"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
I know bowl records are not the be all end all, but is it reasonable to say that the Big12 was as overrated as a lot of people thought? Kansas was the only Big12 team to win convincingly. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech all lost by double-digits.
As you may be aware, the last few days have gone quite well. Quite well indeed. Lemme get right to it (I'm only commenting on games that I'm somehow surprised by the result. Everything else just gets listed):
The Week Thus Far
Dayton over Miami (NTM)
#25/#22 West Virginia LOSS #5 Connecticut: This one went the way I wanted it to, but not surprisingly. West Virginia may fall out, leaving a spot open for us.
Illinois State LOSS Bradley: Probably a minor upset. Most importantly, it will prevent ISU from taking over a spot that could open in the polls.
MICHIGAN over Indiana:WOOOOOOOOHOOOOO! This game was awesome! Well, the last few minutes of it anyways. Last year, we lose this game. I'm certain. Under Amaker, we lose this game, I'm certain. The win gives us some momentum going into the first game at Crisler where there will actually be students. This, combined with some losses that have been good for us, will hopefully put us right back in the polls come Monday. But, we can't let ourselves get down like that, it just won't work.
#17/#24 Boston College LOSS Harvard: Wow. Just a couple days removed from knocking off #1, they lose to an Ivy. That's probably depressing for them. Good for us, hopefully it'll make them fall out of the coaches' poll, opening a spot for us.
#23/#21 Louisville over South Florida
#15/#25 Tennessee LOSS Gonzaga: So, yeah, it was a good early week for us. Tennessee should fall out of the coaches' poll. Which is good. I want into both polls for as much of the season as humanly possible.
#21/#20 Butler over Wright State
#22/#19 Minnesota over Iowa
Planning Your Weekend
No games Friday that I care about (go watch Michigan hockey!), so here's how you're spending Saturday and Sunday (mostly Saturday):
#15/#25 Tennessee @ Georgia, 12:00, ESPN Full Court, ESPN360: Georgia's 9-6 with no wins over ranked teams, but, as its in Georgia, I can see an upset, which would certainly help us get into the Coaches' poll.
#25/#22 West Virginia @ #18/#15 Marquette, 12:00, ESPN Full Court, ESPN360: Go Marquette! It's that simple. WV loses, they fall out of one if not both polls, opening up a spot for us. It'd be great. It's in Marquette. I'll totally watch this one.
#23/#21 Louisville v. #18/#17 Villanova, 12:00 ESPN, ESPN360: Another game that could kick a team we need to lose out of the rankings. We just need to win a couple of these to get ranked.
Dayton @ UMass, 1:00, Local TV: I know little about either team. If we play well, and with some luck, hopefully, Dayton winning two this week won't matter as far as getting us into the polls goes.
#23 Baylor v. Texas Tech, 1:45, ESPN Full Court, ESPN360: Tech's 10-5, so, not unreasonable for them to win, but, it'll probably go to Tech.
#21/#20 Butler v. Detroit, 2:00, HLN: Sadly, the Titans won't win. They've only won 4 games. HLN is the Horizon League Network, the conference's free, online channel.
Illinois State @ Indiana State, 7:00, Local TV: Indiana State has only won 3 games this season. Easy win for Illinois State.
#17/#24 Boston College v. Miami (FL), 7:00, ESPNU: Miami's always a potential victor, and BC's coming off a loss to Harvard, so, we'll see. I predict a BC win though. They'll be playing angry.
MICHIGAN vs. Iowa, 11:30, BTN: Don't underestimate Iowa. That's all I have to say about that. They only scored 49 in their last game though. The Crisler crowd should be good with students back. Gotta prove we can easily put away the teams we should be able to beat.
#22/#19 Minnesota v. Penn State, 3:30, BTN: Penn State's not bad, only lost three, but, Minnesota's at home, and, I sort of want to keep them ranked anyways. I'll actually be rooting for Minnesota. I want to get them when they come to Crisler.
So, that's that. Watch hockey this weekend too, Michigan plays an important series against Miami. Go Blue!
