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
Killer Top Seeds
An extra day of conference tourneys…
Ohhhhhh, the Big 10, at the risk of drawing the ire of some of the readership, the Buffet was ready to attach superlatives to a conference that earned them this season. We could talk about the 4 maybe 5 teams with legit Final Four aspirations, the top tier college basketball talent populating the various rosters, or simply we could discuss the multiple games a week that featured thrilling conclusions and out and out 40 minutes of superb basketball. But then, unsurprisingly, Gus Johnson provided the best possible encapsulation we could have come up with today at the close of the Illinois/Minnesota, shocker, thrilling conclusion, “At the buzzzzzer… WELCOME TO THE BIG 10.”
Indiana. The team the Buffet believes is the most talented and complete. They survived the regular season Big 10 Battle Royal as outright champion by leather of a basketball that didn’t drop – but in doing so, made a statement as to just how good they are. There are some who question their consistency, but that just doesn’t jive with the Buffet. On one hand the Big10 is amazing and tough, on the other, 4 losses during conference play (best in conference), questions your greatness? Maybe they should have just had a major contributor get hurt, lose 4 games, come back and everyone will be ready to crown them. Snark aside, this is a #1 seed, probably so, even with a loss to Illinois in their 12ET matchup tomorrow, but they could use a little B10 run to ensure not only the 1 seed (which is pretty assured) but also that they keep placement in Indianapolis away from Louisville, who looked PRIME in their contest with Villanova today. Indiana would get Illinois and then the Michigan/Wisconsin winner, 2 wins, and they could not only be assured to come home for the Sweet 16 (if they win) but also the number two team over all.
Ohio State. It’s funny, for the same reasons people have called Indiana “inconsistent” – suddenly Ohio State was treated as a second tier Big10 team because they sat at 8-5, and yes, they sat at 8-5 and didn’t have a really strong road win, but then a season closing 5 game win streak which included home wins overs Minnesota, Michigan State and Illinois and capped by a win at Indiana, and the 3-seed range is back where they belong, a nice run this weekend could see them playing in 2-seed territory, a quick loss to Purdue with one of the current 4s or even SLU, Wisconsin, Syracuse with tournament championships MIGHT cause a ripple effect. But, most likely a 3 seed is the Bucks destiny.
Michigan State. Another Big10 hype Michigan casualty, wins over Kansas, Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota, Boise St, at Wisconsin, Illinois and at Iowa – was all forgotten, because apparently losing to Indiana, @Ohio St and @Michigan in three straight games (by a total of 13 points) means we start questioning your merit. Guess what, conference season is tough. Want to know when it’s tougher? Playing your games in the nation’s best conference. We assume the committee understand these principles, and have seeded them according – slotting them as a #2. Now if they don’t win the Big10 title, and one of our current 4 seeds does win their tournament, maybe we slide them to a 3, but that’s gotta be the worst case scenario for them.
Michigan. The hard luck 5 seed, finished just two games back, and if Jordan Morgan’s put back drop, we’re talking about a Big10 conference co-champ. With arguably the best player in NCAA hoops overall, and a talent studded roster, this is a Final Four caliber squad. 8 top 50 wins, 2 more if you include the top 100, and there is a questionable loss (@Penn State) but the strength more than outweighs. We see a #2 seed, and with the Penn State get back win today (not that they needed it as a get back, but just avoiding a bad loss in mid-March, we think they are pretty safe, pending what the 3 seeds do and what their fellow 2s do.
Wisconsin. What a roster of wins – at Indiana, sweep of Illinois, wins in Madison over Michigan, Ohio St Minnesota & California with only a home loss to Purdue (who was FEISTY in late Feb/early March), and Wisconsin is easy to forget, because of the 4 teams already discussed, but this is a team with 7 top 50 wins, an overall SOS of 20 (but only 135 with just non-conference games), the sit 28 in the BPI, and we see them as a 5 with upward mobility to a 4, and really, they are pretty safe – only 2 of the four 6 seeds could win their conference tournament, and we don’t see Wisconsin being the first 5 to go.
Illinois. A win at the AP #1 is hanging nicely on this resume, so is a win over Butler on a neutral floor, and at Minnesota – those pair nicely with Indiana and Ohio State home wins. But, they are weird case of a team with a decent roster of top 50 wins, but then no work against 50-100 (only a home win over Eastern Kentucky, then the balance of their work versus the bottom tier, and two losses (including one at home against Northwestern) which makes you wonder. And, no, we had a writer in Chicago for two years that is not a BUBBLING rivalry, even if they don’t like each other. Northwestern is : a) not good in 2012-13; b) barely musters feeling if Pat Fitzgerald isn’t the coach; 3) would likely intellectually decide why they weren’t going to feel rivalry hate against their instant conference opponents. The profile we described is a classic 8/9 spot, with a Big10 run allowing anywhere from 5-7 depending on other results, with 6 being more likely and 7 being probably their ceiling when all is said and done.
