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College Basketball: March Madness and the NCAA Tournament

March 17, 2010 under College Basketball

The Triangle and Two: A Weekly Look at the Ups and Downs of Campus Hoops by Terrence Mayrose

“The ball is tipped…”  The opening words to ” One Shining Moment” are so inspiring this time of year.

Tomorrow tips off the premier day for college basketball. Day 1 of the NCAA tournament. Long lunches, streaming videos on computer work screens, and even a “sick” day will all be common occurrences as The Big Dance gets underway.

Before diving into the college basketball bracket, here’s a few quick points that stand out about Selection Sunday :

Virginia Tech basketball fans were left out of the NCAA tournament despite a 23-8 (10-6) record

Any Hokie fan who jumps on the “raw deal”  bandwagon led by Dickie V should know that Virginia Tech’s resume of wins include : #249  NC Greensboro, #254 Delaware (in ot) , #275 Brown, #304 Charleston Southern, #317 VMI, #318 MD Baltimore County, and #338  North Carolina Central . This collection of wins is a main part of the reason Virginia Tech is non conference strength of schedule ranks an abysmal 318th (all ratings by kenpom.com). After being left sitting on the side with a glass of punch while everyone else is dancing in the middle for the second straight season maybe Seth Greenberg will get the memo : PLAY TOUGH TEAMS…

Mississippi State listens to T and 2 but doesn’t turn out well

Opting to follow the sacred belief that fouling up three is always a good thing, Mississippi State basketball fans saw a rare occurrence. Kentucky was able to in fact hit the first,miss the second, get the rebound and score to force overtime. Readers were quick to email asking, ” Still believe you should foul up three ? ” To which I responded, ” Name me any other time you’ve seen that happen.” Aside from Sunday’s miracle….no one had ever seen fouling up three come back to haunt someone. So the T&2 still strongly supports the theory. Click here to read more.. »

The Triangle and Two: Finally, Some Logic in College Hoops

February 19, 2010 under College Basketball

by Terrence Mayrose

Coaches Get On Board With the T & 2

Finally ! Finally ! Finally ! Yes, I screamed that three times in the past week while watching   Rutgers upset Georgetown, the Celtics beat the Kings, and, most recently, Syracuse knock off Georgetown. Why was I so excited about an awful NJ school, an elderly team whose fans have awful accents, and a whiny coach who won’t play man to man ? Simple. In the final seconds, THEY ALL FOULED; UP THREE….and of course… THEY ALL WON .

I couldn’t believe it. I was elated. As the texts from T and 2 readers like James Alberino, John Strange, Jon Snediker and Bill Hassett rolled in throughout the week, I just kept smiling.  By the time Syracuse hacked up three, I had perfected the Judd Nelson-Breakfast Club fist pump. Click here to read more.. »

The Triangle and Two: A Weekly Look at the Ups and Downs of College Basketball

February 8, 2010 under College Basketball, Uncategorized

By Terrence Mayrose

Rivalry Week Signals Shift of Focus For Sports Fans

For all you football fanatics out there,  make sure you savor the Super Bowl, because as of thisRivalryWeek1v morning, it’s time to focus on hoops.  Despite the endless analysis, highlights and “breakdown” sessions  ESPN may have shoved down your throat last week, you should be beside yourself about the slew of college basketball games coming up over the next seven days. Rivalry Week, as it’s become known, is easily the best single week of the regular season. It’s like the best appetizer on the menu. You make sure you order it. Things start on tonight on ESPN’s  Big Monday when Kansas(1)  travels to Texas (10) and Villanova (2) travels to West Virginia(6).

Let’s start with Texas vs Kansas. Texas is 19-3 and in no way a “bubble team”, but it should be noted that after a 16-0 start, the Longhorns are 3-3 in their last six.  The recent struggles make us feel very skeptical about Texas’s ability to become a NCAA championship frontrunner this year; a theme that has haunted this squad in recent years.  The core of Damion James, Avery Bradley, and Dexter Pittman will need to right the ship vs Kansas or the Longhorns could be headed into a tailspin over the final month.

Click here to read more.. »

The Triangle and Two: A Weekly Look at the Ups and Downs of College Basketball

January 30, 2010 under College Basketball, The Triangle and Two

by Terrence Mayrose

Kentucky Basketball Falls From Its perch.  Who’s Next? wildcats_logo

The 75-76’ Indiana Hoosiers can breathe a little easier now that Kentucky, the last remaining unbeaten team this season, has suffered it’s first loss to South Carolina.  Led by an array of tough, clutch, and “how the hell did he hit that” shots from Devan Downey, the Gamecocks made Kentucky’s stay atop the polls very short.

The recent upset of John (“ never actually been to a Final Four”) Calipari, John (“one and done”) Wall and Kentucky as well as the memories of Mario Chalmers trey to beat an undefeated Memphis in 08’ show that even the best of the best can take a loss.  Which makes hoopsters wonder: Will there ever be another undefeated champion ?

Devan Downey dropped thirty in the 68-62 upset, and put himself on the map as one of the nation’s best scorers; although Gamecockdevan_downey faithful will be quick to tell you that he’s no fluke.  The Chester, S.C. native spurned his home state by electing to attend Cincinnati as a freshman. After posting 11.9 ppg in his freshman year,  Downey decided to come home, and it’s been all good since.  After sitting out the ’06-’07 season, Downey’s scored 18.4 ppg (07-08),and 19.8(08-09).  He’s even better this season as Downey’s 22.4 ppg leads the SEC.  With a scorer like this, and a decent record, 12-8 (3-3), The Gamecocks have a shot to be a dark horse in the SEC tournament. After all, they have shown they can play with (and beat) the best.

