Sunday, 13 March 2011

Making Sense of Selection Sunday

The highlights:
  • 5 teams with 14 losses get in(only 6 teams with 14 losses let in from 1985-2010)
  • Colorado and Virginia Tech snubbed
  • UAB and VCU in the tournament
  • Georgia a 10 seed??
  • ACC is the most disrespected of the major conferences
I think that about covers it. There were 30 at-larges for power conferences and 7 for mid-majors. At first I was really upset that Clemson was in the play-in game and as the 12 seed. But then I realized we were probably the last team in. Which means that if Dayton or possibly even UTEP win their conferences then we are on the chopping block. How did USC in the pathetic Pac 10 jump us??

That means that the ACC got a 1 seed, a 2 seed, a 10 seed and a play-in. Practically 3 teams were put in. We made it in because we beat BC and VT in the head to head or we would have been out. Had we not beaten BC we would have been out. We need to win the ACC/Big Ten challenge and quit losing by one game so that we can wag that in people's faces--7 teams for the Big Ten?? Two of them with 14!!!!!!!!!!!! losses. Wow. Getting to the semi's in the ACC meant nothing this year. You do remember that the reigning national champs came from our conference right??

Here is my rational behind the snubs. The committee used the extra seeds as a chance to reward mid majors. That is partly why the push was made for expansion and so they were set on delivering. It would have been 32 majors and 5 mid-majors. However, if you are going to put Kansas State as a 5 seed and then not include a team that beat them 3 times then you are being stupid or stubborn. Now I am not saying Colorado doesn't have its flaws but VCU lost 6 Colonial division games and UAB was ousted from its conference tourney by East Carolina.

The committee had a mission and they fulfilled it. The last major takeaway is for anyone who wants to expand anything. Whenever you have a cut-line and whenever someone is left out there will be controversy and moaning and groaning. Its inherent to selection. This is the stupid argument made in football. If we only have an 8 team play-off then teams will be left out--well duh. And if you have a 64 team tourney then people will complain and a 68 and even a 96. (In football it is better to give eight teams a chance over just two, however)

Don't think that expansion somehow solves these kinds of problems. Go back to a 64 team tourney. How fair is it to play in Dayton and then fly to the next spot for the first game?? I thought we were having all the silly 16 seeds play each other so that first round game against the 1 seed might mean something. Oh well, Clemson will play UAB and have to break the press--something we don't do horribly well. At least this way we can win one game in the tourney!

West Virginia here we come!! (11 Big East teams...ugh)

Friday, 11 March 2011

Let's Dance

Oh yeah. Who thought that at the beginning of the season we would be in the semis of the ACC tourney, playing our best basketball and pretty much a lock for the NCAA tourney. Now the only question is whether or not we get the Bye game. (I really hate the play-in 12 seed game, so dumb especially for everyone who loves to fill out brackets--at least this expansion should shut up further expansion talk for awhile) (Sorry, have to continue rant--what would 96 teams mean?? South Carolina would be on the bubble, teams at or below .500 would be in consideration, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how stupid the NCAA can be, Jim Sweatervest and THE Ohio State rule breakers deserve some serious punishment. You know that the NCAA let them off easy and had a wink/nod situation where they allowed Pryor to play in that BCS game. Now they better come down hard)

So we won. When Stitt is on we can match-up against some of the best teams in the country. I am so impressed with how he has matured as a player in the past month. Well not emotionally but as a player. He hits threes, drives to the basket with authority, finishes plays, has become an elite defender, rebounds well for a guard, has that fire and leadership this team needed. I am so glad Trapani is gone. He is a match-up nightmare for us.

The key to this team is that players have developed roles. I feel like everyone knows more or less where they fit into the scheme, so players play within the system and themselves. I don't see ill advised drives from Tanner Smith--I see him hustling, playing good D, passing the ball well and knocking down the occasional outside shot. Jerai knows he can knock down a mid-range jumper. The ball goes inside-out more often than ever before.

The team is gaining confidence in itself at the right time. This season has been a huge success and I think this is the time as fans that we sit back and enjoy. I know we want to win championships but it is not very often that we can say that our basketball team has overachieved. Jay Bilas should eat a big pile of crow(he had us dead last). TDP did something right (although he tried to do something wrong before stumbling into the right decision) and I think Brownell is fantastic. Lets hope we can win a few recruiting battles from this but for now I am all smiles.

If we lose to UNC, it won't matter. All I want is a first round victory in the big dance and my wishlist for this season is fulfilled. Thank you seniors! Go Tigers!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Brad BrownLEE?? Does it

Note to ESPN--the man is a major college coach and potentially the ACC Coach of the Year. Lets get his name right. Brad Brownell...Brad Brown(like the color) ell(like the french word she elle), at least Mike Patrick apologized to the student body. Then it gets repeated on Sportscenter.

The orange blazer was in full effect as the team played some very good team basketball. How refreshing is it that our team is, for once, finishing strong! The team had some rough patches where we turned the ball over a ton but overall we passed the ball better than I have seen in like six years. This team is playing a walk-on Zavier and Narcisse for long periods of time--and winning. Who would have said that at the beginning of the season. I thought we had the talent this year to go 20-10 and 8-8 in the league, potentially make the tourney. Those were my best case numbers and after that rough patch where we lost three straight I was prepared for the worst. I just didn't see how after the loss of Johnson and Donte Hill this team could coalesce around Brownell's system.

Then the defense picked up. I think Tanner's injury gave some players quality minutes that ultimately helped the team. Stitt has been a fiery leader and Grant developed that outside shot. Now we still have our flaws. Grant has been shutdown. Booker and Milt have talent but are hit or miss in some games. Lack of depth.

Good thing we have Brownell. We have cut down on turnovers, learned how to pass the ball, and can actually run some offense. We consistently rotate well and play very good defense. And no we don't use a gimmick defense that can be scorched by good teams. Tanner Smith plays within himself. Narcisse provides defensive length. Bobo can even have a role. Anderson is utilized for his defensive pressure. Brownell magnifies the ability of each of his players.

A word on the tourney. Lunardi had us as the last team in before the VT win. Today bubble competitors Richmond, Alabama, Michigan(who beat us), Colorado, Butler(hopefully wins tourney), Missouri St(really hope they win tourney), Illinois, Memphis and UAB.

Those who lost are Baylor, Colorado St, Washington(now 20-10), Washington St, Marquette, Michigan St. and Georgia, Nebraska, Wichita St, Dayton and Drexel.

The Alabama win really hurts us as well as the Michigan win and possibly the Colorado win. It will be hard to keep Alabama out now and Georgia still has a good resume. Michigan is on the edge but the committee is likely to still favor a big name team like Michigan St (not to mention mid major darlings Butler and Gonzaga) and Michigan has the head to head win against us.

What we have going in our favor is the fact that the ACC will not be a three big league. That means that the fourth big would have to go to either BC or VT ahead of us and we have the head to head match-ups against them. Certainly, that is comforting.

The other thing no one is talking about is how the committee will approach the extra 4 teams. We have no precedent and so it is all guess work. They could just extend the cut line from 64 to 68 which would be in our favor but they also might be more inclined to give them to mid majors, so as to appear impartial and not turning these picks into more of the same. We shall see.

I think in a match-up against BC in the 4/5 game we need that win to be in the tourney. How lame are the 12 seed games?? Way to try to ruin something good NCAA--96 teams--really??
A blog about all Clemson Tiger University sports--football, basketball, baseball, along with the occasional South Carolina coot bashing.