BUSTIN' BUBBLES: Florida State, Texas A&M and Kentucky won huge bubble games on Wednesday [oh, and Carolina beat Virginia by 45 pts]. Check out my updated "HOOPS ASSASSIN" by The SPORTZ ASSASSIN for all the haps in Bubble Land.
CINCINNATI: I am an Andy Kennedy supporter. I think he's earned the right to keep the Bearcats' head coaching job. But, most likely, he won't. Wake Forest's Skip Prosser is the #1 guy on their hit list....and the way things spiraled in Winston-Salem, I think he may leave to go back to Cincinnati [he was formerly Xavier's head coach]. Kennedy will most likely end up with a head job somewhere....but he should stay in Cincy. The fact that this team is on the bubble is amazing since they lost guys with injuries, they weren't that talented anyways, and he kind of inherited the job late in the game. Also, the move to the Big East wasn't easy. Just ask Louisville.
MEMPHIS: One interesting thing will be how Memphis is viewed in the eyes of the selection committee. I mean, don't get me wrong, they are in the dance. But what seeding will they get?? You'd think a #1 seed would be nearly a lock....but I am not so sure. Conference USA is 13th in the RPI rankings and last year's C-USA champ, Louisville, were screwed over by the selection committee in the 2005 tourny. Could it happen again? Maybe. Duke, UConn and Villanova seem to be in good shape to get a top seed.....while Memphis will be fighting Texas, Gonzaga and Ohio State for one this time around. Right now, I have Memphis as my 4th #1 seed.
SPEAKING OF TOP SEEDS...: I think Duke and UConn are pretty much assured of #1 seeds. Outside of that, it is a guess. Villanova looks pretty solid as a third top seed....but remember, either UConn or Nova will have to lose in the Big East tournament. As I've stated, Memphis is barely holding on to the last seed...which makes their game against UAB that much more important. A loss there, or in the C-USA tournament, and a team like Ohio State [who has a better RPI] or even Gonzaga could steal the spot from them.
JJ REDICK: Redick would get my vote for Player Of The Year. Why? Well, he and Gonzaga's Adam Morrison are neck in neck in many people's minds, but Redick gets my vote because of the competition he's doing it against. I think Morrison is the better all around player....but Redick's numbers, to me, are more impressive since he's doing it in a better conference and some of the tougher defensive teams in the nation. But, I love Morrison's game....and think he could be one of the top 5 picks in the 2006 NBA Draft if he decides to come out. And unlike most Dookies, I think Redick has a place in the NBA as well. I mean, any team would love to have a guy with that kind of range. He needs to work on his handle, though. Of course, both will end up with POY awards from various award giving "clubs". Which is quite alright with me.
ROY WILLIAMS: I don't think ol' Roy is getting the props he deserves. After spending 2004-5 massaging egos and claiming a national champion with pure breds.....he does an even better job getting this Heels team to a 20-6 record despite losing his top 7 scorers and starting two freshmen, a former walkon, and two guys who were role players [at best] last season. And this team will only get better. As a Carolina fan, I'm pretty much stunned by their current record. I thought they'd be around a 17-9 or 16-10 team right now. And most Heels fans are pointing the NEXT year as the one of greatness again. Out of the rotation, UNC will lose only David Noel [who has been the glue on this team all year]......but replace him with Tywon Lawson, Wayne Ellington and, the guy that will most likely take his starting spot, Brendan Wright. Again, Roy, welcome back!
THE BIG EAST: I am not happy with the Big East at all. Sure, they are the Mother Conference right now....but I don't like their set up. It is a conference that stretches from Tampa to Milwaukee, has a horribly unbalanced schedule which sees certain teams not play each other....and doesn't invite everyoneto their own conference tournament. That's crap!!! Look, I know you don't want your big schools to have to win 4 games in a conference tourny....but that's the freakin' price of having a 16-team league. Have the top 4 seeds play the bottom 4 seeds on their home courts, like, the Monday or Tuesday before the tournament begins in NYC. And I'm sticking to my prediction that this 16-team Big East will be blown to bits in the next 5-10 years.
FIXING THE BIG EAST: I'd have to do what the WAC tried to do when they had 16 teams....put them into "quads". That way, they'd have some rivals and then rotate with everyone else. My Big East Quads would be:
I: Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette
II: Notre Dame, South Florida, Pittsburgh, West Virginia
III: UConn, Georgetown, Providence, Syracuse
IV: Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John's, Villanova
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE: Who says that this is a mid-major???? They have better RPI numbers than the Pac-10 [and only trailing Big East, Big Ten, ACC, Big XII and SEC]. And they could get six teams into the tournament! I think they will at least get 4....with Wichita State, Creighton, Northern Iowa and Missouri State looking like they'll be four of them. Outside of that, Bradley and Southern Illinois are fighting for the last slots. And this isn't like this is some fluke thing. The MVC has routinely had multiple bids into the tournament and usually performs pretty well. Again, I'd like to see more of these teams than 8 or 9 teams from the majors.
THOSE OTHER MID MAJOR LOCKS: Well, we all know about Gonzaga being a lock. And we know about George Washington [these are the #5 and #6 ranked teams in the nation, respectively]. How about Nevada? A solid team in last year's tourny...they should be in already this year. Or George Mason?? They recently were beaten by Hofstra to knock them out of the Top 25....but Hofstra has a shot at getting an at-large bid as well. Or how about UNC-Wilmington??? And they don't have Mr. Blizzard anymore. And don't forget about last year's darlings....Bucknell. The thing is, most of these major bubble teams better pray to God that the above teams win their conference tournaments....or they might be sitting on the curb waiting for the NIT bus.
THOSE TEAMS THAT SUCK: I think there ought to be a tournament of the worst teams in the NCAA. So, here is my 16-team tourny....
Savannah State [1-26], Prairie View A&M [3-22], North Florida [4-22], Jacksonville [1-26], Howard [5-20], Morgan State [4-23], Texas State [3-20], Texas-PA [3-23], Army [3-21], Northern Colorado [3-24], Centenary [3-23], Citadel [5-20], St Francis-PA [3-24], W. Illinois [5-20], Morehead State [3-23] and VMI [4-20].