Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Absolute Monarchs

Old Dominion is your Paradise Jam champeen. Nicely done, Monarchs.

Some big games tonight.

--Butler at Siena. Two non-power powerhouses of recent times.
--Duke vs Kansas State. For all the CBE marbles.
--Gonzaga vs Marquette. The consolation CBE match is not bad, either.
--UConn vs Michigan State. Sparty is the favorite in Maui.
--Kentucky vs Washington. NBA score seems likely in this one.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TBB on Twitter

You can now follow TBB on Twitter if you so desire. There is a permalink to your right as well.

Sun Belt Slate

The Belt has a tough row to hoe tonight.

--Arkansas State vs Belmont. The Bruins are a perennial A-SUN power and the Red Wolves did not look that hot against Missouri State. They need to salvage a win here.
--UAB at Middle Tennessee. The Raiders score a nice home game here, but MTSU looks to be down this year. This would be a big win if they pull it off.
--UL-Lafayette at Creighton. ULL is rebuilding and Creighton is usually very tough at home.
--South Alabama at Southern Miss. USM looks to be up this year and USA is an unknown quantity at this point.

Tonight's GOI
--Utah State at BYU. In-state rivalry alert! Always a big one and often factros into future Bubble discussions.
--Murray State at Mississippi. Racers are the OVC fave and return a good bit from last year's 31-5 club that topped Vanderbilt in the NCAA Tourney's 1st round. It's a different team, but expects to be a very good one.

Monday, November 15, 2010

WKU Moves to 2-0

WKU moved to 2-0 on the season with an easy win over Alabama A&M. The Tops next face Minnesota in the Puerto Rico Shootout on Thursday.

Tonight's GOI

--Stetson at Bethune-Cookman. The Hatters try to consolidate their big road win over Wake.
--Ohio State at Florida. Two teams already thinking about seeding.
--UL-Monroe at Iowa. SD State did it...
--Butler at Louisville. The Cards open up to new YUM! Center. Big test for the Bulldogs.
--Texas Tech at North Texas. Huge home game for the Belt's Mean Green.
--San Diego State at Gonzaga. Bigger for the Aztecs.
--NIT Tip Off

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Forecast

Forecast: tidal wave. Enjoy.

TBB will drill down a bit deeper on the Sun Belt. There are fifteen Belt games this weekend including a whopping 12 tonight. The most interesting ones:

--WKU @ Saint Joseph's. Two of the better non-Power clubs of the 00's. Both have a lot of new faces, but WKU certainly has the experience advantage while SJU gets the home court.

--New Mexico State @ UL-Lafayette. The Cajuns open with a bang, hosting one of the premier non-BCS clubs in the USofA.

--UC-Santa Barbara vs Denver. The Pioneers play three this weekend: this one, Oregon, and North Dakota State (all in Eugene, OR). Some neutral wins would be an indicator that Denver might be more than just a home court hero this season. In Belt play, they rarely win on the road, but rarely lose at home. A couple of neutral wins could signal good things.

--UC-Davis vs FAU. The Owls are just over in Portland, OR, to face UC-D tonight, vs Milwaukee tomorrow, and @Portland tomorrow on Sunday. They have been picked to challenge WKU in the Belt East. If that is true, they should have a shot at two wins out there.

Come on, Belt. Let's get off to a great start.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hoops on TV

Great reference link for keeping track of tube hoops via Matt Sarz.

First Games of Import

The Games of Import (GOI) are a near-daily occurrence at TBB and this is the first edition. There are four games tonight, so they all get top billing.

Coaches vs Cancer
--UC-Irvine @ Illinois
--Seattle @ Maryland
--Rhode Island @Pittsburgh
--Navy @ Texas

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sun Belt Schedules Preview

You can read lots of preseason predictions of all conferences elsewhere, including the Sun Belt. Since TBB attempts to focus on what is and not what might be, we will look at schedules. This will also give some insight into the challenging world of non-BCS scheduling.

EAST
FIU: host Florida State, Utah Valley, Chattanooga, Jackson State, Bowling Green, Sam Houston, Florida A&M; @Marshall, @Louisville, @Utah Valley. Not great, but pretty good by FIU standards. They get docked for opening with two non-DI teams.

FAU: host American, South Florida, Manhattan; neutral UC-Davis, Milwaukee; @Portland, @Florida, @George Mason, @Mississippi State, @Hofstra, @Siena, @DePaul. FAU should be decent, but these roadies are murder. They play five straight roadies in December. But, they have USF at home and do play some strong teams.

