Games of Note for Friday, Nov 30th

-TENNESSEE AT GEORGETOWN. Georgetown has climbed to #20 in the polls, but based on what I’ve seen I believe them to be even better than that. I think Tennessee could have a good year as well, but they may be in a little over their heads in this one.

-OREGON STATE AT KANSAS. Both teams have just one loss. Oregon State appears to be turning the corner as far as being a team that can compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. To win a game like this, though, would indicate that they’re capable of doing much more than merely playing themselves into the discussion. Kansas has been solid this year, but they haven’t knocked anyone’s socks off yet. This one should be a good one.

-GEORGIA AT SOUTH FLORIDA. Since losing to Youngstown State, Georgia has looked pretty decent against UCLA and Indiana. The problem is that they didn’t win either game. South Florida is off to a modest 4-2 start and needs to build their profile up if they want to be taken seriously.

-SYRACUSE AT ARKANSAS. Arkansas has yet to lose at home, and has yet to win away from home. Very similar to last year. They have a lot of potential, but it hasn’t exactly shown through yet. Having said that, they are tough to beat at home and it won’t be a walk in the park for Syracuse.

-LOUISIANA TECH AT GEORGIA STATE. LA Tech doesn’t have a whole lot of history, and no one is overly excited about them this year, but a win does get them to 7-1. Georgia State would be a fairly decent road win for them.

-NORTHWESTERN STATE AT OKLAHOMA. I’m not too excited about the Sooners yet, but a win will get them to 6-1.

News, Notes, Reviews and Previews (Thursday, Nov. 29th)

NEWS, NOTES AND OTHER AMAZINGLY BRILLIANT INSIGHTS

-At this point in the year, Duke already appears to have enough high quality wins for a #1 seed. I realize that everyone starts out at zero, and it’s possible that Kentucky, Louisville, VCU, Minnesota and Ohio State will all end up with sub 500 records and outside of the RPI top 200, but it is highly unlikely. I’d be less surprised to see Centenary in the Final Four than I would to see all those teams outside the top 25 at the end of the year. Those are some serious big league wins that Duke has put together, and all but one of them came away from home. No one else even comes remotely close.

-So, Duke has the best profile, but as far as the singular best true road win?? I believe we saw that last night when Boise State went into Creighton and not only won, but won handily. They maintained about a ten point lead all throughout the second half, and whenever Creighton would go on a run and build up momentum, Boise would make a big play to stifle it. It was a very impressive showing for the Broncos. With their only loss being to Michigan State, which was another close game, Boise is DEFINITELY a team to watch. They’ve already earned some strong NCAA Tournament credentials.

-I was very hard on Georgia Tech in our last podcast, which was the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I spent much of the Sunday after Thanksgiving driving, and because of that did not see that they had actually beaten Saint Mary’s that very day. It was a poorly timed and inaccurate assessment on my part. I’ve gotten so used to them being bad that I was not high on them coming into the year and just assumed they were bad again. I know they lost to Illinois last night, but they played very well. The final score was not indicative of how good of a game they gave the Illini, who is a good team, on their home floor. I’m not ready to say Georgia Tech is a lock for the NCAAs, but I am willing to retract my comment about how I believe them to be “Worse than awful” or “Less than nothing.”

-Miami, FL looked very good in their win against Michigan State. The Canes have a bad loss to Florida Gulf Coast, but right now I’m thinking that was more of a hiccup than anything else and that their team and profile will be looking pretty solid by the end of the year.

 

TONIGHT’S ACTION

-MARQUETTE AT FLORIDA. Marquette is 5-1, but is still looking for their first real quality win. This would certainly give their profile a huge boost, but even if they don’t pick up the win tonight, the loss won’t hurt them and they’ll have many more opportunities. Florida, I believe, is playing as well as anyone in the country. An interesting note about both these teams is that both were scheduled to play on boats, but had to cancel due to the weather. You don’t see that in basketball very often.

-KENTUCKY AT NOTRE DAME. Notre Dame has a semi-decent win against BYU, but other than that they’ve been beating up on cupcakes. Kentucky looks very similar with a win against Maryland, but not really much else. It would probably be the best win of the season so far for whoever pulls this one out.

