Conference Tournament Match-ups (March 16th)

Conference Tournament Match-ups (March 16th)
Mar 16, 2008, 04:42 am


-#3. CLEMSON VS #1. NORTH CAROLINA (***Automatic Bid***). Clemson pulled off a big upset and picked up what was easily their biggest win of the year when they knocked off Duke in the semifinals. Clemson is a very good basketball team. They’re probably better than what most people realize. For instance, they’ve lost twice to North Carolina, but both losses came in overtime, so sometimes their abilities don’t always show up in their credentials. They’ll certainly have the credentials if they win today. I believe North Carolina will get a #1 seed regardless, especially with Duke losing. They’ve beaten Clemson twice already and finished first in the ACC while playing the second and third place teams twice. They’ve already proven they can do it on a consistent basis and one loss isn’t going to change that. However, I’m sure they want to win the conference championship, so it isn’t as if they have nothing to play for.


-#2. KANSAS VS #1. TEXAS (***Automatic Bid***). Kansas has a chance to do something today that they haven’t done all season, and that’s beat a team that’s currently in the Top 25. I believe Kansas will get a #2 seed even if they don’t win, but their biggest credentials will probably come from the NABC Rankings, which is something that we don’t see. On paper, they’re lacking when you compare them to the other #2 seeds and even a couple of the #3 seeds. Their SOS is low and they don’t have as many quality wins around them. I realize that Texas isn’t getting much pub for a #1 seed. I can only assume that’s because of where they are in the rankings, but the rankings don’t really matter. This team has beaten both Tennessee and UCLA away from home. They also beat Kansas earlier this season, played the fifth toughest schedule in the nation, have an abundance of quality wins, and finished in first place in the Big Twelve while playing in the South, which is the harder division. Win or lose, I’m keeping them on the top line. I just don’t see how the committee could not give them a #1 seed.


-#10. ILLINOIS VS #1. WISCONSIN. I’ve watched Illinois throughout this tournament, and I wonder why they didn’t play better during the regular season. They are just 16-18 on the season, but they’ve won four straight and they have a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament. They lost both regular season games to the Badgers by double-digits, that was before they showed this sudden ability to play well. Wisconsin barely got by Michigan State in their semifinal game and they should be looking at a good seed regardless of what happens. Again, when a team finishes first and beats another team twice, they’ve already proven to the committee that they can do it. Still, they don’t want to lose to a team with a losing record.


-#E6. GEORGIA VS #W2. ARKANSAS (***Automatic Bid***). This tournament has been one of the most bizarre and crazy conference tournaments in the history of college basketball. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Tennessee nearly gets knocked off in the quarterfinals, then loses to Arkansas in the semifinals. It was one of many exciting games. Oh yeah, and a tornado hit the Georgia Dome. Early yesterday afternoon Georgia upset Kentucky in overtime in a game that included a controversial no-call on what could have been a foul, and then a technical foul where a Kentucky player blocked a foul shot. Seven hours later, Georgia beat Mississippi State in another game that went down to the wire. All of this happened in front of a crowd of hundreds because the SEC opted to not allow anyone into the game other than family members and special guests of the athletic departments due to a security concern. I can’t wait to see what happens today. Georgia needs to win this game to get in, but they played and beat Arkansas earlier this year so it’s not out of the realm that they can do it again. If they do it, they’ll be the SEC champions despite going just 4-12 during the regular season. Again, I have to wonder why they waited so long to start playing well. Had they played like this all season they’d be in the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens today.


-#7. TEXAS ARLINGTON VS #5. NORTHWESTERN STATE (***Automatic Bid***). Northwestern State upset Stephen F. Austin in the semifinals, which is really unfortunate because that looked like a team that may have been able to pull an upset in the first round. I’m going to add SF Austin to my Bubble Watch, but I really don’t like their chances. It’s possible that the winner of this game could wind up in the play-in game, but Texas Arlington will get a #16 seed without being in it. Northwestern State actually has a losing record, so they’ll most likely be headed to Dayton if they win. Neither team was playing all that well prior to the tournament and both look pretty bad even by #16 seed standards, but both have pulled upsets to get to the championship game and one of them will be going to the NCAA Tournament. Things like this can happen to conferences such as the Southland who don’t protect their regular season champion in any way during the conference tournament.

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