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College Basketball 2017-18: Road to the Alamo

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Michigan will probably play for the national championship and have beaten the following seeds to get there…

 

No. 14

No. 6

No. 7

No. 9

No. 9 or 11

 

…and it all would have been avoided if Houston put a defender on a spot in-bounds play 94 feet from the basket.

 

:censored: me

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In 2006, George Mason made the Final Four as an 11-seed, beating 1-seed UConn in the Elite Eight. Everyone flipped their :censored:, up until Mason was blown out by Florida in the Final Four.

 

Since then, schools like Butler, VCU, Wichita State, and low-seeded Syracuse have made the Final Four. Without looking at extended brackets, I bet smaller schools have been making the Elite Eight regularly.

 

Duke and UNC still trade every third title, but since the NBA switched to the one and done rule in 2005, you've seen a lot more volatility in the NCAA tournament, for obvious reasons. Fewer upperclassmen, combined with players being groomed through the shoe circuit, mean that you're pinning your tournament hopes on a few good games from 18-year-olds. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't.

 

Even if you remove the one and done rule, the best of the remaining players will still continue to choose Duke and Kentucky. But given that the talent gap between the very best and just decent programs will continue to shrink, I think randos like Loyola making deep runs will continue to be what college basketball is.

 

Though, what's weird is that there was a time when smaller programs would stock up on three-point shooting to win tournament games; a famous example is Vermont over Syracuse in 2004. I'm surprised we don't see more of that, especially in light of what the NBA game has become. The line is shorter and everything. Why is college basketball such a brickfest?

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Little story about the academic / athletic balance at Villanova. When I attended grad school there, I was amazed that the basketball players were actually really engaged in classes and had real majors. I had to take a couple undergrad classes as pre-reqs for my masters program and didn’t notice any bit of preferential treatment. 

 

Contrast that with my undergrad which was a total crap division 2 school where the athletes were gods, mostly had BS majors that they didn’t even attend classes for, regularly committed assaults of both physical and sexual nature, and had everything covered up as if they were University of Miami back in the Jimmy Johnson era. And that was freaking D2. 

 

http://www.philly.com/philly/education/villanova-university-athletes-gpa-basketball-team-jalen-brunson-20180323.html

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Since the field expanded to 64 in 1985 only LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011) have made it to the Final Four as 11 seeds. Syracuse made it as a 10 seed in 2016. Wichita State made it as a 9 seed in 2013. None made it to the championship game. Lowest seed to make it to the title game since the 1985 expansion has been the 8 seeds Butler (2011), Kentucky (2014) and Villanova who won it in 1985

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The best thing that happened to Loyola was Wichita State moving to The American.

 

They wouldn't get the Autobid had the Shockers stayed and last year's Illinois State proved that going 17-1 in The Valley, a 27-6 record and RPI of 33 doesn't give you an at-large bid.

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13 hours ago, the admiral said:

Loyola has gotten Chicago to care about college basketball for the first time since the '05 Illini, which itself was the first time since, I dunno, those DePaul glory days everyone's dads talk about.

 

You're making me feel old.  I remember the DePaul glory days of the late 70s and early 80s.

 

It all started to unravel with Skip Dillard . . .and a game I remember really well.  This was St. Joseph's second game of the tournament and DePaul's first because there were only 48 teams in the tournament.  St. Joseph's won an 8-9 game to advance.

 

 

 

EDIT:  Before looking for this video, I forgot how good DePaul was from about 1976-89.  They only missed the tournament twice, made it to the Final Four in 1979 and were a No. 1 seed four times in five years.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DePaul_Blue_Demons_men's_basketball#NCAA_tournament_results

 

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2 hours ago, dfwabel said:

The best thing that happened to Loyola was Wichita State moving to The American.

 

They wouldn't get the Autobid had the Shockers stayed and last year's Illinois State proved that going 17-1 in The Valley, a 27-6 record and RPI of 33 doesn't give you an at-large bid.

Not having to face UVA, Cincinnati, Arizona, or Kentucky didn’t hurt their final four chances either. 

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12 hours ago, crashcarson15 said:

Michigan will probably play for the national championship and have beaten the following seeds to get there…

 

No. 14

No. 6

No. 7

No. 9

No. 9 or 11

 

…and it all would have been avoided if Houston put a defender on a spot in-bounds play 94 feet from the basket.

 

:censored: me

The bracket looks very good for Michigan and they played their best game after getting lucky.

 

And in the season which began with the FBI sting and federal charges to assistants, it might be fitting that John Beilein, the "coach's coach" wins a chip.

 

From Gary Parish* in August 2017:

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/candid-coaches-who-are-the-high-major-coaches-who-dont-break-ncaa-rules/

 

Quote

I'm not surprised Beilein was the most common answer, if only because I've never heard another coach even whisper about him. In a business where back-stabbing is normal, and accusing somebody of cheating every time you miss on a recruit is a go-to move, Beilein's name has never been connected to anything shady, far as I can remember. Coaches just don't talk about him that way.

 

Simply put, he's universally respected.

 

Beilein has led the NCAA's ethics coalition, and his colleagues seem to believe there's nothing about that deserving of a roll of the eyes. They think he plays things straight by the book. And, I'm compelled to tell you, this is why I may have personally been as wrong about Beilein-to-Michigan back in 2007 as I've been about any hire made at the power-conference level in the past decade.

