Spring has finally arrived in Columbus, it seems- time to enjoy Oval Beach and discover all of the kids’ toys that were buried under the snow. Being Ohio, though, it only means that there’s another storm on the horizon… so, there’s but one choice for today’s soundtrack.
A great game on Monday night led to a great result- Michigan didn’t win. I’m sure that was as exciting for you as it was for Rick Pitino, right?
Congratulations to the Louisville Cardinals on their season, and to Columbus’ Trey Burke on his college career. Thanks, too, for deciding to go pro so I can actually enjoy your talent without being sick to my stomach.
Closer to home, the BBC Bracket Challenge has a winner… artist extraordinaire, Kevin Dearth, whos “RIP Homer” entry won by one point over two other challengers. The neat thing about this entry- it’s named in honor of his step father, a Louisville fan who passed away earlier this year.
Kevin wins the prize package- a shirt from The Buckeye Room, an autographed copy of Maurice Clarett’s new book, some swag from our friend Mekka Don, and the chance to grace the pages of tBBC with a guest post.
For staff bragging rights, The Wonder From Down Under edged out yours truly by one point as well- I knew Charles had some of that Australian mojo going for him.
Thanks for participating in this year’s event… Go Bucks!
Over the next two days, your favorite miscreants here at tBBC will be taking a deeper look at the path that leads to Atlanta, because people from Ohio know all about getting to Atlanta.
Hopefully, this will help you as you fill out your brackets in this year’s Tournament Challenge- the game locks on Thursday, so sign up now!
Regional Favorite- I’m not really going out on a limb here by saying that Louisville is the team to beat in this region. They’re the overall #1 seed, they’ll be playing in front of home fans that choose to make the trip up I-65, and are firing on all cylinders at this point in the season, as is typical of Pitino teams. Their athleticism, full court press, and having a coach that’s been there before makes them huge favorites not only to come out of Indy, but to win the whole thing. In addition, I’m not sold on Duke or Michigan State being able to make deep runs this year, particularly after what we saw in the ACC/B1G tournaments. St. Louis looks threatening, but I believe that this one is the Cardinals’ to lose.
Which they can do if they find themselves not mentally in the game. As unlikely as that is, Louisville has seen it’s share of moments where it seems to be taking it’s time figuring out what its game plan is. While the story of the Big East final was certainly the enormous run that they went on to blow the doors off of Syracuse, the fact that they found themselves in a hole to begin with can’t be overlooked. The problem, as I see it, is that they won’t face teams able to take advantage of that until they’re already in Indianapolis for the Sweet 16.
Cinderella- For the purposes of this exercise, we’re picking an eight seed or lower that will make a deep run in the tournament. In the Midwest, that’s got to be the Oregon Ducks. Read More
The revolving door that is known as the Top 25 continued to revolve this week. 4 of the 5 Top 5 teams all loss, including Kansas who has now lost three in a row. In addition to the top 5 teams laying an egg, 14 of the 25 teams lost at least one game this week, with 5 of them not even picking up a single win. All was not bad though in the Top 25 world. There were several great games and several overtime games, including a stunning 5 overtime in the Big East. The Miami Hurricanes continued to come on like gang-busters and very well could be in the Top 5 when all is said is done with the polls this week. This week doesn’t look like it will let us down as there are quite a few Top 25 matchups and tough games against un-ranked opponents. Only time will tell how this week will end up but in the meantime, I am just going to sit back and enjoy one of the most exciting college basketball seasons that I can remember.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review
1. Indiana (20-3, 8-2) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 2/7 @ Illinois, L 72-74
Upcoming: 2/10 @ (10) Ohio State & 2/13 Nebraska & 2/16 Purdue
The Hoosiers were the latest Number One team to fall. A beautifully ran inbounds play by Illinois sunk Indiana. It doesn’t get any easier this week as they travel to Columbus to face the Buckeyes.
2. Florida (19-3, 9-1) Previous Rank: 4
Past Week: 2/5 @ Arkansas, L 69-80 & 2/9 Mississippi State, W 83-58
Upcoming: 2/12 Kentucky & 2/16 @ Auburn
Florida lost its chance to be the top ranked team with a loss to Arkansas earlier this week. A trip to Lexington to face Kentucky could spell out another loss this week. Read More
The Sugar Bowl has always been the major post-season destination of the SEC, and only once did the bowl play two teams that didn’t include the SEC from 1950-1995. That tradition continues today, and the Sugar Bowl has established themselves as the SEC vs. Big 12 match-up starting in 2015, ostensibly to rival the Rose Bowl’s B1G vs. PAC-12.
Even though the week featured many blowouts and easy wins, this week’s Top 25 has many changes to it from the previous week. Two teams dropped out of the polls, including a Top 10 team disappearing from the nation’s top teams. This week’s action also only featured one loss to any of the current Top 25 teams (it would have been two if Colorado decided to get off the plane in Kansas). The upcoming week only features one Top 25 matchup when (6) Florida travels to (8) Arizona but does feature some possible upset alerts (We’re looking at you Purdue and West Virginia).
