On the 12th Day of Conference Tourneys, the Buffet gave to me…

Does the Buffet rank?

Last Stand for Waiting Liners…

WAC: A tire fire

Big Conference Kick Offs

Buffet v Experts

Mo’ of Momo

A wealth of auto bidding

Top Seeded Carnage

Scanning the scene

Huge Buffet

Killer Top Seeds

Ok, Readership… here we are. The Final Buffetology before predictions are meaningless, and the actual bracket matters.  With the Ole Miss SEC tournament championship, seems like it is coming down to Middle Tenneseee, La Salle, Kentucky and Tenessee for 2 spots. The Buffet sees it as a Tennessee sweep, we waffled on Kentucky, because, well they are Kentucky and having them in Dayton could mean big ratings for Tru.  But Kentucky lost to Tennessee without Noel by 30, and Kentucky got their best wins without Noel, but those wins are only as good as Tennesse’s best, and then Tenn has the big NC over Wichita St, 2 more road/neutral wins and only 1 more loss overall against a tougher schedule – now KenPom and the BPI like Kentucky better, but that 30 point loss without Noel really sticks with us.  If we’re wrong, we’re guessing that’s where….

Here it comes, and don’t forget to check out http://bracketproject.50webs.com/rankings.html later tonight to see how we stacked up (unless, we did poorly, then don’t check it) under abbrevation: HHD

Last 4:
Kentucky

La Salle

Maryland

Virginia

If you are still counting:

UMass

Charlotte 

The ball is tipped
and there you are
you’re running for your life
you’re a shooting star
And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but now it shows…
(in) ONE SHINING MOMENT, IT’S ALL ON THE LINE
ONE SHINING MOMENT, THERE FROZEN IN TIME

But time is short
and the road is long
in the blinking of an eye
ah that moment’s gone
And when it’s done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew…
(that) ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU REACHED DEEP INSIDE
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU KNEW YOU WERE ALIVE

Feel the beat of your heart
feel the wind in your face
it’s more than a contest
it’s more than a race…

And when it’s done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew…
(that) ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU REACHED FOR THE SKY
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU KNEW
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU WERE WILLING TO TRY
ONE SHINING MOMENT….

On the 11th Day of Conference Tourneys, the Buffet Gave to Me…

Last Stand for Waiting Liners…

WAC: A tire fire

Big Conference Kick Offs

Buffet v Experts

Mo’ of Momo

A wealth of auto bidding

Top Seeded Carnage

Scanning the scene

Huge Buffet

Killer Top Seeds

An extra day of conference tourneys…

This one goes to ELEVEN.  Well, Readership, here we are the final day of true wall to wall hoops until the 2 days of basketball madness that has everyone glued to their televisions, computers, mobile devices, and (where it’s legal, of course) their sports book accounts.  We’ve got conference tournament championships all day long, including Southern Miss trying to take decision-making out of the hands of the committee, a battle for Kansas supremacy and settling the “Who is the 2013 Big12 champ” question once and for all, a sneaky powerful game in Vegas, and a couple of teams who won’t even be in the Big East next year, playing for the BET title.  Big Ten lets us revel in 2 more of their games, and the storyline of the day, for the Buffet, Bob Thomason, after 25 years at Pacific, is retiring, and tonight, versus UCI, tries to cap his career with a NCAA tournament automatic bid exclamation point.

We get mail…

Dear Buffet,
Please give us your take on the effect of last night’s PAC game between the cats and bruins.  Will the bruins lose tourney ranking with a win since they lost Jordan Adams?  Will the cats still be a 4 seed since there was clearly a zebra conspiracy in effect?
Thanks,
Unbiased in Phoenix

Unbiased – Right now, UCLA hasn’t had a huge seed downgrade due to Adams’ injury.  We moved then down to 7 instead of the 5/6 range, but if they go on to win the Pac12 tourney, we will actually move them up 1-2 seed lines, because we don’t see a team getting punished by an injury they haven’t shown to affect them.  Think Kenyon Martin when broke his leg just into game 1 of the C-USA tournament, and UC still got a #2 seed, now UCLA would have a tournament final win to show the committee, if they get blown out, an 8 seed could be their destiny…

Before we Scan the Scene, let’s get you all to the last version of the Buffet.

Waiting Line… teams in:

Colorado

Boise State

Tennessee

La Salle

Oklahoma

Kentucky

Middle Tennessee

*Notes: Illinois is probably a seed or two lower than they will end up, for this version, they needed to be sent to 8/9 to avoid breaking some seeding rules, but they should shake up a bit in the final version.

Same with Villanova, who we like on the 9 line.

Memphis we actually moved for seeding rules, but after an undefeated CUSA run capped by an tournament title, 7 seems right.

Yes, for you visual purists, we know So Dakota State got cut off, it happens, but also if you know to complain, you know what school that is – not mention, if you’re a visual purist, you should’ve given up on the Buffet long ago, since we fired our Editor before we published our first Buffet 9 years ago…

Now onto the Waiting Line… teams not listed: 

Last 4 Out

Ole Miss

St. Mary’s

Southern Miss

Maryland

 

Rest still being considered:

Massachusetts

Baylor

Alabama

Charlotte

 

Ole Miss beat Vandy by 12 – this will be real battle royal for the Buffet: Kentucky, Tennessee, Ole Miss, MTSU, Southern Miss, La Salle and Oklahoma for 4 spots.

Maryland is gave it a ride, but we fear they fell one win short (either that blown 17 point lead against Virginia or today)

Southern Miss did everything you could in one last game without winning the tournament, will it be enough? It wasn’t as of this press time, but we will give another deep look before the final bracket is published

UMass staying relevant, somehow, if they are, that is, by hanging with VCU, lose, though, and that dream is over

Alabama was beaten handily by Florida, which should put that one to rest.

No other team under consideration is still going; they’ll have to go on their own (current) merits, whatever those may/may not be.

Scanning the Scene…

ACC: Miami used a 10 point to remind people they were once a top contender for the #1 overall seed, too late? We’ll see if they win the ACC tournament.

Maryland, whose win over Duke launched to the head of the Waiting Line… might be out of chances, down 11 to UNC with 14 minutes left.

America East:  Albany Great Danes, 2012 America East Champions, mounted a great late comeback on Vermont’s home floor (after the first few rounds last week were on theirs) and won 53-49.

Atlantic 10: Saint Louis likes impressing the Buffet; they advanced to the A10 tournament final with a 67-56 win over Butler, whose seed, despite some great non-conference work, appears to be sliding.

VCU leads UMass, who just wants to stay in the discussion, 35-34

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champion.

Big 12: SUNFLOWER SHOWDOWN! Yeah, we got to do something about that name.  I think the moratorium on “shootouts” as a label for college sports rivalries might be needed, just to do something tougher with Sunflower.  Kansas State v. Kansas, 3pm PT, ESPN/WATCH

Big East:  As noted – Syracuse v. Louisville, 530pm, ESPN/WATCH

Big Sky: Weber State and Montana, settle things, at 6pm tonight, ESPNU/WATCH

Big South: Liberty Flames, 2013 Big South Conference Tournament champion.

Big Ten: Wisconsin continued their mysterious mastery of Indiana, perhaps costing Indiana the chance to be in Indianapolis for their region, but shouldn’t do anything to their #1.  Also, Wisconsin is in range to take a seed jump.

Michigan State and Ohio State engaging in another developing Big 10 classic, on CBS – at halftime.

Big West: The Bob Thomason retirement party continues! A last second put back by Travis Fulton (literally under a second) lifted Pacific to a win over Cal Poly and a date with UC-Irvine, who upset Long Beach, in tonight’s championship game.  730pm tonight – ESPN2/WATCH

Colonial:  James Madison 2013 Colonial Athletic Association champion.

C-USA: Early this morning (afternoon, depending on your location) Memphis and Southern Miss played a classic, 2OT, well, it was fun to watch, the free throw shooting, late flagrant, and disappearance of the Golden Eagles in the second overtime wasn’t so classic, but the undefeated 2012-13 conference run is complete – Memphis Tigers, 2013 Conference USA Champions. 

Now, as for Southern Miss – they are still out, but close, we will do a longer look tonight/tomorrow AM – this could be one team that sees a late switch in.

Horizon League:  Valparaiso Crusaders 2013 Horizon League tournament champs.

Colonial:  Harvard Crimson, 2013 Ivy League Champs

MAAC: Iona Gaels, 2013 MAAC Tournament champion.

MEAC: The survivors’ final – a conference tournament which saw upset left and right – North Carolina A&T and Morgan State, 2pm PT, ESPNU/WATCH

MAC: The final we thought before the Abreu suspension, but Akron has maintained their strength, and they face Ohio at 330pm, ESPN2/WATCH

MVC: Creighton Blue Jays, 2013 Arch Madness champions

MWC: Well, we were wrong, Dorian Green did play, but UNLV was still too much for the Rams, while New Mexico had little trouble with San Diego State.   Today at 3pm on CBS – should be a great final – UNLV v. New Mexico

NEC: Long Island University Brooklyn Blackbirds, 2013 NEC Tournament champs

OVC: Belmont Bruins, 2013 OVC Tournament champions.

