Monday, March 03, 2008

"Projections" grabs an offensive board

Kevin Borseth is My Hero

Not only do I disagree with the incredibly insane Tony Kornheiser that Michigan Women’s Basketball Coach Kevin Borseth should be fired, I think Borseth deserves a raise! Borseth nearly self-combusted during a post-game rant after Michigan blew an 18-point lead against Wisconsin last week. Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon lamented the tirade on PTI by saying Borseth’s rant had “no theme.” That’s like saying Rick Majerus doesn’t have a vice. The theme of the rant was--without question--“offensive rebounds.” Borseth has taken a lot of flack across the country for his outburst but watch the video and tell me that’s not a guy who is committed to—and passionate about—his job. I don’t know much about Borseth, but I do know that I’d hire him for pretty much anything after seeing his fervor. It was already obvious that Borseth had revitalized the Michigan Woman’s Basketball team. Michigan was 3-13 in the Big Ten last year. It is 9-8 in the Big Ten this season. However, after seeing him get that worked up over offensive boards, it’s no wonder his team is fighting for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. This wasn't a guy being a jerk swearing his way through a meltdown. This is a guy who is as frustrated as any human has ever been in the history of the universe because his team lost and he didn’t think it deserved such a fate. Kornheiser gets paid to stay idiotic things like, “fire this guy for showing passion” but I would be willing to bet a significant amount of money that the folks in the Michigan Athletic Department are tickled to death to have Borseth running the woman’s basketball team. At least this guy understands that.

No Favorite

Early in the college basketball season, it appeared there were eight teams that had separated themselves from the rest of D-1 basketball. N. Carolina, Duke, Memphis, Kansas, Georgetown, UCLA, Texas, and Tennessee appeared to be the only teams with realistic shots at winning the NCAA Tournament. I’m not sure I agree with that anymore. I have no problem envisioning a team from the following group winning the tournament: Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Louisville, Michigan St., Marquette, and Stanford. The odds of any one of those teams winning the championship are pretty slim but, as a group, I think the odds are pretty good. Over the last two weeks, the top teams have looked beatable. Vanderbilt took down Tennessee. Duke lost to Wake Forest, Miami FL and nearly lost to NC State. Kansas lost to Oklahoma St. Texas lost to Texas Tech. Georgetown lost to Syracuse and very nearly lost to Marquette. I’m guessing that N. Carolina will be the chic pick come Selection Sunday. However, I don’t think the field has been this wide-open in my lifetime. This means we can expect two things come March: 1). The NCAA Tournament will be crazier than Gary Busey and 2). The person who knows the least about college basketball will win your pool again.


Here is how I view the field right now (at-large bids are sorted by conference):

1 ACC North Carolina
2 SEC Tennessee
3 Big East Georgetown
4 Big 12 Kansas
5 Big Ten Michigan St.
6 Pac-10 UCLA
7 MVC Drake
9 WAC Utah St.
10 A-10 Xavier
11 Colonial VCU
12 MAC Kent St.
13 WCC St. Mary’s
14 C-USA Memphis
15 Sun Belt S. Alabama
16 Horizon Butler
17 MAAC Marist
18 Big Sky N. Arizona
19 MCC Oral Roberts
20 Big West Cal St. Northridge
21 OVC Austin Peay
22 Ivy Cornell
23 Southern Davidson
24 Patriot Lafayette
25 Southland Sam Houston St.
26 Northeast Wagner
27 AEC MD Baltimore County
28 Big South NC Asheville
29 Atl. Sun Belmont
30 SWAC Alabama St.
31 MEAC Hampton
32 At-Large Gonzaga
33 At-Large Duke
34 At-Large Clemson
35 At-Large Maryland
36 At-Large Va. Tech
37 At-Large Miami FL
38 At-Large Pittsburgh
39 At-Large West Virginia
40 At-Large Notre Dame
41 At-Large Connecticut
42 At-Large Louisville
43 At-Large Marquette
44 At-Large Stanford
45 At-Large Arizona
46 At-Large Washington St.
47 At-Large USC
48 At-Large Oklahoma
49 At-Large Kansas St.
50 At-Large Texas A&M
51 At-Large Texas
52 At-Large Baylor
53 At-Large Purdue
54 At-Large Wisconsin
55 At-Large Indiana
56 At-Large Florida
57 At-Large Vanderbilt
58 At-Large Arkansas
59 At-Large Mississippi St.
60 At-Large Kentucky
61 At-Large Dayton
62 At-Large Massachusetts
63 At-Large UAB
64 At-Large Illinois St.
65 At-Large UNLV

Changes from last week:

In: Illinois St., Florida, UAB
Out: New Mexico, Villanova, St. Joe’s

*I don't look at other projections—Lunardi's included—at any point in the season. Everything I do is based on researching each team's resume. My projections are based on who I think will be there based on the results of games played and the difficulty of remaining schedules. This isn’t a “if the season ended today”-deal.

This projected field assumes that there are no upsets in the conference tournaments. There could be anywhere from 5-10 teams that make the tournament who wouldn't have otherwise made it just from the conference tournaments alone. Come conference tournament time, the last two or three teams that I have in the tourney will probably get pushed out by upsets if not more.

Last five “in” (no particular order)

1). Dayton

Dayton is one of the numerous teams that must go 2-0 this week to have any shot at an at-large bid. The Flyers get St. Bonaventure on the road and St. Joe’s at home. Two wins would get them to 8-8 in the A-10 with wins over Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Temple, and St. Joe’s and—more importantly—an RPI in the top 30. Last week I wrote that the bubble was enormous. One week later, Dayton is one of the only true bubble teams.