We wanted to visually represent the Free Fall this team is currently on. This team started 15-1 and had some wins to make you believe (Memphis, Michigan St, a blowout win over Illinois, but then the conference best came calling, and Minnesota stopped performing, 5-11 to close the season, with four separate multiple game losing streaks. Those roster of wins are nice, but then you see the way they closed the season and 3 losses to 101-200 and a 3-8 road record, and this team will be in, but the seed is quickly dropping. Last look was a 9 seed, after today’s loss we’re thinking 10/11 is a more likely final landing for the Gophers.
Iowa. The odd case where you finish ahead of two teams safely in, but you find yourself likely out without much of a Big10 run (thank you unbalanced schedules!) – probably 2 wins is required to get in, but a win over Michigan St at a time when many other teams aren’t either improving their resumes or can’t, will definitely make the Buffet take a longer look at them.
Best Non-Conference RPI Win: Illinois at Gonzaga, 85-74
2013 Big Ten Player of the Year: Trey Burke, Michigan
2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: Victor Oladipo, Indiana (UPSET! We didn’t know people were allowed to not tout Aaron Craft’s defense.)
2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Gary Harris, Michigan St
2013 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year: Will Sheehey, Indiana
2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year: Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
2013 All-Big Ten First Team
Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Cody Zeller, Indiana
Trey Burke, Michigan
Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
Big Ten 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidates:
Jordan Hulls, Indiana, 76/156, 31 games, 2.5/gm, 49%
D.J. Byrd, Purdue, 73/199, 31 games, 2.4/gm, 37%
Ben Brust, Wisconsin, 71/180, 31 games, 2.3/gm, 39%
Big Ten Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate:
Trey Burke, Michigan, 3.5 A/TO
2013 PAC-12 MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Mach 13-16, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
After an abysmal 2011-12, the Pac12 rebounded nicely, with likely 5 teams on the verge of advancing to the Buffet.
UCLA. If you’re like the Buffet, and you can only listen to Bill Walton in 5 minute increments, then you’ve noticed UCLA put together a nice season – yes, they lost to Cal-Poly at home, but following a loss to San Diego St, they went on a little run, that turned around their season, and ended up a sweep of Arizona, a road win of Colorado later (with a brief ASU/Washington St blip) as the 2013 Pac12 regular season champions. The profile is light on non-conference wins, however, which keeps their ceiling lower despite winning the regular season title. The thing that helps, interestingly, is that they swept Arizona, so while Arizona’s profile overall is much stronger, UCLA will latch to them somewhat (as much as 4 to 7 is latching) because you really can’t put Arizona out of their orbit.
Arizona. The tournament’s #4 seed, but probably the conference’s most talent (Shabazz Muhammad excluded) and with easily it’s best resume – Arizona is an odd team – great wins – Miami Fl, Florida, San Diego St, Southern Miss, the 3point winner that wasn’t versus Colorado (which was answered resoundingly in the Pac12 tourney opening round), but if you watched those games, you still didn’t feel great about UofA. Then the inconsistency set in. Swept by UCLA, loss at home to Cal, away at Colorado & Oregon, and an inexplicable road loss to USC. The good outweighs the bad for seeding purposes, and after their 10 point win today, should be safe in the 4/5 range, we think the committee will have SOME sense of humor and give them Momo Jones and Iona, but with UCLA next, and a chance to get one against them this year, a 3 isn’t out of the question with a Pac12 title.
California. This sort of came out of nowhere. Not even in much of a tournament discussion at the start of February, suddenly they closed huge, and grabbed the tournament #2 seed, finishing tied for 2nd with Oregon & Arizona (although, the PAC12 tourney OT loss to Utah changes the narrative a bit). A late 7 game win streak brought a .500 conference team to 12-5, and a loss to Stanford dropped them into that 3-way tie that they moved ahead of thanks to tie breaker. We liked them in the 8/9 game, the Golden Bears are held back because while they are playing good ball (or were before the last week), they have very little in the non-conference to speak of – Denver is their top win, and with their early WAC loss today, that lost some luster. If they lose to Utah, as a pair with Stanford to close the season, could be a late seeding victim and finish at 10/11.
The teams who stumbled their way in as much as anyone: Oregon & Colorado.
