College Hoops 2014-15

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by jumpkutz, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Louisville, KY
    We've been under way for some time now, so I figured it was time to start this one up.
    THE game is imminent here in the Bluegrass...Kentucky at Louisville. After handling Carolina fairly handily this afternoon at Rupp, the Cards may well be the only thing standing between the Wildcats and an undefeated regular season. UK has UCLA (whom I happen to be watching as I type this) next Saturday on a neutral floor in Chicago. That won't be a gimme, but they should be favored and should win.
    U of L, on the other hand, has THREE games before John Calipari's merry band of McDonald's HS All Americans come calling, a true road game at Western Kentucky sandwiched between home games versus North Carolina-Wilmington Sunday night and Cal State Northridge the Tuesday before.
    Until the Coach Cal era, the loser of the games tended to go further in March. Not any more. Kentucky will be favored, but not heavily. Still, Rick Pitino knows he'll be outmanned and outgunned, so it'll be interesting to see what he comes up with to deal with the size mismatches. Both team's strengths are defense. I think the Cats have a slight edge there, again due to their size. I think Louisville is a better offensive team, but not by much. If Kentucky is hitting threes like they did in the first half against the Tar Heels, forget it. If not, it could be an ugly, low scoring, close fought game that's not fun to watch. If the Cards can execute whatever Pitino dreams up to neutralize UK's size and depth advantage, and the Cats aren't hitting threes, they have a chance to win. Although some SEC teams catch Kentucky napping sometimes in their buildings and pull off the upset at home, I don't see that happening this season. If they get out of the KFC Yum! Center with a "W," they could run the table until tournament time. I see both teams making deep runs in the Big Dance if neither suffers another injury as devastating as Kentucky losing Alex Poythress, easily their best athlete. And on that team, that's saying something.
    A lot can happen between now and March, though. And Lousivlle's first season in the ACC will very interesting indeed.
    Ought to be fun for everybody in these parts....except the folks north of the might Ohio. I've got a bet with our sports director that this will be Tom Crean's last season in Bloomington. He'll get a six pack of Newcastle Brown Ale if i'm wrong.
    Oh, and GO RACERS!
     
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  2. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Walnut, CA
    Thanks for starting this James and hope to read your expertise throughout the season. Arizona is currently #3 and the only thing missing is a Final 4 for Sean Miller (2 gut wrenching down to the buzzer Elite 8 losses). Already has the #1 recruiting class for next season. Defense is capable enough, but offensively they are a work in progress.
    Other teams out west; Best Gonzaga team since Morrison was there. Zags could easily have won in Tucson, but fell in OT. They did go into Pauley Pavillion and beat Ucla by 13. Speaking of whom, the Bruins suffered 2 losses before the season when the lost 2 potential starters thru injury and not getting an Australian signee eligible, so UK should blow them out. San Diego State has another solid team, but the surprise squad could be Utah. The Utes gave Larry Krstoviak the proper time to rebuild the program from scratch.
     
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  3. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Glad to see you've done your homework on the west, Joe. Many "experts" here tend to discount the Pac 12 and others out there when it comes time to fill out their brackets. I try to watch a few games here and there that Steve Physioc is calling, but it's tough on a working man's schedule on east coast time. The West is overdue for a strong Final Four contender. This might be the year.
     
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  4. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    As we head into conference play in the new year, a few observations. Well, just one, really. Kentucky should run the table. The only way they lose is if they beat themselves. Everybody else is playing for second place, unless the Cats suffer another injury like the one to Alex Poythress. Even the loaded teams can't survive too many knocks. Louisville MIGHT be good enough to get to the Final Four, depending upon how much they improve offensively, and whether or not they're seeded into a different region than Kentucky. I've got a bet with our sports director that this is Tom Crean's last season in Bloomington. The bet is a six pack of Newcastle Brown Ale (his favorite, I knew he'd go for that one).
    In all honesty, it's Kentucky's to lose this season.
     
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  5. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

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    My Aggies pushed Kentucky to double ot before coming up short. 16-30 from the stripe and 2-13 from 3 were our undoing. And we were w/o our best player & leading scorer.

    Big Blue is a monster but they are very susceptible to good zone d. I'm not so sure "it's their's to lose. " It's going to come down to tournament matchups. But they can definitely be had.
     
    #5
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  6. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    I saw the first part and I was impressed.. should have come back when I switched away but forgot.

    Whether K was just cold or the Aggies solved the pressure riddle, I couldnt tell.
     
