Nothing like the weirdest team in the country introducing some early madness into March.
There were some big games this weekend but with only one meaningful exception (Miami losing at Virginia Tech) the team with the superior rank won. The real show this weekend was in the bubble action with several teams that really needed a win failing to do so.
Before we get to the weekend’s action, a word about all of the bubble talk. It is always entertaining this time of year to watch talking heads debate the merits of all of these mediocre teams fighting to be one of the last 4-8 teams in the field. On the one hand, I get why people like debating this because there are usually very good arguments for and against each one of these teams. It makes for interesting discussions. On the other hand, though, the reality is that almost none of these teams will be playing on the second weekend of the tournament and it is virtually certain that none of them will be playing on the third weekend. Basically this is a plea for some sanity when discussing the bubble: this really is mostly an academic discussion. If a team ends up in the NIT instead of the First Four in Dayton, let’s all stay calm.
- Speaking of Dayton, they played one of the most entertaining games of the year against VCU on Saturday and managed to snatch victory from seemingly certain defeat twice. Scoochie Smith again played the hero besting his career-high of 26 against Richmond on Tuesday with 29 in this one. VCU really should have won this game but their free throw shooting betrayed them in the second half and overtime and Dayton just barely made enough plays to win. Dayton seems to be regaining some of its February form, but there’s still a lot of progress to be made.
- Some of the conference tournaments wrapped up this weekend, too, with Northern Iowa, Hofstra, and Florida Gulf Coast winning particularly exciting championship games. These smaller conference tournaments are usually great theater, especially in the championship games, and we should get a couple more this week before the big boys start their tournaments.
- The aforementioned Miami Hurricanes puked away a chance for a share of the ACC title by losing by 15 at Virginia Tech. I’m still not sure what this team is but I’m going to guess that they’re losing an early game in both the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament. There’s just something about this team that underwhelms me.
- Virginia, Michigan State, Indiana, and Kansas continued to play like the hottest and possibly best teams in the country. All four teams won impressively this weekend and Virginia and Indiana, in particular, are frightening.
- Vanderbilt, Wichita State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, VCU, George Washington and Alabama all hurt their cases for inclusion this weekend. GW and Alabama actually may have killed any chance of an at-large bid. I’ll leave it to Nate and the Gut portion of this blog to decipher whether any of these teams are going to make it, but you’d like to have teams actually earn a spot by finishing the season well.
- Congratulations are in order for Boston College. They managed to post the worst year any major conference program has had since World War II by failing to win a game in ACC play in either basketball (0-18) or football (0-8). That’s an astonishing level of failure.
- A big thank you to the St. Joe’s Fighting Stupid Flapping Hawks for somehow losing their last two games to give Dayton a chance to secure the #1 seed in the A10 tournament and a share of the A10 title. Losing at home to a Duquesne team that had lost their previous 8 straight was particularly generous. I love it when bad things happen to teams with stupid mascots.