Oregon. The Ducks seemed to have the conference title in their sights, at 7-2 and 10-3, but then losses to Cal, @Colorado, @Utah right after a 3 game losing streak to Stanford, Cal (which is why Cal is your #2 seed, having also won head to head with Arizona), suddenly Oregon’s Buffet inclusion isn’t in question, but their seeding is (and should be). They are getting a bit of a reprieve, having the offensively challenged Huskies, and now, perhaps, Utah, before a final appearance. And a nice road win over UNLV will probably mean a boost to the 8/9 line, despite not really deserving it. But you all watch…
Colorado. Andre Roberson got hurt, and they proceeded to blow out Oregon, after a 16 point loss at Cal. Then, perhaps, finally feeling the depth effects, fell to Oregon St (they subsequently beat them before falling today to Arizona, and hopefully, causing Tad Boyle to stop worrying if the 3 in Tucson should have counted or not. A couple of decent wins – at home v. Colorado St, neutral court versus Baylor, sweeping Oregon, and beating both UofA and Cal at home. But there were a couple poor conference losses weighing them down. Right now, they sit in the 10 spot, with Temple and Iowa St on the last Buffetology threatening their place.
Arizona St. Well, they tried it, an OT win over Stanford, who also wanted consideration, and led for most of the game tonight until UCLA took control. But a three letter future is in store for the 2012-13 Sun Devils.
Best Non-Conference RPI Win: Arizona vs. Miami (FL) 69-50
2013 Pac12 Player of the Year: Alan Crabbe, California
2013 Pac12 Defensive Player of the Year: Andre Roberson, Colorado
2013 Pac12 Freshman of the Year:
Jahii Carson, Arizona St
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
2013 Pac12 Coach of the Year: Dana Altman, Oregon
2013 All- Pac12 First Team
It would have been easier to say everyone…
Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Allen Crabbe, California
Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado
Larry Drew II, UCLA
Solomon Hill, Arizona
Mark Lyons, Arizona
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Dwight Powell, Stanford
Andre Roberson, Colorado
E.J. Singler, Oregon
Pac12 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:
Ahmad Starks, Oregon State, 64/162, 32 games, 2.0/gm, 40%
J.T. Terrell, USC, 67/185, 31 games, 2.2/gm, 36%
Pac12 Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate:
Larry Drew II, UCLA, 3.3 A/TO
2012 SEC MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
March 13-17, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
Now, if you were looking to find the 2012-13 version of the Pac12, this is it. Only 1 team can feel totally safe, 2 teams can feel good, and 6 are under continuing consideration, and likely, barring some selection committee madness, only one will start out the tournament wearing white.
Florida. That would be the Gators, who most people like to include among the list of most talented, but stayed just inconsistent enough to keep them out of a top seed discussion. They beat Marquette and Wisconsin, but they missed chances at really having a flawless looking resume with their late collapse versus Arizona and inability to pull off a win in Manhattan, Kansas. For the most part they had control over the SEC this season, but their inability to get sterling road wins is what has them at a 3, and with the ceiling of a 2, but more than likely staying right where we have them currently.
Now let’s get into the real fun – making sense of this league. Before reading on, for those that are inclined, look at the resumes of Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky (w or w/o Noel), and they are hard to discern.
Missouri. Probably has your best resume, thanks to wins over VCU and Illinois on neutral courts. But they went .500 against the middle of the bracket teams, and absolutely bombed on the road – losing at: UCLA, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arkansas, LSU, and Texas A&M. Those top wins will probably keep Missouri safe, but an early loss in the SEC tournament, and we are looking sincerely at a double digit seed.
Kentucky. First they were in trouble, probably the victims of their own freshman laden success from last year. Then, they seemed to get it together. Then disaster struck and Nerlens Noel went down. The 30-point loss to Tennessee in their first game after the injury was predictable, but then they lost to Arkansas and Georgia back to back, and suddenly the Wildcats weren’t looking to be around to defend their title. But a huge bounce back against the Florida, gave the Committee their first good luck at what this team could be without Noel. Now, they are looking at the first four games in Dayton, because the Buffet thinks the NCAA/Selection Committee has ratings/dollar signs in their eyes about it. They did finish #2 in the SEC, but really, they need to beat Vanderbilt tomorrow to make sure this happens to them. They really could use to beat Ole Miss/Missouri, because they are similarly situated teams. This is essentially a team that short of an SEC tournament final berth will be waiting and waiting on Sunday.