Patriot: Bucknell Bison, 2013 Patriot League champions.

Pac 12: A great early game was marred by what happened on the last play, challenging Solomon Hill’s game tying attempt, UCLA’s Jordan Adams came down awkwardly, and the uber-talented freshman has a broken foot that will sideline him for the season.  That will likely to some damage to UCLA seed, but we only knocked them down 1 line, pending what they look like in tonight’s championship game versus Oregon.  It’s been a heckuva weekend in Vegas, not quite the quality of play of the Big 10, but every bit the basketball drama – which now, unfortunately, includes a big injury.  8pm PT, ESPN/WATCH

SEC: What to do with Ole Miss, they defeated Missouri and leaped back into the Buffet’s eyes.  What they can’t do is lose to Vandy, for sure.  But this is tough, their profile is largely better than MTSU, but they lost to MTSU.  They have two wins over Tennessee, but lost to Kentucky. Right now, we’re keeping them out, win over Vandy, and tonight/tomorrow AM’s Buffetology will probably look a bit different.

Florida advanced to the final and extinguished the Waiting Line… hopes of Alabama.

Southern: Davidson Wildcats, 2013 Southern Conference tournament champions

Southland:  Northwestern State v. Stephen F. Austin, 530pm PT, ESPN2/WATCH

Summit: South Dakota State Jackrabbits, back to back Summit Tournament champs.

Sun Belt: Western Kentucky, Sun Belt conference tournament champions

SWAC:  Prairie View A&M v. Southern U – right now – ESPN2/WATCH

WAC:   Championship game – 8pm PT tonight: Texas-Arlington v. New Mexico St, ESPNU/WATCH

West Coast: Gonzaga, 2013 WCC Conference champions

On the 8th Day of Conference Tourneys, the Buffet gave to me…

Buffet v Experts

Mo’ of Momo

A wealth of auto bidding

Top Seeded Carnage

Scanning the scene

Huge Buffet

Killer Top Seeds

An extra day of conference tourneys…

That’s right, no burying the lead, pleased to announce that come Selection Sunday, your favorite OLOGY of all, the Buffetology, will be listed alongside some of the best and brightest in the country and some not as much so (no names here)…. Over BracketMatrix.com, with Lunardi, Palm, fellow HoopsHD colleague Crimson Cast, and whole host of bracker projectors. Just to note, their webmaster, Brian from the BracketProject, does an awesome job and hope the entire Readership will visit frequently leading up to Sunday, and certainly to see where your humble Buffet stacks against the world from selection day.

Now that the self-news business is dispensed, let’s get you to the world of basketball… Again, sometimes the 7-to-7 wins, so although this was finished last night, we like to deliver same day. Just hadn’t had time to get it up and out.

2013 BIG EAST MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS

March 12-16, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

For one last time, we need y’all to roaR. Here it is. The last time as we know it. The battle royal in the Garden.  Emotions should be high. With at least 1 true Waiting Line… team (Villanova), one plummeting team (Cincinnati) looking to join them in Line.  A three-way tie for the regular season crown.  One team who would be squarely be in the thick of things who athletes stopped going to class. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STUDENT IN STUDENT ATHLETE.  And who knows, maybe Jim Boeheim will go bonkers on someone this week.   In S-Curve order, lets take a look where each team stands, and yes, we’ll make a prediction, but we’ll bury in a preview, so you’ll have to read.

Louisville.  Currently hanging out at #1, they got a big boost this weekend about the security of that spot with Kansas’ loss and the ball not dropping into the hoop in Ann Arbor.  Which leads the Buffet to believe, if they advance to the tournament final, and lose to someone other than Georgetown, they could be safe (this assumes they don’t drop their opener to Saint John’s, and if Michigan or Michigan St runs through the B10, all bets are off).  But provided they get to the Big East final, Indianapolis in round 1 as a #1 seed should be in their future.

Georgetown.  The top seed in the tournament, the best player, by far, in the Big East, this team is knocking on the door for a #1, and loudly.  If they win in MSG this weekend, you can going ahead an mark it down.   Winning the Carrier Dome, at Notre Dame, UConn and Cincinnati, taking out UCLA on a neutral court – you can quibble with their entire roster of non-conference wins (Tennessee,  UCLA, and full stop). But the basketball they’re playing, has them a Big East title away from a #1 seed.

Marquette.  The forgotten member of the 3-team conference share.  The thing holding Marquette down is a lack of really good non-conference wins.  A chip on their shoulder run would not surprise.  The thing is, that’s probably the only thing that raises higher than the 3 seed they found themselves at in the latest Buffetology

Notre Dame.  What a typical Mike Brey team.  No bad losses, and thrilling win over Louisville, a couple non-conference wins that gets some portion of your attention (Kentucky, BYU), but most of what props them up, is again, being such a tough team during the Big East slate.  A 7 seed on the latest Buffetology, they are a team that can use the tournament to their advantage.  Beat Marquette,  and we’d probably get them on the 6 line.  Marquette and Louisville, a 5 is possible, win the tournament, and suddenly you could be thinking 4.

Syracuse. James Southerland was supposed to solve all the woes, right? And, also, instead of blasting at reporters after losses, should JB just make sure his students finish their coursework, so he’d stop having to academically disqualify players for a portion of the season?  Southerland came back, and all hailed it as the return to form for the Orange, but the form was losing 5 of their next 8, all 5 to tournament teams, so not bad losses, but seed repressing losses, no doubt.   We had them as a 5, but they are an iffy 5, as the teams on the 2 lines below them are ready to pounce if Syracuse doesn’t use this weekend to right their ship.

Connecticut. Moving right along…

Villanova. With the lone exception of Providence, who has been hovering on some people bubbles (we are the only one with a Waiting Line…), this the only true Waiting Line… team, they’ve been gaining ground, especially on Cincinnati, but there are just two bad losses that keep Villanova down, even if ultimately, the Buffet sees them getting in, fairly safely, as 10 now, even losing to Saint John’s, LAVIN!, shouldn’t do much more than shovel them down to 11, and provided Wyoming or someone other than Memphis, or, and I this isn’t far-fetched, given their recent history, some random SEC team – Villanova can make plans for next week. Buffet advice: don’t lose in that first round of the Big East tournament, keep out of the committee’s hands, and get yourself the plate, don’t wait for the invitation.

Cincinnati. Below Villanova in the standings, and a late season spiral as Cashmere Wright only missed one game, but hasn’t looked himself until just recently. Cincinnati could use the tournament this weekend to regain the form of the team that won at Pittsburgh, beat Xavier, Iowa St and Oregon on a neutral court, and took care of Marquette, Villanova, Connecticut, and Alabama at home.  What is really keeping them up a bit is many of the teams in that list are in their same teams in the same mix.  Cincy is safe, but we’d, at a minimum, not lose to Providence (who needs this weekend to get in Line…), just to not have to scoreboard watch the Memphis, SEC & Pac12 Buffet eaters of the world. 

Providence.  This team is probably not going to have a shot, 4 pretty ugly losses (@Brown, @Boston College, on a neutral court vs. Penn St before they got feisty at the end of the year, and the cherry on top – losing to DePaul at home), but they did have a solid Feb/March, with wins at Villanova, and at home against both Notre Dame & Cincy, but they will be explaining those 4 losses unless they are able to distract their way to the Big East final.  Quick shoutout to Bryce Cotton, first team all-Big East, who presumably is a straight chiller now, did the reverse Malaier, going from Tucson to Providence…

Best Non-Conference win: (tie)

Louisville at Memphis,  87-78

2013 Big East Conference Player of the Year:  Otto Porter, Jr., Georgetown

2013 Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year:  Gorgui Deng, Louisville

2013 Big East Conference Freshman of the Year:  JaKarr Sampson, St. John’s

2013 Big East Conference Sixth Man of the Year: Davonte Gardner, Marquette 

2013 Big East Conference Coach of the Year:  John Thompson III, Georgetown

2012-13 Big East Conference First Team:

Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, G, Jr., 6-1, 171, Roxbury, Mass.

Otto Porter, Jr., Georgetown, F, So., 6-8, 205, Sikeston, Mo.

Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, C, Jr., 6-11, 245, Kebemer, Senegal

Russ Smith, Louisville, G, Jr., 6-0, 165, Briarwood, N.Y.

Jack Cooley, Notre Dame, F, Sr., 6-9, 246, Glenview, Ill.

Bryce Cotton, Providence, G, Jr., 6-1, 165, Tucson, Ariz.

 

Big East Conference 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:  

 

Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, 68/171, 28 games, 2.4/gm, 40%

Big East Conference Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

James Robinson, Pittsburgh, 3.1 A/TO

 

2012 PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

March 13-16, Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

 The conference that keeps using roman numerals, presumably to make us believe they can count. But, folks, XII does not equal 12 either.  A down year, with some strength at the top… two true Waiting Line… teams, a potential 1-seed… let’s see what’s going down in Kansas City.

