Posts Tagged ‘Old Dominion Monarchs’

The Big, Bad Big East May Just Be Bad

March 19th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on The Big, Bad Big East May Just Be Bad

The Big, Bad Big East

Someone’s going to have to forgive Big East Commissioner John Marinatto if this is what he looks like after yesterday’s NCAA Tournament games from his conference.

It’s bad enough that that’s Buzz Williams, the head coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles, who crashed out of the dance in their most predictable fashion: losing by two points practically at the buzzer. It was par for the course for a team that only suffered one loss by double digits all year long and lost six games in conference by less than a touchdown.

An 11 seed (as the Washington Huskies were) from a power conference (even though there’s a debate about just how “powerful” the Pac-10 was this year) isn’t the end of the world. Upsets happen all the time like that this time of year, and the Big East knew that it wasn’t going to have an 8-0 first round of this tournament in all likelihood.

Even losing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish wasn’t all that big of a deal to the Big East. After all, the Irish were probably the weakest of tournament teams out of this conference, and they were still adapting to a new system and life where their best player (Luke Harangody) was coming off of the bench and not starting.

Notre Dame was probably an overrated #6 seed playing against an Old Dominion squad that was probably an underrated #11. So it was par for the course for the luck of the Irish to run out late in the game against the Monarchs, and again, it wasn’t that big of a deal or that black of an eye to take.

Now… Villanova…. You’re a significantly, significantly different story.

Once upon a time a threat to take over the #1 spot in the AP Poll, the Villanova Wildcats entered this tournament looking to make amends for a bad showing in the Big East Tournament, which wrapped up after just one game following a loss to the aforementioned Golden Eagles. Surely, there was no way that there was even a remote struggle coming for a team that was going to be on the #1 line of the tourney if not for that late season swoon, right?


Nova was acting like a defeated team before it even stepped anywhere near the court in Providence on Thursday. HC Jay Wright benched both G Corey Fisher and G Scottie Reynolds at the outset of the game for a violation of team rules. His Cats fell behind Robert Morris, the Northeast Conference champions early. No big deal, right?

It is a big deal when you’re still behind by nine points late in the game! However, thanks to officiating that allowed the Wildcats back into the game and some great free throw shooting from Reynolds (who had better have had a great day from the charity stripe after going 2/15 from the floor and 1/8 from downtown), somehow, the Cats clawed their way into overtime. From there, they asserted themselves, and finally downed the scrappy Colonials.

It was all over the news during the 2:30 games as well as in that break between the morning and afternoon sessions. Everyone was talking about how Villanova is done and how St. Mary’s is going to pick it off on Saturday and that that was that for the Big East giants.

That statement might’ve been almost right… But maybe that was that for the Big East period.

Hey Georgetown Hoyas, all you had to do was go out and take care of an Ohio Bobcats team that was probably overrated as a #14, as it was the #9 seed in its own lousy conference during the year and really beat no one of any real note outside of the MAC this year. You could’ve restored order in your own conference.

Instead, you fell behind by double digits in the first half, played a miserable defensive game, and ultimately crashed out of the tourney in the most embarrassing way possible.

It’s not even like the Hoyas can say that they were just a victim of the proverbial “March Madness.” This wasn’t a situation where Vanderbilt was in, where it just got unlucky with a crazy shot at the end of the game. There were no crazy shots. There was just sheer domination.

So now, the Big East enters its second day of basketball, and Syracuse, West Virginia, Louisville, and Pittsburgh will hope to make a better impression on the college basketball world than what their conference brethren did yesterday.

The lesson learned, though, is that the big, bad Big East might not be quite as big and bad as we once thought.

Bubble Trouble: Let the Madness of March Begin

March 2nd, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Bubble Trouble: Let the Madness of March Begin
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March Madness has officially kicked off, as conference tournaments are underway and the first official tickets to the dance will be handed out in the days to come. When it’s all said and done, there are 35 teams that won’t win their conference tournaments that are invited to the grandest dance in the world anyway.

Truth be told, a whole bunch of those spots have already been handed out for certain. Figure that these teams, without any shred of a doubt whatsoever, are already making plans for being in the brackets come Selection Sunday…

Atlantic 10 (3): Temple, Xavier, Rhode Island
ACC (1): Duke
Big XII (4): Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas
Big East (4): Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh
Big Ten (4): Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Mountain West (2): New Mexico, BYU
SEC (3): Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Now, we’ll argue that one of these teams from each conference is going to get their respective league’s automatic bid to the tourney. That makes 14 at-large bids that are certainly gone. If you’re team’s not on this list above and you think you’re going to the NCAA Tournament, you’d better pay really good attention to the rest of this article.

Everyone get out your Gonzaga shirt, your Murray State hat, your Northern Iowa socks, your Siena sweater, your Old Dominion shoes, and your Butler underwear.

In a perfect world, all six of these teams are just going to win their conference tournaments and take their automatic slots in the field. That would leave the other, oh, 40 or so of you out there the maximum possible 21 tickets to fight for.

However, this isn’t a perfect world, and this is what makes the madness of March so fantastic. In the event that the Zags, Racers, Panthers, Saints, Monarchs, and/or Bulldogs happens to lose a game in the next week or so in their conference tournaments, they’ll be thrust into the at-large pool with the rest of you suckers that are groveling to the Selection Committee to put you in the field of 65 in spite of the fact that you have obvious flaws on your resumes. In the cases of Gonzaga, Northern Iowa, and Butler, they’re not going to join the 40 of you that are praying to get in. They’re going to join the 14 that already know that they’re in the driver’s seat.

For Murray State, Siena, and Old Dominion, not winning their conference tournaments may leave them in the NIT. Or maybe it won’t. One thing is for certain, though. If you happened to lose to one of these three teams in the regular season (I’m looking at you Georgetown and Charlotte!), you’d better hope that that team gets into the field via the automatic bid, because if they don’t, you’re going to be subjected to having the Dikembe Mutombo finger waved at you for having lost the head-to-head series against a fellow bubble dweller.

The beauty about college basketball though, is that virtually everyone gets a chance. If you want to play in the NCAA Tournament, play your way into the field. Keep winning in your conference tournaments, and you’ll find your way onto the dance floor one way or the other.

If not and your bubble pops, don’t go blaming anyone but yourself.

Let the madness of March begin…