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  7. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    And Ole Miss almost beat them at Rupp....but they didn't. UCLA's zone didn't bother them too much. But they're not a particularly good outside shooting team, so, yeah, they can be beaten. I'd cite two things. First, they haven't responded well to the start of conference play. Even though they've got more experienced players returning than they normally do, the upperclassmen haven't done a good job teaching the new guys, nor preparing themselves for familiar foes. It's a different game when conference play starts. Like non-conference opponents, you know going in you're going to get everybody's best shot. Unlike non-conference opponents, there is a familiarity that gives decided underdogs an extra advantage. You've got to adapt to and overcome the little bit of comfort that comes with knowing an opponent well. UK hasn't. Yet.
    Secondly, John Calipari refuses, for whatever reasons, to play any zone defense in the half court. At least I've never seen it in his time in Lexington. If I'm mistaken, I stand corrected, but I don't believe I am. And I don't care how good you are, you HAVE to be able to play some kind of zone defense, even at their talent level, in college hoops. Because on any given night, one hot hand can do you in if no one you put on them can stop them. Some nights you just need a zone. I'm sure he's got a valid reason, and you can't argue with his record, but I wonder how close either of the last two games would have been with a timely switch to a zone of some description. But as that other well known Italian coach, Don Pitino, likes to say, shooting is fool's gold. Great shooting doesn't happen every game. Like the three run homer doesn't come to the ballpark every day. But speed, pitching and defense do. And talent, height and defense come to the gym every game, too. I still like their chances. But they're gonna have to take conference opposition a lot more seriously than they have for the first two games. And Selection Sunday is still 8 weeks away. Depending on the matchups in whatever region they end up in, I still like their chances of getting to Indy in April. But they WILL lose a game or two before March 15th. That much seems obvious after this week.
     
    #7
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  8. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Well, I gotta say - mind you as a VERY casual observer - that the above seems to be a brilliant analysis.
    Again, I aint a first hand expert but I know, from when I used to watch a lot, that it covers a lot of questions on 'winning' basketball. And any other sport as well. For instance How VT beat OSU at the 'shoe. Get a team out of their element and if they have other issues, they may not be able to react /adjust in real time.
    Cold shooting hand AND unexpected full court pressure at the same time will do in all but the absolute best team on the given day.
     
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  9. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Louisville, KY
    And just that quickly, they seem to have righted the ship. A blowout win over Mizzou at home, followed by a blowout win on the road at 'Bama. They still might stub their toe somewhere along the SEC trail, and it might be a team you wouldn't expect to do it. They're still somewhat offensively challenged. But I wouldn't want to draw them in March.
    Louisville is still searching, on the other hand. The Duke loss highlighted their offensive deficiencies, which are more pronounced than Kentucky's. And they don't have the talent or depth, even though they play very good defense, to overcome it. And they can have bad defensive games as well. See the first half of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill. They've still got time to improve, but can they improve enough to make it to the Final Four? Even the most die hard Card fan would have to say no.
    Indiana has only lost 4 and are 4-1 in conference play. But they've got away games at Ohio State and Wisconsin upcoming, a home and away with Maryland before finishing at home against Michigan State, who thrashed them in East Lansing. Their losses have been big ones to strong opponents, and I don't see them challenging for the Big 10 regular or tournament championship. I stick by my original prediction: This is Tom Crean's last season in Bloomington. Just getting into the big dance isn't good enough at Indiana. At least, it shouldn't be.
     
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  10. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    While out west, all the recent years progress by the Pac 12 has taken a huge step back. Aside from Arizona & Utah practically every other school is WAY down. Ucla, Cal, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and ASWho have all won NCAA tourney games in recent years but look like they are toast barring winning the Pac 12 tourney itself. The knives are already out for Steve Alford at Ucla.

    The one great story; Oregon State. Honestly think this is the best coaching job in a single season in the last 30 years. Wayne Tinkle (what's in a name ?) took over a program from Craig Robinson aka the President's brother-in-law that had 1 starter, 7 other scholarship players, and the rest walk-ons. They weren't only predicted for last place, but with a legit chance not to win a single conference game. All they have done so far is go 14-5 overall, and 5-2 in the Pac. Help is also on the way next season, as the HC and his top assistant have sons who are national top 50 players, along with the top 2 players in the state for an overall top 20 recruiting class. It's just short of a miracle in Corvallis.
     