-SETON HALL AT LSU. I don’t believe either of these teams are all that strong, but at this moment in time Seton Hall is 5-1 and LSU is 4-0. So, I’ll continue to watch them until one or both goes in the tank. That could happen as soon as they begin playing real competition.

-SOUTH CAROLINA AT SAINT JOHN’S. Both teams have good records, but nothing that comes close to resembling a good win yet.

-MIDDLE TENNESSE STATE AT LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE (Sun Belt). Yes, this is a conference game. Middle is 4-1 on the year, and is good enough to be considered an at-large. In order to obtain the profile they need, they need to blow through the SBC.

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT LOUISIANA MONROE (Sun Belt). WKU is 4-2, and although they don’t have any impressive wins yet, I do believe they have potential. If they fail to win tonight, my opinion on their potential will certainly change.

-LA SALLE AT RIDER. La Salle hasn’t been as impressive as I’d thought, but they’re still 3-1 and can pick up another road win today.

-HIGH POINT AT WESTERN MICHIGAN. Western Michigan is 4-1 and is worth keeping an eye on for now.

-TENNESSEE MARTIN AT MEMPHIS. Memphis has no good wins yet, and this certainly won’t count as one.

-SOUTHERN UTAH AT TCU. This probably is not worth getting overly excited about considering the teams they’ve beaten, but TCU can improve to 6-2 with a win.

-LEWIS & CLARK STATE (nondiv1) AT GONZAGA. No comment.

-TEXAS SAN ANTONIO AT OREGON. Oregon has a nice win against UNLV and can improve to 6-1 tonight. Compared to most of the rest of the Pac Twelve, they’re doing well.

Highlighted Games for Wednesday, Nov 28th

-OHIO STATE AT DUKE. We kind of beat up on Duke on the podcast, but with big wins against Louisville, Kentucky, Minnesota and VCU all away from home, they’re certainly the most accomplished team of the young season so far. Both these teams could contend for a #1 seed, and its wins in games like this that get teams on the top line.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT MIAMI, FL. Michigan State has just one loss and has a nice win against Kansas, but they’ve also struggled against some weak teams. Miami has just one loss as well (albeit a bad one), but this would be their best win by far if they’re able to pull it off.

-VIRGINIA AT WISCONSIN. Both teams are 4-2, but neither has looked overly impressive. A win would help both teams get their season jumpstarted.

-GEORGIA TECH AT ILLINOIS. Illinois is 7-0 with a very nice win against Butler. I’ve been hard on Georgia Tech, but at the end of the day they are 4-1 and have a decent win against Saint Mary’s. I’m not entirely sure what to make of them yet, but we should learn quite a bit about them tonight.

-SAINT BONAVENTURE AT OHIO. One of the more intriguing games of the day. Saint Bona is a modest 3-1 on the season, and Ohio is a perfect 5-0 and have won all five games in convincing fashion.

-BOISE STATE AT CREIGHTON. Another interesting game that is perhaps under the radar. Boise has just one loss, but hasn’t really played a touch schedule. If they can win this it will solidify them (at least for now) that they’re a good team.

-PURDUE AT CLEMSON. Purdue is off to a slow 2-3 start. Clemson has just one loss, and that was to Gonzaga, so they are off to a decent start and can continue to build on that with a win.

-UTAH STATE AT SANTA CLARA. No one is overly excited about either of these teams, but at the moment Santa Clara is unbeaten and Utah State has just one loss so it should be a good game, and at least for now it appears to be a very important game.

-TULSA AT WICHITA STATE. Wichita State is kind of a surprise at 6-0, and that includes a nice win at VCU. Tulsa is 4-2, and although it won’t be easy, a win on the road in a game like this would go a long way in helping them establish themselves.

-OKLAHOMA AT ORAL ROBERTS. Kind of an interesting game. Oklahoma is 4-1, but hasn’t beaten anyone too terribly good. ORU is favored to win the Southland, but doesn’t appear to be an at-large caliber team.

-CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE AT UCLA. CS Northridge has just one loss on the year, and could really be a challenge for UCLA. UCLA is coming off a loss to Cal Poly, and is trying to avoid making it two in a row against Big West teams.

-MONTANA AT BYU. Both teams have modest records and are trying to establish themselves.

-SAINT LOUIS AT WASHINGTON. Neither team has been overly impressive early and I get the sense that both really need this win.

-TEMPLE AT BUFFALO. Temple is 3-0 on the year with some decent road wins already.

-KENT STATE AT YOUNGSTOWN STATE. Youngstown is just 3-3, but has not lost at home and has a nice win at Georgia, so it could be a challenge for Kent.

-UTAH AT SMU. Each team has just one loss, but neither has played a really tough schedule.

-AMERICAN AT SAINT JOSEPH’S. A win will improve SJU to 4-1.

-MAINE AT NORTHEASTERN. Northeastern has some semi-decent wins and can improve to 5-2.

-MOREHEAD STATE AT MARSHALL. Marshall has gotten off to a slow start. Morehead is decent at 4-2 and looked good in their last game against Kentucky.

-VMI AT WEST VIRGINIA. WVU has just one win on the year. A loss today would be a disaster.

-WILLIAM & MARY AT RICHMOND. Richmond is 4-2, but has nothing in the way of quality wins yet.

-UMASS AT SIENA. UMass has promise this year, but needs to get it done in games like this.

-WEBER STATE AT DAYTON. Weber State has struggled this year. Dayton has a chance to improve to 5-1.

-STETSON AT VCU. VCU is just 3-3, but has no bad losses and shouldn’t have too much trouble in this one.

-GEORGE MASON AT RHODE ISLAND. Mason can improve to 5-2 and pick up their first road win of the year if they can pull this off.

-HOUSTON AT PRARIE VIEW A&M. Houston can improve to 6-0, but has yet to play anyone even remotely decent.

-ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF AT ARIZONA STATE. Arizona State should have very little trouble improving to 5-1.

-SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AT LOUISIANA TECH. LA Tech can get to 6-1 with a win and is worth keeping an eye on.

-JACKSON STATE AT AIR FORCE. A win against winless Jackason State will get Air Force to 6-1.

-MERCER AT NEW MEXICO. New Mexico should have very little trouble staying unbeaten.

-NORTHERN ARIZONA AT ARIZONA. Arizona is unbeaten and will likely stay that way.

-WYOMING AT UC SANTA BARABARA. Wyoming is an untested 6-0. UCSB isn’t all that great, but they have won both their home games, so it will provide a semi-test for Wyoming.

Griggs

A Sort-of Seed List

It is early, and I know this is a mess and is not entirely practical from the sense of accurately measuring just how good teams are at this point in the year. It is, however, practical in the sense that it begins the evaluation process for all the teams out there. I am often teased for keeping an eye on so many teams so early. However, I do believe that beginning to evaluate teams now will result in better and more accurate evaluations as the season plays out.

So, on that note, don’t read too much into this. The rankings are very loose. Like I said, the idea isn’t so much to rank the teams accurately right now, but merely to start examining them.