Now that no unbeatens remain,  who is the  frontrunner for a national title?  With such a crop of great teams atop the polls there may not be just one, but Kansas stands out. Bill Self’s crew is currently 19-1 with their only setback to #14 Tennessee. A January 30th trip to #13 Kansas State, and Feb 8th trip to #6 Texas could yield two wins that would give the Jayhawks the most impressive resume in the country. It should also be noted that Kansas currently ranks 2nd in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency and you know how much we like that.

Speaking of frontrunners… CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish points out that the end of January is a great time to find out who will make the Final Four. Parrish stated that in the past five seasons, at least three of the Final Four teams (all four in ’08) have been in the Top Ten during the last week of January. Remember to refer back to this in March when filling out your sheets. Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova, Syracuse, Michigan State, Texas, Georgetown, Duke, West Virginia and Purdue are your current candidates.

The Triangle and Two: A Quick Look at the Ups and Downs of College Basketball

by Terrence Mayrose

Pitt Basketball In Good Hands

It seemed pretty clear entering this season that Pitt would be “rebuilding” after losing a veteranJamieDixon core of Levance Fields, Dejuan Blair, Sam Young, & Tyrell Biggs that was seconds away from the Final Four. It would be hard to blame the Panthers for a mediocre season after losing so many talented players; although it seems as if Jamie Dixon, 2009 Naismith Coach of the Year, had other ideas. Off to a 13-2 (3-0) start behind 17.2 PPG from sophomore Ashton Gibbs  and another 12.2 from junior Brad Wanamaker’s , the #20 Panthers are quietly becoming a force in the Big East, and the nation.

Recently seeded as high as four in ESPN’s Bracketology, the Panthers certainly have the resume to back it.  Aside from an inexplicable loss to 7-8 Indiana, Pitt’s only other misstep is to #1 Texas.

Tonight’s game at #15 UCONN could be the most important of the season thus far. A win over the Huskies would solidify them as an elite team in the nation’s toughest conference. Dixon’s crew has made a case to put them in that discussion with a road win over then #5 Syracuse, but taking down another Top 25 conference foe would end any doubts that they are for real. Don’t think the experienced Pitt leader doesn’t know how much this win would mean for his team in the long run. Look for a tough battle between Ashton Gibbs and Kemba Walker in Storrs tonight.

Something to think about if Pitt does win tonight, though, is whether it’s out of the question to name Jamie Dixon Coach of The Year so far .  How many coaches could lose so much talent from an Elite Eight team, and be 14-2 and 4-0 in the Big East ? So far, just one.  Jamie Dixon.

Time for Purdue Basketball To Sink Or Swim

While Pitt was expected to struggle this season, Purdue was touted as a team on the rise. Seems as if the Boilmakers are reading their own press clippings, as they’ve stumbled to a 2-2 start in Big Ten Conference play. Back to back losses toWisconsin, and Ohio State put Matt Painter’s team in an interesting situation as they travel to overachieving 13-2 Northwestern and an Illinois squad currently sitting atop the conference .   We’ll know soon enough if Purdue is a contender or pretender based on the next two contests.

T&Two NCAA Bracket Busters to Watch

Northern Iowa 15-1 (Missouri Valley) – The veteran team already has a win over pre season top 25 Siena.

Louisiana Tech (16-1) (Western Athletic) – 4-0 in conference play, and wins over Houston and Nevada as resume boosters.

Cornell (14-3) (Ivy)- A recent five point loss at Kansas put them on the national radar. Wins over St. John’s, Davidson, Alabama, LaSalle, and UMass show they’re capable of excelling against the  big conferences.

Crucial Stretch For Duke Basketball

Duke enters a critical section of its schedule that could go a long way to deciding if  the Blue CoachK2Devils can end their five year stretch without a  Final Four appearances . The annual mid-January/early February trek through the ACC has literally been Hell for the Devils. Taking a look at recent years : In 2009-, they were 18-1 on  Jan 28th.  A loss to Wake Forest started a skid that saw  four  losses in a six game span  through Feb. 15th.  The 2007 season found Coach K’s boys at 18-3 before a Feb 1st home loss to Virginia started a four game skein.  Duke went 4-8 from that point to finish the season, including first round losses in both the  ACC and NCAA tourneys.

Coach K has been quick to remind Blue Devil faithful that this year’s team is much older, and bigger than teams of the past. It will be seen very shortly if the 13-2 Dukies will use their age and experience during a stretch of games including Wake Forest, Clemson, and Georgetown in the next few week

Big Fish in a Small Pond

Hats off to Appalachian State’s Donald Sims, who torched Davidson for 44 points last week.

Games to Watch This Week

Wednesday – Pitt @ UCONN- Typical Big East dogfight. Don’t rule out anything amazing…not even  six overtimes.
Thursday– Cal @ Washington State-Preseason top ten Cal is quickly slipping, and needs a win to resurrect its tourney hopes.

Saturday – Syracuse @ West Virginia.  Georgia Tech vs North Carolina.

Head Scratcher of the Week

Got an email from Chris Beermann that informed me that he recently attended a COLLEGE game, where a coach :

  • -Asked for a timeout while the other team was dribbling  the ball
  • -Asked the ref “if he could have the foul on #11”, instead of  his leading scorer who had just picked up his third personal foul.

It’s not surprising that Chris also informed me that the coach’s team lost.


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