Middle Tennessee. host UAB, Evansville, Furman, Vanderbilt, Tennessee State; neutral Campbell, Samford; @Auburn, @Tennessee, @SIU-Edwardsville, @Belmont, @Evansville. The Raiders have a couple of good home games and a couple of normally winnable roadies. Too bad they are likely down this season.
South Alabama: host Central Michigan, LSU, Houston Baptist, Alcorn State; @Southern Miss, @UAB, @Alabama, @Louisville, @Georgia Southern. Not a lot to get excited about here.

Troy: host UAB, Belmont; neutral Western Michigan, Idaho State; @Utah State, @Alabama, @Georgia State, @UTSA, @Mississippi State, @Arkansas, @Miami-OH. Brutal. As always.

WKU: host Alabama A&M, South Carolina, Southern Illinois, Louisville, Florida Gulf Coast; neutral Minnesota (plus Puerto Rico tip-off); @Saint Joseph's, @Vanderbilt, @Memphis, @Bowling Green, @Murray State. Pretty stacked, especially if the dominoes fall right in Puerto Rico, (North Carolina likely awaits if WKU can beat UMinn).

WEST
Arkansas State: host Alabama State, Savannah State, Lamar; neutral Missouri State; @
Mississippi, @Memphis, @Missouri State, @Georgia. While the home schedule is abysmal, there are a couple of decent, winnable road games for stAte if they are as good as many think.

Denver: host Colorado State, Alcorn State, Utah State, CS-Northridge, Portland, Northern Colorado, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; neutral ND State, UCSB; @Oregon, @Boise State, @Southern Miss, @Wyoming. The Pioneers are Jekyll at home and Hyde on the road. So, it's good news that they play 9/13 non-conference games either at home or on a neutral court.

Louisiana:
host New Mexico State, Cleveland State, Lamar, Centenary; @Creighton, @Houston, @McNeese State, @Tulane, @UCF, @New Mexico State. Two games against NMSU is nice, but these roadies will be tough for a team in transition.

North Texas: host Texas Tech, Rice, UT-Arlington, Grambling, Jackson State, Texas State; @Kansas, @Texas State, @Texas Southern, @Sam Houston, @LSU. This is a pretty weak home slate for the defending champs and a team that should be pretty tough. They also scheduled two non-DI games. The Belt needs more from the Mean Green, but it's tough to get NCAA-hopeful teams in your gym when you are dangerous and play in the Sun Belt.

UL-Monroe: host Stephen F. Austin, Centenary, Northern Colorado; neutral Jacksonville State, South Dakota; @Illinois State, @Kent State, @Louisiana Tech, @UTEP. The Warhawks have a new coach and only two contributors from last season return. Given their situation, this is not a bad schedule.

UALR: host Illinois State, LA Tech, Tulsa, Mississippi, St. Bonaventure; neutral Akron, Oral Roberts, Stetson; @SMU, @St. Bonaventure, @Oral Roberts, @Missouri State, @Rice. Meh. But, the Trojans are trying to recover from a couple of subpar years by their standards.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Bracket Bloated

Do I want to continue projecting brackets if this thing swells to 96 teams?

I had decided the answer to that question was a resounding, "NO." But, what we have is a little weight gain, perhaps even borderline obesity with the bracket ballooning to 68 teams. Of course, bloating long ago cemented itself as an American pastime. I wish the bracket would eat more fruits and veggies, get more exercise and slim back down to its once svelte 64 self. If it ever does Cracker Barrel its way to 96, I will refer it to bariatric surgery by a specialist and retire.

All that said, this is a quick reminder of what happens here.

1. No preseason bracket projections. TBB evaluates results, not rosters; criteria, not recruiting; 2010 accomplishments, not those from past seasons.

2. No projections before Jan 1. Teams need to play some games outside of their own gym before any meaningful evaluation can be made. Even then, projections do not mean much until late January.

3. This space is WKU and Sun Belt heavy in November and December.

4. TBB occasionally may or may not do interesting things from now until January. Once we do hit January, the schedule looks something like this:
--Monday: Bracket
--Tues: Bracket Buster Update
--Wed: Lockbox updates
--Thurs: State of the Sun Belt
--Fri: Weekend Forecasts