Kansas. They shook off their little midseason swoon, or so we thought, we on an express train for a #1, and then no-showed in Waco, and suddenly they are still in #1 orbit, but would need to really impress, and have Georgetown, Louisville and Indiana all no show to a certain extent.   They are pretty locked into a 2, but that TCU could haunt if they win the B12 and Indiana, Louisville and Georgetown fail to win the tournament, we shall see.  Kansas is a 2, win the Big XII tournament and we will give a long look at a 1.

Oklahoma State. Man, Marcus Smart is fun to watch.  A road win at Kansas, neutral court wins over NC State, Akron and Tennessee, this is a strong profile while only one true speed bump and a big of trouble away from home, 5-5, with their one bad losses coming on the road.    They sit as a 4, a 3 is probably only happening with a conference championship, but they could stay put, since Baylor at this point is not a bad loss.

Kansas State.  What a ride – Bruce Weber sure knows how to coach other people’s players, huh? That sounds like a knock, but it really isn’t meant as one.  Rick Barnes, for instance, cannot coach his own players, no matter how well he recruits.  An impressive 6 game win streak and 10 of 11 overall, with nice road efforts (if you ignore that Kansas game when the Jayhawks needed to reassert themselves), helped them to a share of the B12 title, a great non-conference home win over Florida, and zero losses to anyone out of the top 50, and Kansas State has a slightly light profile that is sneaky good.  They sit as a four, but a run to the final followed by a competitive loss to KU in a B12 final, we wouldn’t put a 3 out of sights even without a B12 tournament win. Stay tuned.

Oklahoma. Yes, they are in a bit of a free fall, losing to Texas (even though Myck Kabongo was back) and to TCU to close the season, really started to expose them, and made us take a quick look at a resume that only features non conference wins over Northwestern State, Texas A&M and UTEP.  Don’t get us wrong, they are in, but this myth of a top 8 seed, is just that.   Now, the tournament could be time to reestablish their footing, but Iowa St NEEDS that game, and Kansas hasn’t forgotten their midseason loss (admittedly, the win that makes the Sooners a virtual lock) – sitting at an 11, that’s dangerously close to to first four territory.  If we were the Sooner, and why would we be? We’d beat Iowa St, let them miss the tournament, otherwise the Sooners would have no one to blame but themselves when playing in the NIT.

Baylor.  This was a Waiting Line… at best, until that Kansas win, now you look at beating Kentucky, at full strength, in Lexington, and adding Kansas and Oklahoma St to that, suddenly, it seems like Baylor is inching close to the front of Line… There are some bad losses (College of Charleston, Northwestern, and for resume purposes, @Texas, but Texas with Myck Kabongo isn’t the same loss as say, North Carolina’s to them in December).  For now, we see Baylor is in, but they need a run to be safe, otherwise, they will be Seth Greenberg and Saint Mary’s this weekend, praying for a lack of non-Waiting Line… conference champions.

Iowa State.  Rarely does a team clear of two games of another team rank lower in the Buffet’s estimation.   And they DID sweep Baylor, but wow, Iowa State sure did NOTHING out of conference.  They missed twice (although, one may argue the refs missed once and they missed once) at a chance to include a Kansas win on their resume.  But BYU and Florida Gulf Coast as your best wins? You need more than that.  A potential Waiting Line… elimination awaits in round 1 (2?) versus Oklahoma, given that it’s hard to tell a team that has had a successful season they have to beat the top seed and potential NCAA tournament #1 seed to get in, but, at a minimum, they need to beat OU and then we can revisit things on the morning of the 15th, to see where we stand…

Texas. No. Just no.  But, maybe it’s the homer in your editor, but also there is no doubt Texas is a Waiting Line… team with Myck Kabongo and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them in the semis following a win over Kansas State.  Equally unshocking? A loss to TCU in the first round. 

Best Non-Conference win:  Kansas State versus Florida 67-61

2013 Big XII Player of the Year:  Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

2013 Big XII Defensive Player of the Year: Jeff Withey, Kansas

2013 Big XII Newcomer of the Year:  Will Clyburn, Iowa State

2013 Big XII Freshman of the Year:  Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

2013 Big XII Sixth Man Award: Melvin Ejim, Iowa State

2013 Big XII Coach of the Year:  Bruce Weber, Kansas State

2012-13 Big XII First Team:

Ben McLemore, Kansas

Jeff Withey, Kansas

Rodney McGruder, Kansas State

Romero Osby, Oklahoma

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

Big XII Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:  

 

Tyrus McGee, Iowa State, 87/185, 31 games, 2.81/gm, 47%

Pierre Jackson, Baylor, 75/210, 30 games, 2.5/gm, 36%

Big XII Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

Sam Grooms, Oklahoma, 2.61 A/TO

In the interest of time, the Buffet’s, yes,  but also, yours, the Readership’s, we will give a fly by over the next 3 conferences.  SWAC, Southland and CUSA, discussing the tournament favorites, briefly, and giving you their postseason Award winner, before Scanning the Scene, and closing the Buffet for today…

 

50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE: DESTINATION: KATY

SOUTHLAND BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

March 13-16, Merrell Center, Katy, Texas

Your tourney favorite and league’s top team is Stephen F Austin, a 16-2 conference record, and only 3 losses overall, they split the season series with #2 seed Northwestern State, and won an impressive game at Oklahoma.  And really other than their 2 games with the Demons, never struggled in conference.  They should see the tournament final, so too should NW State.  Tournament darlings a few years back with their thrilling win over Iowa, they tried, but couldn’t quite get the job done in Norman (losing 69-65) but hold a nice home win over Louisiana Tech, we would all be fortunate to see this final.

If not them, who? Central Arkansas comes in on a five game winning streak, with a nice 2 point win over the other Who? Candidate Oral Roberts, who makes the list by virtue of their win over Northwestern State midseason.

Best Non-Conference win: Stephen F. Austin at Oklahoma 56-55.

2013 Southland Player of the Year:  Taylor Smith, Stephen F. Austin

2013 Southland Defensive Player of the Year: Taylor Smith, Stephen F. Austin

2013 Southland Freshman of the Year:  Jalan West, Northwestern State

2013 Southland Newcomer of the Year: DeQuan Hicks, Northwestern State

2013 Southland Coach of the Year:  Danny Kaspar Stephen F. Austin

 2012-13 Southland First Team:

Taylor Smith, Stephen F Austin

Damen Bell-Holter, Oral Roberts

Fred Hunter, Nicholls State

Warren Niles, Oral Roberts

Brandon Fortenberry, SE Louisiana

Southland 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:  (tie) 

Warren Niles, Oral Roberts, 89/215, 31 games, 2.9/game, 41%

Robert Crawford, Central Arkansas, 84/193, 28 games, 3.0/game,. 44%

Southland Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

Jalan West, Northwestern State, 2.9 A/TO

 

2013 TOYOTA SWAC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

March 12-16, Curtis Culwell Center, Garland, Texas

This should be a 3 team race with conference regular season champ Texas Southern, who only lost twice in conference and would walk in with a 12 game winning streak, but they are on a two year ban for lack of institutional control and recruiting violations.  That leaves us Southern U and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  Oh wait, no, Arkansas-PB got banned for APR violations.  Which leaves us Southern.  While they did get beat up pretty good on the road against Texas Southern, they do hold the league’s best non-conference win (@Texas A&M) and that was highly unpredictable, coming off a loss at TCU.  So, their ability to bounce back is strong.  There aren’t enough signs to point to an If not them, who? But, when that happens, it usually makes for a pretty wild ride in Garland.  Especially with the 1 and 3 seeds eliminated before it begins.

Special shout out to Grambling who finished the season 0-27 (0-18) in conference, but still get to be a 7 seed this week (in a 10 team league) – with Texas Southern banned, and both Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley state gone for APR reasons – they want to be the Southwest version of Loyola Marymount.

Best Non-Conference win: Southern at Texas A&M 53-51

2013 SWAC Player of the Year:  Omar Strong, Texas Southern

2013 SWAC Defensive Player of the Year: Fred Sturdivant, Texas Southern

2013 SWAC Freshman of the Year:  Terry Rose, Grambling

2013 SWAC Coach of the Year:  (tie) Roman Banks, Southern & Mike Davis, Texas Southern (yes, that Mike Davis)

2012-13 SWAC First Team: (gotta love that they fill it out by position)

G – Omar Strong, Texas Southern

G – Derick Beltran, Southern

F – Malcolm Miller, Southern

F – Fred Sturdivant, Texas Southern

C – Terrell Kennedy, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

SWAC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:  (this could be the favorite in the clubhouse)

Omar Strong, Texas Southern, 120/329!, 31 games, 3.9/gm, 37%

SWAC Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

Raymond Penn, Texas Southern, 2.0 A/TO

 

2013 CONFERENCE USA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

March 13-16, BOK Center, Tulsa, OK

This is a very Memphis world.  Which means Memphis will win, get a game in the tournament, and Josh Pastner will still be called to be fire.  All they did was go 16-0 in conference.  Granted, they missed chances to really establish themselves (losing by 9 to Louisville, 9 to Minnesota, and a 2-pt loss to Xavier.  But, they did sweep purported Waiting Line… Southern Miss,  won at Tennessee and beat all wannabe Waiting Liners… Harvard (by 10), Ohio (by 26) and Northern Iowa (by 5).  The Joe Jackson-Josh Pastner love-hate fest is over, and Jackson is a better player for it, his 13.8 points, and nearly 5 assists pace the Tigers, with Adonis Thomas (11.5), Gerron Johnson (10.5) and Chris Crawford (9.3) having his back.  This profile just screams 8/9 game, but run through the C-USA, in what would end up being a 19-0 season, and 6/7 line could be in their future.

