Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And Down the Stretch They Come

First, you really need to read The Mid-Majority's take on the Gonzaga 'shroom situation.

Now, read on about seven horses who stumbled out of the gate, but have gained on the field and positioned themselves for a strong stretch run. Some of these horses will thunder home and some will run out of gas. At any rate, their recent exploits are to be noticed and commended.

1. Bucknell. The much-celebrated Bison got off to a rocky start, but since a loss to Central Arkansas (!) on Dec 29, the Bison have navigated the Patriot League with just one tough loss at Holy Cross by 5. They balanced the ledger with the HC by beating them 48-45 on Friday. There will be no At-Large for the Bison, but if they do not play HC for the Patriot title, I (and most) will be shocked.

2. Louisville. They had been treading water with the vanilla-ist of profiles until last night, when they smoked Big East leader Pittsburgh by 12 in the Zoo. This win alone will not get UL in, but that kind of play from here on out will.

3. Oklahoma. The Sooners are 6-4 in the Big XII and they have paid their road dues. They have Texas A&M, Texas, and Kansas all in Norman left on the slate. Lots of chances to make a late-season impression on the committee.

4. Iowa. Hawkeyes are a real long shot, but they have won 4 of 6, with the two losses coming to Wisconsin. A strong finish and a good Big Ten tourney could do the trick, especially if they wind up alone in 4th in the Big Ten.

5. Old Dominion. George Mason, Hofstra, Drexel, VCU. All have taken their turn as the CAA darling. But, ODU has won seven straight and that includes a 16-pt walloping of leader VCU. They also have an early-season win over Georgetown on the resume. Another long shot, but they can make it interesting with a big finish.

6. Mississippi. In the parity-ridden SEC West, 5-5 (tie for first) looks pretty good. If the Rebs wind up winning the division, they will be hard to leave at home kNITting.

7. Washington. Since that 1-6 Pac-10 start, the Huskies are 5-1. They host Washington State in a monster game tomorrow night.

Last Night's GOI

--Davidson 73, at College of Charleston 63. Davidson asserts their SoCon South dominance.
--at Georgetown 71, West Virginia 53. Hoya Paranoia is sweeping the countryside.
--Santa Clara 84, at Gonzaga 73. Broncs now sit alone in first in the WCC.
--Louisville 66, at Pitt 53. Cards score a huge win for their resume. They are now certainly in the mix at 8-4 in the Big East.
--at Texas 83, Oklahoma State 54. These two seem to be heading in opposite directions.

Tonight's GOI
--Northern Iowa at Creighton. Jays look to bounce back from tough SIU loss.
--Georgia Tech at Florida State. Both need it, but if GT has any hope, they need to score a road win or two.
--Oklahoma at Iowa State. Sooners are quietly creeping up the Big XII standings. They have Texas A&M, Texas, and Kansas all coming into Norman at season's end. If they could nab one or two of those, plus score this road win, OU might get into the mix.
--Michigan at Michigan State. Both are in desperation mode.
--Kansas State at Nebraska. K-State cannot afford any slip-ups.
--Virginia Tech at North Carolina. UNC lookin' for payback.
--Hofstra at Old Dominion. Monarchs' seven straight wins have put them into the Bubble mix.
--UNLV at San Diego State. Aztecs have ripped off four straight including that 21-point pasting of Air Force.
--Kentucky at Tennessee. Vols are 13-0 at home and Lofton is back. They need a big win to solidify that they are the team that they were before Lofton went down. UK tries to recover from "The one that got away" after their horrid shooting performance against Florida.
--Texas Tech at Texas A&M. Not an easy game for Bob Knight's club to end a 5-game losing streak.