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (9-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 12/8 Central Connecticut State, W 100-69
Upcoming: 12/15 Butler
Indiana cruised to a victory over Central Connecticut State but this week’s Butler team will be a tougher challenge for the Hoosiers
2. Duke (9-0) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/8 Temple, W 90-67
Upcoming: No Games This Week
The Blue Devils didn’t have any let downs after an emotional win against Ohio State in walloping Temple. This week they look to rest a little bit with an off week
3. Michigan (9-0) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 12/4 Western Michigan, W 73-41 & 12/8 Arkansas, W 80-67
Upcoming: 12/11 Binghamton & 12/15 @West Virginia
The Wolverines were challenged from time by Arkansas but pulled away in the end to defeat the Razorbacks. They travel to Morgantown to meet upset-minded West Virginia.
4. Syracuse (8-0) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/3 Eastern Michigan, W 84-48 & 12/6 Long Beach State, W 84-53 & 12/8 Monmouth, W 108-56
Upcoming: 12/15 Canisius
Syracuse continues the cream puff part of their schedule as Jim Boeheim works toward becoming the third coach in history with 900 wins.
5. Louisville (8-1) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/4 @Charleston, W 80-38 & 12/8 Missouri-Kansas City, W 99-47
Upcoming: 12/15 @Memphis
Not much to speak of with Louisville either, as they breezed past their two opponents this past week and Memphis probably won’t be much different.
6. Florida (7-0) Previous Rank: 7 Read More
This past week featured some prime time match-ups. It also gave us the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Big East/SEC Challenge. A major top ten power player loses major ground and the “Mid-Majors” tried to hold their own. This week the Top 25 takes a lighter schedule in hopes to regroup after the previous week’s battle scars. Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (8-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 11/27 North Carolina, W 83-59 & 12/1 Coppin State, W 87-51
Upcoming: 12/8 Central Connecticut State
The Hoosiers are coming off a big win against the Tar Heels in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They look to continue their undefeated season as heavy favorites against Central Connecticut State
2. Duke (8-0) Previous Rank: 5
Past Week: 11/28 Ohio State, W 73-68 & 12/1 Delaware, 88-50
Upcoming: 12/8 Temple
Duke battled back in the second half to knock of Ohio State at Cameron Indoor. Neither team played exceptionally well but in the end the Cameron Crazies left happy.
3. Michigan (7-0) Previous Rank: 4
Past Week: 11/27 (18) N.C. State, W 79-72 & 12/1 Bradley, W 74-66
Upcoming: 12/4 Western Michigan & 12/8 Arkansas
In another intriguing Big Ten/ACC Challenge match up the Wolverines knocked off the Wolf Pack to hand N.C. State their second loss on the season.
4. Ohio State (5-1) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 11/28 @ (2) Duke, L 68-73 & 12/1 Northern Kentucky, W 70-43
Upcoming: 12/8 Long Beach State
The Buckeyes couldn’t overcome a poor night of shooting in their loss to Duke but followed up the loss with a commanding win over Northern Kentucky.
5. Louisville (6-1) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/1 Illinois State, W 69-66
Upcoming: 12/4 @Charleston & 12/8 Missouri-Kansas City
Coming off a loss to Duke the Cardinals looked to punish Illinois State, instead they had to survive a scare to improve to 6-1. Read More
Oh, college football… How I love you!!
Well, that happened.
While a lot of people were saying that Alabama was ripe for a loss against a Texas A&M team that’s been playing really well over the past few weeks, most of this felt like lip service. You know, the kind of things that ESPN makes one person say on the Gameday set in order to appear unbiased.
And then- “Johnny Football”.
There are a lot of reasons why Alabama lost- coming off of an emotional win on the road in Death Valley, LSU’s offense showed a lot of people the issues that the Tide have in their secondary, Saban’s fear of the high speed offense is based on his knowledge of his team’s weaknesses; but the fact of the matter is that the Aggies outplayed Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, in several key areas of the game.
The Crimson Tide defensive front was stifled, for the most part, by the aTm offensive tackles. Combined with concerns about a quarterback’s mobility, the Tide were not able to mount the type of disruptive pressure that they are so used to.
Alabama’s offense made key mistakes and turnovers, and seemed out of rhythm all night long. The three turnovers didn’t help, particularly when the Tide defense couldn’t get any of their own… and the mental errors were even more egregious. On the final interception, it seems to me that the receiver on the end of the line of scrimmage did a poor job getting depth in the end zone, making it easy for defenders to cover both him and the primary target. In addition, with Bama’s defense stiffening and forcing a punt, to have a member of their punt return/block team create a neutral zone infraction for an automatic first down is an aggressive penalty, but one that is terrible to have happen in that circumstance. Again, the intensity was there for the student in question, but the lack of focus eventually cost them a final chance at victory.
But we can’t miss the point here- this game was won by Johnny Manziel’s continual ability to make plays and put the Tide defense on their heels.
After the third week in a row with this type of performance (Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State), the redshirt freshman has lifted himself into Heisman candidacy- and for good reason. Given the lack of a clear “star” this year, given Matt Barkley’s struggles, the game this weekend was his “Flutie to Phelan” moment; outstanding performance in high profile opportunity. I’ll leave the debate to others, but will certainly enjoy watching the electricity that all of these candidates provide.
Even if he doesn’t win this year, you’ve got to think that next year’s Heisman race is going to be something spectacular- Braxton Miller, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Everett Gholston, Tahj Boyd, DeAnthony Thomas… and those are just the ones I’ve got off the top of my head.
(And since I’m on the topic, I think that Marquis Lee needs to be included in this year’s debate. But that’s just me).
Does this loss end the run of SEC titles in the final year of the BCS? Well, not exactly… more on this in a bit.