somehow we're only 124th
Before moving on to some of tonight’s action, a few words need to be said about what transpired last night as it impacts the hunt for NCAA Tournament bids.
Oklahoma went into Stillwater and topped the Cowboys, 89-81. I predicted a 20/20 for Blake Griffin, but he fell short by scoring 26 points and “only” grabbing 19 boards. Meanwhile for the Pokes, this is the third game in league play that OSU has lost despite scoring more than 80 points. Expect their defense to continue to fail them as they try to establish their resume. Oklahoma State was in the same boat as Michigan in ESPN’s latest field projection—a 12 seed and among the last few put in the field—so a loss and missing out on a chance for a good looking resume win is good news for Michigan fans.
Perhaps, more compelling, though is the news coming out of South Bend.
After winning 45 straight at home, the Irish lost last night to Marquette for their second home loss in a span of 48 hours. Folks, the Irish are in trouble. They’ve lost four games in a row, and five of their last seven. They’re in 11th place in the Big East with a 3-5 record. Their RPI is all the way down at 73, and that’s before last night’s loss is factored in. To compare, Michigan is 44th in the latest RPI. The Irish have a worse RPI rating than teams like Providence, St. Joe’s, Buffalo, Stephen F. Austin and Penn State. None of those teams are getting any consideration for an at large bid right now, so why should the Irish?
What helps is they play in the uber tough Big East. I heard the hoops guru on Rivals Radio this afternoon claim that a Big East team could go 8-10 and still make the field. Perhaps, but the downturn by the Irish bears continued watching. Check out ND’s next stretch of games: at Pitt, at Cincy, at UCLA, Louisville, USF, at WVA and at Providence. They also still have a road date at Uconn. With three straight road games beginning Saturday, if the Irish’s losing streak continues through that road trip (and it will if Kyle Mcalrney doesn’t break out of his shooting slump), they will be 12-10 overall, 3-7 in the Big East. The league is bucking for a record amount of bids, but you have to wonder if a 17-13 team with a losing league mark would net an invite. Before last night's loss, the latest projections had the Irish as a #10 seed. Here’s hoping the Irish keep losing.
So, Oklahoma St may have played itself out of the field, while Notre Dame has devolved and played itself onto the Bubble. What will tonight’s action bring?
Purdue at Wisconsin. Line Wisco -1
The Boilers have rebounded from an 0-2 start in league play. If they can nab another road win tonight, they could find themselves in the driver's seat for league honors. The Badgers, not so much. Losers of four in a row, Wisconsin needs this win. One Badger observed has called it the most important game in years for the program. While I won’t go that far, one has to wonder about the Badgers future resume if they don’t right the ship. As of now, road wins against Virginia Tech and Michigan are the best they have to offer. If the Badgers can't put together a winning record in conference play, that resume won’t do the trick. Heading into the night, Wisconsin is just an 11-seed in the latest ESPN projections.
This is a swing game with Big 10 title and NCAA bubble implications. I will go as far as saying it’s the most important game for Wisconsin this season to date. Odds makers have installed the Badgers as an unranked favorite over a ranked team. I find that system hard to pass up, so I might put a little coin on the Badgers.
Boston College at Maryland. Line, Maryland -4
Neither team has an NCAA tournament resume despite the fact that each have nabbed an impressive win against a team currently in the top-10. Those wins have been washed away by bad losses.
Doesn't the loser tonight get pushed so far back in the line that it would take a major run over the final month of the season just to be a legit bubble team? I think so.
How in the world are the Terps going to respond after that curb stomping at the hands of Duke on Saturday? Fans are now expecting Maryland to miss the Big Dance for the fourth time in five seasons. The local press is looking fondly at 'could-have-been' Terps who are playing for other schools. Things dont look so good for Gary Williams right now and a home loss tonight will only ratchet up the pressure.
Northeastern at VCU. Line, VCU -6.5
This is worth tuning in just to watch VCU's little guy Eric Maynor in action. What? You dont remember him? Maybe this will jog your memory. The kid has been one of my favorite players to watch for a couple of years. The game tonight is on EPSNU at 9 pm.
More notably, first place in the Colonial is on the line as both teams come in sporting 8-1 records. The CAA had been a three team race, but both the Rams and Huskies have beaten George Mason in recent days, leaving these two tied for first. Its a classic case of VCU's offense vs Norhteastrn's defense.
Michigan fans may remember Northeastern. The Wolverines clubbed them by 20 points in the second game of the season. Nobody put much thought in to it then, but that game is slowly, but surely, turning into a quality win for UM.
Northeastern sits at #60 in the latest RPI projections. Much is made of a team's record vs the RPI's top 50, so a win tonight might push NE into that range. There's always talk af the CAA netting two bifds into the field, but a head to head win over NE could come in handy if there's debate about UM come Selection Sunday. A run to the CAA title for Northeastern will only boost UM's resume. Best case scenario for UM boosters would be a stirring and dominant run on behalf of Northeastern en route to the CAA regular season title. We all should be pulling for them tonight.
Utah at BYU. Line, BYU -3
The Mountain West is an interesting league as it could get anywhere from 1 to 3 bids into the field. BYU and Utah are two clubs who hope to be in that mix. In Lunardi's latest field projections, BYU is a #12 seed and among the final four teams included. Utah, meanwhile, is among the first four teams cut from the field. The implications for the next round of mock brackets is pretty clear.