Tennessee. Authors of two of the worst games this season (they lost both – 37-36 to Georgetown and 46-38 to Virginia), they did, however, close 9-1 with wins over Florida, Missouri, the 30 pt win over Kentucky. Add to that wins over Wichita St and Alabama, and this is a solid resume, until you notice they are 1-6 against the top 100 on the road, that their only top non-conference wins computer wise outside of Wichita, are UMass (sorry Jerry, this isn’t sterling) and Xavier, and you start to wonder. Now, they got by Miss St easily, they beat Alabama, and set up a rubber game with Florida, and we think you can start thinking about how far you’ll pencil them along in your brackets. Certainly a qualification in the SEC tournament final will seal it.
Ole Miss. Marshall Henderson pissed off the entire Auburn crowd, Ole Miss was 6-0, people we all about the Rebels. Lost in that was Ole Miss needed heroics to beat AUBURN. Well, it got unlost in a hurry, 6-0 became 6-6, and the losses? Kentucky at home, @Florida, @Missouri, @A&M, @So Carolina, @Miss State. Now are the first 4 “bad” losses? No, but they reflect an inability to compete at a tournament level. They hold NO non-conference wins to speak of – Rutgers is their top non-conference win. Maybe a run to the SEC final changes things, but we doubt it. Win the tournament Rebs, and schedule better non-conference (ranked 271 this year) next season.
Alabama. It’s not probably happening. Although, they have better non-conference work than Ole Miss, an identical conference record, while their top win (Kentucky) is computer rated lower than Ole Miss’ (50 to 35). But it’s 4 losses to teams 101+ versus Ole Miss’ 2 (although, OIe Miss has two losses above 200 to Alabama’s 1, and Alabama’s worst loss, Auburn, we all now know from Henderson’s antics, was one Ole Miss almost had themselves. Alabama does have a chance to get by Waiting Line… Tennessee and conference top seed without winning the SEC tournament, actually gives them more upward more mobility, in the Buffet’s eyes than Ole Miss, who technically sit ahead of Alabama right now.
Best Non-Conference RPI Win: Weber State at Dayton, 62-61
2013 SEC Player of the Year: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
2013 SEC Freshman of the Year: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
2013 SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky
2013 SEC Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan, Florida
2013 All- SEC First Team
Much like the Pac12, otherwise known as everyone…
Trevor Releford, Alabama
Erik Murphy, Florida
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU
Phil Pressey, Missouri
Jordan McRae, Tennessee
Elston Turner, Texas A&M
SEC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate: (we’ve got another leading contender)
Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss, 121/336, 31 games, 3.9/gm, 36%
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 78/210, 31 games, 2.5/gm, 37%
Elston Turner, 78/210, 30 games, 2.4/gm, 37%
Andre Stringer, 61/151, 29 games, 2.1/gm, 40%
SEC Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate:
Scottie Wilbekin, Florida, 2.5 A/TO
Scanning the Scene…
ACC: Boston College and their talented freshman, Olivier Hanlan, setting an ACC conf tournament record with 41 points, beat Georgia Tech 84-64
NC State avoided disaster by handling Virginia Tech 80-63
Florida State won the nightcap snoozer, 73-69 over Clemson
Maryland stayed in the Waiting Line… with a 75-62 win over Wake (but at least Jeff Bzdelik tweeted how proud he was of his team’s effort)
America East: #2 Albany vs. #1 Vermont, Saturday 11:30am ET
Atlantic 10: Charlotte 68-Richmond 63, after a chaotic cluster of a finish
Butler got by Dayton 73-67
UMass saved disaster, a stayed on Jerry Palm’s mysterious radar, 77-72
Xavier decided to eschew the dunk, and as a result eschewed a win, losing to Saint Joe’s and leaving the Waiting Line… officially, 58-57
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champion.
Big 12: Iowa St probably moved ahead of Oklahoma with a tremendous comeback win – 73-66
Texas crushed the hopes and dream of the Buffet editorial staff, oh wait, no Chaminade did that months ago, but they did lose to Kansas St 66-49, and Myck Kabongo, playing inspired after letting his teammates down with suspension, had 2 points on 0-5 shooting with 5 turnovers and 7 assists. Not Gregory Douglas Ott numbers.
Oklahoma St got two free throws from Phil Forte with 3 seconds left, to stave off a furious comeback attempt and sweet 4 point play to tie late by Baylor. Buffet still thinks this keeps Baylor steady and in the last four in, for now.
Kansas had no problems with Texas Tech in a 91-63 win, setting up Iowa State Round III. No word if Bill Self’s Iowa State admirer will be in attendance.
