Quick Lessons Learned

By Trot Nixon’s Hat

 Well, the Duke-Florida State contest in Tallahassee just wrapped up, and I think what we’ve seen from Duke near the end of this one has provided the rest of the ACC with some very interesting information. I know how much everyone likes to see Duke lose, so let me shed some insight into this. Follow me after the jump, but only if you want the formula to beat Duke. Continue reading



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Studies in Mediocrity: The Middle of the Big East

By Chilltown

Way back in the halcyon days of Storming the Court (okay, 3 months ago) I wrote a Big East preview looking at the coming season. While much of what I said was flat out wrong (see Louisville being the second best team and Pitt being a disappointment), the underlying premise has been borne out so far in conference play: the bloated Big East has a middle of 6-7 teams that appear to be exactly the same. Each has their strengths, and each has major flaws which makes for a wide open race for fourth in the league, and for a nailbiting Selection Sunday for quite a few teams. After the jump, I dissect the morass which is the middle of the Big East. Continue reading


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Blogpoll Week 10: Can We Just Rank the Top 10?

    It appears that the mediocrity in college football this season has spread to everywhere but the top 10 teams in the land. Conference play has bared that fact to the college basketball fandom, and made it especially clear to me when I tried to resume rank teams 15-25. A quick reminder: resume ranking is solely based on a team’s body of work. In short, who have you beaten, who have you lost to. As SMQ, the grandaddy of resume ranking, likes to say: This is not a power poll.

I’m trying a new format for the justifications this week, please tell me if you like it.

  1.     Memphis- More quality wins that UNC and no losses means that they are number 1.
  2.     UNC-Can pass Memphis with more quality wins in the ACC, which are harder to come by this year.
  3.     Kansas-Same as UNC.
  4.     UCLA-The clear 4th right now. With the strength of the Pac-10, they may have the best shot at passing Memphis.
  5.     Tennessee-After early season struggles, Tennessee has roared back with good wins over Ole Miss and Xavier.
  6.     Butler-Holding steady now, but will be passed as teams get better wins than are available in the Horizon.
  7.     Texas A&M-Same as Butler, could fall even with wins as their schedule doesn’t get interesting until Jan. 30.
  8.     Washington State-Ran into the one type of team that it cannot play against in UCLA. Should rebound,  however.
  9.     Michigan State-Still the best in the Big 10 despite an embarrassing loss to Iowa.
  10.     Dayton-The Flyers added another impressive win over Rhode Island last week. The Pitt win looks better, too.
  11.     Indiana-The toughest team to rank: lots of good wins, but no marquee top-50 wins yet. Expect them to rise.
  12.     Duke-The Bluedevils have only played 11 games, and only own good wins over Marquette and Wisconsin.
  13.     Marquette-Linked with Duke since the beginning of the season, lost head to head and lost spot.
  14.     Xavier-The first 3-loss team in the poll, but their wins (and losses) are solid.
  15.     Vanderbilt-Not so much a penalty for the loss to Kentucky, but for the relative lack of quality wins so far.
  16.     Texas-Another enigma of a team. Great wins, but is falling rapidly.
  17.     St Mary’s-The Gaels own lots of good wins, and in as muddled a bottom half, that is good enough for 17th.
  18.     Wisconsin-Another “eh” team that just happens to have “good” losses and a few quality wins.
  19.     Ole Miss-Much like Vandy, Mississippi moves down because of a lack of good wins more than their loss last week.
  20.     Rhode Island-Should not be penalized because of losing to Dayton at home. They could easily move back up.
  21.     Pittsburgh-Win over Georgetown keeps Pitt in the poll this week.
  22.     West Virginia-Yet another flawed Big East team who has good wins over Marquette and Syracuse.
  23.     Notre Dame-See previous two.
  24.     Oregon-Looking to be back on track after wins over Arizona and Stanford.
  25.     Drake-No good wins, but 5-0 in the MVC gets you a spot in this flawed period in college basketball.

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Weekend Review: We’re Baaaack

    Did you miss us? After a much-needed weeklong hiatus that probably halved our readership from 30 to 15, we are back and ready for the meat of conference play. Do you know what’s even better? Only 2 months to Selection Sunday! Buckle up, kids, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Last weekend was a very interesting one for many reasons. We saw two more undefeateds fall, as Washington State got manhandled at UCLA, and Vanderbilt lost a double overtime decision to Kentucky. Perhaps now we will stop getting hits for Kentucky fans searching firebillygillespie.com (On second thought? Naw, they’ll probably keep right on searching). Neither of these losses are particularly troubling, although the continued breakdown of Vanderbilt’s defense, even against an undermanned Kentucky team, is the kind of trait that leaves a team watching the Sweet Sixteen from home. Kevin Stallings will never be called a defensive genius, but this team needs to tighten up on the defensive end.

Join me after the jump as  I  look at a plethora of bonus basketball and your weekly SWAC update. Continue reading

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Big Ten Rule? Check.

By Trot Nixon’s Hat

What’s that you say? You’ve been trying to figure out the Big Ten Rule? Well, fortunately, every now and again – well, let’s check that, and say most of the time a game occurs between a Big Ten team and a second Big Ten team – we have proof of this disgusting, horrid rule that I came up with. Unfortunately, this abortion of a description of one of collegiate athletics’ top conferences was once again prescient in today’s Iowa-Michigan State game which finished with No. 6 MSU (Seriously? 6? I still think they deserve a D-II asterisk for the rest of the year on any ranking) losing to the Hawkeyes 43-36. After 40 minutes. This doesn’t even approach the St. Louis debacle of earlier this week.
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Blogpoll Ballot Week 9

   By Chilltown

Sorry, folks, its been a very busy few days for me. Here my Week 9 Blogpoll ballot to tide you over until more real posts about the start of conference play come tomorrow. A quick note on the poll: there are certainly not 25 teams that deserved to be ranked in America. Once you get by Wisconsin, its a complete mess for resume rankers, as the teams with good wins have a lot of losses, and the teams with few losses have no good wins. Ugh.

  1. Memphis
  2. North Carolina
  3. Kansas
  4. UCLA
  5. Washington State
  6. Michigan State
  7. Tennessee
  8. Butler
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Vanderbilt
  11. Indiana
  12. Dayton
  13. Duke
  14. Marquette
  15.  Ole Miss
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Texas
  18. Xavier
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Wisconsin
  21. St. Mary’s
  22. Villanova
  23. Providence
  24. West Virginia
  25. Drake

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SWAC Basketball: Tetnus Shots Required

By Chilltown
By now, almost all college basketball fans know about the six remaining undefeated teams in the land. However, it is much more interesting to inspect the other side of the coin: the defeateds. There are 8 teams left in Division I basketball that have not gotten their first win against a Division I opponent. Shockingly, 4 of them are in the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC), whose winner is a perennial play-in game participant. While the SWAC is usually a terrible league, this year takes the cake. The best record in the SWAC is 2-7. The combined record of the SWAC so far against Division I teams is a shocking 8-84.

Regular readers will know that I often enjoy analyzing the misery of the dregs of college basketball, and this is no exception. Join me after the jump as I examine these beaten down teams in a schadenfreude-filled trip of terrible basketball. Continue reading


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