Projected conference leaders are in ALL CAPS

1. DUKE. With wins against Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU and Louisville on neutral floors, Duke is perhaps the most accomplished team in the country right now.
2. INDIANA. Unbeaten, but not as accomplished as Duke. For that matter, they’re probably not as accomplished as Oklahoma State or Louisville, but their #1 ranking is hard to ignore when doing a seed list.
3. OKLAHOMA STATE. The Cowboys are 5-0 with notable wins against Tennessee, NC State and Akron.
4. LOUISVILLE. Nice wins against Northern Iowa and Missouri, and a close loss against Duke without one of their better players. At full strength, they’re perhaps the best team in the country.
5. FLORIDA. Their profile isn’t outstanding, but they’ve decisively beaten Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee and UCF.
6. Michigan. Unbeaten and highly ranked with notable wins against Pitt and Kansas State.
7. Ohio State. Unbeaten and highly ranked, but no notable wins yet.
8. COLORADO. At 5-0, they’ve handed Dayton, Murray State and Air Force their only losses. They also have a quality win against Baylor.
9. GONZAGA. The Zags are 6-0 and have notable wins against Davidson, Clemson and Oklahoma. As of now, they are the only teams to beat Oklahoma and Clemson. Their profile should continue to improve.
10. Georgetown. They played Florida tough for a half, but we didn’t get to see the second half. They also have a notable win against UCLA. Their only loss was in overtime to Indiana.
11. CREIGHTON. The Blue Jays are unbeaten, high in the rankings, and have a notable against Wisconsin
12. BUTLER. Good neutral floor wins against North Carolina and Marquette. Their losses at Xavier and to Illinois on a neutral floor don’t look like they’ll be too costly.
13. North Carolina. They struggled against some teams that you would expect them to beat, and don’t have a solid win yet.
14. NEW MEXICO. Unbeaten with notable wins against Davidson, Illinois Chicago (for now), George Mason and UConn.
15. Florida State. Opened the season with a loss to South Alabama, but hasn’t lost sense and has a pretty good win against Saint Joe’s.
16. Cincinnati. Unbeaten with notable wins against Iowa State and Oregon.
17. Missouri. Was beaten badly by Louisville, but looked good against Stanford and VCU.
18. Temple. 3-0 with decent wins against Delaware and at Kent State.
19. Michigan State. The Spartans only have one loss and have a good win against Kansas, but they’ve struggled to beat teams like Boise State and Louisiana Lafayette. Still, a win is a win, I guess.
20. KANSAS. They’re 4-1 with a decent win against Saint Louis, but don’t have anything quite as strong as most of the teams ahead of them.
21. Illinois. Not much was expected out of the Illini this year, but they’re unbeaten with a notable win against Butler. Hawaii is the only other team they’ve beaten with a winning record, though.
22. Syracuse. A nice win against San Diego State, but the rest of their schedule has been weak.
23. Wichita State. Unbeaten with a nice win at VCU, and another notable win on a neutral floor against Iowa.
24. VCU. The rams have three losses, but they are against Wichita State, Duke and Missouri. They also have a solid win against Memphis.
25. Pittsburgh. Their only loss is to Michigan in a hard fought game, but they’re currently lacking big wins.
26. Baylor. Their probably better than their current spot on this list, but so far their profile is lacking a big win, and they also underwent a surprising loss to College of Charleston.
27. NC State. They have a nice win against UMass, but haven’t done much else, and really looked bad in their last game against UNC Asheville.
28. Oregon. Just one loss against a pretty good Cincinnati team, and they have a very nice win against UNLV.
29. Saint Joseph’s. They have a notable win against Notre Dame, and their only loss was a close on to Florida State.
30. Kentucky. I fully expect this team to move up the list, but as of now they have a decent win against Maryland, but nothing else.
31. Arizona. Probably a much better team than this, but right now they’re 3-0 and have no wins of note.
32. Notre Dame. 5-1 with a notable win against BYU.
33. OHIO U. this may seem a little high, but I really like this Ohio team. They’re unbeaten and have pretty much blown out everyone. Their most notable win is Richmond, which is not outstanding, but I do think they are a dangerous team. .