Cool thing about hockey? Far more straight-forward than basketball. So, here's the deal: after winning the GLI, we're still #11 in the USA Today poll. However, the USCHO poll was nice enough to tie us with Colorado College for #10, so, that's good (polls listed below in that order). And, since all but one team we're concerned with plays a series this weekend, I'm doing the "Teams You Want to Lose" and "Schedule" in one place.
But, to start, our schedule.
#11/#10 Michigan has one of the most important series of its entire season this weekend at Yost, against #8/#6 Miami. In hockey, it's totally that Miami. Which is to say, Miami of Ohio may be the team to beat in the CCHA this year. They're a point behind Notre Dame, but, they will certainly make noise at the Joe in March. This game is interesting because Miami would have been on the list below if we weren't playing them, making it even more important. A split here would go a long way in getting us a CCHA-tourney first round bye and NCAA tourney bid, a sweep would be incredible. Games on Friday at 7:35 on FSN Plus, and Saturday at 7:35 on Comcast 900. Also, its at Yost, so, if you're lucky enough to go, BE LOUD.
Teams You Want to Lose, And Schedule
Note: Unless otherwise noted, assume everyone has a Friday/Saturday series in one place with their stated opponent.
Nebraska-Omaha: Ok, so, they're #18 in the USCHO poll and the USA Today doesn't even go that far, but, this is about the CCHA. They play Northern all weekend, and losses from them get us closer to being in a position to get a CCHA tournament first-round bye, and home ice for the second round.
#12/#10 Colorado College: It'd be helpful, as we're tied with them in one poll, but, they're playing Minnesota State at home, and MSU's only .500. I'd bet on CC wins, but, hockey's hockey.
#10/#12 Vermont OR #9 Boston College: They play each other! Whoever loses, it's helpful to us, slightly more so with a BC loss, which is reasonable at Vermont. I'm not entirely sure what a split would do, it would probably only be significant if we swept or it was a really good split.
#6/#8 Cornell: They play Niagara. Probably are safe, maybe a split.
#7/#5 Denver: They're against a shattered Michigan Tech, who's trying to recover from a GLI blowout. Hehe. We'll see how that goes. I automatically root in-state (usually, never for State unless it somehow helps us, always for Northern unless it somehow hurts us) anyways.
#5/#7 Princeton: The one exception to the "playing in series" rule. They get 9-8-1 (2-4-0) Union on Friday at home, then .184 Rensselaer on Saturday afternoon, still on home ice.
So, we'll see how it goes. See you Thursday or Friday with a basketball update.
Alright, last week, I didn't do a midweek update because I felt that the Wisconsin loss basically made everything a tossup and didn't think tracking the teams immediately above us was that worthwhile an endeavor.
The damage? Not too bad. Illinois win helped I bet. In the media, we're the first team out. The coaches', #28. Not too bad. So, this week I'm doing it differently.
Teams You Want To Lose This Week and Why:
Illinois State: Yes, you read that right. The Illinois State Redbirds are apparently undefeated. Who knew? (Except many people way more knowledgeable than me.) Anyways, they're the team in front of us in the Coaches' poll. Them losing would make it difficult for them to take any spots that open up there.
Dayton: They're simply the first team out of the Coaches' poll. Same deal as ISU.
West Virginia: I'm just mean. First I want us to steal all of their coaches, then I ask you to root against them? Well, they're #25 in the Media poll. They lose, they're out. #22 in coaches', so losses could make them fall out there too.
Louisville: #23 in media, #21 in coaches, losses from them would help us in at least the media poll.
Baylor: Consensus #23 (there's a tie in the media poll). Losses from them could help us get into both polls.
Minnesota: Well, to be honest, you don't want them to lose. Having Big Ten teams ranked is good for us. But, they're #22/#19, so, they could fall out of the media poll with losses.
Butler: #21/#20. We're getting sketchy here as to whether losses would actually make them fall out, or just move them down to #24 or #25.
Tennessee: This is a weird deal. They're the #25 team in the coaches' poll. They lose, they fall out. But, they're #15 in the media. Weird.
Boston College: Similar situation. #24/#17. I'll say it again: Coaches don't watch enough games to properly rank teams.
Alright, now, for the meat.
I'm only doing Tuesday through Thursday. I'll do a blog about all of Saturday and Sunday's games late Thursday or Friday.
