Daily Dribble: 2/16
I took a day off from the Dribble yesterday because I was working on CHN's new "FanBlogs". Basically you can have a blog about anything basketball (not even just college) related on CHN.. simply register (on the left) if you haven't already.. and then click on "My FanBlog" and start posting away. Right now we're in a developmental stage, so the blog posts don't appear on CHN's frontpage and I'm not promoting in full yet. But if you look on the right hand sidebar of this page, you'll see a box for "Recent FanBlog Posts" where you can see two of the readers who have already got started.
You should definitely think about having your own blog on CHN. You'll get an archive for your blog posts, your own user profile with a bio and a picture, and each week the best FanBlog posts will be featured on the main page.
For more information, click here.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program:
BracketBusters starts tonight with Winthrop at Missouri State on ESPN2. This is a weird game, because I feel like Winthrop has everything to gain and Missouri State only has something to lose. The Bears right now are probably in the Dance.. but not by much. I don't really think a home win over Winthrop really helps them much.. but I feel the committee will look on a loss here as a "bad" loss. Not that Winthrop's bad, but the committee will think that if Missouri State is a real NCAA Tourney team, they have to beat the likes of Winthrop at home. On the other side, Winthrop only has something to gain. As an at-large team.. they're on the outside looking in and a win can only help in a big way. But, they're probably going to win the Big South anyways, so a loss isn't really disastrous.
The Patriot League finals (assuming its Holy Cross/Bucknell) will be one of the best games of Championship Week. Both teams are now 11-1 as Holy Cross beat Navy and Bucknell beat Lafayette. Somehow Holy Cross ended up with a hard as heck road game at Hofstra in BracketBusters.. while the Bison got a relatively easy home game against Towson.
I guess Providence is still considered a "bubble" team in some sense of the word.. but last night's loss at Notre Dame hurts. The Friars have been extremely competitive against good teams on the road, but they can't seem to put wins away. They were up on Notre Dame at the half last night, up on Pittsburgh at the half on Saturday, and were within 3 of Marquette at the half a week before that. All of those games turned into losses.. and just one win in there, would put the Friars at a solid 16-8, 6-5 in the Big East. The Friars five remaining games are all winnable, so this is still a team that can make some serious noise.
Purdue is also a team that can make some noise due to a weak remaining conference schedule. The Boilers beat Indiana last night behind 32 from David Teague, and are now 17-9, 6-6. .500 in this year's Big Ten isn't that impressive.. but the Boilers could easily go 4-0 or 3-1 in their remaining games. They have road games at Iowa and Northwestern and then home games against Minnesota and Northwestern again. If they don't go 3-1 in those games, they simply don't deserve to be in the Tournament.
St. John's win over Rutgers last night makes it pretty clear about who will not make the Big East Tournament. The 4 teams on the outside are Seton Hall, South Florida, Rutgers, and Cincinnati. Providence and UCONN are 2 games up on 13th place Seton Hall and its hard to imagine the Pirates making up that deficit.
Arizona State may very well end up being the first ever Pac-10 team to go winless in conference play.. but they almost broke out in a big way over UCLA last night. The Bruins seem to be getting themselves in hole often this year, but they also always tend to come back and win. The odd thing about Arizona State is that despite being 0-14, they've been competitive in most games, even on the road. Up on UCLA last night, 4 point loss at Oregon State, 4 point at Oregon, 1 point to Washington State, up on UCLA at the half earlier, etc.
Oregon continues to go in the wrong direction after losing at California last night. Ryan Anderson's 18 points led Cal to their biggest win of the season. But the way #17 Oregon keeps tumbling, the home win over the Ducks might not even look that great at season's end. The Ducks have lost 4-5 and 5-7, and now face a Stanford team looking for revenge and an NCAA Tournament bid. After that Oregon heads home to face a Washington State that is beating teams left and right these days.
Stephane Lasme made yet another run at a Triple-Double last night with 18 points, 10 boards, and 7 blocks. The senior forward already has 3 on the season, all at home. With home games against Saint Bonaventure and La Salle coming up, perhaps Lasme has one more in him.