34. Unlv. Should be a strong team, but currently their best win is against Iowa State on a neutral floor.
35. Alabama. Unbeaten with decent wins against South Dakota State and Oregon State.
36. Tennessee. Looks to be a strong team at 4-1, but as of now has no wins against anyone with a winning record.
37. Charlotte. They’re 6-0 with a fairly nice win against Oral Roberts. Not much else to speak of in the way of quality, though. They face 4-0 East Carolina this Saturday.
38. Santa Clara. Hard to know what to make of them just yet, but they are unbeaten with a notable win against Saint Louis.
39. Saint Louis. No good wins, but no bad losses…at least not right now. They played Kansas tough, and Santa Clara is unbeaten.
40. Minnesota. Their only loss came against Duke, and they have what should turn out to be decent wins against Memphis and Stanford.
41. Xavier. A real nice win against Butler, but they’ve had to sweat out their other wins that came against some pretty weak teams.
42. California. Unbeaten with a nice win (for now) against Georgia Tech.
43. BUCKNELL. Notable wins against Purdue and George Mason. Their loss against Penn State looks pretty bad, though.
44. Northwestern. The Wildcats are 6-0 with a fairly decent win against Illinois State. There is nothing else on their profile that even comes close to resembling a quality win, though.
45. Illinois State. At 5-1, their only loss so far is to Northwestern
46. Wisconsin. A pretty decent win against Arkansas in their last game, but other than that nothing of note so far.
47. BELMONT. A real nice win at Stanford, but a somewhat surprising loss to Northeastern up in Alaska. The upcoming game against VCU is hugely important.
48. Murray State. A good team, but their best win so far is against Saint John’s. Their only loss is to Colorado, but their weak schedule will work against them.
49. Marquette. No wins of note yet for Marquette
50. MIDDLE TENNESSEE. Their only loss came at Florida, and they’ve managed a notable win at UCF.
51. La Salle. I’m trying to like this La Salle team, but other than a home win against Delaware they haven’t looked impressive. Just one loss, but it came to Central Connecticut. .
52. George Mason. Semi-decent win against Virginia, and their only losses were close games to Bucknell and New Mexico, both of whom are good teams.
53. Georgia Tech. Just one loss so far, and a nice win against Saint Mary’s. SMC has not impressed, though, so it’s hard to say how impressive that win will ultimately end up being.
54. San Diego State. Has beaten up on cream puffs since losing the season opener to Syracuse.
55. Oregon State. They’re 4-1 with their only loss being a close game to unbeaten Alabama, but the jury is still out on them.
56. Dayton. A decent record at 4-1, but there isn’t much in the way of quality.
57. COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON. They a bad loss to Auburn, but a good win against Baylor.
58. Davidson. Another strong team who doesn’t have any bad losses, but as of now they don’t have any really good wins either.
59. Saint Mary’s. They appeared to get off to a good start with a win at Utah State, but since then they’ve been disappointing dropping games to Pacific and Georgia Tech.
60. Byu. At 4-2, they’re definitely worth keeping an eye on, but as of now their best win is probably against Cal State Northridge
61. Clemson. Played Gonzaga tough, but has no wins of note.
62. Virginia Tech. They’re 5-0, but are largely untested.
63. Massachusetts. At 2-2, there are good wins, but no bad losses.
64. Kansas State. 4-1, but without any big wins yet.
65. Oklahoma. They’re 4-1 with a so-so win against West Virginia, but were blown out by Gonzaga who is the only other good team they’ve played.
66. Colorado State. Unbeaten with a fairly decent win against Washington.
67. Iowa State. At 4-2, they’re another team with no good wins and no bad losses. They did play Cincinnati tough on the road, though.
68. Kent State. They’re 4-2 with notable wins (for now) against Drexel and Nebraska.
69. Texas A&M. I’m not too excited about this team, but they are 5-1 and have wins against Louisiana Tech (who has just one loss), Saint Louis and Washington State.
70. Northeastern. They’re 4-2 and are the only team that has beaten Belmont. Not sure how excited we should be about that yet.
71. VALPARAISO. Has a decent win at Kent State, and has just one loss to Nebraska. Nebraska has a decent record now, but common sense will tell you that they’re a bad team, so Valpo is kind of hard to figure right now.