For Utah, its not too early to call this a must win game.
Color me skeptical about the Utes chances this evening. Utah was outclassed in road losses at SDSU and UNLV, and I expect the same to happen tonight. BYU is a short 3-point favorite and I'll roll with the Mormon Cagers tonight.
Its a small slate of games tonight, but as you can see, there's plenty going on as it relates to the Bubble that Michigan will be sitting on all winter long. We'll be enjoying the games, but also likely wagering on Wisconsin, BYU and Baylor -1 over Texas.....like the Badger game, that one too is an unranked favorite over a ranked team.
Harold, it's Bateman, Patrick Bateman. You're my lawyer so I think you should know: I've killed a lot of people. Some girls in the apartment uptown uh, some homeless people maybe 5 or 10 um an NYU girl I met in Central Park. I left her in a parking lot behind some donut shop. I killed Bethany, my old girlfriend, with a nail gun, and some man uh some old faggot with a dog last week. I killed another girl with a chainsaw, I had to, she almost got away and uh someone else there I can't remember maybe a model, but she's dead too. And Paul Allen. I killed Paul Allen with an axe in the face, his body is dissolving in a bathtub in Hell's Kitchen. I don't want to leave anything out here. I guess I've killed maybe 20 people, maybe 40. I have tapes of a lot of it, uh some of the girls have seen the tapes. I even, um... I ate some of their brains, and I tried to cook a little. Tonight I, uh, I just had to kill a LOT of people. And I'm not sure I'm gonna get away with it this time. I guess I'll uh, I mean, ah, I guess I'm a pretty uh, I mean I guess I'm a pretty sick guy. So, if you get back tomorrow, I may show up at Harry's Bar, so you know, keep your eyes open.
I know, I know, you're thinking about the Board posting about Big 10/11 expansion. This is slightly more serious and fact based.
USCHO.com today has an article referencing the WCHA voting to lift its expansion moratorium, likely to ease the path for Bemidji St to join the rest of its Minnesota brethren in the conference once the CHA craps out. Now the interesting thing in the article is that one of the commenters remarked that the WCHA wouldn't want to go to 11 teams.. they'd want to add a 12th for scheduling purposes. The commenter postulates that WCHA would try to poach UNO from the CCHA.
Two items in my mind:
1- Obviously UNO makes sense from a geographic standpoint in that Omaha fits in well as a bridge between the Minnesota teams and the Colorado teams in the conference, but would UNO want to leave the CCHA? Also why not go after Alaska instead of UNO? Is a two weekend roadtrip too long for member schools once every two years?
2- Lets say that UNO leaves for the WCHA. Would the CCHA try and poach Michigan Tech? (IMO not likely since Mich Tech is closer to Minnesota and Wisconsin than UM and MSU) Or would we try to absorb a team or two from the CHA leftovers? (UAH makes the most sense to me as they can have a natural redneck rivalry with tOSU- zinger!) Or would we get creative and try to entice one of the good club teams (Penn St, Wright St, Wayne St again) to jump to Div I?
What say you blogville?
Having watched some recent MSU hockey, most notably the Championship game at the GLI and the most recent debacles, I thought it worthy to break down MSU's penalties this year to illustrate (THROUGH EXCEL!!!1!) how their penalties have gone through the year.
Bench penalties (too many players) & flops not included in penalties, clipping considered "tripping," unsportsmanlike and game misconducts, as well as grasping facemask and kneeing, considered roughing, game DQs ignored
7 boarding penalties. 5 in the past 3 games (wtf!?) and 6 in the past 6 games. 3 in one game against Miami? Come on dude.
Conboy has committed 29 penalties in 21 games. He had multiple games of 2+ (woot!) and one of those wonderful boarding penalties. Schepke, fwiw, just can't help himself (2) from doing that ("Sorry coach, they just keep falling down!)
What does this show? MSU might not be committing too many more penalties than their opponents (though you may argue they drag their opponent into scrums - see: Miami, UM). However, when 34 of your penalties are stupid scrums after the whistle (17%) and 29 (15%) are from roughing... you have a lack of self-control in your players. But when you had 2 boarding penalties all season and double that in a week? The coach has zero control.
I recently read an article on "The Big Picture" blog where Brian was interviewed (dated 20 September, 2007) and thought it was great. Had a good chuckle with it. Say what you want but Brian Cook is one of my personal heroes. Everyone has always been asked the proverbial question "name 5 people dead or alive who you would want to meet/have lunch/dinner with...", Brian would be one of them. Why you ask? 1.)I enjoy reading his blog articles; his sly, witty, sometimes sarcastic humor makes me laugh but always to the point, 2.)He's a huge, huge Michigan fan like myself, 3.)He lives in Ann Arbor, a college town/environment I would die to live in, 4.)He has created a "forum" for people to sound off thus creating an environment where people can express themselves with some but not much ridicule, 5.)He has some of the best group of people whose diaries/stories I love to read. I look forward to reading Brian's insightful witticisms and often times on the spot analysis that makes some if not most sports writers look clueless. Love the website and would be lost without it now. Keep up the good work Brian.
Hey you think you could score me some good football tickets?