Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rick Bozich in Bowling Green

Louisville Courier-Journal sportswriter Rick Bozich was the guest speaker at WKU's monthly men's basketball breakfast this morning. He served as the student reporter for the Indiana University school newspaper as a student back in the early 1970s when Robert Montgomery Knight was the youthful head coach at IU, and when Knight was supported by a squirrelly grad assistant named Michael Krzyzewski. Bozich spun yarns about Knight and his time at IU. He talked about WKU Hilltopper hoops a bit, too.

But, he also said something vital to understanding the men's selection process. I have said it. Before me, Jerry Palm has said it. Joe Lunardi says it. Nearly every bracketologist has probably said it only to see folks roll their eyes in disbelief. There is no "conference quota" or favoritism when selecting the last few teams in the bracket. Bozich was in the room with about twenty other sportswriters in a mock selection process last Spring. Of course, playing in a power conference gives a certain team some inherent scheduling and SOS advantages, but if the Big East has seven teams in and the Big Ten only has four, that in NO WAY gives a Big Ten bubble team an advantage over that eighth team in the Big East if their profiles are similar.

Bozich said it as plain as day: conference does not matter, at least in that way. He's right--and it is good to see mainstream media types understand this and communicate this message.

Last Night's GOI
--at Bahston U 79, Hahvahd 72. Crimson tumble back to earth after beating Michigan.
--Michigan State 66, at Bradley 61. Braves led most of the way only to see Sparty scratch it out in the final few minutes. Attendance: 11,597.
--Tennessee 76, at Chattanooga 70. The Mocs had 33 turnovers and shot a paltry 26% from downtown. Slight improvement in either area might have been enough to pull this one out. Attendance: 11,221.
--New Mexico at New Mexico State. In-state rivalry alert! Lobos are off to a much better start (7-1 vs 2-6)
--Holy Cross 71, at Saint Joseph's 66. Good win for the Cross, which has certainly solidified their place as the Patriot League fave.
--Notre Dame 68, Kansas State 59. Big win for ND in the Jimmy V Classic.
--North Carolina 106, at Penn 71. The Heels are pretty good at basketball.
--at Rhode Island 77, Providence 60. The Rams appear to be legit and this is looking like a big year for the A-14.
--Memphis 62, Southern Cal 58 (OT). Memphis made this one very close by shooting 7-18 from the FT line. And, despite what Dickie V says, this had NOTHING to do with USC controlling the pace or slowing down the game. This game was played at a breakneck clip of 81. Great defense? YES. "Controlled pace?" No way.
--at Winthrop 68, Akron 58. Eagles have taken their lumps in tough contests early, but this is a nice win.

Tonight's GOI
--West Virginia at Auburn. 'Eers have real potential to be bubblicious, so a win here means something even at this early stage.
--Davidson at Charlotte. If the Cats have hopes of securing At-Large insurance, they have to win games like this.
--Iowa State at Drake. In-state rivalry alert and attendance watch.
--Pittsburgh at Duquesne. Biggest game of the night.
--Clemson at East Carolina. AW, and ECU is coming off a big win at George Mason. That was a puzzler.
--Georgia Tech at Georgia State. In-state game and AW.
--Washington State at Gonzaga. Two powers at a combined 14-1.
--Iowa at Northern Iowa. In-state rivalry alert and AW.
--Syracuse at Virginia. GASP! The Orange leave the state before January! Surely, there has been an error!
--Nebraska at Western Kentucky. Huskers need to prove themselves on the road and WKU needs to right the wrongs suffered in a tough road loss at Northern Arizona. Also, AW.
--Creighton at Xavier. Tremendous matchup of non-power powers.