 

I did not love the hire at the time.

And the reason was simple: I didn't think a by-the-book coach was a good fit at Michigan -- a place that historically needs to recruit Detroit to be successful, a place that once enrolled and celebrated the Fab Five. I knew Beilein was great. I just didn't think he was a great fit at Michigan. And that's still debatable, I guess. But it doesn't matter. Because he's been terrific while leading the Wolverines to seven of the past nine NCAA Tournaments -- a run that includes three Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights and an appearance in the 2013 national title game.

*- I think CBSsports.com has the best NCAA basketball writers and their podcast is the only NCAA hoops podcast to hear, but Gary Parish is a Memphis guy and is acting like a homer over the Penny Hardaway hire and led the charge to remove Tubby.

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If it’s anyone other than Duke I’ll be pretty surprised. If anyone outside of Duke, Kansas, or Nova win the title, it’ll be a damn miracle. 

 

 

You see? No matter how “cool” some of these runs are by these smaller schools from year to year, it’s still always the same :censored: ass boring traditional powerhouse schools that win the title. 

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12 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

If it’s anyone other than Duke I’ll be pretty surprised. If anyone outside of Duke, Kansas, or Nova win the title, it’ll be a damn miracle. 

 

 

You see? No matter how “cool” some of these runs are by these smaller schools from year to year, it’s still always the same :censored: ass boring traditional powerhouse schools that win the title. 

I mean, you're talking about two ones and a two seed who also happen to be three of the biggest basketball programs in the country. So yeah, it would make sense for them to win it all.This is the same problem that plagues lots of sports. Even the NFL, which has gone out of its way to prevent the same teams playing has had the Patriots winning all the time. 

 

18 hours ago, dfwabel said:

*- I think CBSsports.com has the best NCAA basketball writers and their podcast is the only NCAA hoops podcast to hear, but Gary Parish is a Memphis guy and is acting like a homer over the Penny Hardaway hire and led the charge to remove Tubby.

I'm not surprised that people wanted Tubby out almost immediately. I am surprised by the excitement around Penny. I know he played there and was a famous NBA player, etc. but his only coaching experience is in high school. Maybe he'll be great for them, but I don't have the same confidence they have in him, but I'm also a Memphis Tiger hater, so what do I know?  

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Loyola advances to the Final Four. What a story for this team and university.

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All that equity Bruce Weber gained on Thursday, he lost today and is back on the hot seat.

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16 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

If it’s anyone other than Duke I’ll be pretty surprised. If anyone outside of Duke, Kansas, or Nova win the title, it’ll be a damn miracle. 

 

 

You see? No matter how “cool” some of these runs are by these smaller schools from year to year, it’s still always the same :censored: ass boring traditional powerhouse schools that win the title. 

 

Butler not winning against Duke is probably the biggest what-if in NCAA tournament history. That would have been really special.

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3 hours ago, Red Wolf said:

I' not surprised that people wanted Tubby out almost immediately. I am surprised by the excitement around Penny. I know he played there and was a famous NBA player, etc. but his only coaching experience is in high school. Maybe he'll be great for them, but I don't have the same confidence they have in him, but I'm also a Memphis Tiger hater, so what do I know?  

I hope Penny does well, but I'm old enough to have seen those old Tiger teams.  Even with Memphis "All Star" teams, they always fall apart or only get to a Final Four by cheating. He'll sell tickets, but they won't get to Final Fours which that fanbases expects. They are Louisville wannabes.

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17 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

If it’s anyone other than Duke I’ll be pretty surprised. If anyone outside of Duke, Kansas, or Nova win the title, it’ll be a damn miracle. 

 

 

You see? No matter how “cool” some of these runs are by these smaller schools from year to year, it’s still always the same :censored: ass boring traditional powerhouse schools that win the title. 

 

I mean, I'm no expert on knowing college basketball champions across history, but as far as Kansas and Villanova are concerned? I think those two schools have combined to win two championships in the last 30 years or so. They might be traditional blue bloods and all but championship success hasn't exactly shined on them the way it has with Duke, UNC, Kentucky, etc.

 

For that matter, in the time I used to be a college basketball fan (~2002-2014 or so), I seem to remember both those schools being highly prone to first weekend flameouts, especially Kansas.

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We've got a mid-major, and now a football school. We'll likely have two major basketball powers from the other side of the bracket to give us a nice balance unless Texas Tech wins. 

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Posted (edited)

Why is Leonard Hamilton getting sassy when being asked why his team didn't foul down 4 with 11 seconds left?

 

Eric Musslemann, your decision on Thursday not to foul with three fouls to give has been one upped.

Edited by dfwabel

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I propose the Big East looks to make a trade to get Loyola...in return, DePaul would go to the Missouri Valley.

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20 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

You see? No matter how “cool” some of these runs are by these smaller schools from year to year, it’s still always the same :censored: ass boring traditional powerhouse schools that win the title. 

 

Villanova is a smaller school, only has one recent title, and only two final four appearances in the past 33 years.

 

Come on, bro - get some perspective here. They're not Duke, Kansas, UNC, Kentucky, et al.  

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I have a feeling this has a Duke title written all over it, and I think it’ll be over Loyola. It reminds me a lot of Duke/Butler and I think it’s going to end the same way.

 

Not that I want that, cause I don’t, but I really think it’s inevitably leading to it.

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