Big East: Georgetown, wanting that #1 seed, pounded Cincy and their ugly uniforms, 62-43
Syracuse got a little bit of normalcy back, handing Pittsburgh a 62-59 loss.
Louisville stomped Villanova out, 75-55
Marquette thoroughly disappointed the Buffet, and probably should start planning on a 4/5 landing, losing to Notre Dame 73-65
Big Sky: Opening round action saw one minor upset – Northern Colorado took Weber and Montana’s biggest conference test (Montana St) out with a 69-56 win
North Dakota (69-52) and Weber St (85-58) had no problem with Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, respectively. Looking at those two schools and their directional modifiers, they probably aren’t too far from each other.
Big South: Liberty Flames, 2013 Big South Conference Tournament champion.
Big Ten: Illinois helped Minny continue their late season free fall with a 51-49 win
Michigan had no problem with Penn St (83-66)
Iowa kept their place in the Waiting Line… beating Northwestern 73-59
RED ALERT! Nebraska over Purdue 57-55
Big West: No surprises so far – Long Beach St and Cal Poly cruised.
Pacific had a wild finish against a game UCSB squad (technical on Pacific’s Lorenzo McCloud, who had just missed 2 free throws, follow by 2 misses by UCSB down 1, and a couple of free throws and a missed 3 later, Pacific survived.
UC Irvine led by 22 at halftime and then held on for a 71-60 lead
Colonial: James Madison 2013 Colonial Athletic Association champion.
C-USA: Memphis had no problem with Tulane, Tulsa with the mini-upset of East Carolina, UTEP beat up Houston, and Southern Miss made the Waiting Line… continue to tolerate their presence 81-66 (it’s a back of the line presence, so they are barely noticed)
Horizon League: Valparaiso Crusaders 2013 Horizon League tournament champs.
Colonial: Harvard Crimson, 2013 Ivy League Champs
MAAC: Iona Gaels, 2013 MAAC Tournament champion.
MEAC: More upsets: Savannah State lost in overtime to the Fightin’ Todd Bozemans and Delaware State took out Hampton, for tomorrow’s semis we’ve got 5 v 8 (Morgan St v Bethune) and 6 v 7 (Del State versus NC A&T)
MAC: Kent St ended the Buffet’s upset fun with a 2 point win over Buffalo, and Western Michigan get the chalk intact with a 70-55 pasting of Eastern. Akron/Kent and Ohio/Western Michigan on tap for the MAC tourney
MVC: Creighton Blue Jays, 2013 Arch Madness champions
MWC: New Mexico v San Diego St, 6pm PT
UNLV v. Colorado St (w/o Dorian Green) 830pm PT
NEC: Long Island University Brooklyn Blackbirds, 2013 NEC Tournament champs
OVC: Belmont Bruins, 2013 OVC Tournament champions.
Patriot: Bucknell (#1) vs. Lafayette (#2), Wednesday at 7pm ET.
Pac 12: Maybe Utah is relevant? Nah, but they did provide the big upset of the night with a 10 point overtime win over the 2 seed and previously playing well Cal.
UCLA ended an Arizona St Waiting Line… attempt with a late second half comeback
Arizona finally silenced Tad Boyle
Overtime late in Vegas – a late 3 that pushed the -3, but Oregon outlasted Washington 80-77
SEC: LSU and Vanderbilt had tiny, insignificant upsets, and Missouri & Tennessee kept their spot in the Line… or the Buffet, depending on how you look at them with wins over bottom seeded opponents.
Southern: Davidson Wildcats, 2013 Southern Conference tournament champions
Southland: SE Louisiana won over McNeese by 20, and Oral Roberts first Southland season ended ignominiously with a 58-55 loss to 6-seeded Sam Houston State
Summit: South Dakota State Jackrabbits, back to back Summit Tournament champs.
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky, Sun Belt conference tournament champions
SWAC: Prairie View continued to be an elusive school’s name to spell but also defeated the 3 seed (as the 4) Alcon St by 8
Jackson St held seed, as the 2 seed beat the 5, in the wacky seeding structure you’ll find when only 7 teams are eligible for you tournament.
WAC: Bad night to be a top seed here, after UTSA announced their presence with a 67-49 authority over San Jose, they continue the announcement, upsetting the top seed, and faint Waiting Line… hoping (hopes over) Louisiana Tech 73-67.
Denver, another faint Line… hoper was taken out by Texas State, 72-68
New Mexico St, the new presumptive favorite, beat Idaho 65-49
TX-Arlington defeated Utah St 83-78.
West Coast: Gonzaga, 2013 WCC Conference champions