72. Boise State. No good wins at all, but their only loss was a close game to Michigan State.
73. ALBANY. A notable win against Washington is currently setting them apart from the rest of the America East.
74. Iowa. 5-1 against a weak schedule. A semi-decent win on a neutral floor against Western Kentucky is the best thing on their profile.
75. SOUTHERN MISS. They’re 5-0 with semi-notable wins against Georgia and Western Kentucky.
76. Memphis. I fully expect Memphis to climb up this list in a hurry, but as of now they’re 3-2 and have just one win against a team that isn’t winless. Their losses to Minnesota and VCU aren’t bad losses, though.
77. LOUISIANA TECH. They’re 5-1, but have no real wins of note yet.
78. STEPHEN F AUSTIN. Unbeaten with a semi notable win against Tulsa.
79. LOYOLA, MD. Out to a 6-1 record with a semi-notable (for now) win against Albany.
80. Illinois Chicago. Their only loss is to New Mexico, but they have no real wins of note.
81. PACIFIC. They’re just 3-3, but have nice wins against Saint Mary’s and Xavier.
82. Richmond. This team has potential, but at this point they’ve done absolutely nothing and been blown out by the only good teams they’ve played.
83. Seton Hall. They’re 5-1 against a very weak schedule.
84. Rutgers. They’re 4-1, but have yet to beat anyone with a winning record.
85. Arizona State. 4-1, but no real wins of note
86. Arkansas. I’m still watching this team, but they have no good wins at all, and have lost back to back games to Arizona State and Wisconsin.
87. Stanford. May be worth paying attention to . They’re 3-3 with their best win being against Northern Iowa, but they don’t have any horrendously bad losses.
88. Nebraska. Prepare to not see them on these lists in the very near future, but as of now they only have one loss and are the only team that has beaten Valpo.
89. MONTANA. One of the Big Sky preseason favorites They’re 3-1 with their only loss coming to unbeaten Colorado State.
90. Cal State Northridge. Long Beach is still the favorite, but as of now CSN has just one loss to BYU, and semi notable wins against Pepperdine and Tulsa.
91. Cal Poly. On the list because of their win against UCLA. But at 2-2, the Bruins are the only team Cal Poly has beaten that has managed a win.
92. Drexel. At 2-4, Drexel has four losses by four points are less, and has played a tough schedule. At the end of the day, a close loss is still a loss, though. I continue to watch them, but eventually they’ll need to actually win some notable games.
93. Lehigh. Not bad at 4-2, but they were beaten badly against Pitt and Baylor, which are the only two good teams they’ve played.
94. SAVANNAH STATE. They’re 4-3 with no bad losses. They actually looked good against Middle Tennessee, UCF and Florida in the games they did lose.
95. GARDNER WEBB. Not one of the Big South preseason favorites, but they’ve played Illinois and Iowa fairly tough. No one in their conference currently has a winning record.
96. COLUMBIA. No one in the Ivy has a winning record against div1 teams. Columbia is 4-2 overall, and has a semi-notable win against Villanova.
97. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE. I think this team is better than their profile, but as of now they blew it in their opener at Alabama and dropped another one to Hofstra, and have no notable wins on their profile.
98. East Carolina. A semi decent win against Georgia State, but other than that their wins have come against non-div1 teams or winless teams.
99. South Carolina. Angry Frank Martin is 5-1, but has just two wins against teams with winning records.
100. ROBERT MORRIS. Nothing too exciting about them other than a near upset win at Xavier.
101. Smu. They’re 5-1 against a weak schedule.
102. STETSON. The A-Sun already appears to be destined to play in the first round in Dayton.
103. Ole Miss. Unbeaten at 5-0, but just one win came against a team with a current winning record.
104. Lsu. Unbeaten against weak teams.
105. Eastern Kentucky. Unbeaten, but against weak competition.
106. Houston. They’re 4-0 against teams that are a combined 2-15.
107. Texas Tech. They’re 3-0, which will get them on the list, but their opponents are a combined 2-14, which is why they’re below the small conference leaders.
108. Wyoming. 5-0 against teams that are a combined 3-19.
109. PRARIE VIEW. The SWAC has just five div1 wins on the year, and Prarie View’s win over Navy is one of only two that came against teams that aren’t winless, so they get the nod.