Southern Miss. No, just no.   Just know that they, UTEP and homestanding Tulsa (Danny Manning and the Miracles Part II?) are the resident If not them, who? from this conference.  How about a Larry Brown vs. Manning final? Let’s do it.

Best Non-Conference win: Southern at Texas A&M 53-51

2013 Conference USA Player of the Year:  Not yet awarded

2013 Conference USA Player of the Year: D.J. Stephens, Memphis

2013 Conference USA Freshman of the Year:  Danuel House, Houston

2013 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year:  Dwayne Davis, Southern Miss

2013 Conference USA Sixth Man of the Year:  Chris Crawford, Memphis

2013 Conference USA Coach of the Year:  Not yet awarded

2012-13 Conference USA First Team:

Dwayne Davis, Southern Miss, F, 6-5, 205, Sr., Philadelphia, Pa.

Josh Davis, Tulane, F, 6-8, 215, Jr., Raleigh, N.C.

Joe Jackson, Memphis, G, 6-1, 171, Jr., Memphis, Tenn.

Maurice Kemp, East Carolina, F, 6-8, 190, Sr., Miami, Fla.

Isaiah Sykes, UCF, G/F, 6-5, 215, Jr., Detroit, Mich.

TaShawn Thomas, Houston, F, 6-8, 215, So., Killeen, Texas

Conference USA 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:  

 

Akeem Richmond, East Carolina, 91/201, 29 games, 3.14/gm, 45%

Conference USA Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

Jaques Streeter, Texas-El Paso, 3.12 A/TO

 

Scanning the Scene: 

America East:  #2 Albany vs. #1 Vermont, Saturday 11:30am ET

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champion.

Big East: CHALK WALK! Well, for today anyway as 12 seeded Seton Hall knocked off USF in an offensive showcase, 46-42 and 11 Rutgers eliminated DePaul (and worsened Arizona St’s profile in the process) 76-57

Big South: Liberty Flames, 2013 Big South Conference Tournament champion.

Colonial:  James Madison 2013 Colonial Athletic Association champion.

Horizon League:  Eric Buggs kept scoring (22 pts) and Wright State, as a team, did not – not 1 starter in double figures, and after a 62-54 win, Valparaiso Crusaders are your 2013 Horizon League tournament champs.

MAAC: Iona Gaels, 2013 MAAC Tournament champion.

MEAC: Finished up the opening round, with Bethune-Cookman beating Coppin St 89-78 (the Eagles, by the way were you answer to the trivia question of last team to make the tournament with 20 losses) and North Carolina A&T got the battle of MEAC North Carolinas they wanted, beating Florida A&M 65-54

MAC: No MAC-tion yesterday.

MVC: Creighton Blue Jays, 2013 Arch Madness champions

NEC: Blackbird ARE signing in the dead of night, CJ Garner kept scoring and scoring and scoring, 31 points despite no 3 pointers, as Long Island dominated Mount Saint Mary’s,  69-60: Long Island University Brooklyn Blackirds, 2013 NEC Tournament champs

MWC: Wyoming got things started in Vegas with a 85-81 win over Nevada.

OVC: Belmont Bruins, 2013 OVC Tournament champions.

Patriot: Bucknell (#1) vs. Lafayette (#2), Wednesday at 7pm ET.

Southern: Davidson Wildcats, 2013 Southern Conference tournament champions

Summit: The South rises in Dakota, Team Naterz does it – with a 73-67 win over the game, but ultimately outgunned North Dakota St, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, back to back Summit Tournament champs.

Sun Belt: Western Kentucky, Sun Belt conference tournament champions

West Coast: Gonzaga, 2013 WCC Conference champions

Until tomorrow readership, we hope you’re full, but still want to come back for more.

 

On the 7th Day of Conference Tourneys, the Buffet gave to me…

On the 7th Day of Conference tourneys gave to me…

 

Mo’ of Momo

A wealth of auto bidding

Top Seeded Carnage

Scanning the scene

Huge Buffet

Killer Top Seeds

An extra day of conference tourneys…

 

7 days in readership, today was a little more favorite-normal night, and come Scanning the Scene, we will give you the details, we’ve got previews on tap, and with the WCC final, we are ready for our Buffetology leading into the major conferences tipping off.  Quick reminder, as much of readership are alumni of and/or fans of teams from major conferences, we will not provide a conference season recap as part of the previews, but rather a run through of the Buffetology projects/Waiting Line… status as we see it, of the teams competing in the tournament.  But first, let’s go check out the Wiggity Wiggity Wigitty WAC.  Yes, we wrote that, we don’t take it back, and are actually slightly proud.

Where do we stand? the LATEST Buffetology:

 

2013 WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

March 12-16, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas baby Vegas, Nevada

 

It shapes up for a shootout out West, a pair of teams at 14-2, seeded based on RPI #s that sit just 11 slots away from each other.  Pretty much, they were doled out seed on the strength the difference between a Louisiana Tech beating Southern Miss and Denver losing to them on the road (of course, it much more scientific than that, but it’s essentially the glaring difference in the results).  That’s the separate between #1 seed Louisiana Tech and #2 seed Denver.  Both teams have very mid-major like Waiting Line… aspirations.  As in, they play in one of those leagues where they only have a 1-2 chances at a good win in the conference tournament, and really to maximize they would have to win.  Denver has a bit of a leg up there, as they get New Mexico St, but really if they beat the Aggies, the only team they could afford a loss to in the championship is La Tech. Anyone else, and it would their first bad loss, but one they probably could not afford at this stage, even with the recent performances of fellow Waiting Line… teams.

 

Louisiana Tech is the top seed, but they were 16-0 in conference, before a pair of late season road losses may have been a sign of where things are headed, especially for a team without a real strong resume – they pretty much a riding an RPI wave from beating Southern Miss (ranked 35) and going undefeated at home.  However, somehow their RPI is like NBA scouts drafting Casey Jacobson, it ignores their biggest flaws – his defense, footspeed and over athleticism, theirs a loss to McNeese St.  It’s hard to say we saw their pair of double-digit late season losses coming, they had pretty much cruised leading up to then, with some close wins, but not a string of them to indicate they were a team ready to lose.  However, this is a team that is really a poor performer on the road, but at least they’ve got the Lady Techsters pulling for them.   The good thing about Louisiana Tech is they don’t have too much trouble scoring points, even though they aren’t particularly efficient, per Ken Pomeroy, they still led the WAC in ppg, and on defense they lock down, 31st in the country in D efficiency – but what gives the Buffet pause, is those points are slightly TOO evenly distributed.  Raheem Appleby is a clear go-to – 14.5 points and Michale Kyser with his 5 rebs and 2 blocks per game is a presence inside, but down the list scoring-wise it goes: 8.3, 7.5, 7.5, 7.4, 6.6, 5.0, 4.9 – a dedicated defense effort by a conference for that knows you, and suddenly guys who aren’t accustomed to shouldering the load are put in the spotlight right away, and that could be trouble, and was exactly what happened in their season closing, and conference title sharing loss to Denver 78-54.

 

Hence, Denver is our pick.  They haven’t loss since January 23rd, and only twice since December 29th, winning 10 straight and 17 of 18 over that period, including a nice road BracketBuster in at Northern Iowa. Really, it’s a shame they can’t take a mulligan, now that they’ve got their game together, on the start of the season when they went 1-5, losing to all five tournament caliber teams they played (Iona, California, Colorado St, @Southern Miss and at Stanford). Now, it seems easy to say having won 17 of 18, but then again, two teams finished 16-2 in conference, which perhaps is more indicative of a weak WAC than two teams who deserve long tournament looks.  For our money, if Denver has a nice showing getting to final and falls in a close one to Louisiana Tech, we would consider them FAR more deserving than some other Waiting Line… teams, such as St. Mary’s, who didn’t schedule nearly as well, and had an equally dominating conference season, yet DID beat Creighton, but limped their way (and not in an injured sense) through the WCC tournament before looking wholly outmatched by Gonzaga.  In any event, since Louisiana Tech can’t pretend Las Vegas is Ruston, the guess here is we won’t need that deep Denver inspection.  Just in case, get to know Chris Udolfa (12.9 ppg), Royce O’Neale (11.5), Brett Olson (11.1), Chase Hallam (10.0) and Jalen Love (7.1). Those ppg averages may not seem dramatically more than La Tech’s, and no one scores as much as Appleby, but we feel a lot more secure in a team with multiple double-digit guys. The guard situation is a little dicier, as they are literally led in rebounding and assists by the same two front-court guys (Udolfa & O’Neale)

 

If not them, who? Seems obvious that “the who” would be New Mexico State, the only team not named Denver or Louisiana Tech to beat those teams in conference play.  Since it seems Southern Miss would really like to play in the WAC, they completed the top of the WAC trifecta, losing to the Aggie on Dec 1.