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  11. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the West Coast update Joe. Most folks around here just automatically write that part of the country off come time to fill out brackets. Although it sounds like they might be justified in doing so this year, there's a lot of hoopin' left, so things can change. And lest anybody forget, look who came out of nowhere last season to win it all. Still, all eyes are on Lexington at this point. And my Racers have a nice little 15 game winning streak going. But, as usual, it means nothing if they don't win the conference post season tournament. No OVC team has ever been given at at-large bid to the Big Dance. If they make it, look for them to make someone very nervous in the first round. Depending upon the seeding, they may even win a game or two. I would not be surprised if they do. In fact, unless they draw Kentucky, which I doubt, I'll predict right now that they will win their NCAA opener this year...IF they get in.
     
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  12. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    Congrats astroevan!! Coastal Carolina punches their ticket to the Big Dance.
     
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  13. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

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    Jan 20, 2008
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    I'm worried about my Aggies. We were an easy 9 seed a week ago. We lost our best player to injury against Florida & went on to drop that game on the road & then Bama by 1 at home. We've got 20 wins, but the absence of signature wins has me thinking our bubble will burst barring a good SEC tourney run. Lunardi had us as the last team in on Bracketology on Sunday, but now we're in the first 4 out.

    The Terps look really good this year and Wells & Trimble have been fun to watch. Only 2 problems, they pretty much only win @ home & Mark Turgeon is still their coach.

    Beware of the Jacks. SFA is going to be a dangerous underdog again this year.
     
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  14. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    After a 21 year break, we've made it two years in a row now! Let's hope Cliff Ellis' efforts lobbying us for a higher seed works out. I'd rather not have to play UVA again.
     
    #14
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  15. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    On the other end of the spectrum of the conference tournament bubble, Jump's Murray State was ranked 25th, 20+ game winning streak, more than capable of winning in the NCAA tourney, but look to be out as they lost on a last second 3 pointer to Belmont in their conference final. Would much rather see a team like them in over Indiana or Texas that are either .500 or lower in the Big 10 and Big 12.
     
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  16. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    As would I Joe, but who knows if it's going to happen? Seth Davis asked the committee chairman Saturday point blank on CBS if Murray State was in. He hedged, but said there will be a conversation. I'm not optimistic, but we'll see. If they're left out, then the tournament is a sham. Even if Indiana makes a strong conference tournament run, I don't think they should get in. Nor should Texas. Both probably will. Money doesn't talk, it screams. Kentucky will be the No. 1 overall seed, unless they lose badly in the first round of the SEC Tournament. That's not gonna happen. The intriguing team is Louisville. They've got issues, but they've got the best tournament bench coach on the planet. Going to be very, very interesting to see how they do in Greensboro. I hope, hope, hope A&M gets in. Billy Kennedy is a quality human and a quality coach. I always root for former Murray men, unless they're just really awful. Most aren't. And what about Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack? Surprise team of the ACC?
    It may all be academic if Kentucky keeps rolling. They can be had, but it's gonna take the kind of game that Ole Miss or the Aggies gave them early in the conference season to do it. Gonna be an interesting week, Selection Sunday is almost here. And just in case you were wondering where the college basketball capital of the world is, well, wonder no more.....

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-college-basketball-capital-of-the-world-1425582625
     
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  17. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

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    In this day & age in sport where money drives so many actions, I couldn't be prouder of my school for standing by Kennedy despite the Parkinson's and the program's struggles his first 3 years after 6 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

    That patience is starting to pay off with a #3 recruiting class and a shot at getting back to the tourney this year.
     
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  18. sacffc

    sacffc Active Member

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    Mar 19, 2010
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    How about three cheers and a chorus of Old Nassau for the Princeton women, who completed a 30-0 season on Tuesday night. Yeah they didn't play UConn but they beat Pittsburgh and Michigan on the road, both of whom finished in the middle of major conferences. They should get a good seed for the NCAA tournament -- 5 or 6 I would think -- and they have a good chance to be the second Ivy League team to win a tournament game (the first, of course, being the only #16 to beat a #1, Harvard over Stanford in 1998). Go Tigers!
     
    #18
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  19. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2005
    All well and good.. {OK City for golf? wow}
    But the text changes things summat, doesnt it.
    '....nearly unwatchable!'

    Whew... I thought it was just me. Been said before and worth pointing out again.. 'they NOW play to get into the NCAA tourney.'
     
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  20. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    For all intents and purposes, a NCAA tournament game for Texas A&M today. They MUST beat Auburn.
     
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