First off, I just wanted to get some things off of my chest regarding the BCS.
1. The system is an absolute joke. Champions should be decided on fields of play, not by voters or computers. I'm not sure who should be playing Ohio State in the title game, but I'm not sure that the voters who picked Florida were either. How do you separate Florida and Michigan? Yes the Gators won their conference, but if this is going to be a deciding factor then why not put that into the rules regarding who can qualify for the title game?
2. Why does Notre Dame, despite being ranked 10th in the standings, get a spot in the BCS? I know that you can't have three teams from one conference in the BCS because it's not fair or something like that, but is it fair to give the Irish special rules because they're Notre Dame? I don't think so.
3. There's all this talk about "what's best for the student-athlete". Bull. Let's just call it what it is, a major financial windfall for the schools and conferences involved. If this were so much for the student-athlete, why is it so hard for a school from a league outside of the "big six" to get in? If it were so much for the student-athlete, why not decide who plays for the title with a playoff, a format in which the student-athletes themselves have the most important say in the process? And I'm tired of the "the way this is set up, every Saturday is a playoff" argument. In college basketball, regardless of your seed, you have to win six games to win the title (seven if you're in the opening round game). In college football, you can win all 12 of your games and still not have a chance to play for a national title, and that's not fair, regardless of the league you play in. If this is all a money grab, then that's fine so long as the powers involved tell the truth and say that. Since this blog is supposed to be about college basketball, I'll stop right here.
As for the hardwood, Hofstra has bonced back from an 0-3 start to win four in a row, including their conference opener against Georgia State on Saturday to get to 4-3, 1-0 in the CAA. Granted, the opponents they've faced aren't some of the storied names in the sport (Marshall, Alaska-Anchorage, Siena, and the aforementioned GSU), but the Pride could conceivably head up to Syracuse on the 22nd with a record of 6-3. Stony Brook is no pushover, especially with that game being at SBU, so that one will be a tight contest. Following that road game is St. Francis (NY) at home, and the Terriers are currently 0-8. It remains to be seen if Hofstra has found some help inside, and the trip to Syracuse will be a good test for them in that respect.
Columbia is 5-3 after their win over Sacred Heart, which stopped a two-game skid for the Lions. Nine players average at least seventeen minutes per game for head coach Joe Jones, and Niko Scott hit four of five from downtown in their win over the Pioneers. Their three losses so far have been to Duke, Stony Brook and Providence, and the Lions averaged 46.3 points per game in those defeats. I don't think that they'll beat out Penn for the Ivy League title, but the Lions will compete.
After Miami knocked off Georgia Tech this afternoon, how good does Buffalo's win over the Hurricanes look? The Bulls, 6-2 right now, also have a win at Temple to their credit. Temple's in a transition period right now, but they still do have some talent. The Bulls should finish near the top of the MAC East, but we'll find out more about them when they play Pittsburgh on Saturday. I personally want to see how senior center Yassin Idbihi matches up with Pitt's Aaron Gray, the Preseason Big East Player of the Year.
And lastly, Seton Hall has plenty of talent on the perimeter, but their lack of interior play is something that worries me. Not much was expected of the Hall in the preseason, hence the expectation that they won't qualify for the Big East Tournament, but I look at the inconsistent play of some other teams in the middle and lower portions of the Big East and wonder if they have enough on the outside to mask the interior problems. Eugene Harvey has been solid in running the team so far, and Paul Gause supplies energy off the bench, most recently in his 21 points in the Pirates' overtime win over St. Mary's on Saturday. Seton Hall will be an interesting team to watch this year, as will many of the "smaller" teams given Villanova's success with a smaller lineup last season.
One final note: It may be time to redefine what an "upset" is, given the number of ranked teams that have fallen at this point in the season. One example: Wichita State beating Syracuse on Saturday. Given the Shockers returning talent, along with the schedule that they've played to this point, was it a true upset? Maybe the fact that they were up 19 at one point, but the result? I don't think so.