2). Va. Tech/Maryland

I would hate to see either of these teams get an at-large bid. They have combined to beat one team in the RPI 50. Neither team has a non-conference win in the RPI 100. Those are horrendous things to have on a resume. The only thing these teams have going for them is that they may finish above .500 in the ACC. If there aren’t many conference tournament-upsets this year, there are going to be a number of sorry teams that receive at-large bids starting with these two. This is the year to root for Wright St, Western Kentucky and the like to steal automatic bids.

3). Texas A&M

The Aggies are in trouble. They must avoid going 0-2 this week. Playing at Baylor and home against Kansas will make that a difficult task. A split in the final week of the regular season will put them at 8-8 in the Big XII. Even then, there still aren’t many impressive wins on the resume. This team will likely need to go 2-0 this week or make some noise in the Big XII Tournament to have any shot at a bid.

4).Illinois St.

With its win at S. Illinois this week, Illinois St. pretty much guaranteed that it would be the second team out of the MVC if the conference gets multiple bids. There is no question that ISU is the second best team in the conference. Its RPI, conference record, and head-to-head edge over S. Illinois says so. Illinois St. would have to screw up big-time in the Valley Tournament to miss out on a bid.

5). UAB

UAB is in a similar position. It is the second best team in Conference-USA. Houston’s horrible loss to East Carolina over the weekend made it pretty easy to separate UAB and Houston. UAB has the better RPI, conference record, and the head-to-head advantage. The real question is whether C-USA will get a second bid. UAB would have to make it to the finals of the C-USA Tournament to even have a chance and even then, UAB has zero wins in the RPI 50.

First five “out” (no particular order)

1). Rhode Island

Rhode Island needs to beat Charlotte on Saturday to get to 8-8 in the A-10. A loss is a deal-breaker. A win merely gets URI in the discussion. Victories over UAB, Syracuse, and Dayton and an RPI in the high 40s won’t be enough. The Rams will need to make a run in the A-10 Tournament.

2). S. Illinois

We’re getting into teams that really have no chance other than winning their conference tournament. S. Illinois would need to reach the finals of the Valley Tournament to even have a prayer. Even then, it would boast 14 losses. An at-large bid is as likely at this point as David Archuleta not winning American Idol.

3). Ohio St.

As horrible as Ohio St. has played recently, it will have two games to make or break its at-large hopes. Unfortunately, those two home games are against Purdue and Michigan St. As unlikely as two wins are, a sweep would probably put OSU in the tournament. Stranger things have happened.

4). St. Joe’s

Replace Ohio St, Purdue and Michigan St. with St. Joe’s, Xavier and Dayton and the previous paragraph fits here verbatim.

5). Syracuse

Replace Ohio St., Purdue and Michigan St. with Syracuse, Seton Hall, and Marquette and two paragraphs previous fits here verbatim.

Top Seeds

#1 Seeds

North Carolina

#2 Seeds


#3 Seeds


#4 Seeds

Notre Dame

#5 Seeds

Michigan St.

#6 Seeds

Washington St.

#7 Seeds


#8 Seeds

St. Mary’s

Big Games this Week


Pittsburgh @ West Virginia


Wake Forest @ Virginia Tech
Purdue @ Ohio St.
UNLV @ New Mexico
Arkansas @ Mississippi


Texas A&M @ Baylor
Mississippi St. @ Vanderbilt
Tennessee @ Florida


Xavier @ St. Joe’s
Stanford @ UCLA




St. Joe’s @ Dayton
North Carolina @ Duke
Baylor @ Texas Tech
Kansas @ Texas A&M
Louisville @ Georgetown
Marquette @ Syracuse
UAB @ Memphis
Stanford @ USC


Va. Tech @ Clemson
Michigan St. @ Ohio St.
Florida @ Kentucky

Just for the heck of it...

Michigan got a raw deal on the "transfer exchange rate." I have no problem admitting that I enjoyed watching Robbie Reid fire up all 222 of his 3-point attempts in 1999 when Louis Bullock and Reid were the only scoring threats on the team. Seriously, Reid deserves an award for shooting seven 3s per game over an entire season. However, the list of players who have transferred to Michigan over the years is pretty pathetic. At least Michigan was able to win a game of "hot potato" with North Carolina with respect to Makhtar Ndiaye. Wake Forest was the big winner in the Ndiaye sweepstakes, though, because he never actually played for the school.

Transferred from Michigan

Rich McIver to Texas
Albert White to Missouri
Olivier Saint-Jean to San Jose St.
Willie Mitchell to UAB
Leon Derricks to U of D Mercy
Leland Anderson to Providence
Sam Mitchell to Cleveland St.
"Rainmaker" Baker to Florida Gulf Coast University
Chuck Bailey to U of D Mercy
Bobby Crawford to Rice
Brandon Smith to San Diego St.
Kevin Gaines to Houston
Dommanic Ingerson to UC Santa Barbara
Makhtar Ndiaye to North Carolina

Transferred to Michigan

Robbie Reid from BYU
Zack Gibson from Rutgers
Makhtar Ndiaye from Wake Forest
Laval Lucas-Perry from Arizona
J.C. Mathis from Virginia

* These lists are from memory so if you remember anyone I missed, please pass them along.

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