Around the beginning of Conference play, I did previews for each of the six “power” leagues. As you know if you’ve read me before (or are living anywhere on Planet Earth and follow College Basketball), the quotation marks around power are for the Pac-12. Speaking of the “Whack-12,” let’s begin there since they were the first preview I wrote. I’ll re-visit my predictions and list what actually happened. Let’s take a little ride.
I didn’t make predictions on Player of the Year (POY), Coach of the Year (COY), and Freshman of the Year (FOY) for this league. I did, however, mention the following:
I see the following conferences having more NCAA bids than the Pac-12 when Selection Sunday comes along:
Mountain West (UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico)
A-10 (Xavier, St. Louis, Temple)
Missouri Valley (Creighton, Northern Iowa, Wichita State)
West Coast Conference (Gonzaga, BYU, St. Mary’s)
While it remains to be seen how many teams make it in from this league, there are zero “locks” in the Pac-12 and multiple in each of the other leagues here. I nailed every other team with the exception of “Bubble Boys” Xavier and BYU, and I don’t know what I was thinking with Northern Iowa. Also, in the RPI, the Pac-12 was behind three of these four leagues – with the WCC just behind it.
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), and the more-open-than-usual Big 12.
There’s really only a few teams worth focusing on so, but they provided some nice games upon which to look back.
North Carolina has two losses but both were true road games against KenPom.com Top-25 teams in UNLV and Kentucky; they also beat Michigan State on an Aircraft Carrier and pounded Texas by 19
Duke opened the season with a one-point home win over Belmont (probably says more about Belmont than Duke) and has also beaten Michigan State, Michigan, and Kansas all on neutral courts; their only loss was a beatdown at Ohio State
Virginia has been a pleasant surprise at 13-1, but their best win was at home against KenPom #43 Michigan; the loss was on a neutral court to TCU – ugly
Perennial Bubble Losers Virginia Tech look to be on their way there again – 11-3 with losses to the three best teams they played and a “best” win over KenPom #75 Oklahoma State (who they beat on a neutral floor and on the road)
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
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
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