Dayton v. Miami (NTM): Probably a Dayton win. Dayton home game, Miami's at 7-4. Local TV coverage in Dayton.
#25/#22 West Virginia v. #5 Connecticut GO UCONN! UConn wins, WV gets kicked out of the media poll probably. Awesome. Also, if we upset UConn (or even stay close), our RPI is helped by them winning here. Sadly, the game's only on ESPNU. I'm sure you can find a stream. 7:00.
Illinois State @ Bradley: I won't make any claims to knowing anything about either of these teams, but, Bradley is 9-5. They could do it at home I guess. Comcast, but probably not here, 8:05.
MICHIGAN @ Indiana: EVERY GAME COUNTS for our Wolverines. We need to make sure we can beat the sub-.500 teams if we want to beat the good ones. This is a good road test. 6:30, Big Ten Network.
#17/#24 Boston College v. Harvard: I wouldn't have high hopes here. 7:00, can be found Online somewhere.
#23/#21 Louisville @ South Florida: USF is sub-.500. So, a probably Louisville win. 7:00, ESPN2, ESPN360.
#15/#25 Tennessee v. Gonzaga: Gonzaga's 8-4 and knows how to win big contests. If this were at Gonzaga I'd be more optimistic, but, I'll probably watch part of this one. 9:00, ESPN2, ESPN360.
#22/#19 Minnesota @ Iowa: Big Ten games are annoying because I always want the Big Ten to be ranked but maybe the Gophers are high enough that they could contribute to the ranking of more Big Ten teams... We're a good conference. Should be a good game, give us an idea of how Iowa might do on Sunday. 7:05 on ESPN2, or, if you're like me and are supposed to be working on something else at that time, ESPN360.
#21/#20 Butler v. Wright State: I don't think Wright State will win. They're just above .500. Whatever. 7:00, Local TV only.
Back late Thursday or Friday to plan your weekend, back tomorrow with a bunch of hockey.
Here’s one about hockey. It’ll be shorter.
For starters, previously I’ve just been using the USA Today poll. I’m going to start using the USCHO poll too, because, well, why not? They’ll be listed in that order.
Also, no polls really updated this week, or last week for that matter. Which makes enough sense. I’m fairly certain they all will this Monday.
Last week, #11/#12 Michigan won their second straight Great Lakes Invitational against Michigan State in front of a very excited crowd. The crowd for the finals was significantly better than the crowd for the semis, and it seemed that it was a lot of Michigan Hockey fans, not just Michigan fans looking for kicks. Which was awesome. Little Brother bowed down. Michigan has the week off, as do many teams, but, here are the five teams ahead of us in each poll that don’t have the week off.
#12/#11 Air Force: Yesterday, Air Force played UConn in the Connecticut Hockey classic. Air Force won in a shootout, but, for our purposes, the game was a tie. Tonight they attempt to win that tournament against Quinnipiac, which shouldn’t be too demanding a task, but, well, hockey’s hockey. Busy week continues for the Falcons, as they face UConn again in Storrs on Saturday, before trekking to Yale Sunday. UConn just tied them, so they could always pull out the upset, while Yale’s on a bit of a cold streak.
#10/#9 Colorado College is off.
#9/#10 Cornell plays Sunday at UMass. They’re pretty good at home, but, Cornell is in general better.
#8 Princeton beat Minnesota State 5-2 last night, and tonight plays Nebraska-Omaha. CCHA loyalty compels me to root for UNO hard. This weekend, they get Harvard on Saturday, Dartmouth on Sunday. Harvard’s sub-.500, Dartmouth is just over.
#7 Boston College plays a couple of exhibition games against Canadian New Brunswick. So they don’t count.
#6 Northeastern plays an easy one against Western Michigan on Friday in the Dodge Holiday Classic. They go on to face the winner of a game between Brown and Minnesota. Here’s to hoping for a Minnesota win so that Northeastern can fall a bit.
Well, that’s it. I’ll see you Thursday to talk about basketball.
Also, it seems I’ll be at Crisler tomorrow. Join me! Lets make it a loud crowd for the Big Ten opener.
Alright, there’s a lot of basketball this week, and a lot of hockey too. Which means I’m doing hockey tomorrow.
Biiig week for College Basketball. And for the Michigan Wolverines. One of the biggest weeks in a long time for our team.
