2014 March Madness Bracketology: Midwest Region

Written March 18th, 2014 by Ken

Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll be giving you our insight into each reason, looking for the stories that you may not have read elsewhere.

Brutal

Brutal

The Midwest Region is a tough Region, not that any Region will be easy, but this one is particularly top-loaded. In this Region are Wichita State (ranked #2 AP and the only undefeated team in the nation), Louisville (#5), Duke (#7), TTUN (#8), St. Louis (#18) along with UMass and Kentucky. Four teams in the AP Top Ten and another in the Top Twenty. All of the other Regions have two Top Ten teams each.

This Region is a bit odd; it has the most Top Ten teams and it also has three of the four play-in game winners playing as well. So, it seems to me, this Region is comparatively very good at the top, then comparatively not-that-good in the middle seeds and below. For example, the play-in game for the #11 seed involves Iowa (20-12) vs Tennessee (21-12). Frankly, if you’re good enough to “play” into the #11 seed, something is amiss with the selection process. If you have to play yourself in to the field of 64, then you go to the back of the line at a #16 seed. /steps off soapbox. Read More

The Week That Were: 2013 Championship Weekend

Written December 9th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Look, I know it’s the holiday season and all that, but I’m not feeling it just yet. Here’s some Ella if you’re in a similar mood this Monday.

And so it ends… not with a bang, but a whimper. Not for everyone, but for fanbases who entered Saturday with significant postseason aspirations, the doors gently shut on both those dreams and on their season.

ku-xlarge

We Know The Feeling

While TWTW is usually reserved for Saturday’s festivities, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Northern Illinois started the slide on Friday; poised for a shot at another possible BCS bid, the Huskies fell for the first time all season in the MAC championship. And not just “fell”, but were beaten by 2o points by Bowling Green in a game that cost the Falcons (and the other non-qualifying schools) some pretty major cash.

Saturday’s early slate started with some Bedlam, a game where anything can happen and often does- this year in the form of an earthquake during a field goal attempt.

As a rivalry game, you throw the records and season results out the window, as any Ohio State or Michigan fan can tell you. And while TBPU looked to be the easy favorite, icy conditions and the passion of their cross state rivals kept this from being an easy match.

While both teams struggled to score early on, Oklahoma tied things up in the third following a fake field goal that may or may not have happened before the play clock expired. No call, though, so on we went.

Much like last week’s game in Ann Arbor, OkSU drove down the field with relative ease at the end of the game, and scored with time left on the clock in spite of our warnings. And, you can guess what happened- Oklahoma managed a length of the field drive to score which left only enough time for the Northwestern-esque “throw the ball around and hope for the best” play, and like NU, Oklahoma State’s efforts were interrupted and scored upon.

Nice Aim

Nice Aim

Check out the gif on the left there; this is after the spread-covering score, and you can see both a Cowboy cheerleader attempt to trip a jubilant Sooner and also notice that some happy fan has decided to huck a snowball at the field toward the end of the clip.

That’s what it means to be in a rivalry game… it’s bigger than just a regular loss, particularly when you fall at home and fall out of the BCS.  I’m sure that excitement and emotion were behind the Sooner player’s decision to go full Marcus Hall on the Cowboy fan, and am certainly looking forward to them being benched for the entirety of their next game, the way that Hall was. And, media folks, feel free to spend hours discussing how classless this play was and what Stoops should do.  You’ve obviously got nothing else to talk about.

With the Cowboys’ falling in Stillwater, the late afternoon game between Texas and Baylor became the defacto Big12-2 Championship matchup. Let that roll around in your head for a minute- Mack Brown, who may be on his way out after yet another disappointing season, was one game away from a Conference Title and a BCS bid.

WEIRD-BAYLOR-FAN

Filled With The Spirit?

