INDIANAPOLIS -- Well, here we are. Today is Mock Selection III
, and I still have no idea what I did to deserve an invitation -- or why I've been listed as representing Basketball State all along. It's a real thrill, even though we've had to detour from our regularly scheduled travel and will be going five days without live basketball as a result.
I've received a few notes from web bracketology wizards in the past 24 hours, some defending themselves against yesterday's comments
about location, but most wanting more information out of this binder we were given. How about this, for example: Supplement No. 11 details the hard-and-fast rules about hosting conflicts, the teams that are not allowed to be seeded in a particular region. Teams are not to be placed or aimed towards a pod where their own institution or conference is hosting (duh), but the tricky part is keeping schools out of sites where they've played at least three games, as specified in Principle No. 4 of the "bracketing safety net" section. Thankfully, the NCAA has compiled a nice cheatsheet.
Teams Ineligible to Play in a Particular Site or Region, By Team
|First and second rounds|
Teams Ineligible to Play in a Particular Site, By Site
|First and second rounds|
|None; ACC is the host|
|None; Big XII is the host|
A few of you have asked who "won" conferences like the A-14, MAC and WAC. The binder has all the results up until Thursday, March 11
, so we'll be finding out as the day goes on. One league bracket that is in amberfix is the Patriot League, which is stuck at the semifinals: American, Navy, Holy Cross and Colgate made it. Sorry, Lehigh fans.
On the same topic, I've also been told by past participants that the bracket we make is going to be made public, and that blogs and message boards will get to, well, mock us. So before anybody calls us all morons for putting IUPUI or Old Dominion in, remember that the idea of this is for the NCAA representatives to throw us "curveballs" so that we have to respond to the volatility of your average Championship Week. And to make us argue about Davidson and Siena.
Also, I have no idea how this is going to work today. I'm really hoping that I can do real-time updates for you, but the schedule and/or house rules may not allow that. If not, I'll take notes and post a timestamped play-by-play either later tonight or tomorrow. Either way, I'm going to make sure that the end result of my involvement isn't just a column about how difficult this all is. I promised this to you last November: you'll see what I see, hear what I hear, and we're all going to learn together. (It just might all be on tape-delay.)Random Announcements
Due to some nimble travel-fu scheduled for tomorrow, we're going to hold the Friday chat at the exact same time as we did last week. That's 3 p.m. Eastern Standard
, live from St. Louis, right here at The Mid-Majority
. You can get an e-mail reminder just in case you're like me and get easily distracted by colorful flashing things on the internet. We have some super-hot league races going on in the other 22, but I have a feeling that most of what we'll talk about is Mock Selection 2009. Come on by!Conference Calls
Atlantic 14: Anybody questioning Dayton now? With an emphatic pullaway 71-59 win over Xavier at home last night, the Flyers certainly have the look of an NCAA team. And with two RPI top 25 wins (the same number as the Musketeers) and 22 overall, their profile supports that. The X had won six straight in the series and eight of nine, so fans were pretty excited... but didn't storm the court, though, to their eternal credit. We've talked all year about Xavier's problems with turnovers and free throws; the Musketeers rank in the A-14's bottom two in both categories (15.3 topg and 65.4 percent), and we've wondered aloud multiple times if those two line items might conspire against them in a one-and-done situation. Minus-5 on coughups and 9-for-17 from the line are just more fuel on that particular fire.
Colonial: The Tour de CAA is settling into its familiar three-part structure: a lead pack, a .500 peloton, and a few domestiques bringing up the rear grabbing water bottles. And fittingly enough, the ones in the yellow jerseys have moved back into a tie for the lead. While VCU was defending Richmond against James Madison with a 76-71 overtime win, Northeastern yielded a 15-0 run at home to Drexel and came from ahead to lose 62-58. Both the Rams and Huskies are at 11-3 with four conference games remaining.
Bizarro Valley: Now that the Bizarro Valley meme has taken hold, just a reminder of what it really means. Things are going to get back to normal, perhaps next year even, and we'll be all able to leave Reggie's behind and return to Monk's. But hoo boy, are things weird now. Creighton (10-4) is suddenly the league's hottest team, winners of five straight including a systematic destruction of Bradley last night, which hasn't been the same since blowing a late lead to Northern Iowa last week. UNI (12-2) is still on top, though, rebounding from its weekend loss to the Bluejays by crushing Southern Illinois at home 81-55. The Panthers are two up with four left.
Big West: A lot of mail about picking the "wrong" G!O!T!N! yesterday. Well, did Dayton-Xavier go into double OT? Did it? Perpetual punching bag UC Riverside (6-5) continued its dream season by dropping league-leading Long Beach 73-70 in 50 minutes, sweeping the season series in the process. The Highlanders are now tied with league champs Cal State Fullerton for third, while the 49ers drop a half-game off the pace to 7-4. Your first-placers are now Cal State Northridge (7-3), who've won five straight after the kind of horrid start that gives a team an 11-10 overall record. The Matadors ran off Cal Poly by 12 at the Matadome last night.
U'useless Stat of the Day
In the SoCon last night, the College of Charleston followed up its nationally televised defeat of Davidson with a solid win over Western Carolina, which was until recently the leader in the North division. The reason it's in this space and not the one above is because the Cougars shot 63.4 percent, which is really good. Only 40 team performances among the 7,622 so far this season have been better.
OK, that's not totally otherworldly as far as facts go, but consider this. CofC's 20 turnovers in the 78-67 win might have cost them the game otherwise, but the 26-for-41 conversion rate from the floor kept their 30.6 percent turnover percentage (in a moderately-paced 65 possession game) from being an issue. Charleston is only the ninth team this season to shoot better than 60 percent and turn the ball over more than 30 percent of the time. The others:
Navy vs. Texas-San Antonio, Dec. 2 - 71.4 percent shooting/36.5 percent turnover rate
Kentucky vs. Kansas State, Nov. 28 - 68.8/40.5
Robert Morris at Iona, Nov. 29 - 64.9/36.6
Illinois vs. Detroit, Dec. 20 - 64.6/30.3
Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan, Jan. 20 - 62.8/31.1
Wake Forest vs. Indiana, Dec. 3 - 61.5/30.3
VCU at Rhode Island, Dec. 22 - 60.7/33.3
North Carolina A&T vs. Florida A&M, Feb. 7 - 60.0/35.1
All except the VCU one were pulled-out victories.