Rankings: We’re #23 in the Media poll, up from last week. #24 in the coaches’ poll, which improves over last week’s NR. Thanks for waking up coaches! Now, the Big Ten season begins, and we have a chance to prove we deserve to be ranked. So, us and the 5 teams above us in each poll, whose potential losses are the most likely to affect our rank:
(Rankings go Media/Coaches’, if only one is listed it’s unanimous.)
#23/#24 Michigan: Tonight against North Carolina Central is a win. For real. They’re winless. Then, B10 season begins, and we gotta stay on our toes. A 9-3 Badgers team will not let up on New Year’s Eve (Tickets are quite available at Crisler!), and a couple days later, neither will the 12-1 Fighting Ilini (Tickets are quite available!). Crucial to pick up the home wins in both games, crucial even to our tourney bid.
#24/#23 Ohio State: I think but am not sure after that West Virginia game that the Buckeyes can take out Iowa on New Year’s Eve. Saturday is a tough contest against the #21 Minnesota Golden Gophers. I’ll get to that later.
#22 Xavier: Not too hard a week for the Musketeers, Wednesday against Robert Morris, a .500 team they should beat. A little harder on Saturday against a 6-4 Virginia squad, but, they should be able to pick up two wins this week.
#21 Minnesota: Wednesday against the #10/#15 Spartans. I’m honestly not sure what helps us more in the long run, a win by Minnesota or a win by State. I think I’d prefer the Minnesota win, because if it’s a close game State shouldn’t take too big of a hit (they then get to beat up on Northwestern a couple days later), and I’d rather two mid-ranked Big Ten teams, one of which can easily recover, than one high ranked and one unranked. The Minnesota/OSU game: Again, I’m going to root for Minnesota. Because, well, I’d rather the lower team fall out of the rankings. And I hate the Buckeyes. Then, a couple days later, I can watch State beat them without feeling like it’ll hurt our strength of schedule too much.
#20/#16 Clemson: Tomorrow, against South Carolina. SC’s 9-1, and the game’s at their house, so, the undefeated Clemson should be able to win, but can’t look past this game. Much easier game at home on Saturday, against an East Carolina team on a three game losing streak.
#19/#20 Baylor: Tonight against Portland state. Portland State is 10-3, but, I’m still picking the 1-loss Bears to win at home. Really easy game New Year’s Eve against 1-win Jackson State, then, Friday night against the previously mentioned Gamecocks.
#18 Louisville:New Year’s Eve against UNLV. Louisville can beat the Rebels, but, UNLV’s 10-2 and could be dangerous. Then, Sunday against Kentucky, a team that you should always watch out for.
#14/#18 Tennessee: There was a tie in the Coaches’ poll, meaning both Louisville and Tennessee are #18. At any rate, they get the best named team in college sports, the Ragin’ Cajuns tonight. UL-Lafayette is 4-6, so, easy win for them. Saturday they’re in Kansas, against a Jayhawks team looking to be ranked again.
So, that’s that. A lot of potential upsets, but, if Michigan wants to be ranked higher, they’re going to have to hold up their end of the bargain and go undefeated this week.
Here’s a regurgitation of the schedule up to Wednesday in order of when games are actually taking place, along with where to watch them. I’ll be back tomorrow with hockey, and Thursday with an update on Wednesday’s games. Lemme tell you, New Year’s Eve is looking like a Saturday. Hope to see some of you at Crisler on Wednesday:
#23/#24 MICHIGAN v. NC Central, 7:00, BTN
#14/#18 Tennessee v. Louisiana-Lafayette, 7:30, Online
#19/#20 Baylor v. Portland State, 8:00, Online
#20/#16 Clemson at South Carolina, 7:00, FSN South/Florida, ESPN360.com
#21/#21 Minnesota v. #10/#15 Michigan State, 12:00, BTN
#23/#24 MICHIGAN v. Wisconsin, 2:00, ESPN2
#24/#23 Ohio State v. Iowa, 4:00, BTN
#19/#20 Baylor v. Jackson, 5:00, FSN Southwest
#22/#22 Xavier v. Robert Morris, 6:00, FSN Ohio
#18/#18 Louisville v. UNLV, 6:30, EPSN2