Exempt Tournament Madness!!!

MAUI INVITATIONAL

-Whatever was wrong with Butler in their rather decisive loss at Xavier has not been wrong with them in this tournament. They hung in with what is by all accounts a strong Marquette team, and ended up winning on a last second shot. That was a huge win because not only is it a quality win in and of itself, but it also awarded them the opportunity to face North Carolina in the next round, who they also ended up beating. The Butler lead was as high as 29 points in the second half. UNC came back and got as close as six, but could not get over the top. Butler is off to a great start and these wins will look great for them come tournament time.

-Other games of note were Chaminade’s upset win over Texas. Texas is off to an absolutely horrible start. They followed up that loss with another loss to an underwhelming USC team.

-Illinois has advanced to the finals and will face Butler tonight. Unlike Butler, their road hasn’t been exceptionally difficult as their wins have come against Chaminade and USC. They will face a quality team tonight and appear to be overmatched.

 

LEGENDS CLASSIC

-If the four semifinalists were not predetermined, Georgia would not have been here because Youngstown State would have knocked them out. Once they were here, though, they played much better than expected despite the fact that they lost to both Indiana and UCLA.

-Indiana won the tournament and looked good doing it, but we already knew the Hoosiers were good. The team I think we learned the most about was Georgetown, who handled a highly touted UCLA team, and then took the top ranked Hoosiers into overtime. It would have been a fantastic win, but it is not a damaging loss by any means. The Hoyas are definitely a team to watch for.

 

PARADISE JAM

-If I counted correctly, nine of the twelve Paradise Jam games were decided by ten points or less, and it provided some of the more exciting games we’ve seen so far. New Mexico beat George Mason at the buzzer in the semifinal round, and Quinnipiac took Connecticut to overtime in the semifinal game, which followed a furious comeback by UConn. New Mexico ended up winning the tournament over what appears to be a very good UConn team, so they’re off to a great start in building their NCAA Tourney profile.

 

NIT PRESEASON TIPOFF

-Many are expecting big things out of Drexel in the Colonial this year, but Delaware has a chance to make some real noise early as they have advanced to the semis of the NIT with their win at Virginia. They will face Kansas State tonight, and Michigan will face Pitt in the other game. Michigan is ranked way ahead of everyone else, but I do think that Pitt will challenge them tonight.

 

BATTLE FOR ATLANTIS

-Traditionally, this isn’t a tournament that resonates with people the way the Maui or the NIT does, but it appears to have one of the stronger fields this year. Louisville, Duke and Memphis are all highly ranked, and VCU, Stanford, Minnesota and Missouri are all NCAA hopefuls. Northern Iowa, who appears to be the weakest team in the field, is still pretty good. Every game in this tournament will feature a tournament quality team, and you can bet the committee will look very closely at virtually every one of these results. Hopefully you get the NBC Sports Network, because this is a fantastic field.

 

OLD SPICE CLASSIC

-West Virginia, Davidson, Oklahoma, Clemson and Gonzaga appear to be the stronger teams in this field. Gonzaga has already faced West Virginia, and they basically blew them off the planet. Davidson has had some challenging games as well, but has come up short. This tournament is very important for them because it provides them opportunities at notable wins. Once conference play begins for them, they won’t have these kinds of chances anymore, so they need to take advantage of it now.

 

DIRECTV CLASSIC

-Not as strong as some of the other fields, but Xavier, Drexel, Saint Mary’s and California are all teams to pay attention to. Saint Mary’s appears to be the best team, but Xavier is off to a good start as well. Not much was expected out of the Musketeers this year, but they are unbeaten and have what appears to be a quality win against Butler. If they can do well in this tournament, it will continue their momentum and put some more good wins on their resume. Drexel and Saint Mary’s face each other in the first game, which is kind unusual bracketing since those two appear to be the two best teams.

 

GREAT ALASKA SHOOTOUT

-It is not as great as it used to be, but then again it produced two teams last year that were way off the radar at the time, but turned out to be solid NCAA teams in Murray State and Southern Miss. That’s why I mention it. You just never know. Belmont looks to be a good team, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them win this. Charlotte and Oral Roberts are two other teams to watch for.

Highlghted Match-ups for Sunday, November 18th

HIGHLIGHTED MATCH-UPS

One thing to point out is that even though it is early, and even though a lot of these games are in remote locations as part of some exempt tournament, and even though they’re being played in small arenas that are mostly empty, these are HUGELY important games. It is too early to say for certain how much the committee will look at these games in the end, but when tournament teams square off against each other, they look at those games to measure how good teams are. Last year Murray State played Southern Miss up in Alaska in a game that was sparsely attended and sparsely watched or noticed by the public, but it ended up being a hugely important game for both teams. Much of what we’re seeing this week and next is along those same lines.

