Boston College 82, Yale 80 (2OT)(story) - When Holy Cross pushed Boston College to overtime in a 63-60 thriller back on December 9, Chris over at Hoop Time suggested that maybe, just maybe, friendly officials had too much of a hand in the outcome. After all, HC outrebounded BC 41-39 and 34 of their 60 points were in-the-paint ones, but they only managed to shoot 15 free throws resulting from 16 Eagle fouls (as opposed to 30 freebies off 24 Crusader fouls). "All I know is that I have watched a ton of basketball over the years," Chris said at the time. "And it is not often that the team that is dominating inside is the one doing the preponderance of the fouling."
Well, lightning can strike twice, you know - fast-forward to yesterday. Li'l Ivy Yale (2-6) dominated 8-0 Boston College on the glass 49-36, and the Boston Globe describes Bulldog Dominick Martin as having "tortured BC inside with 22 points and 14 rebounds." But the refs only called 15 BC fouls for the whole game (a game that had ten extra minutes) and Yale only had the opportunity to toe the line 17 times - the Eagles got 24 stripe-shots on 23 Yale fouls. Unless the BC bigs were kindly holding the door open Waldorf Astoria-style so that Martin could strut right into the paint with his suits and luggage, there had to have been a slap or two that were somehow overlooked. And with 6-7, 265 lb. Craig Smith (29 points, 8 rebounds) and 7-0 Canadian lumberjack Nate Doornekamp (the lone BC player in foul trouble) around, dainty-lady D is hard to imagine.
I ain't wearing no tinfoil hat either, and I'm not claiming there's any sort of pro-Big East conspiracy here: after all, two different crews officiated these two ballgames. All I'm saying is that paying teams to come to your barn is loaded with perks - after all, you're picking up the check. And while early-season guarantee games can be excellent ways to evaluate teams in an under-the-microscope way, the final scores - and, by extension, the polls and punditry and ratings based on those results - are usually garbage. There's hidden wisdom in these two games, and it has nothing to do with Holy Cross or Yale.
The Atlantic Sun's Lipscomb Bisons are 5-1, their only loss so far coming in a blowout against Minnesota, but apparently there isn't much film available for the wins. Arkansascoach Stan Heath sez: "After watching the tape of their Minnesota game, they remind me of a mosquito or fly. They bother you, and will not go away. They are scrappy."
Mon 12/20:Princeton at Temple Wed 12/22:Albany at Villanova Our target for the end of December is 23 games. With 21 each in January and February and 35 in March, the goal of 100 will be achieved.
Ken Pomeroy applies the new RPI formula to last season - it's an alternate reality where Austin Peay and Utah State get invited to the big party after all. Seeing the numbers in black and white shows what a huge boost this is going to be to the number of at-large mid-majors come March (or a huge validation of selection committee criticism if they're ignored). While Ken hopes that this isn't the first step towards an endlessly tinkerable BCS model, I'm worried (as usual) that conference tournaments like the WCC and MVC will lose some of their intensity in future years.