A couple of weeks ago we discussed the internal push that the SEC is making to try and shore up their weak non-conference schedules.
Long story short: part of the reason that the SEC only managed to get three teams into the 2013 NCAA tournament — and one of the reasons that they had three teams sitting right on the wrong side of the bubble — is that so many teams in the league had poor non-conference schedules.
That brings down their individual RPIs, and that, in turn, brings down the RPI of the teams in the league once conference play kicks off.
So the SEC brought in former NCAA tournament czar Greg Shaheen to try and solve this problem, and it seems as if he’s gotten is message across.
And that’s good news for more than just the potential bubble-dwellers in the SEC. There are going to be some good mid-major programs that benefit as well. Enter Wichita State, who just added a home-and-home series with Alabama to one that they had already scheduled with Tennessee.
“We’ve entertained several calls since the SEC meeting broke up,” senior associate athletic director Darren Boatright told Kansas.com.
Wichita State-Alabama won’t exactly be a circle-your-calendar kind of game, but it will be more entertaining than seeing, say, Alabama play Alabama State and Wichita State play UMKC.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Auburn junior point guard Kareem Canty, the team’s leader in both points and assists, has missed the Tigers’ last two games as a result of a suspension handed down by head coach Bruce Pearl for a violation of team rules. Thursday night Canty announced via Twitter that he will be turning pro, ending his Auburn career with less than one full season of play.
In 21 games this season Canty averaged 18.3 points and 5.3 assists per contest, shooting 40.1 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from three. Given Auburn’s lack of perimeter depth Canty had ample opportunities to score from the point guard position, but he struggled in the four games following standout performances in wins over Kentucky and Alabama.
Auburn’s lost six straight since beating the Crimson Tide, most recently falling 71-45 at Tennessee Tuesday night. Without Canty, Bruce Pearl called upon TJ Lang and Bryce Brown as the perimeter starters in that game with Patrick Keim and New Williams playing a combined 33 minutes off the bench. They’ll continue to see those minutes moving forward.
As for next season, Auburn brings in four-star point guard Jared Harper and currently injured point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen will be available as well.
Canty began his college career at Marshall, playing the 2013-14 season for the Thundering Herd before deciding to transfer. Canty committed to Auburn in mid-April of 2014, only to change his mind in favor of USF before making the switch back to Auburn.
Canty’s name wasn’t showing up in early draft projections, and making this decision while in the midst of a suspension likely won’t help matters when it comes to getting selected.
Tonight’s schedule. This post will be updated as the games are completed.
UConn (KenPom: 19, RPI: 46) at Temple (KenPom: 95, RPI: 69), 7:00 p.m.
Florida State (KenPom: 37, RPI: 38) at Syracuse (KenPom: 39, RPI: 44), 7:00 p.m.
VCU (KenPom: 32, RPI: 40) at UMass, 7:00 p.m.
Arkansas-Little Rock (KenPom: 41, RPI: 63) at Louisiana Monroe, 8:00 p.m.
Northern Kentucky at Valparaiso (KenPom: 22, RPI: 48), 8:00 p.m.
No. 4 Iowa at Indiana (KenPom: 24, RPI: 51), 9:00 p.m.
No. 11 Oregon at Cal (KenPom: 44, RPI: 32), 9:00 p.m.
Washington State at Colorado (KenPom: 56, RPI: 29), 11:00 p.m.
Gonzaga (KenPom: 33, RPI: 66) at Portland, 11:00 p.m.
Pepperdine at Saint Mary’s (KenPom: 26, RPI: 52), 11:00 p.m.
Oregon State (KenPom: 81, RPI: 31) at Stanford (KenPom: 104, RPI: 71), 11:00 p.m.