Tuesday, March 15, 2011

News and Notes: Early Evening Edition

Below, some news and notes for the early evening...
  • Steward Mandel of CNNSI.com writes, "since 1985, No. 11 seeds such as USC and VCU have won 33 first-round (now second-round) games. Twelve reached the Sweet 16, four the Elite Eight and two (LSU in 1986 and George Mason in 2006) the Final Four. And No. 12 seeds such as UAB and VCU have actually fared better in the early rounds, producing 18 Sweet 16 teams, most recently Cornell last year."
  • WMCTV writes of Temple, "The Owls are the favored seed for the second straight year, having lost to No. 12 Cornell last year... [In the last three seasons, the Owls] have lost to Michigan State (2008), Arizona State (2009) and Cornell. Dunphy's defenders of his track record point out that no Ivy League team had won an NCAA tournament game since 1998 - at least until the Big Red scored one vs. Dunphy. He acknowledged he needed longer than usual to recover from a season-ending tournament loss."
  • Route 1 Radio advises, "Always pick a Sweet 16 Cinderella There’s always one shocking team that wins two games and enters the second week as the feel-good story. Last year, it was (9) Northern Iowa, (12) Cornell and (10) St. Mary’s (CA)."
  • The Big Lead writes, "Really, Committee? ...Utah State as a #12 seed and Belmont as a #13 seed in the same group? They both have 30 wins and are ranked in the top 20 in Pomeroy’s rankings. Last year, three teams were a double digit seed despite 5 or fewer losses entering the tournament: St. Mary’s (beat Villanova in the 2nd round), Cornell (beat Temple and Wisconsin), and Murray State (beat Vanderbilt, lost to Butler by 2 points)."

NCAA Tournament Preview

Last year, Cornell won its first two tournament games and had become the darling of the country. They were a senior-laden team, dependent on scoring from beyond the arc. Next on tap were the Kentucky Wildcats and their team of NBA first rounders. But they were young. John Calipari had a week to prepare and allowed his team to hear the hype of the Brains vs. Brawn match up. And he convinced his team to play some aggressive D on the perimeter resulting in a Kentucky rout. The committee must have enjoyed last year, as Princeton draws Kentucky in the first round. Feline groovy... Let’s go out on a limb here. The Tigers do what Cornell couldn’t, ride the wave of Doug Davis’s heroics, win one for the Ancient Eight and come away with a 68-66 victory.


Final Power Rankings

1. Princeton (12-2, 25-6)–won the title in a playoff game for the ages as chronicled above-and deservingly so; had a spectacular season; a nice core returns, even though Maddox and Dan Mavraides’ graduation will be big shoes to fill. Look for the Tigers to give the Kentucky freshmen all they can handle.

2. Harvard (12-2, 23-6)–as Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe so eloquently put it, “Princeton won, but nobody lost”; heads held high in defeat and truly deserved a spot in the field of 68; will be unanimous pre-season choice for 2011-2012 title with everyone coming back and a top recruiting class. A pre-season top 25?

3. Yale (8-6, 15-13)–Coach Jones thinks they should be one of the favorites next season and he may be right. Mr. Inside/ Mr. Outside, Greg Mangano (see below) and Morgan a formidable duo.” The Game” next year may be on the court instead of the field.

4. Penn (7-7, 13-15)–Underachievers? Perhaps, but they are a fun team to watch and have found a gem in Cartwirght; need to develop an inside presence to compete with the Hummers, Manganos, and Wrights of the world.

5. Columbia (6-8, 15-13)–will return leading scorer Agho and running mate Barbour so immediate respectability; nice first year for Coach Smith, who will look to recapture some of his St.Marys recruiting magic

6. Cornell (6-8, 10-18)–ended the season on an uptick, winning their last three; Coach Bill Courtney developed a system of playing everybody; Chris Wroblewski will be last trace of Big Red dynasty; keep an eye on recruiting class.

7. Brown (4-10, 11-17)–bright spot is their youth, particularly do-it-all guard Sean McGonagill; I like Coach Agel a lot, but with so much of Ivy nucleus returning will be tough to see any noticeable improvement in standings though.

8. Dartmouth (1-13, 5-23)—I wonder how Coach Cormier can keep his kids motivated; no immediate escape from the cellar is imminent; freshman guard Melville looks like a keeper; attracting more fans to the games may be a realistic goal.


The Second Annual Bradley Awards

It is time to honor the best of the brightest…those players, and coach, from the Ivy League who have distinguished themselves during this 2010-2011 basketball season. And the good news is, just about every one of this year’s recipients will be returning next year.

Coach of the Year: Certainly newcomers Kyle Smith at Columbia and Bill Courtney at Cornell appear to be on the right track...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bilas, Cahill is a senior walkon, not a freshman