Friday Report Card: Butler Locks Up the Horizon
A - Luke Harangody
I don't care that ND lost to Louisville last night.. or that Harangody isn't the best looking guy out there.. or that the Irish haven't won any huge road games. The simple fact of the matter is that Harangody has to be the Big East Player of the Year. His 40 point, 12 rebound effort last night was just one in a string of amazing performances this season. His averages of 21 ppg and 10.6 rpg are impressive enough, but when you consider that he barely played against ND's early season opponents and is only averaging 28.9 mpg.. then his numbers are that much more impressive. For a quick example, Donte Greene averages 17 ppg, but in 35 mpg.. good for .48 points per minute. Harangody averages .726 points per minutes.. meaning Harangody is 50% more productive.
B - Butler
Congrats to Butler for locking up another Horizon League title. Except for a rough stretch in 04 & 05, the Bulldogs always hover around the 20 win mark and always contend for a conference title. Making it more fun is that they manage to do it despite a revolving door of coaches. Yet, its not the coaches, but the senior class (Graves, Betko, Campbell & Green who joined as a transfer) which deserves all the love. In 2005, Butler's final RPI was 241.. in 2006 it was 82.. in 2007 it was 27.. and right now they have an RPI of 18. That's progression.
C - Wake Forest
The Deacs had a golden chance to make a claim for a tournament bid.. hosting Maryland, a fellow ACC bubble squad. Had Wake won, they would have had equal overall wins, equal ACC wins, equal Top 50 wins, and a better RPI than the Terps. And with a 14-1 home record, you figure the game was there's to lose. And lose they did, as Wake trailed just about the entire game after scoring the first basket. Wake is now a Tournament afterthought, especially considering they have two road games coming up, where they're just 1-8 on the season.
D- Michigan State
Maybe my expectations for this team were too high to start the season, but the Spartans season can be described as.. eh. There was the early win over Texas at home, but otherwise they've been so so. 2-5 in Big Ten road games is brutal.. especially considering that one of those wins was against Northwestern and the other a close win over Minnesota. I don't want to bash Izzo and the program too hard.. they're still 22-6 and still going to be a 5 seed, but I thought this group had a chance to be special.
F - Arizona
I think it would be sickening to be an Arizona fan. I mean how many teams that are considered NCAA Tournament locks have lost 3 of 4 home games.. let alone to non-Top 25 teams like USC and Arizona State. The Wildcats resume is based on three things: a) They've owned Washington State, b) They fattened up on overrated 2nd tier teams with inflated RPI's (UNLV, SDSU, Houston), and c) they played Memphis & Kansas (losing to both), which boosts their SOS. Because of this, Arizona still has an RPI of 21. Two years ago, Missouri State was denied a bid despite having an RPI of 21. Yet its hard to imagine that happening now because one is from the Pac-10 and the other the MVC..
The Daily Report Card tells you all you need to know about the day in college hoops. From good to bad and bad to worse, I'll be laying down the law.
Previous Best / Worst
February 26th - Northwestern / New Mexico
February 25th - The Bubble / Villanova
February 21st - Tony Lee / Oregon State
February 20th - Hasheem Thabeet / Aaron Bruce
February 19th - Josh Duncan / Tim Welsh
February 18th - Wake Forest / NJIT
February 15th - Oral Roberts / Big Ten Predictions
February 13th - Mike Green / Ed Donato
February 11th - Charron Fisher / Tim Morris
February 8th - Big West / Virginia
February 6th - Chris Lofton / Dick Vitale
February 5th - Bob Knight / Josh Heytvelt
February 4th - New York Giants / Washington State
February 1st - Nevada / Penn
January 31st - Kansas State / St. John's
January 29th - Winthrop / Dyson & Wiggins
January 28th - Rutgers / Doris Burke
January 25th - Ron Hunter / Princeton Offense
January 23rd - Kentucky / Archbishop Burke
January 22nd - DJ Augustin / Scott Sutton
January 21st - New York Giants / Marquette
January 20th - Maryland / ESPN.com editors
January 18th - Cleveland State / Marquette
January 17th - Drake / HP Laptops
January 14th - Roy Hibbert / Michigan State
January 10th - Tony Bennett / Saint Louis
January 9th - DJ White / CSTV
January 8th - Robert Morris / Schedule Makers
January 7th - Wayne Ellington / Illinois
January 6th - Herb Sendek / Kentucky