Posted on 13 March 2012.
Well, we have finally made it. It is March, the weather has gotten slightly warmer, and the smells of fresh-cut grass and newly-seeded basketball teams linger in the air as we head into postseason college basketball. Cities like Louisville, Columbus, Greensboro and Nashville are all abuzz with what is to come in the next week, and New Orleans is eagerly awaiting a high-caliber national championship game. But will there be any surprises? Who will make it to the top, and who will claim a few unexpected victories—could they be the same teams?
MidwestSportsFans.com has not only given us a few of their picks, but they have also given us some strategies on how to gather some of the best upsets this year. They give reference to ESPN’s “Giant Killer” blog, which looks closely at the statistics of certain teams to get a good view of who will be a smarter surprise pick while playing a top-ranked team. MSF also did a great job of making it clear that seeds have no relation to what happens on the court in a given game; that’s the beauty of basketball—anything can happen at any given time, and it’s not over until it’s over.
I agree with a few of MSF’s upset picks, including #12 Cal over #5 Temple and #14 Belmont over #3 Georgetown. But after looking closely at #6 Murray State a month ago, I believe they will get their spunk back once they hit the court in the first round and will be able to stop #11 Colorado State. I also do not see #11 Texas over #6 Cincinnati; the Bearcats have beaten teams such as Georgetown and Louisville, so maybe they will keep up the same pace they have had all season and defeat the Longhorns.
Upsets are always a tough call; what happens on the court is completely unpredictable, and once in the postseason, a team’s history essentially has nothing to do with what will happen next. But that is what makes March “madness”—each year, you never can tell what the tournament will bring.
Photo courtesy of Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.
Posted in Fan Blogs
Posted on 13 February 2010.
Valentines Day weekend represents the turning point in an up and down season for the Cincinnati Bearcats. While you may have been spent the holiday enjoying company with a special someone and an expensive dinner, I was taking in the single life and watching as my Bearcats captured a signature road win versus Connecticut.
All the pre-game hype was about Hall of Fame Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun, who was making his return from a three-week leave of absence due to health problems. The Huskies were under the microscope because of a mid-season slump, having dropped four out of their last five. This traditional powerhouse has not lived up to its billing with three future NBA draft picks currently on the team; Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson and Stanley Robinson. Experts were discussing UConn’s likelihood of missing out on the tournament throughout the week.
But what about the Bearcats? The Huskies are America’s team but is there really that little interest in UC? Cincinnati is in the home stretch of their quest to make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2005. Senior guard Deonta Vaughn has shouldered the burden of UC’s rebuilding process for four years; how can you not root for him to make his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Let me bring you up to speed on Cincinnati’s current tournament resume. The Bearcats have two quality wins against Maryland and Vanderbilt, both locks to make the field. They also beat bubble teams Notre Dame, South Florida and swept Connecticut.
Cincinnati (15-9, 6-6 Big East) is No. 52 in CollegeRPI.com and currently sits in the middle of a crowded, bubble heavy Big East. To this point in the season, UC has played average. It doesn’t have any terrible losses, just a couple bad ones against Seton Hall and St. John’s on the road. The main problem is they don’t have any signature wins versus top-25 opponents and are currently 2-6 on the road.
Saturday’s win is convincing to the selection committee because they swept a fellow bubble team and they did it on the road. A lot of Cincinnati students had written them off prior to the game. They had dropped three of their last four games, but the Bearcats are not that far out of the field. The loss against Syracuse officially put the Bearcats on the outside looking in. There are still plenty of opportunities to play our way in, which the reason why the Bearcats made the move to the Big East.
The Bearcats have a huge match up on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at South Florida where they hope to knock them off for a second time. They have a chance to create some separation from the bubble teams in the conference. It is no longer a must win game because of the win at UConn. They then face Marquette at home, which is another bubble team, and UC has to protect their home court. The biggest game left on UC’s schedule is home game on Mar. 2 against Villanova. The Bearcats can officially quiet all critics who say they are not worthy of being in the field of 65 with a win versus No. 4 Villanova. Look for UC to split its remaining six games and be dancing come March.
Posted in Fan Blogs