenix and a resident of Seattle, I've spent my whole life in Pac-12 country. Because the games start later out here in the West, and because a college sports fan here just doesn't wield as much clout as in other parts of the country (because your typical Westerner is a little more concerned about getting out and biking, swimming, or mountain climbing -- this makes me an atypical member of the tribe, by the way), it's easy for the Pac-12 to be dismissed as second-tier, to not be accorded the weight of respect it deserves. When the Pac-12 doesn't get its due in football or in hoops, you're going to hear from me about it.
This doesn't mean, of course, that the Pac-12 should receive undue praise, either.
One of the biggest debates running through College Basketball Twitter and the College Basketball Internet is, "How weak is this bubble? Is it really as weak as many have been claiming it is?" It's true that several teams have been winning their way into the tourrnament the past week, making the bubble stronger and thereby undercutting the argument that this bubble is historically soft. Yet, as someone who has Pac-12 Network on his cable package, I've been able to watch plenty of Pac-12 basketball this season, which enables me to plant my flag on the bubble argument and insist that, yes, this is one of the weakest -- if not the weakest -- bubbles I can remember. The Pac-12 forms the central pillar of a "weak bubble" position.no comments
Until the NCAA tournament begins, I will be writing pieces on how to defeat some of the top contenders in the nation. First up, 2014's lighting rod, Wichita State.
Let's start with what Wichita State does well. The Shockers really get after teams defensively, and are one of the best contenders at preventing opponents from taking threes. They also pound the defensive glass, allowing opponents to grab just 25.7% of their misses, despite not having a ton of size. Offensively, Fred Van Vleet has been, statistically, one of the best point guards in the country. He shoots over 50% from two, over 40% from three, and barely turns the ball over.no comments
As the last weekend of regular season competition arrives, the overall bubble picture is still cloudy for the dozen-plus teams that are fighting for a handful of spots. Yet, while the big picture is muddled, clarity can be found on an individual level. In specific cases, certain bubble teams face defining moments.
West Virginia, for instance, is fully and finally out of the at-large chase if it can't beat Kansas.
Florida State might not be fully and finally out of the at-large chase, but it would lose its best chance at making the tournament if it can't beat reeling Syracuse.
Nebraska will still be on the middle of the bubble if it loses to Wisconsin, but if the Huskers can beat Bo Ryan's boys, they will almost surely be dancing for the seventh time in school history.
Let's continue with the survey of the regular season conference finales that will double as bubble games:no comments
If you know your college basketball history, you know that the Dayton Flyers used to matter.
Dayton is not just the city that hosts the First Four, and it's not just the city where a peace agreement was signed in 1995, to help mediate a tense and bitter situation in Bosnia. Dayton throbbed with life throughout the 1950s and 1960s, as the Flyers established themselves as a regular force in the world of college hoops.
The NIT used to mean more than the NCAA tournament, but even as the NCAA event grew in stature, the NIT retained a substantial measure of relevance through the 1970s. Dayton was an NIT runner-up five times in the 1950s, and it won the event in 1962 and 1968. The Flyers made the NCAA tournament more often than not in the latter half of the 1960s, reaching the national championship game in 1967 before losing to the first of Lew Alcindor's great UCLA teams. Coach Don Donoher produced a richly successful 25-year career at UD, engineering one last great run in the 1984 NCAA Tournament before running into the eventual national champion, the Georgetown Hoyas, in the West Regional Final in UCLA's house, Pauley Pavilion.
Dayton isn't just a city that occupies the spotlight in the college basketball world during the third week of March every year. The story of college basketball isn't complete without the contributions the Flyers have added to its pages.no comments
Perhaps it has been influenced by the amount of NBA basketball I have watched over the last couple years, but for whatever reason I have become obsessed with where teams take the majority of their shots from. Obviously the best two spots to shoot from are at the rim and from beyond the arc (because they are the easiest shots and the shots worth the most points, respectively), and while I don't expect any NCAA team to turn into the Rio Grande Valley Vipers anytime soon, I'm interested to see how much the NBA emphasizing layups and threes will trickle down to college basketball.no comments
San Diego State could be slotted in the West Region and play regional games (Sweet 16 and Elite 8) in Anaheim, Calif. The Aztecs went to Anaheim the last time they reached the Sweet 16, in 2011.
If Wichita State loses in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and Wisconsin goes on a tear, winning out through the Big Ten Tournament, the Badgers could still conceivably reach the Midwest Regional in nearby Indianapolis.
Yet, entering the night of Tuesday, March 4, no team had more to lose in terms of its NCAA tournament travel plans than the Syracuse Orange. No team had the same path to the Final Four as Syracuse, which -- when it won the national title in 2003 -- was able to go through Albany, N.Y., as a No. 3 seed. Coach Jim Boeheim's team was buoyed by a raucous partisan crowd in a narrow Sweet 16 win over Auburn and an emotionally charged regional final triumph over top-seeded Oklahoma.
This year, Syracuse -- which will still gain the benefit of an opening-weekend pod in Buffalo -- had the chance to play in the East Regional at Madison Square Garden, a home away from home. Staying entirely in the state of New York until the Final Four was going to be the Orange's big advantage in this year's bracket.no comments
We got a little taste of conference tournament play when Cornell and Lafayette advanced in the Patriot League tournament. As someone who loves the small conference tournaments, let me guide you through many of the one bid league tournaments that start this week. The only one that I have excluded the is the West Coast Conference tournament, but there will be more on the site about that.
Here's a rundown of when they start, who the top dogs are, who the upstarts could be and who the players to watch are.
That time is here.
You know -- the time of year when weekday day games appear with regularity on the college basketball schedule. Your hand-held device discovers its purpose during work breaks. If you work in or near a space that has a sports bar you can go to for lunch, you'll have actual games to watch instead of re-hashed SportsCenter highlights or talking points.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year, made even more frenetic and exciting when that unheralded team in the Colonial Athletic Association makes a run through the brackets in Richmond, Va., putting the zing in the best month of the sports calendar.
March isn't just reserved for the three weeks of the NCAA tournament, after all -- the two weeks of conference tournament competition are as vibrant as the Big Dance. In the first week of this fortnight, which sleepers will awaken and cause havoc in a bracket? The Run The Floor staff is on the case: