News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Sunday, Feb 7th

NEWS AND NOTES

-Yesterday was another crazy day.  Saturdays usually are, but yesterday was a day where it seemed like there was almost no chalk.  So much happened that impacts the profiles of the teams we’re looking at, which is why today’s recap is a bit lengthy.

-For Chad Sherwood’s Under the Radar Game of the Day between Hofstra and James Madison – CLICK HERE

-Top ranked Oklahoma went down at Kansas State, which was a bit of a surprise in and of itself, but holistically when a team plays so many road games against so many home court heroes and has such a big bullseye on their back, chances are they’re going to lose at least one of them.  You rarely see #1 seeds lose to any non-tournament teams, but I still think the Sooners are okay.  In fact, considering they beat Villanova head to head, I’m guessing the committee would still have them as the overall #1 seed.

-North Carolina also went down on the road as they fell to Notre Dame.  They may be in a little more trouble than the Sooners, at least in terms of ending up with a #1 seed.  They still haven’t beaten a protected seed on the road.  Not only that, they’ve lost road games to teams that aren’t even likely protected seeds such as Notre Dame.  I don’t expect #1 seeds to win all their road games against protected seeds, but I do think they need to win more than zero, and then win the majority of all the rest.  UNC has not done that, and until they do their paper is going to give me pause.

-Villanova picked up a huge road win at Providence, and actually led for the entire game in a very hostile environment.  This should help their cause for a #1 seed.

-Maryland picked up another big time notable win as they downed Purdue at home yesterday.  I don’t think Maryland ends up on the #1 line despite their high ranking, but this win does help their profile.

-South Carolina picked up a monster road win, which should help move them up several seed lines.  They went into Texas A&M and came out with a win.  They were trying to give it away at the end, but managed to hold on.

-Virginia probably won’t get a #1 seed due to their overall body of work just not being there, but this past week they’ve certainly played like one.  They blasted Louisville on the road last week, and yesterday went into Pittsburgh and absolutely ran away from them.  They’ve looked as good as anyone in the country over these past eight days.

-Michigan State absolutely blasted rival Michigan on the road, which feels good for two reasons.  Blowing out your rival on the road is great, and picking up a big notable road win for the profile is also great.

-Wichita State, who had been rolling all over teams in their conference, blew a comfortable double digit lead in the second half and ended up falling to Illinois State 58-53.  It was actually kind of alarming to see them struggle so badly after Illinois State switched up their defense.  The Shockers are still okay, but they can’t afford too many more of those if they want to end up in on the first ballot.

-Indiana went to Penn State, and lost.  The Hoosiers are still okay, and will still safely make the field, but other than their win at Michigan they’ve shown no ability whatsoever to actually beat the caliber of team that they’ll be playing in the round of 64,

-Arizona is battling injuries, and picked up a huge road win at Washington yesterday.  I know the Wildcats are not having the season they had hoped for, but they deserve a ton of credit for what they’ve been able to do with a short handed roster.

-VCU suffered their first conference loss, which was kind of a surprise as they went down at home to George Washington.  GW was right outside of our bubble, and they really needed a win like this on their prifole.

-Cincinnati is right on the bubble, and they lost to a Memphis team that isn’t even in the picture.  That’s not good for the Bearcats.

-San Diego State needed overtime, and a little bit of controversy as well to get past New Mexico, but they remain unbeaten.  San Diego State trailed by 5 with about 20 seconds to go in regulation, then hit a three, and then “forced” a turnover on a bizarre call on an inbounds play, that the Mountain West Conference has since acknowledged to be a mistake.  Nevertheless, they forced overtime, and then won in overtime, and avoided what would have been a very damaging home loss to a non-tournament team.

-Clemson needs road wins.  Clemson appeared to have a winnable road game yesterday at Virginia Tech.  Clemson did not win.  They can’t afford to have this few road wins on their profile, especially if they lose to non-tournament teams on the road, if they want to land inside the bubble.

-Oregon State held on to win a game against Colorado that they desperately needed.  We were ready to write off the Beavers, but they had a big week this past week.  Granted, the wins came at home, but I think they’ve at least played their way back into the discussion.  They’re one of those bubble teams that may end up owing Louisville a big thank you.

-And, last and certainly least, Gonzaga once again looked like a team that doesn’t belong in the tournament without an automatic bid as they had to squeak by Pepperdine on the road.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-EAST CAROLINA AT UCONN (American).  We believe UConn to currently be inside the bubble right now, but they’re not to a point to where they can afford to lose home games to non tournament teams, especially teams as weak as East Carolina.

-IOWA AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten).  I’m starting to like Iowa’s chances at a #1 seed more and more, and they should get it so long as they hold serve in games like this.

-MIAMI FL AT GEORGIA TECH (ACC).  Georgia Tech isn’t a tournament team, but they are capable of playing well at home.  Still, it’s the kind of game the Canes should be expected to win if they’re a legit protected seed.

-UTAH AT OREGON (Pac Twelve).  I’m starting to like Oregon more and more as the season progresses, and now think they’re good enough to land as high as the #2 line.  Utah is very safely in the field as well, and will probably be wearing white in the round of 64.  This is the kind of win that could really improve their seeding.

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Sunday, February 7: Hofstra at James Madison

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Hofstra at James Madison, 3:00 PM Eastern, NBC Sports Regional Networks/caa.tv

The battles in the Colonial Athletic Association continue to be among the most fun to watch this season as six teams enter play today within 3 games of first place, and seven of the league’s ten members are still above .500 overall.  Leading the way, surprisingly still, is the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks who have run off eight straight victories including winning at Hofstra earlier this week and at Northeastern yesterday to improve to 10-2 in CAA play.  Right behind Wilmington is William & Mary at 9-3 and Hofstra at 8-3.  Today, in the UTR Game of the Day, the Pride will be in Harrisonburg, Virginia trying to move into a tie with William & Mary and remain one game out of first place as we move deeper into February.

Hofstra enters today’s game at 16-7 overall, with an RPI of 77, good enough that we at least had them on our radar for a potential at-large bid had they been able to win out the regular season through the CAA title game.  The Pride have wins this season over Florida State (in the Paradise Jam) and at St. Bonaventure, as well as a home win earlier this season over William & Mary.  Unfortunately for the Pride, with 7 losses already, if they are going to make a case for a bid they have zero margin for error left (and their best bet at this point may be winning the automatic one).  One thing that is for certain, losing today at James Madison and falling two games out of first place in the conference standings will not help their cause.

James Madison currently sits at 17-7 overall, 7-4 in CAA play.  After losing two straight games (home against UNC-Wilmington and a loss last Sunday at William & Mary in a game they had gotten out to a huge early lead in), the Dukes stopped the bleeding Thursday night with a win at Drexel.  Yohanny Dalembert led the way in that win, scoring 15 points while pulling down 12 rebounds.  If the Dukes can get a similar effort out of him and his teammates today, they have a chance to pick up the win and stay within striking distance of the league leaders.

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Saturday, February 6: Stephen F Austin at Houston Baptist

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Stephen F Austin at Houston Baptist, 8:00 PM Eastern, hbuhuskies.com

For the rest of today’s News, Notes and Highlight Games, CLICK HERE.

Before I get to the UTR Game of the Day, I need to say this.  I am not a Louisville fan.  I don’t have any hate for the Cardinals, nor do I have any great love for them.  I do respect the program and what Rick Pitino has built there over the past 15 years.  I honestly have more love for most Under the Radar programs, and always have, than for most of the major programs.  Schools like Drexel.  And Cleveland State.  I also, however, fully understand when a kid’s lifelong dream is to play in the NCAA Tournament for a team with the chance to make a Final Four run.  I understand finishing your degree with one year of eligibility left at an Under the Radar school, being a star player, and wanting to transfer for your senior season to get that one chance.  I understand getting that exact oppurtunity, jumping at it and a chance to play for one of the greatest coaches of our time.  I understand the excitement when that team being among the top teams in the nation.  What I don’t understand is pulling the carpet out from under these kids for nothing they did wrong.  I don’t agree with Gary Parrish from CBS all the time, but he nailed it here and I would just suggest you all read his article which I agree with 110%.  I couldn’t feel worse right now for Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, and I have no respect left whatsoever for the administrators at Louisville that made this disgusting, selfish choice.  But on to the games that matter from schools that don’t screw over their own players.

Two teams that have not decided to selfishly punish their seniors are Stephen F Austin and Houston Baptist, and they meet tonight in our Under the Radar Game of the Day with first place in the Southland Conference on the line.  SFA enters plays today with a record of 15-5 overall, undefeated in Southland play at 8-0.  They have the conference’s best RPI (144), BPI (108) and KenPom (93).  The Lumberjacks continue to be led by Thomas Walkup, who had a team high 17 points in their huge win last weekend at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  Demetrious Floyd also needs to be watched out for, as he can be deadly from behind the arc.  He nailed three from long range against Corpus Christi and has had five or more four times already this season.

Tonight, the Lumberjacks will be in Houston to take on the Southland’s most surprising team this year, the Houston Baptist Huskies.  The Huskies got out to an 8-0 start in Southland play this season including a huge home win last weekend over Sam Houston State.  The chance for today to be a battle between two teams that were undefeated in league play was lost during the week, however, as they suffered an upset loss at Abilene Christian, 79-72.  That loss does not diminish what they have done so far this season though, as a program that has never had a winning record at the D1 level is only a few wins away from clinching exactly that.  In fact, their 14 wins already on the year ties their best ever season since moving up to Division I in 2009.  Anthony Odunsi and Josh Ibarra lead the way offensively for this year’s HBU team, though it was Reveal Chukwujekwu and Colter Lasher who were the top two scorers in last weekend’s win over Sam Houston.  If the Huskies can find the same magic they had last weekend, they may have a chance to defeat Stephen F Austin for the first time ever tonight.

News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Saturday, Dec 6th

NEWS AND NOTES

-So, the big news from yesterday is that Louisville has self imposed a ban due to an ongoing investigation that involves hiring strippers to dance and perform what I’ll simply call other sorts of favors for recruits.  The NCAA could tack on more penalties, but chances are there will not be any additional seasons with postseason.  What this does for Louisville is that it allows them to get back to normal as an athletic department as early as April, and enter next basketball season with pretty much the same roster that they would have had anyway, but without the threat of the postseason ban.  Selfishly, this makes the most sense for Louisville.  The problem is that it screws over the current players, who had nothing to do with any of this.  It particularly screws over Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, who enrolled at Louisville as graduate students this past fall, and are out of eligibility after this season.

I cannot help but sum this up any other way than this.  Louisville screwed up, and opted to crap all over the current players who did not screw up as a means of getting back to normal as quickly as possible.  And  you know what??  I don’t think there’s anyone out there that believes any differently.  If Louisville wanted to do the right thing, they could have waited until next season to put the ban into effect.  That way the seniors could have played in the NCAA Tournament, and the underclassmen could have had the option of transferring without having to sit out a year if they so chose.

Last thing on this.  I do not believe this was Rick Pitino’s decision, nor do I believe that it was Athletic Director Ton Jurich’s decision.  I believe it was the University President, James Ramsey, who decided to do this, and that the individuals in Louisville’s Athletic Department would have decided differently if it were up to them.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-KANSAS AT TCU (Big Twelve).  This is a rare winnable conference road game that Kansas needs to take advantage of.

-VIRGINIA AT PITTSBURGH (ACC).  Virginia has gone from looking sluggish on the road to looking unbelievably good on the road.  Pitt’s profile keeps improving, and it can improve yet again if they’re able to pull this off.  Same with UVA.  Both teams appear to be solid tournament teams and both can improve their seeding with a quality win.

-FLORIDA STATE AT WAKE FOREST (ACC).  This is a winnable road game for the Seminoles that they need to take advantage of.

-TEMPLE AT UCF (American).  Some still have Temple on their radar, and I suppose they can get inside the bubble if they win out, but anything short of that likely won’t be enough.

-BOSTON COLLEGE AT LOUISVILLE (ACC).  This game is suddenly meaningless…..

-MARQUETTE AT XAVIER (Big East).  If Xavier holds serve for the rest of the year they should do no worse than a #2 seed.  If they can finish in first place, they have a real shot at a #1 seed.

-GEORGE WASHINGTON AT VCU (Atlantic Ten).  We have GW on the outside part of the bubble, and a win like this could really change the complexion of their profile and of the season.  VCU has looked as good as anyone in the conference.  I think they’re safely inside the bubble right now and it wouldn’t shock me to see them win out.

-CINCINNATI AT MEMPHIS (American).  This is a challenging, yet winnable road game that Cincinnati really needs to pick up.  They’re just inside the bubble based on our last projections.

-IOWA STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve).  This is a challenging road game for an Iowa State team that’s played well in some losing efforts in tough road games, and could use a few more actual road wins.

-TEXAS TECH AT TEXAS (Big Twelve).  At the beginning of the year we had a ton of questions about Texas.  We then thought they were a possible fringe tournament team.  We then thought they were a solid tournament team.  We now think they are a fringe protected seeded caliber team.  They just keep getting better and better as the season goes along.  They lost at Texas Tech back at the start of conference play.  I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble avenging that today.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT MICHIGAN (Big Ten).  This is a rivalry game between two tournament caliber teams.  It doesn’t often get much better than that.  Michigan State looks to be a protected seed and could use another notable road win on their paper.  Michigan State is just trying to improve their seed and their profile, so both have a lot to play for both on and off paper.

-NC STATE AT DUKE (ACC).  Duke, I think, is still safely inside the bubble, but they’re certainly not a protected seed.  If they hold serve, which means winning against non tournament teams such as NC State, then they should be okay.

-SAINT JOSEPH’S AT FORDHAM (Atlantic Ten).  Saint Joe’s was beaten badly earlier in the week,  and needs to rebound from that.  I think their profile is solid, but the staff doesn’t agree with me as they barely made it into the field during our last projections, so every game is important for them the rest of the way.

-VILLANOVA AT PROVIDENCE (Big East).  The first time these two met it was one of the more exciting games of the season.  Providence is coming off a rather surprising loss to DePaul from earlier in the week, so getting a big win in a game like this would be a nice way to rebound.

-NEW MEXICO AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West).  We say this for every game the Aztecs play, but if they win out, which they’re good enough to do, I think they’ll be inside the bubble.

-FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY (SEC).  The Gators won what was clearly their biggest game of the season last week when they knocked off West Virginia.  Now, they are looking to pick up what would prove to be a hugely important road game.  Kentucky has been up and down this year.  They looked great against Kansas, but then blew it against Tennessee.  They have been consistently good at home, though, and will remain in good shape so long as they hold serve.

-CLEMSON AT VIRGINIA TECH (ACC).  Clemson needs road wins to end up safely inside the bubble.  This is a winnable road game.  They need to win it.

-PURDUE AT MARYLAND (Big Ten).  Both teams could potentially end up as protected seeds, but both could use another marquee win or two in order to cement it.  I know Maryland is ranked fourth, but they could still use a few more really big wins.

-STANFORD AT CALIFORNIA (Pac Twelve).  This is a rivalry game between two teams that are outside the bubble, and desperately need notable wins between now and the end.

-VALPARAISO AT UIC (Horizon League).  Valpo needs to win out in order to land safely inside the bubble.

-BUTLER AT SAINT JOHN’S (Big East).  Butler is just 4-6 in conference play and certainly can’t afford to lose any games to teams that are outside the NCAA Tournament picture.  A loss in this game would really be damaging.

-ARIZONA AT WASHINGTON (Pac Twelve).  Washington is squarely on our bubble and could use any sort of a notable win.  Arizona has been slipping, and could use a notable road win to help resuscitate their resume.

-FURMAN AT CHATTANOOGA (SoCon).  Chattanooga fell to Furman earlier this year, which is one of their more damaging losses.  They need to win out to get any real consideration from the selection committee.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT LSU (SEC). LSU still has a lot of work to do, but making the NCAA Tournament is not entirely out of the question.

-OKLAHOMA AT KANSAS STATE (Big Twelve).  Oklahoma continues to look like the over #1 seed.  They’re on the road again.  It will be a hostile environment since they’re the nation’s top ranked team.  Again.  But, like most games, it’s a road game that they’ll probably win.

-DAYTON AT GEORGE MASON (Atlantic Ten).  Dayton has been rolling over most of the A10 and they shouldn’t have too much trouble pick ing up another conference road win today.

-SOUTH ALABAMA AT LITTLE ROCK (Sun Belt).  UALR should be okay for a bid regardless of what happens in the conference tournament if they’re able to win out through the regular season.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT NOTRE DAME (ACC).  North Carolina doesn’t have a road win like this on their profile.  It’s the one thing that’s missing that they need if they want to be a #1 seed.  Notre Dame is safely inside the bubble, but a huge win like this could help boost their resume and improve their seed.

-BAYLOR AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big Twelve).  Both teams are contending for protected seeds, and this is the kind of win that can help them end up there, especially for Baylor if they’re able to pick up another huge road win.

-INDIANA AT PENN STATE (Big Ten).  Indiana continues to inflate their record.  They still don’t have any marquee wins against teams that are protected seeds, but their defense has improved, and they are rolling, and should pick up yet another road win tonight.

-GRAND CANYON AT UTRGV (WAC).  The Team of the People had a disappointing loss on Thursday night.  A win would have given them a clear shot at a first place finish.  Still, they’re having an incredible year and need to bounce back tonight!  #LopesWaiver

-COLORADO AT OREGON STATE (Pac Twelve).  Oregon State is coming off a big win against Utah, but they’ve still got a lot of work to do.  Colorado appears to be safely in and can help add to an already impressive profile if they’re able to pick up a road win like this.

