Clu Continues his Bracket Science experiments in this week’s edition of (College) Basketball Jones!
Over the course of this week, I’ve been watching quite a few college basketball games , and pondering about the NCAA tournament and those teams that are trying to make a run at the big dance. So here’s my take on some more bubble teams you might see make a splash in March.
Is Harvard for Real?
In the spirit of Jeremy Lin, and LIN-sanity, I wanted to take this moment and honor Super LIN-tendo by talking about his Alma mater because hey, they are actually playing well this season. Jeremy Lin’s Alma mater (in case you have been living under a rock all winter long) is Harvard University, and they have been in the national spotlight a few times this year. The Crimson made the first top 25 appearance in school history on December 5th, after defeating #20 Florida State to win the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, which we talked about here. Harvard became the first Ivy League team to be nationally ranked since Cornell hit No. 22 in 2010. What has contributed to the success of Harvard this year? Is it good coaching? The spirit of Jeremy Lin? Maybe it’s the shoes? Or maybe it’s their ability to play tough defense. They rank third in the nation in points against (53.6). They are also a major threat at home, where they are currently 10-0.
What every college basketball fan is dying to know, is what to expect from Harvard come March. Will they be ousted in the first round, or make a run to the Sweet Sixteen? They have shown that they can hang with mid level D-I teams such as Central Florida and Florida State. Shoot, in the Florida State game, a combination of that good Crimson D and some terrible shooting from the Seminoles led to the Harvard win. When tournament time comes around, I would like to think that they can hang for at least one game and maybe shock their first round opponent. Depending on what region they are placed in and which teams are surrounding them, it would be very tough to see them making a run to the Sweet Sixteen, let alone any further.
On the Bubble: Teams on the Rise
I would next like to talk about some of the bubble teams that have been seen in the spotlight in the past few weeks. The focus here will be on those teams who are stepping up as the tournament gets closer, and some who appear to be losing steam in their late pushes. To save some time, I have hand-picked a few major conference teams to discuss.
University of Connecticut (17-10, 7-8 in Big East)
The Huskies latest victory came on Monday night at Villanova courtesy of Shabazz Napier’s 30-foot three pointer with at the buzzer in overtime. That Kemba Walker-esque game-winner shocked the Wildcats and sent them home disappointed. Can the Huskies channel their inner Kemba and pull off another magical run into the NCAA tournament?
Kansas State University (19-8, 8-7 in Big 12)
I guess K-State should only play Missouri because they seem to have their number this year. The wildcats have won four of their last six games, and seem to have the ball in their court. The real question is whether or not they can get over these last two hurdles named Iowa State and Texas A&M. Both are teams that could easily play the role of spoiler for the Wildcats.
Seton Hall University (19-9, 8-8 in Big East)
In what was definitely one of the bigger Big East surprises of the season (although not much is surprising when it comes to the Big East), SHU shocked Georgetown with an 18-point drubbing (73-55) at SHU. Keep your eyes on seniors Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope. They lead this Pirates squad in scoring.
On the Bubble: Teams on the Decline
Pittsburgh (15-13, 4-11 in Big East)
Because they were rattled by injuries early in the year and were never really able to recover, Pitt has been one of the more disappointing teams in the Big East this season. They started the season 11-1, then lost eight straight games. After bouncing back and winning four consecutive games, they are now on another four game losing streak. Can they please make up their minds?? They need a LOT of help if they’re going to make a run into the NCAA tournament. Their only hope is to win the Big East Tournament outright. Otherwise, they can enjoy the NIT, and hope for better luck next year, when they switch to the ACC.
University of Texas (17-11, 7-8 in Big 12)
Texas has a chance to close out the season with twenty wins under their belts. There is a problem, however. They have to play Kansas and Oklahoma to get to that twenty win plateau. While they do have the ability to score, (they rank 51st overall with 73.8 ppg), they might need some help to win the Big 12 tournament. Only time will tell…
North Carolina State (18-10, 7-6 in ACC)
Once considered a shoe-in for the tournament, NC State has slipped a bit and lost their last three games. The Wolfpack hope to get out of this funk before they head into the ACC tournament, or they could be purchasing a one way ticket to the NIT.
Normally I would come up with something witty and clever to say here at the end, but instead I’ll say to be continued… Next week I’ll break down some more potential bracket busters that could either ruin your March by upsetting your most beloved teams, or turn you into an office pool legend (if you actually listen to my sleeper picks). So, in anticipation for next week’s post, hold your breath folks (althoug not literally, since we here at Jobu’s Rum don’t want to be held responsible for anyone who might actually hold their breath and pass out due to lack of oxygen to their brains)!
Featured image courtesy of: Andy Lopusnak/SkylineShots.com
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