Keep your eye on Daniel Mullings, who can put points up in a moment’s notice, and All-Name candidate Bandja Sy, a battler inside with 7.3 rpg to go with his 11.8 points.

 

Best Non-Conference win: (tie)

New Mexico vs. Southern Miss 68-60

Louisiana Tech vs. Southern Miss 65-55

 

WAC Postseason Awards have not been announced yet

2013 WAC Player of the Year:  

2013 WAC Defensive Player of the Year:

2013 WAC Freshman of the Year:  

2013 WAC Coach of the Year:  

 

2012-13 WAC First Team:

 

 

WAC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:  (this could be the favorite in the clubhouse)

Connor Hill, Idaho, 85/189, 29 games, 2.9.game 45%

Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

Da’Shawn Gomez, New Mexico St, 3.8 A/TO

 

Also, a shout out to Seattle U and Coach Cameron Dollar, after getting ducked for years from D1 schools not wanting to play his upstart DII school, they played their first season in a D1 conference.  It wasn’t a successful W-L season, but it will be, mark our words.

 

Mountain West Conference

 

We will just go ahead and call it – this was the most successful year to date for the Mountain West.  It has finished the regular season #1. Yes that’s a number sign, followed by a ONE, in Conference RPI.  That would be better than the Big12, Big East, ACC, SEC, and Pac10.  That’s even higher than the Big 10 (by .0026 points) who, while no one is arguing is weaker than the MWC, but it is still quite an accomplishment.  It did seem as though it would be a bit more of a free-for-all for the conference championship, but preseason favorites UNLV & San Diego St struggled their way through the conference season, Wyoming briefly flashed as a potential candidate and then faded (losing 5 straight after already getting out to a 4-7 start), and some newer and then very new faces at the top of the standings made a push, before ultimately the consistency and depth of the Lobos of New Mexico won out, as they won the nation’s top conference (by RPI rating) by 2 games. A tremendous accomplishment.  One thing you’ll notice is uniformly true, the MWC is treacherous on the road (the top six teams have a combined 8 home losses this season, an average of 1.33 losses per team), but it also might suggest that UNLV has a slight leg up this week, as a tournament full of poor road teams can lead to unpredictable results.  Instead of a straight preview, we will look at the top team’s chances of getting out of the Waiting Line… and into the Buffet.  (But for those who demand answers, we think it could be a slight shocker, with Colorado St. pulling the MWC title out this week, they will face the only quasi-home team in action (UNLV) but that would be in the semis, and if UNLV is going to be a home court locomotive, best to get them before their momentum really propels them down the tracks)

 

New Mexico:  New Mexico is in a tough spot, in the Buffet’s estimation.  Currently sitting as a 4, a run through the MWC would be a powerful statement, but there are just really well profiled teams ahead of them. Difficult to see anyone come from the 2 line down to a 4, or even a 3 (except maybe Kansas, if that Baylor game was a signal), but there are a couple of vulnerable 3s, Miami FL has shown some weakness lately, Ohio St has been the opposite, but they just rose to a 3 in the Buffet, so maybe they get slotted one line lower with a weak B10 tournament showing, and Florida, who hasn’t beaten anyone squarely in the tournament since Missouri (at home, when, as mentioned, Missouri plays like a low major on the road) on January 19.  Florida does have a weaker overall schedule, but stronger non-conference wins, yet they’ve done no impressive work on the road, versus New Mexico, who has less profile wins overall, but defeated Colorado St on the road (and twice overall, who is 15 in RPI), UConn on a neutral court, and Cincinnati on the road (not to mention Boise St, who is in the top 50).  If Florida fails to win the SEC (or even Miami loses before a Duke re-rematch), New Mexico could be primed for a #3 line.  Tough spot because they can do everything right, and still not have an opportunity to move up.  Junior Kendall Williams is still something to see on a basketball court (with 14 ppg, 5 assists, 1.2 steals, and nearly 4 rebounds), and he brings his friends to the party: Alex Kirk and Tony Snell with their 12.1 points and Kirk’s 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.  And Hugh Greenwood still looks like Johnny Lawrence from the Karate Kid.

 

Colorado St.: Per Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, this is the top ranked team in the MWC.  And carry an offense efficiency that is rated 6th in the nation (they are 20th overall per KenPom).  The trouble is, while the computers love them, their profile is a bit weak as well.  Really good at home, only one bad loss, in Chicago at UIC on December 8, but only 1-2 non-conference wins that mean much (both road games though, to their credit: Denver & Washington).  For now, they sit as a 6, there is some wiggle room their as the 5 line has struggled lately, and even Arizona is precarious as a 4.  Beating UNLV in their home city and then New Mexico in the final might see the Rams demand we push them up.  They also have tremendous balance with 5 guys averaging between 9-15 points, as mentioned before, we like a go-to scorer at tournament time, but when you’ve got multiple guys at 10 or more, you show an ability to get points somewhere other than your main source in times of drought. Here, the main source is All-Name candidate, Colton Iverson, with his 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds, but they also get points from shooters Dorian Green and Wes Eikmeier (13.1 and 12.5), Greg Smith (11.3) and Iverson’s front court partner in crime, Pierce Hornung and his 9 and 9.  Green is also their chief facilitator, at 4 assists per game.

 

UNLV. Now this is a hard team to figure, are they just inconsistent, a nine game winning streak and sterling home record also has them losing 3 out of 4 on the road in a critical point of the MWC season, or they just not that good (getting swept by Fresno St suggests the latter).  UNLV had a tremendous year at the Thomas & Mack, introduced us all to Anthony Bennett, one of the best, if not the best, freshman in the country, and started the year 11-1 with wins over Iowa St and at Cal.  But then they failed to get another big non-conference win (North Carolina round II would have qualified), and kept losing on the road in conference, that saw them never really contend for the regular season title.  They did sweep San Diego St, split with New Mexico and Colorado St, so they can play with the MWC big boys, it’s just a matter of which UNLV shows up and if Orleans Arena is close enough to T&M to make them feel like they’re protecting their home floor.  They sit as a 6, and truthfully, unless those on the 5 side, along with their fellow 6s really falter, there’s not a lot of upward mobility in their future (even w/ wins over Colorado St and New Mexico), and, more likely, you’ve got UCLA, Notre Dame and UNC pressing hard on their heels.  You turn on UNLV and you’re watching the Anthonys (Marshall – 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds who can step out and shoot the three on occasion only 1 per game, but hitting on 37%, to go with 1.3 blks and Marshall, 10.5 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists) and Katin Reinhardt (10ppg).  The big news for them is if Mike Moser, who missed several games with a dislocated elbow, is getting back to as close to form as his recent production suggests.  Averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1 block per game over his last 4 – he does not have to be the 14 point scorer he was last year, but another go to option when an Anthony is getting shut down, and UNLV suddenly becomes the dangerous team we always expected them to be.

 

San Diego St. Talk about a disappointment.  This team returns the majority of their talent – and while they lost a bit of size with the graduation of 6’11” Garrett Green, J.J. O’Brien is actually out producing Green numbers (more points, slightly more rebounds, and more steals per game).  Yet,  this is a team rife with inconsistency, as they’ve shown an ability to beat Waiting Line… caliber teams: Indiana St, UCLA (during their period of dysfunction), Boise St and even those slightly beyond the waiting line: New Mexico, Colorado St, and a terrific showing in a 1 point holiday time tournament loss to UofA.  But they opened the season getting blown out on an aircraft carrier by Syracuse, have not had a real true road win of note (USC? Nevada? Missouri St?) and are 4-6 away overall.  We have watched them plummet down the Buffetology seeding ladder, and they are currently an 8, they have room to grow, with a MWC road featuring Boise St, New Mexico (hypothetically), and then a potential final with Colorado St or UNLV, that’s three games against either Buffet-bound or head of the Waiting Line… teams, that could get them to the 6 range that they had seemed destined for before road misery took hold.  You know our old friends on this squad: Jamal Franklin, Chase Tapley, Xavier Thames, and James Rahon.  The biggest mystery for us is Rahon, ice cold from deep as a member of SD State’s Sweet 16 outfit in 2011; he has gone from a 43% 3pt shooter to a 30% 3pt shooter.  It’s unlikely that 2 year trend downward gets fixed in the next few days, but SD State would become a whole different team if he could.