-GEORGETOWN AT SETON HALL (Big East).  We believe Georgetown to be outside the bubble, but also clearly feel they are within reach of it if they can pull off some big wins between now and the end.  Seton Hall would certainly qualify.  The Pirates should be safe for a bid so long as they’re able to hold serve, which means winning home games like this one.

-SAINT MARY’S AT SAN DIEGO (West Coast).  SMC cannot afford to lose too many, if any, between now and the end.

-WICHITA STATE AT ILLINOIS STATE (Missouri Valley).  Wichita State continues to roll over the league.  If they keep it up they’ll be very safely inside the field.

-GONZAGA AT PEPPERDINE (West Coast).  We have Gonzaga squarely on the bubble, and they need to basically win out if they want to end up on the good side of it.

Farewell Cowboys: HoopsHD remembers Kenny Sailors and Everett Shelton

Everett Shelton served as a machine gunner in the Marines during WWI before becoming head coach at Wyoming in 1939.  He left 20 years later with more than 300 wins, 8 conference titles, and the 1943 NCAA title.  He was known for creating the 5-Man Weave Offense and helped develop Robert “Ace” Gruenig into the best center of his era and a future Hall of Famer.  According to Shelton’s former player, 1943 tourney MOP, and inventor of the 1-handed jump shot Kenny Sailors, “Next to God, my mother, and my wife, he was the most influential person in my life.” Shelton passed away in 1974 but was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.  Sailors was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 and lived until age 95 before passing away last week.  Sailors’ funeral took place earlier today on the campus of the University of Wyoming, followed by his burial in Greenhill Cemetery.  HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel had the privilege of interviewing Kenny in years past about his famous coach, which we are proud to publish for the very 1st time below.  We send our condolences to Kenny’s family as well as Wyoming fans everywhere. 

cowboys

In 1932 Shelton developed the 5-Man Weave Offense: how did he come up with the idea, and what made it so effective? I am not sure how he came up with it, but of the 26 coaches I had he had the best understanding of the science/tactics of the sport. The weave had a lot to do with us winning a title and the coaches back East did not like it. It is a screening offense where you pass to a teammate and then move to another area. We always had to be careful about not fouling out when we played back East with refs who were not used to seeing us a lot, and the opposing coaches would work the refs extra-hard when facing us.

In the 1937 AAU national tourney as coach of the Denver Safeways he beat Clair Bee’s LIU team and then had a 5-PT win over the Phillips 66ers to win the title: how unstoppable was that team (led by future Hall of Famers Jack McCracken/Ace Gruenig)? We beat pretty much every team back then with the weave offense. Some coaches tried to convince the refs that we were running an illegal offense due to the contact but we never initiated the contact. All offenses today set screens: it is a simple offense once you learn the technique. McCracken/Gruenig were 2 of the greatest players I ever played with or against. Gruenig is probably 1 of the best big men in the history of the game.

After becoming coach at Wyoming he won 8 conference titles in an 18-year span from 1941-1958: how was he able to be so dominant over such a long period of time? He was a great coach and understood the psychology of young athletes. He had won an AAU title before coming to Wyoming so he expected to win a title after arriving here. I thought very highly of him.

Take me through the magical 1943 NCAA tourney:
Your team went 31-2 that season despite playing only 9 home games: how were you able to have so much success despite so many road games (the team went 22-2 away from home)? Shelton trained us from day 1 about how ridiculous it was to complain about playing on the road. He knew that the only chance people had to beat us was if we were forced to play in a tiny YMCA-type gym. We had the best court in our part of the country but there was nothing different about Madison Square Garden or other gyms around the nation. The only difference was getting booed vs. getting cheered: he said “they never booed a bum” so we enjoyed it!  I had never been on a train or airplane before so it was a big deal to me.

Milo Komenich scored 22 PTS in a 3-PT win over Oklahoma and 17 PTS in a 4-PT win over Texas: where does Komenich rank among the best teammates you ever had, and how did Shelton turn him into an All-American? Shelton saw Milo in the AAU tourney as a young player and recognized that he was big/strong/tough guy. He convinced Milo that he owned the key and it was his job to keep everyone out of there. I had a lot of respect for Milo: he had a terrific hook shot so I loved to set him up to score in the post. Shelton knew what big men needed to do in the post and knew the psychology involved in teaching big men to play tough with good footwork without getting called for a lot of fouls. The key was repetition.