-NC STATE VS OKLAHOMA STATE (Puerto Rico Shootout Championship). Both teams are unbeaten and both have looked impressive so far. I didn’t think NC State was worthy of a top twenty ranking, much less the #6 ranking, but if they win decisively today I will be forced to recant that thought.

-COLORADO VS MURRAY STATE (Charleston Classic Championship). This is one of the few remaining games against a quality opponent that Murray State has, so it is hugely important for them. I didn’t think Colorado was on the same level as Baylor, but this young team looked very good in their win against the Bears the other day. Colorado was awful in one aspect, and that was from the freethrow line. Had they shot even 50% from the line they would have won more decisively. It’s hard to say how good Colorado will be, but they are already off to an incredible start. Because they have a strong remaining schedule, they don’t need this nearly as badly as Murray does.

OHIO STATE VS WASHINGTON (Hall of Fame Championship). This could be Ohio State’s toughest test so far. Afterall, the game against Marquette was a rainout. For Washington, it’s a chance to get a huge quality win on their profile.

-TENNESSEE VS UMASS (Puerto Rico Tipoff, 3rd place). These appear to be two solid teams who are looking to add a notable early season win to their resumes.

-GEORGE MASON VS NEW MEXICO (Paradise Jam). Both teams already have wins of note. You never know who will be on the bubble, inside the bubble, or outside the bubble at the end, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both of these teams in the mix. If one or both of these teams end up in the discussion, this will be a game that is closely looked at by the committee.

-BAYLOR VS SAINT JOHN’S (Charleston Classic, 3rd place). This is a quality early season match-up and will be a good win for whoever pulls it off.

-MIDDLE TENNESSEE VS FLORIDA. This game is being played in Tampa. Both teams come into the game unbeaten, but Florida has looked much more impressive early on. I believe MTSU is a tournament caliber team, but they won’t have too many chances at quality wins. They may be in over their heads today, but if they somehow did pull it off it would give them a huge boost.

-RICHMOND AT MINNESOTA. Very interesting early season game between two 3-0 teams.

-DAYTON VS AUBURN (Charleston Classic, 5th place). Neither is expected to do much, but both are 2-1. I have a feeling Auburn will crash and burn, so Dayton will really want to avoid a loss in this one.

-VALPARAISO AT KENT STATE. Both teams are 2-1. If either of them has at-large hopes these are the kinds of games they need to win.

-SAVANNAH STATE AT UCF. These teams are probably not at-large material, especially with UCF still being on probation, but both are off to good starts. Savannah State was a first place finisher in the MEAC a year ago, and is off to a 3-1 start this year. This is following a stretch where they were without question the worst div1 program. The turnaround has been amazing.

-WOFFORD AT OHIO. Ohio can stay perfect on the year if they can hold off what looks to be a pretty solid Wofford team.

-WESTERN MICHIGAN AT SOUTH FLORIDA. Not much was expected out of Western Michigan this year, but as of now they are 3-1 and can add an impressive road win to their profile if they can pull this off. South Florida got out of the gate slow, but has won two games since dropping their opener to UCF.

-DELAWARE STATE AT ILLINOIS STATE. Both teams enter this game without a loss. I think Illinois State is good enough to earn an at-large spot in the field, so they’re worth keeping an eye on.

 

BUY GAMES

-Texas Southern at Michigan State.
-University of DC vs South Dakota State. At a modest 2-2 start, SDSU is still a good team that we should see in the dance.
-West Alabama (nondiv1) @ Bucknell. Bucknell can improve to 5-0 on the year.
-Central Connecticut State @ La Salle. La Salle can improve to 2-0
-North Carolina A&T @ Cincinnati. Cincinnati can remain unbeaten.
-North Florida @ Kansas
-Fairleigh Dickinson @ Northwestern. Northwestern can improve to 3-0.
-Presby @ Creighton
-Miami, OH @ Louisville
-South Dakota @ Gonzaga
-UFGC @ Duke
-Eastern Washington @ Saint Mary’s