 

Boise St.  Last seen in the NCAAs after winning the WAC tournament in 2008, and before that as a member of the Big Sky in 1994, this team has never received an at-large invitation, but this streak is likely over, as they added a pair of top 30 wins (San Diego St & Colorado St) to go with their previous strong profile wins over UNLV and at Creighton.  Weighing them down in the 11 line is their pair of ugly road losses to Utah (175, which just makes them join the company of Pac12 teams who suffered that fate) and Nevada (169).  A win over San Diego St., and you can hand them a plate.  2 wins, and they can start dreaming of the 8/9 line, and MWC Championship and that won’t be a dream.  Should they lose to SD St, our intuition will be that they will stay plenty safely in, but it’ll be a longer 72 hours than it needs to be.  Boise has a pair of big time scorer, outside sharpshooter Anthony Drmic with 17 points, 4.7 rebounds and hitting 40% of his 3s and Derrick Marks, the facilitator who also can fill the hoop, with 16.4 points, 3.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds.  They are backed mostly by Jeff Elorriaga, and his 10.4 pts/3.4 rebounds and 45% 3pt shooting (hitting on average 3 per game).

 

Air Force: This is a team sitting back DEEP in the Waiting Line… but a .500 MWC finish and an end of regular season over New Mexico (coupled with wins over UNLV, San Diego St and Boise St) does get our attention somewhat.  Their resume is lacking non-conference and in strong road wins, but with only 2 bad losses and both in conference, a run to the MWC final could garner more inspection for the Falcons. It would also give us more time on TV with Michael Lyons, his 18 pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assists.

 

 

Best Non-Conference win: Boise State at Creighton 83-70

 

2013 MWC Player of the Year:  Kendall Williams. New Mexico

2013 MWC Defensive Player of the Year:  Khem Birch, UNLV

2013 MWC Freshman of the Year:  Anthony Bennett, UNLV

2013 MWC Newcomer of the Year:  Colton Iverson, Colorado State

2013 MWC Sixth Man of the Year:  Daniel Bejarano, Colorado State

2013 MWC Coach of the Year:  Steve Alford, New Mexico

 

2012-13 MWC First Team:

Michael Lyons, Air Force               Sr.           G

Colton Iverson, Colorado State Sr.           F/C

Kendall Williams, New Mexico*                 Jr.           G

Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State*             Jr.

Anthony Bennett, UNLV               Fr.           F

 

MWC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:  (tie)

Anthony Drmic, Boise State, 73/185, 30 games, 2.4/gm, 40%

Jeff Elorriaga, Boise State, 81/179, 27 games, 3.0gm, 45%

Malik Story, Nevada, 78/220, 30 games, 2.6/gm, 36%

 

MWC Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

Todd Fletcher, Air Force, 3.2 A/TO

 

The Buffet is aware the Big East tourney starts today, but as it involved 4 teams who don’t even know what the Waiting Line… could possible look like, we will save your reading team and hold that preview for tomorrow.  For now, let’s Scan the Scene and sign off for Day 7.

 

SCANNING THE SCENE…

 

America East:  #2 Albany vs. #1 Vermont, Saturday 11:30am ET

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champion.

Big South: Liberty Flames, 2013 Big South Conference Tournament champion.

Colonial:  Apparently Northeastern is into degree of difficulty, this time they notched a bit too far, falling down 23-1 in the first 13 minutes, 40-18 at halftime, trying to close it, and had it to 8 with 8:23 left, but a foul to Joel Smith, and the momentum was gone, and AJ Davis’ 26 points and Rayshawn Goins 14 points and 13 rebounds led the Dukes to a 70-57 win, a CAA tournament title and their first NCAA tournament bid since 1991

Horizon League: Championship game tonight, Valpo off their buzzer beating clincher faces the #3 seed Wright State Raiders who upset Ray McCallum and Detroit to get here.

MAAC: Mo’ Mo’ Momo.  A game slightly marred by an overzealous ref looking to make the postgame write-up as much as the teams (we will not print his name for that VERY reason) saw Iona pull a reverse on Tim Cluess’ teams usual script, they dominated after halftime and didn’t let up for a 60-57 win (it was an 8 point spread before an uncontested 3 by Manhattan that left .1 on the clock, only the in-arena scoreboard read 0, so fans/players ran on the court to celebrate – and predictably, given the preceding sentenced, Mr. Big Shot (other words would like be used for non-family friendly publications), decided to T up Iona, seemed reasonable. Damn those kids for wanting to celebrate making the NCAA tournament again, especially when the clock read 0:00.

MEAC: Top seeds held serve, as #5 Morgan State and #4 Savannah State really didn’t have too much trouble, the balance of opening round games take place tonight (See HoopsHD.com viewers guide to find your time and listing)

MAC: A couple of held serve games (Buffalo over CMU and Eastern Michigan (do yourselves a favor, passed along to the Buffet was the scheduled from the EMU athletics home page, and look how extended they believe the season would be for them, Jack Palance salutes their confidence).  One mini upset, but probably only seeding and not talent wise was Miami Ohio knocking off Bowling Green.

MVC: Creighton Blue Jays, 2013 Arch Madness champions

NEC: We’re crowning a champion (and 16 seed, and maybe even a first four participant) tonight at the WRAC: #3 Long Island vs. #5 Mount Saint Mary’s at 7pm ET

OVC: Belmont Bruins, 2013 OVC Tournament champions.

Patriot: Bucknell (#1) vs. Lafayette (#2), Wednesday at 7pm ET.

Southern: Davidson Wildcats, 2013 Southern Conference tournament champions after easily handling College of Charleston 74-55, behind 24 points and 8 rebounds from De’Mon Brooks and 3 other starters going into double figures.

Summit: It’s the fierce, always nationally relevant, battle for Dakota Supremacy! As expected, South Dakota St had little trouble with IPFW, as Naterz Gonna Nate has 18 points, and Chad White added 17 with Tony Fiegen putting in 16, quickly erasing an early 10 point lead, before racing out in the 2nd half, with a final after half spread of 40-22 en route to a 72-56 lead.  They will face North Dakota St, who although were dictated tempo to by Western Illinois, were able to get just enough to knock of the Leathernecks 55-43, with a 31-23 second half – led by TrayVonn Wright’s 19 points and the rapidly getting up to speed Taylorz Gonna Taylor with 14 points and 7 boards.

Sun Belt: For the second straight year, Western Kentucky, Sun Belt conference tournament champions, virtually no-showed the conference season, then rode a wave of upsets both by them and on the other side of the bracket to an NCAA berth, and likely first four date next Tuesday, squeezing out a 65-63 win over FIU Fightin’ Pitinos – led by George Fant’s double-double: 17 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks.

West Coast: It truly wasn’t even 65-51 close, Gonzaga, 2013 WCC Conference champions, beat St. Mary’s pillar to post, but the Gaels have heart, they get credit for that, and even after watching Jordan Page go down with a knee injury, stuck around, best they could, ultimately Kelly Olynyk just continued his storybook season with 21 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Bulldogs and give St. Mary’s a long 6 days of waiting.

 

Until next time readership, hope you got enough to eat, but will come back for more….

On the Sixth Day of Conference Tourneys, the Buffet Gave to me…

On the Sixth Day of Conference tourneys, the Buffet gave to me…

 

A wealth of auto bidding

Top Seeded Carnage

Scanning the scene

Huge Buffet

Killer Top Seeds

An extra day of conference tourneys…

 

Welcome back Readership, we have got ourselves a couple of tourneys tipping, a big night of auto bidding, and a WCC final with Waiting Line… implications.  We take you to the MEAC & MAC and then will Scan the Scene, before tomorrow morning’s post-weekend/post-WCC final Buffetology (along with the daily requisite previews)

 

MEAC 2013 Men’s Basketball Tournament

March 11-16, Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia.

 Two teams come in on 5 game streaks. Unfortunately, that is 10 games shy of the hottest team in the conference.   North Carolina Central tried it, having won 16 of 17. And Morgan has won 8 of 9. But its Norfolk St, they of the thrilling upset of Missouri a year ago, who had for an encore an undefeated MEAC season, and they still only won the conference by a game.  

Norfolk State – It sure didn’t start out looking like an encore. A 2-5 start to the season, perhaps still in Missouri hangover.  Then after getting to 6-5, another 5 game losing streak, reminded us all that the MEAC is still the MEAC.  Then, the conference season started in earnest and Norfolk stopped losing.  But the thing is, it wasn’t all that dominant. Their average victory was 7.5 points, and you subtract a couple of big blowouts, and suddenly Norfolk is scraping their way to an undefeated season by less than 6 points per win.  And more than that, Norfolk and #2 seed NC Central never faced each other in the regular season.  Bizarre, right? It’s a different cast of characters with a familiar faces in an new role.  Pendarvis Williams has assumed the Kyle O’Quinn leadership role, raising his ppg average to 14.1, Rob Johnson is still the quintessential glue guy, but it’s Delaware transfer Malcolm Harris that plays the Chris McEachin side kick role. 