And yet, it was not to be… after a close first half, Baylor made the plays that it’s executed so well all season and pulled away from Texas to win their first conference title in forever. Given that they’re opening a new stadium next year and just signed their coach to a sizable extension, it’s quite possible that we haven’t heard the end of celebrations in Waco.

And their reward? A trip to Phoenix to face the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl… the same UCF that held off SMU to win on Saturday. That game ain’t going to be pretty, folks.

By now, Buckeye fans know all to well that Auburn will be playing in the National Title game against Florida State. Poised in the computers to leap Ohio State with a blowout win against Missouri, the resurgent Tigers (no, the other ones) handled the B12-2′s SEC East’s finest handily in Atlanta on Saturday, in a game that seemed to be played with an understanding that each team was required to ration their tackles (perhaps the same memo OSU got?).

Best Tackle All Day. Seriously.

Best Tackle All Game. Seriously.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t any controversy on the way to the SEC crown. One of Missouri’s early scores was on a long pass that clearly was not fully possessed by the receiver- I have no idea how that wasn’t overturned. Later, an Auburn player pushed Missouri’s Josey out of bounds after the running back had another long scamper, and the shove caused Josey to hit a nearby cart and miss the remainder of the game.

Auburn’s win meant that, should one of the top two teams fall, they would be in. Florida State started first in their epic clash against the Duke Blue Devils, and managed to go the entire first quarter without a score.

That was about it, though- the Seminoles managed to roll up a 45-7 win and punch their tickets to Pasadena, while Winston possibly scheduled a trip to New York to pick up some hardware. It’ll be interesting to see if we get a 2006 repeat- an undefeated team with a Heisman Trophy QB against a one-loss SEC program who “backed in” to the title game.  That’s all I remember about the 2006 game… and I’m not listening if you try to give me any further facts.

No Roses For You

Roses? Not so fast…

Which brings us to Indianapolis. As if Ohio State fans didn’t have enough reasons to hate Sports Illustrated, this week’s decision to put Braxton on a regional cover added the Buckeyes to the list of Oregon, Alabama, and Baylor as teams who lost the week following their cover appearance.  Splendid.

Look, my thoughts on the game are probably the same as the rest of Buckeye Nation:

  • Hats off to Michigan State, whose defense played the way that Ohio State defenses used to play. Wonder why that is… What I wouldn’t give to have one of their DBs in the scarlet and gray.
  • Hats off to Sparty, too, for offensively game planning a perfect scheme to attack Ohio State’s weaknesses in the secondary, and to Connor Cook for the poise that he showed in the passing game. Enjoy California, Dino and folks… remember, it’s not too far of a drive for your offensive line coach to visit some family.
  • I’m as confused as the rest of you are about the Ohio State gameplan, particularly when it looked like our bread and butter were working. I understand the idea of getting Carlos into space against MSU’s secondary, but when every empty set led to a QB draw/counter, then it takes away the mystery. And mid-range passing? Does everything have to be a bomb?
  • “Frustrated” only partially covers my thoughts on the secondary’s play this past year… I’m not smart enough to figure out if it’s a scheme thing or a personnel issue or coaching, and I’ve read all three from the “experts” that make up Ohio State bulletin boards. I know that linebacker is something that Urban has identified as a “need”, so I’m just going to trust that this will improve overall in the coming season.

Again, no disrespect to Ben Affleck or to Michigan State, but it feels more like Ohio State let this one get away from them than the Spartans “took” it. While I’d prefer that it was the Buckeyes in Pasadena, I’m still excited to see Michigan State play Stanford in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl.

Stanford won their rematch with Arizona State in a walk in front of less than stellar crowds. While some blame the “rematch” factor for poor attendance, I believe that it’s due to these being hosted on campus… as nice as that is for the home team, this time of year the trend is to allow fans the chance to travel to somewhere new. I’m conflicted on this, since I believe that any future Championship Expansion should consider home stadiums, but I also understand that there’s a huge money factor involved from tourism and so forth.

