Welcome to a FootballandBrackets “first.” As you know, Xavier has become my Bandwagon Team this season. In order to get fully immersed in Xavier hoops, I took to the blogs. SB Nation, a site that hosts sports blogs that focus on all different sports and the teams within the major sports, has a member blog called Banners on the Parkway – which covers all things Xavier hoops.
Its co-founders/co-writers are brothers from the Ohio area (as a Pittsburgher, I won’t hold that against them) who have followed Xavier hoops their whole lives. In order to get a feel for what they think of the program and this year’s team, I reached out to them for an “interview” which I’ll turn into a multi-post feature (Part I, Part II). Without further ado, Brad and Joel Dobney of Banners on the Parkway.
Besides blogging, what do you do with yourself? Any normal day job and/or hobbies?
Joel: One thing we’re both into right now is running half marathons. It’s a great way to be a little competitive and stay in shape now that our college athlete days are over. We try to get together for at least one event per year. Beyond that, I try to play and watch as much basketball as possible and serve the citizens of the great state of Ohio in my position as a state employee.
Brad: Man, I wish this was all I did. Running really has been a cool way to stay involved in something else. I also work for the state as a police officer up in Cleveland.
Continue reading Part III of the Banners on the Parkway Interview
This week was/is the beginning of Major Conference play in college hoops. Because of that, I’m previewing the major conferences. Check out the previous installments, which includes the miserable “Whack-12,” the loaded “B1G,” the top-heavy “BEast,” and the mysterious SEC (lacking a non-creative name that I’ll over-use).
If the non-Con were a true indicator of future success in the league (we should all be smart enough to know it’s not), Kansas’ strangle-hold on the Conference Title may be in jeopardy. Their home court advantage at the Phog, though, will keep them in the race all season long. This league isn’t deep, but it’s the most wide-open major conference in the nation.
- Kansas has been all over the place - beating Ohio State (without National Player of the Year Candidate Jared Sullinger though) and Georgetown but also losing to Kentucky, Duke (not terrible), and Davidson (not too respectable)
- Mizzou is undefeated, is the nation’s #2 team in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (points per possession), and is #1 in Effective FG% and Turnover % offense; blowout wins over down-year teams Notre Dame and Cal are their most impressive though
- Baylor is the “All-Jay-Bilas Team” – most likely the longest team in America; also undefeated, they have some very nice wins over San Diego State, BYU, St. Mary’s, West Virginia, and Mississippi State
- Texas lost to mediocre teams in Oregon State and NC State along with getting blown out at North Carolina; the most impressive win, a 12-point victory at home over Temple, is just OK
- Kansas State is a surprising 10-1 after winning the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii over Christmas; a true road win at Virginia Tech is the best W thus far and could end up putting the Hokies firmly on the bubble once again
- Oklahoma is 9-2, but they’ve played nearly nobody – a 20-point neutral-court loss to St. Louis and a home loss to Cincinnati last night are their only KenPom.com Top-65 opponents
Continue Reading the Big 12 Preview
This week was/is the beginning of Major Conference play in college hoops. Because of that, I’m previewing the major conferences. Check out the previous installments, which includes the miserable “Whack-12,” the loaded “B1G,” and the top-heavy “BEast.”
The SEC had some huge matchups in the non-Con schedule. Kentucky alone played three teams in KenPom’s Top 10 (all of whom are ranked in the Top 25 at the moment as well.)
- Kentucky beat Kansas by 10 on a neutral court at MSG in New York, beat North Carolina in a fantastic game at home; and then lost to Indiana on the now-famous Christian Watford buzzer-beating three
- Florida lost at Ohio State by just seven – the Buckeyes lowest margin of victory this season – and lost at Syracuse by just four; they beat Arizona at home and (more impressively) crushed Florida State there as well
- Alabama knocked off Purdue and Wichita State by nine and ten points respectively in Puerto Rico (that Wichita State win continues to look more and more impressive as the Shockers are on a roll)
- Bama’s losses are a home loss to Georgetown, a road loss at Dayton, and a semi-away game against Kansas State in Kansas City; only the Dayton loss looks somewhat shaky
- Mississippi State beat West Virginia at home by double digits and just barely lost to Baylor last night on a neutral floor
- Vandy was without its best NBA prospect and defender Festus Ezeli (suspension and sprained knee) when it lost vs Xavier and at Louisville
- Middle-of-the-road team LSU just beat previously on-fire Marquette
Continue Reading the SEC Preview
Based on this article, Steelers players voted Antonio Brown the team’s MVP today. Some might find this a curious decision, but let’s look into it further.
If any observer of any Steelers game were polled and asked the question, “which Pittsburgh player would be missed the most if they weren’t in the lineup,” I would think the clear-cut answers would be Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu. The units that those players carry are so significantly different without them.
However, the award isn’t given based on that question. It’s given based on consistent performances. In a year where Roethlisberger had a SEVEN-turnover game and the defense led by Polamalu couldn’t take the ball away consistently, a guy who was 4th in the NFL Kickoff Return Average, 10th in Punt Return Average, and 2nd in All-Purpose yards (including his 1,018 receiving yards) is a nice choice for this honor.
When considering the relatively down years for the team’s most indispensable players, why not go with “Tony” Brown? I’ve been on the “Brown to the Pro Bowl” Bandwagon for the better part of a month now as he keeps getting better and better.
I certainly hope he can continue it into February – not on the Pro Bowl squad but in the Super Bowl.
We’re past the dog days of college hoops and moving into the most exciting time of the year before the MOST exciting time of the year (Selection Sunday and The Dance, obviously). That’s right, it’s time for Conference Play. In keeping with that theme, I’m going to preview some of the more high-profile leagues this week. Instead of linking each one individually, click HERE for all of them.
Five of the top 14 teams in the AP Top 25 are from the BEast (these conference nicknames are catchy, eh). Here are some of the highlights:
- Amid the Bernie Fine allegation mess, Syracuse beat fellow-Top10 team Florida at home
- In a span of just three days, Marquette notched the conference’s best win (at Wisconsin) and also beat a talented – albeit struggling – Washington team at MSG in New York
- Marquette also beat Ole Miss by 30 on a neutral floor
- Georgetown has beaten preseason Top-10 team Memphis twice and then-#12 Alabama in a true road game
- Louisville’s resume is impressive only to those who may have seen the following Cardinals’ victims play against other teams: Ohio U, Long Beach State, Memphis, Vanderbilt (minus Festus Ezeli)
- UCONN lost to UCF (had to do it, Go Knights) but has beaten Harvard at home and Florida State on a neutral court
- After dropping an early-season shocker to Kent State, West Virginia beat Kansas State in Wichita
Continue Reading the Big East Preview