We might actually see a bit more in NC Central – more proven places to get points – Jeremy Ingram (15.9), junior college transfer Stanton Kidd  (14.5 pts and 7 rebs per game) and Ray Willis (12 and 4)… much like any MEAC team, there’s not really much in non-conference, except perhaps a 9 point loss to Marquette. But, what we like about this team is their ability to change styles, and win, if they don’t get the opportunity to dictate tempo.  For example, they followed up a 51-43 win at Florida A&M with an 81-75 win over Bethune Cookman.  Chameleons in bad conference can usually spell good things.  Really got to piss NC A&T off that they aren’t the best North Carolina team in the MEAC anymore.

Who Should Win: Upset? Not really, but the Buffet is actually hoping for chalk here, so the final can feature the conference’s 16-0 team play the 15-1, who would be meeting for the very first time.

If not them, who?  Well, it’s the MEAC, so we should be looking for the below .500 regular season team, right? Well, we won’t go that far, but how about a 14-14 team on a 5 game winning streak? Your fighting Todd Bozemans of Morgan State.  They played both NC Central and Norfolk tight, and with Justin Black and Dewayne Jackson, they are never out of things.

Best Non-Conference win: North Carolina A&T over Eastern Kentucky 78-67

 

2013 MEAC Player of the Year: Pendarvis Williams, Norfolk St

2013 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year: Austin Witter, North Carolina A&T

2013 MEAC Freshman of the Year: Deron Powers, Hampton Baby Hampton

2013 MEAC Coach of the Year: Anthony Evans, Norfolk St

 

2012-13 MEAC First Team:

Jeremy Ingram, N.C. Central

Pendarvis Williams, Norfolk

DeWayne Jackson, Morgan St

Stanton Kidd, N.C. Central

Adrien Coleman, Bethune-Cookman

 

MEAC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:

Andre Armstrong, Coppin State, 70/193, 30 games, 2.3/gm, 36%

 

MEAC Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate:  Emanuel Chapman, North Carolina Central, 2.2 A/TO

MAC-TION PACKED EXCITEMENT AT THE Q

2013 FIRST ENERGY MID AMERICAN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT

March 11, 13-16 at the Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

 The Buffet was all ready to describe the MAC tourney as a party for two, between a pair of strong teams who, even if they didn’t have the direct resume for an at-large, were certainly at large caliber, last year’s tournament darlings, Ohio Bobcats, living life after John Groce swimmingly and Akron, a 24-6 season, nice non-conference work versus Middle Tennessee St (more on them later), North Dakota St, a great showing on a neutral court versus Oklahoma St.  But then Akron starting point guard decided to invite everyone to the party, as he looked to distribute a lot more than assists, getting busted for felony marijuana possession with intent to distribute. There is still lots of talent on this Zips team, with Zeke Marshall, Demetrius Treadwell and Nick Harney leading the way, but a lot of weight is suddenly falling on the shoulders of 5’11 freshman guard Carmelo Betancourt, who is likely going to see a major bump in his 10 minutes per game.  He should some playmaking promise in his first extended play following the Abreu arrest/suspension, playing 27 minutes and handing 4 assists against only 1 turnover.  If he picks up from that, this may not be the Akron team that the Buffet would’ve argued should get the “Iona” slot in the first four, but it is a team that can win the MAC.

The other favorite to win the MAC, and probably now the odds-on – Ohio.  This is just as well, since anything that gets DJ Cooper on our TV screens more is only to our benefit.  Every major contributor from 2011 is back, which is surprising that they weren’t able to parlay the Michigan upset and the near #1 seed toppling of UNC into a stronger regular season, but luckily for them, Alex Abreu saw  a tremendous value proposition and hole in the marijuana distribution market, which clears the path a little. And Ohio lost but twice in conference, and both were to an Akron squad who had Abreu.

If not them who? Kent State was 5-7 in conference, and the thought of them being a sleeper pick (considering losses this MAC year included games versus Toledo, Bowling Green, and Northern Illinois (note: this one is BAD).  But, starting with a 3 point loss versus Ohio, this team turned things around and come in carrying a 5 game winning streak.  Also in 4 games vs. Akron & Ohio, they were only 1-3, but lost by a total of 8 points in those 3 games.  The Fightin’ Antonio Gates feature a pair of good MAC scorers in Chris Evans & Randal Holt.  Holt, of course, is your resident MadBomber candidate, launching 207 this season in 31 games, at a 39% clip.

Buffalo finished 7-9 in conference, suffering losses to teams like them in the middle to bottom tier of the 2013 MAC standings – Miami OH, Bowling Green, E.Michigan – but, we did happen to notice they blew out Akron (with Abreu), lost to them by just 4 in Akron, and at home, felt to Ohio by just 3.  They also beat MAAC reg season champ Niagara, The Fightin’ Turner Battles are led by Javon McCrea, a kid who can flat score the ball inside – shooting 56%.

 Best Non-Conference win: Akron over Middle Tennessee State 82-77.

(MAC individual awards have not been announced yet)

2013 MAC Player of the Year:

2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year:

2013 MAC Freshman of the Year:

2013 MAC Coach of the Year:

 

2012-13 MAC First Team:

Zeke Marshall, C, Akron

Javon McCrea, F, Buffalo

Chris Evans, F, Kent State

Rian Pearson, G, Toledo

D.J. Cooper, G, Ohio

 

MAC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:

Randal Holt, Kent State, 80/207, 31 games, 2.6/gm, 39%

MAC Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: 

Tony Watson, Buffalo 2.4 A/TO

 

Also, curious note, Missouri actually competes in the MAC for wrestling.

 

SCANNING THE SCENE…

The scene, the place everyone wants to be … but are truly part of the scene, are dressing like you don’t care about the scene, but secretly are obsessed with, are you trying to so hard to be part of the scene, but it just isn’t working out, or are you so far removed from the scene, that thinking about it is impossible to conceptualize.  We’ll let you decide.   For now, let’s check out the Conference Tournament scenes:

America East:  Things got shaken up yesterday, as home standing Albany took out the top seed Stony Brook, 61-59.  Opposite them in next Saturday’s early AM final is the #2 seed and perennial America East stalwart, Vermont.

Big South: Liberty Flames, 2013 Big South Conference Tournament champs. The upstart Flames, with John Caleb Sanders putting together a string of top notch performances, became just the 2nd team in NCAA history to make the tournament with 20 losses.  Trivia for the Readership (prize being a Buffet t-shirt, whenever it is first printed: who was the other? Answer in comments, inthebuffet@gmail.com, or @inthebuffet)

Colonial: after surviving a furious upset attempt, Northeastern, the top seed, faces James Madison, after a mild upset of Buffett CAA tourney favorite Delaware, tonight at 7pm EST in the CAA tournament final

MAAC: Momo lives on! Iona knocked off top set Niagara, and the bottom side of the bracket rife with upsets saw #6 Manhattan survive to tonight’s 9pm EST final in Springfield.

MVC: Creighton Blue Jays, 2013 Arch Madness Champions The favorites dominated, and gave us a thriller. Both should be safely in, although Wichita St is probably best considered a Waiting Line… team.

NEC: Number 1 and number 2 are gone, but the league’s hottest, #5 Mount Saint Mary’s steps on the hardwood against probably the most talented, #3 seed LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday night at 7pm ET at the WRAC (Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center) on LIU’s campus.

OVC: Belmont Bruins, 2013 OVC Tournament Champions.  #1 vs. #2 gave us exactly what we hoped, and overtime thriller, we just didn’t want to see Isaiah Canaan dribble it off his foot and Murray right out of an automatic bid.

Patriot: Once CJ McCollum was declared out for the tourney, this because a virtual Bucknell (#1) vs. Lafayette (#2) tournament final lock, and that’s what we’ve got, Wednesday at 7pm ET.

Southern: One of the few number ones to avoid disaster yesterday, Davidson squares off with College of Charleston (#3) tonight, after they pulled a mini upset of #2 seeded Elon, at 7pm ET in Asheville, NC.

Summit: Oakland was upset, with makes this a three team race (most likely, qualifiers, always) – The Leathernecks are the first to test the Taylor Braun re-infused NDSU team (27 points, 7 rebounds against UMKC) and SDSU gets IPFW, who defeated the #4 seed Golden Grizzlies for the third time this season (and in back to back games for both). NDSU/IPFW is at 7pm ET and NDSU/W.Illinois is at 930pm ET.

Sun Belt: Losing Isaiah Canaan hurt the Buffet, but given it was likely him or losing both Kerron and Ian Clark, we had to make the tradeoff, but losing the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee St would be devastating.  They left it up to committee chance, forgetting how to shoot free throws (12-21 for the game), and letting us have to hear about the genius of the Pitino family tree for at least one more night.  Florida International is the 4 seed, and they’ll get the other product of the upset express that has gone on in Hot Springs, Western Kentucky, looking for their 4th tournament appearance in the last 6 yrs.  That final tips at 7pm ET tonight.