RICE1

The “Bowl-Bloat” Culprit

And that’s the heart of the silly season that we’re getting ready to enter- schools will pay lots of money for the “privileged” of making cash for television networks and tax exempt “bowl committees”; and only one game will “matter”, other than the contrived “Bowl Challenge” that the four letter network has created without consideration of even-matchups. When there are so many bowls that more than 50% of FBS teams get to go, is it really an honor?

That being said, this year should be a pretty good one for the B1G- in looking across the Bowl Landscape, there are only a few games that don’t feel like solid contests.  See what you think:

  • Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. BCS/Pac-12): Michigan State vs. Stanford
  • Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: (ACC vs. BCS): Ohio State vs. Clemson
  • Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
  • Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Iowa vs. LSU
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Michigan vs. Kansas State
  • Gator Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Nebraska vs. Georgia
  • Texas Bowl, Dec. 27 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Minnesota vs. Syracuse

The BCS games, then, would be Florida State/Auburn, Michigan State/Stanford, Ohio State/Clemson, Oklahoma/Alabama, and (bleh) Central Florida/Baylor.

All in all, a great set of excuses to gather friends and family for the holidays and then ignore them to watch TV. We’ll have breakdowns of each of these matchups in the coming days, as well as full coverage of Ohio State’s trip to Miami in an attempt to exorcise Charlie Bauman’s specter.

But with that… The Week That Were draws to a close for yet another season. Thanks for playing along with us all fall, and for being a part of tBBC Family. We’ll close with a bit of nostalgia to get you ready for Miami:

Silver Bullet Points Loves The Nightlife

Written May 1st, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Welcome to Wednesday, the first of May… it’s officially grilling season (unless you live in California, where it’s always that time). Here’s today’s soundtrack; if you don’t know why, then… well… keep reading.

Archie’d

Buckeye 411

  • Is The Right Time- The ABC/ESPN/Disney schedule for college football came out on Monday, the the Buckeyes will get to show their stuff in prime time on at least three occasions this upcoming season: Against Wisconsin, at Northwestern, and again when Penn State comes to town. Some interesting history with those teams- Obviously, the Badgers and Buckeyes have loads of fun under the lights, and I think Jim Tressel is still trying to run up the score for the last night game in Evanston. The Lions were gracious hosts last year for a late game, certainly a payback for the darkness in the ‘Shoe back in 2008. While it hasn’t been announced as of yet, there’s also the possibility that the Cal game could end up as a 7:30 or so kick off on the East Coast.
  • Why? Recruiting. Urban Meyer loves the big game atmosphere, and having the Buckeyes on TV with the eyes of the nation’s top recruits on them cannot be a bad thing. Also- With Ohio State’s “questionable” schedule strength next season, the more exposure they can build will certainly help toward addressing any rankings situations for the end of the season.  C’mon, Pasadena…
  • Congrats- To all the 2013 graduates from THE Ohio State University, particularly the bros who got Heisman Bombed above.
  • The Future- With top QB recruit Deshaun Watson sticking with his commitment to Clemson, it seems that Ohio State has started to look more closely at Louisiana’s Brandon Harris.  Worth keeping an eye on.
  • Hoops Updates- Our friends over at The Buckeye Room are hosting Evan Ravenel for autograph sessions; and your Aaron Craft adorable meter needs recalibration.
  • Also? Evan Turner doesn’t like geese. So there’s that.
  • Design Du Jour- From the mind and computer of Ohio State’s graphics guru: Read More

Top 25: The Week in Review & The Week Ahead

Written March 3rd, 2013 by Gary Russell II

Ridiculously Happy Valley

Heading into the final week of the season we still do not have a clear cut favorite to win the National Championship.  That, my friends, is exciting news! This past week continued to be just like the many weeks before. There were more Top 25 losses, more new additions, and more shocking developments. This week’s “biggest loser” award goes to the Michigan Wolverines.  Apparently, they thought because Penn State had not won in the Big Ten yet, that this would be a cakewalk! Well, after blowing a huge lead, they left Happy Valley losers and the Nittany Lions celebrated their first conference win.  If a season like this has not heightened your love for college basketball, nothing will.  Well, enough of me of me celebrating a Michigan loss……..lets’ dive in shall we?

Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review:

1.       Indiana (25-4, 13-3) Previous Rank: 1

Past Week: 2/26 @ Minnesota, L 73-77 & 3/2 Iowa, W 73-60

Upcoming: 3/5 (16) Ohio State

Apparently Indiana thought a couple of weeks at Number One were long enough so they decided to lose on the road to Minnesota.  This week they will host Ohio State in a late season battle.

2.       Gonzaga (29-2, 16-0) Previous Rank: 3

Past Week: 2/28 @ BYU, W 70-65 & 3/2 Portland, W 81-52

Upcoming: Regular Season is complete

As much as I think the voters hate this, I don’t think they have a choice at putting Gonzaga number one after this week’s shenanigans.  The Bulldogs finished their regular season with two more wins and will now wait for their conference tournament.

3.       Duke (25-4, 12-4) Previous Rank: 6

Past Week: 2/24 Boston College, W 89-68 & 2/28 @ Virginia, L 68-73 & 3/2 (5) Miami (FL),W 79-76

Upcoming: 3/9 Virginia Tech

The Blue Devils most likely lost their shot at the top spot this week by losing to Virginia.  A strong win against Miami (FL) helped them rebound though.  They host the Hokies in their final regular season game.

4.       Michigan (23-5, 10-5) Previous Rank: 7

Past Week: 2/24 Illinois, W 71-58 & 2/27 @ Penn State, L 78-84

Upcoming: 3/3 (9) Michigan State & 3/6 @ Purdue

Someone forgot to tell Michigan that just because you are up by 15+ points the game isn’t over.  A huge comeback by Penn State shocked the Wolverines.  Michigan is now 3-4 in their last 7 games.  They don’t have time to think about that though as Michigan State comes to town.

5.       Miami (FL) (23-5, 14-2) Previous Rank: 2

Past Week: 2/27 Virginia Tech, W 76-58 & 3/2 @ (3) Duke, L 76-79

Upcoming: 3/6 Georgia Tech & 3/9 Clemson

After embarrassing Duke in the first game, the Hurricanes fell to them in the rematch.  Two home games to close out the regular season before the ACC tournament starts. Read More

Top 25: The Week in Review & The Week Ahead

Written February 17th, 2013 by Gary Russell II

B1G! B1G!

The college basketball season is winding down but that doesn’t mean that the excitement is too.  More over time games, more losses, and more surprises continue to be story of the season.  Duke kept the streak of Top 5 teams losing by dropping their game to Maryland.  The Miami Hurricanes continue to turn heads and move up the polls and will most likely do the same this week after beating Florida State.  The Big East and Big Ten are proving to be the two best conferences in the nation as they continue to beat up on each other.  The week of games are becoming too much for me to wrap up in a paragraph so I will stop rambling so you can see how everyone did last week.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review:

1.       Indiana (23-3, 11-2) Previous Rank: 1

Past Week: 2/10 @ (13) Ohio State, W 81-68 & 2/13 Nebraska, W 76-47 & 2/16 Purdue, W 83-55

Upcoming: 2/19 @ (8) Michigan State

So the Hoosiers lose and stayed number one this past week……No love to the Hurricanes.  After knocking off Ohio State in Columbus they now travel to East Lansing to face a scorching hot Michigan State team.

 

2.       Duke (22-3, 9-3) Previous Rank: 4

Past Week: 2/10 @ Boston College, W 62-61 & 2/13 North Carolina, W 73-68 & 2/16 @ Maryland, L 81-83

Upcoming: 2/21 @ Virginia Tech

Duke held their own on home court in college basketball’s biggest rivalry after beating North Carolina.  They followed it up with a disappointing loss at Maryland.  They hope to bounce back when they face Virginia Tech on the road. Read More

Top 25: The Week in Review & The Week Ahead

Written January 27th, 2013 by Gary Russell II
Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma'am!

Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am!

Another amazing week of college basketball is in the books and the season just keeps getting crazier.  There were a total of 18 losses among the Top 25 teams.  Some teams lost multiple times this week and there were some stunning upsets.  The Miami Hurricanes absolutely embarrassed top ranked Duke 90-63, VCU spent a couple of weeks in the rankings only to lose both of their games week, and Syracuse and Louisville both lost to unranked opponents.  All of this and we haven’t even talked about Louisville losing three in a row and Minnesota losing 4 consecutive games.  Although nothing is certain in college basketball this year, one thing is for certain…….if it’s this crazy now, just wait to see what March Madness brings.  Let’s breakdown this past week and look ahead to the future.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review

1.       Duke (17-2, 4-2) Previous Rank: 3

Past Week:  1/23 @ (25) Miami (FL), L 63-90 & 1/26 Maryland, W 84-64

Upcoming:  1/30 @ Wake Forest & 2/2 @ Florida State

Duke was handed one of its worst losses in many years by Miami (FL).  It doesn’t get easier for the Blue Devils as they face two road games this in Wake Forest and Florida State. Read More

Top 25: The Week in Review & The Week Ahead

Written January 13th, 2013 by Gary Russell II

Please Don't Let Us Lose!

When it comes to the rankings this year I am reminded of a famous Beatles song.  That song…..”Hello, Goodbye”.  Teams that gain a specific ranking or jump into the Top 25 say “hello” to it just as quickly as they say “goodbye” to it.  This week was no exception as I am still trying to catch my breath after it was all over.  The remaining three undefeateds are no longer undefeated.  North Carolina State picked up their signature win in handing Duke their first loss and should move up pretty nicely in the polls.  Arizona lost their second……oops……their first game in a close game at Oregon. And, last but not least, the Buckeyes took care of business against Michigan at home. All in all, 9 of the Top 25 teams lost games this week, with a certain Big Ten Team (see below) not winning all week! When it’s all said and done there should be changes a plenty in the rankings but for now let’s see what happened with all the teams.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review

1.       Duke (15-1, 2-1) Previous Rank: 1

Past Week:  1/8 Clemson, W 68-40 & 1/12 @ (20) N.C. State, L 76-84

Upcoming:  1/17 Georgia Tech

Duke received its first ACC test and failed in losing to a good North Carolina State.  Depending on how the injury to Curry is, this could only be the beginning.  The Blue Devils hope to bounce back in hosting Georgia Tech this week. Read More

Top 25: The Week in Review & The Week Ahead

Written January 6th, 2013 by Gary Russell II

Please Don't Let the Basket Count!

Last week when I said we can get this party started, I had no idea the party would be quite like this.  Most conferences opened up conference play (the SEC is a week behind) this past week and it was total mayhem!   The Top 25 teams were all over the place this week.  New Mexico was welcomed back in the rankings after beating Cincinnati only to work their way back out after losing to St. Louis.  Two Top 25 teams failed to win a game this week.  Arizona lost their first game of the year only to have the refs controversially waive off Colorado’s game winning basket. And we haven’t even spoken of the Big Ten yet.  If the first week of the B1G schedule is any indication of what this season will be, all I can say it “we are in for bumpy ride”.  I’m done ranting for now so let’s jump into this week’s report.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review

1.       Duke (14-0, 1-0) Previous Rank: 1

Past Week:  1/2 @ Davidson, W 67-50 & 1/5 Wake Forest, W 80-62

Upcoming:  1/8 Clemson & 1/12 @ (23) N.C. State

After being tied at halftime with Davidson, Duke pulled away to stay unbeaten.  This week a trip to N.C. State will prove to be their first test in the ACC. Read More