Sunday, March 16, 2008

Above the Rim: Selection Sunday

Welcome to another riveting edition of Above the Rim. Today we will discuss a few of the topics that are dominating the basketball world. I will take a look at the recently released NCAA college basketball brackets and discuss the winners and losers. We will also take a look at a couple of stories brewing in the NBA.

Selection Sunday is here and we are all eagerly attempting to fill in our brackets. I will be posting a Bracket Breakdown on Tuesday, so check back for all the inside information you need to win your pool.

Any team that makes the tournament is a winner, but these teams were especially lucky on Sunday.

South Alabama (26-6)
The Jaguar’s play in the Sun Belt conference and should consider this a gift from the NCAA selection committee. Losing to Middle Tennessee State this late in the season is inexcusable and should automatically land you in the NIT.

Pittsburgh (26-9)
The Panthers were the biggest winners of the weekend. They parlayed a Big East championship into a #4 seed. Granted, they have to travel to Denver but they went from a bubble team to a top 16 team in a matter of 4 days.

North Carolina (32-2)
In the last post, I talked about the advantage UNC could get if they won the ACC tournament and they did not disappoint. The Tar Heels will not leave the state for the next two weeks, but the NCAA committee did take notice and put a few road blocks in their way. Tennessee and Louisville are arguably the best #2 and #3 seeds respectively, and either will be a huge test for Roy Williams and the fast paced Tar Heels.

Georgetown (27-5)
The Hoyas must have spent a little longer at Mass this morning, because the selection committee did an injustice by giving them a #2 seed. A team like Wisconsin (29-4), who ran the tables in the Big-10 regular season as well as in their conference tournament, is much more deserving of the #2 seed.

Every year there are a handful teams who get left out, but at the end of the day, the best team in America wins the tournament, and that is the ultimate goal.

Arizona State ( 19-12)
Herb Sendek and the Sun Devils had a tremendous year and it is a shame that it will only continue on in the NIT. The Sun Devils beat Arizona (who is a #10 seed) twice this year and had a better conference record than the Wildcats. The Sun Devils also had five wins this year verse teams in the top 50 of the RPI.

Virginia Tech ( 19-13)
There are not many teams in this country that can beat North Carolina and Virginia Tech came within a box-out of being one of those teams on Saturday. The Hokies finished fourth in the ACC with a conference record of 9-7, but the truth is the Hokies have not proven they can beat quality teams. Losing to the Tar Heels is not a signature win and beating Miami on a neutral court is not enough to guarantee a spot in the field of 65. On a side note, Deron Washington’s dunk on the out of bounds play against UNC was the best play of the weekend and deserves to be on ESPN’s Top 10 this week.

These teams also missed the cut, but none are deep enough to be playing on the second weekend.
Ohio State (19-13)
Illinois State (24-9)
Dayton (21-10) …with an RPI of 32

Best Game:
The most intriguing game of the entire bracket happens to be a first round match-up (Thank you NCAA selection Committee). In the Midwest bracket, we have a #6 vs. #11 match up between USC and Kansas State. This game will feature freshman standouts, Mike Beasley and OJ Mayo and will have scouts from every NBA organization in attendance. Let’s hope CBS plans to show more than a glimpse of this game.

With college basketball taking center stage this week, the NBA takes a backseat, but there are some tremendous stories coming from the league these days.

Houston Rockets
I would first like to state, that I, in no way, believe the Houston Rockets can compete for a Western conference title, but 22 straight games is extremely impressive. With a very convincing win against the Lakers on Sunday, the Rockets have proved that they can beat the elite, but I believe they have peaked too early (think of the Dallas Mavericks last year). With that said, congratulations go out to T-Mac and Rick Adelman.

Miami Heat
Another story not receiving much hype is the situation developing in Miami. The Heat is a terrible team. They have little talent, an uninterested coach, and one of the best futures of any Eastern conference team. Let’s start with Dwayne Wade. He is under contract for two more years. He is already an NBA champion and will re-sign with the Heat if they do right by him. So how does the Heat do that? Well they go out and lose 60 games this year and get at the front of the line for the Mike Beasley sweepstakes. Now, the Heat has added a 20 point and 10 rebound forward to pair with Wade. They already traded away Shaq’s contract and received Shawn Marion’s expiring contract in return. This will free up about $17 million in cap space to pursue a free agent this summer, and what better free agent than Agent O? Gilbert Arenas is an unrestricted free agent and would fit perfectly in with Wade and Beasley. Imagine trying to match up against those three each night. The only thing the Heat are missing for next year is a coach. Pat Riley was done coaching the Heat around Thanksgiving and will formally step down soon. The top candidate to replace the legend will be Billy Donovan from the Florida Gators. Donovan and Riley are great friends and the chance to coach a core of Arenas-Wade-Beasley would be enough to lure John Wooden back to the bench. I wonder if Billy Donovan would be more excited about coaching this team?

Related Posts by Subject


Joe Romano said...

You are such a homer. V-Tech doen't deserve to be considered a snub. Focus on real snubs like Dayton than V-Tech.

Nicole said...

Homer? Typical for a Duquesne guy to be crying about an A-10 snub. Let's be honest. Dayton was 8-8 in a terrible conference and they lost 9 of their last 16 games.

John said...

I'm just glad that Luis Scola also producing some good numbers as he was the real deal in Yao's absence.

Dan Elzer said...

Luis Scola has indeed taken on a larger role for the Rockets since Yao's injury. But it really has been the age-less one, Dikembe Mutombo, who has seen his numbers spike in the last two weeks.