West Coast: #1 v #2, the perennial battle of WCC Goliaths, Gonzaga v Saint Mary’s College tonight at 9pm ET.  St Mary’s sure decided to make it interesting, and imperil their at-large chances, needing OT to outlast San Diego, 69-66.  Gonzaga meanwhile had an easier time with their semi, finishing off a 66-48 win BUT we cannot ignore the week/weekend enjoyed by Loyola Marymount, who did give a bit of a challenge to Gonzaga before ultimately either being overwhelmed by the Zags goodness or just remembering that they aren’t good, even if Anthony Ireland and Ashley Hamiton are. The Lions finished the WCC season 1-15 in conference play.  Yes ONE and 15.  However, they were a team possessed in the tournament, beating Portland in the first round 65-54, then taking out 5 seeded USF 61-60, before capping their upset run with a 60-58 win over Santa Clara.  Thus, TRIPLING their number of wins in 16 games in just 3.  That’s a Buffet special.

The newest Buffetology will be held off until tonight, as the WCC final will have serious Waiting Line… implications, depending on how St Mary’s does, until then… hope you had your fill, but please, keep coming back for more.

The Fourth Day Continues: Waiting Line… Games

On the fourth day of conference tourneys… the Buffet is STILL giving.

It was a pretty crazy week in the Waiting Line… so much so, that as today’s Buffet was being crafted, Kentucky went from definitely out (losing at Georgia) to almost certainly in as of now (today’s win over Florida)….

Let’s take a look, and since this is all happening in real time, here’ how Buffetology looks as of 12pm PT, March 9 (only adjust made for Robert Morris’ loss in the NEC tournament)

 

 Now, we’ve made repeated references to Pack of Wolves Wednesday, the carnage is reflected in the Buffetology above.  There were a total of 16 games featuring teams who could feel good about their NCAA tournament chances versus those who either could not, should not, or don’t even know what that feeling is.  Only 56% of those teams were successful.  The names of the winning schools Wednesday: Washington St, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Stanford, Iowa St, and Villanova. Now for Villanova, Stanford & Xavier, Wednesday was huge.  For good reasons.  For UCLA, California, Oklahoma St, Saint Louis, and especially Georgetown & Miami, it was huge for separate reasons.   Throw in Southern Miss losing to Marshall, Illinois losing to Iowa, Virginia falling to Florida St, Wisconsin getting essentially bombed on by Michigan St, Colorado shaking off the Roberson injury to sweep Oregon, New Mexico St rendering La Tech an autobid hopeful, Texas beating Baylor, (you keeping up?) Louisville dousing Cincy, the aforementioned Kentucky loss to Georgia, Boise St losing, and Indiana dropping their 4th Big Ten game (but Ohio St getting that road win CBS so desperately wanted them to have) it was just how you want the week leading to the weekend of the first conference tournaments/last regular season games.

Waiting Line… Games for Saturday:

In the books:

Kentucky 67-Florida 57: After a pair of ugly road losses, the post-Nerlens Noel edition of Kentucky seemed destined for the NIT, but a show-me performance today versus Florida, and we put Kentucky back in (well, hypothetically, since no Buffetology was published, of course), having been in the middle of Buffetology construction as that went final.  Florida now sees themselves on the 3 line. (we will wait for standings to finalize and brackets to come out to really tell you where Florida could go seed-wise)

 Kentucky’s back. Back again. Kentucky’s back. Tell a friend. They’re in. They’re out. They’re in again.  The Waiting Line… isn’t pretty, so you beat Florida this time of year, that’s  going to make the Buffet notice.  After Georgia we wanted them out, now we put them not only in, but ahead of the even the final four in. That’s solidifying things for yourself.

UCLA 61 Washington 54. UCLA wasn’t totally in the Waiting Line…, more like 1 ½ feet in, ½ foot out after the loss to Washington State, more like “on alert” that similar performances will not be tolerating for too long, and Washington, perhaps due to the “strength” of everyone else, was creeping towards consideration, well UCLA but an end to that.

Iowa State 83 West Virginia 74. A loss here wouldn’t have been killer, but as a follow up to their win over Oklahoma State, this a nice solidifier not only for Iowa State’s chances, but also as a sign of which direction they are headed in.  Iowa State was among the last four in at last blush, but they’ll get a long look tomorrow night once the weekend shakes out to pop ahead of some just ahead of them.

Ole Miss 81 LSU 67 You don’t beat LSU and do anything good for your chances, but you bust them open in Death Valley like that, and you definitely notice that they want back in the Buffet.  For now they are at the front of the Waiting Line… but still not quite in.

Saint Louis 78 La Salle 54.  Hmm, maybe we take back what we just said about Ole Miss still being out.

Minnesota 73 Purdue 89. Minnesota isn’t going anywhere just yet, but this is two straight bad losses, and some horrible defense to boot, and eye is being kept on them next week, because they’re teetering towards the line.  There’s a wealth of nice wins that others won’t have, but their string of performances suggest maybe they don’t belong.

Iowa 74 Nebraska 60. Maybe we should ask Minnesota how difficult the RED ALERT can be… we won’t, but just commend Iowa for managing to stay in the conversation even if they did nothing  to enhance the discussion.

NC  State 67 Florida St 71.  This was never going to be listed here, because it seemed irrelevant, then NC State made it relevant, much like Cincy below, this game just says bad things about where NC State is headed, even if it doesn’t mean their invitation is in jeopardy.

In play:

Boise State hosting San Diego St: What a huge win this would be for a Boise St team who’s been teetering on the Waiting Line… fence most of the year.

Georgia at Alabama. Only so many teams can absorb a loss to Georgia right now, Alabama, especially at home,  you are not one of them.

South Florida at Cincinnati:  Cincy isn’t actually in the Waiting Line… but they’ve sunk to a 10 seed, it’s time to stem that tide.

Missouri @ Tennessee – Missouri is solidly safe, almost cemented at the 8 seed slot, and this wouldn’t be a bad loss.  Tennessee isn’t solid anywhere, and this is almost a gift of a game, Missouri will look like a solid win on their resume, but they play like a sub100 team on the road, we’ll notice if Tennessee doesn’t get the win, especially when we’re splitting hairs at the bottom of the Buffet invitation list.

Arizona St @ Arizona – Another free falling lock (Arizona) this time versus a free falling Waiting Liner…  (Arizona State), something will have to give.

Oregon St @ Colorado – Colorado already showed themselves bit to be ok with Andre Roberson.  They’ll need to do so, he should be back for the P12 tournament, but if not, and he can’t get back at all, the Committee will evaluate them without him, don’t lose to Oregon St, no matter what, but especially if that’s who don’t want the committee to think you are.

Oklahoma @ TCU – Kansas can get by with a random loss to TCU, Oklahoma, you are not Kansas

Illinois State @ Wichita St – This is the classic MVC conundrum.  Illinois State is not a bad team.  They should’ve been a higher MVC seed and if they hadn’t waited, apparently, until now, to be the team they should’ve been, they’d be in the Waiting Line… with Wichita. But, if Wichita loses, even though it isn’t a death knell, it does give all other big conference teams a week to prove themselves up while Wichita has a blowout loss to Creighton and (hypothetically) this loss weighing on the committee’s minds.  Advice from the Buffet: As good as Carmichael and Co. are, Shockers, don’t lose here.

Kansas at Baylor: You can’t lose to Kansas and hurt your chances. Unless you get blown out at home, and unless you playing like Baylor has been, and this game has become a near must.  Without it, they’ll need to do some SERIOUS Big12 tourney damage, with it, they’ll probably resemble Kentucky after they beat Florida today.

 

Xavier at Butler – The Musketeers sort of snuck up out of nowhere, didn’t they? Beat Memphis on February 26, Saint Louis earlier this week, VCU on Feb 23, and suddenly, this win might go a long way to wiping out a lot of the bad.  Without, there’s probably not enough there to support a plate at the Buffet, but with it, and X gets a long look leading into and through the A10 tournament.

Murray @ Belmont – Belmont was actually a line ahead of the last 4 teams in at last Buffet, but not sure they’d stay there with a loss here. Murray isn’t bad loss, but nonetheless, Belmont loses the championship and things get tense for them.

Louisiana Tech @ Denver – For the WAC regular season title.  Not real Waiting Line… implications, but both could be teams that make a higher seed’s life miserable next week.

UCF @ Southern Miss – Personally the Buffet thinks we can turn out the lights, the party’s over for USM after the home loss to Marshall, but they still linger around some people’s last 4 or 8 out, so remind them that while SOMEONE still believes, they ought to remember to beat the teams they should.

San Diego @ Saint Mary’s – As of right now, as long as they get to the WCC final, St Mary’s is likely getting in. But it’s weakly scheduled, soft resume that may or may not deserve it, so don’t lose to USD, because even the tepid Buffet support will go up in smoke.  

As always, questions, comments (but not about grammar/editing, the Buffet wants you to have knowledge, not a Strunk & White lesson.  And we make this promise, you get HoopsHD through critical mass, and the Buffet will be succinct, grammatically correct, and still maintain the same level of entertainment.  Vow made) please bring them to the Buffet at either the comment section below, to reach the Buffet at inthebuffet@gmail.com, or on Twitter at @inthebuffet.

 

We will be back with a look at Scanning the Scene… where 1-15 conference seasons = semifinals or 11-20 overall records = tournament finals.  Or 9 game winning streaks have you breeze through higher seeds and on to your championship game.