You scored 16 PTS to beat Georgetown in the title game and wound up being named tourney MOP: what did it mean to you to win the title, and how were you able to play your best when it mattered the most? He kept us in the right attitude. The NYC newspapers were pretty negative toward us by saying that we were a tiny school that did not belong there, so Shelton told us to go out there and show everyone how well we could play. He always told us that we could beat anyone: he pounded it into us. We were cocky even as freshmen so by the time we were seniors we still wanted to prove to everyone that we could win.

2 days after winning the tourney you played NIT champ St. John’s at MSG in a game to benefit the Red Cross and pulled out a 5-PT OT win in your final game before joining the Marines: what kind of emotional roller-coaster were you on after going coast-to-coast for the game-winner at the buzzer at the end of regulation…only to have the refs rule that St. John’s had called timeout after tying it up with 5 seconds left? We wondered about that for a time but Shelton never gave it a 2nd thought. I am sure they thought they had a great advantage after Milo fouled out, but we brought in Jim Weir who was also big/strong. Jim was the fastest big man that I ever played with or against. When St. John’s All-American Harry Boykoff came out to guard him at the high post, Weir would drive right around him.

In 1959 he served a 1-year term as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches: why did he take the job, and how did he like it? He was a good man so I could see how he would be good in any basketball job. He understood the game and understood human nature.

He passed away in 1974: when people look back on his career, how do you think he should be remembered the most? If they really knew who he was then they would have to realize what a great coach he was. He just seemed to understand the little things about the game defensively that coaches today do not know.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980: what made him such a great coach, and what was the most important thing that you ever learned from him? I learned a lot of little things from him, like how to set a screen without being called for a foul. I played for some good coaches but none as great as him. He was able to discipline his players without turning them off. He was an old WWI Marine who had a tough attitude but he was a good man in so many ways. I never heard him use a cuss word or any slang: he was never angry at us and just wanted us to be the best. We really hit it off because he needed a PG who could drive to the basket: we had a lot of mutual respect and remained friends for the rest of our lives. I bought into the system because he was a master psychologist. When I made the pros my coach (Hall of Fame player Dutch Dehnert) told me that he would have to teach me how to shoot a 2-handed set shot. He also thought that I dribbled the ball too much so needless to say I spent a lot of time on the bench! I had created my own 1-handed jump shot (which was weird to a lot of people at the time), and Shelton was smart enough to leave me alone because he could see that it worked for me. I worked on jumping straight up rather than moving forward and drawing an offensive foul.

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Friday, February 5: Columbia at Yale

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 PM Eastern, FS1

For out latest Bracket Rundown Video podcast, CLICK HERE.

The Ivy League moves front and center tonight as the UTR Game of the Day heads up to New Haven, Connecticut for a key battle between the Columbia Lions and the Yale Bulldogs.  Entering play tonight, only 8 teams in the entire nation remain undefeated in conference play.  Two of those eight are facing each other tonight.  Columbia currently sits at 4-0 in Ivy League play and 15-6 overall.  We liked the Lions’ chances this season heading into the year, but a few head-scratchers during non-conference play left us second-guessing the pick, including a loss at Fairfield and a home loss to Longwood.  However, since December 6, the Lions have gone 11-1, only losing a game at America East leader Stony Brook.  Their wins include an absolute thriller last weekend when Alex Rosenberg hit a jumper at the buzzer for a 55-54 win at Harvard.  Rosenberg and his teammates, including Maodo Lo who had 11 points and 5 rebounds against Harvard, will need to play even better tonight if they want to defeat the current Ivy League favorites on the road and move into the position of being the team to beat this season.

Yale enters play today with a record of 4-0 in the Ivy League and 13-5 overall.  Their RPI (79) is second best in the conference to Princeton (64), but their BPI (76) and KenPom (70) are tops in the league.  The Bulldogs are on an 8 game wining streak that includes a 79-75 home win over Princeton last weekend.  Justin Sears is the star player for Yale and proved that against the Tigers, scoring 16 points while pulling down 10 rebounds, dishing out 6 assists, grabbing 3 steals and even blocking 3 shots.  If Columbia cannot find a way to contain him, it could be a long night for the Lions and a huge win for the Bulldogs.  The winner of this game will have the inside track on the Ivy League regular season title, which comes with an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, while the loser will join Princeton (the Tigers host Harvard tonight in a game that Yours Truly will be attending) in trying to chase down the leader.