Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com fame joined Rob Dauster on the podcast today to talk through the Coaching Carousel, the bracket reveal and some bracket advice Q-and-A. Spoiler alert: Jeff LOVED the bracket reveal, and he tries to justify that opinion unsuccessfully.
OPEN: What did the Selection Committee get wrong with seeding and bubble teams?
10:25: Jeff tries to justify his love for the bracket reveal.
15:15: UConn, Georgia, Pitt and Memphis. Who should they hire? Who will they hire?
26:45: Bracket Breakdown Q-and-A!
CBT Podcast: The Why Your Team Sucks Bracket Breakdown
Brian Snow joined Rob Dauster for another stirring rendition of the Why Your Team Sucks podcast, only this time they breakdown the entire NCAA tournament bracket, giving picks for every single game and even giving you a full bracket to use for your convenience. The rundown:
OPEN: The South Region
17:35: The West Region
33:15: The Midwest Region
48:20: The East Region
1:00:50: The Final Four
CBT Podcast: ESPN’s Robbie Hummel joins the podcast to talk Big Ten and Matt Painter’s waffles
Former Purdue star and current ESPN and Big Ten Network broadcaster Robbie Hummel joined Rob Dauster to talk through the upcoming Big Ten tournament, the adjustment that comes with moving behind the microphone and what makes guarding Kevin Kevin Durant so terrifying. Robbie also has a terrific story about Matt Painter and waffles.
It may still be February, but March is officially here.
The Big Ten tournament is the first of the major conference tournaments to kick off, and they’ll be doing so in New York City, which is just as dumb of an idea as it sounds. One year after playing their league tournament in Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center, the Big Ten opted to try and get into Madison Square Garden this season. But that’s the Big East’s home in March, which is why the Big Ten was forced to move everything up a week this year.
They played two league games the first weekend in December. The teams in the conference had to pack their league schedule as tight as possible. Everyone played two games a week for the entirety of league play. There weren’t off-days, all so the Big Ten could make the cash-grab of appealing to the New York City market. After all, nothing says Big Ten basketball quite like Rutgers and Maryland.
The league did all this so that they can make as much money as humanly possible off of the part of the country they’re trying to annex into the “Big Ten cable footprint”.
And there still isn’t enough money to be able to pay athletes, because this isn’t just a business and it’s all about getting a scholarship and an education and playing for the love of the game.
*eyes roll through the back of my head*
Anyway, let’s talk some hoops.
Michigan State is the best team in the Big Ten, just like we all thought they were going to be entering the season.. They won the outright league title, they have the most talent and they are the most difficult to matchup with. I also think that they are currently peaking, as Cassius Winston is learning to takeover games in big moments and Tom Izzo is starting to trust a lineup that features Jaren Jackson at the five and Miles Bridges at the four.
Ohio State and Purdue are the other two teams that were in the mix for the Big Ten title this year. The Buckeyes probably have the league’s best player in Keita Bates-Diop and they enter the league tournament with the most to gain; Purdue and Michigan State are probably going to end up being top two seeds, while Ohio State still has some work left to do to get to that level. Purdue, on the other hand, has just been so impressive this season. They have a star in league guard Carsen Edwards and he’s flanked by four seniors — assuming Vince Edwards will be good to go — that all understand and embrace the roles they are asked to play. When things are clicking for the Boilermakers, they are a machine.
WHO NEEDS A WIN THE MOST?
Nebraska, Nebraska, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers is the only argument that you need to show why the Big Ten is just is not all that good. Nebraska will enter the Big Ten tournament with a 22-9 record and a 13-5 mark in the Big Ten, but I’d be willing to wager there aren’t any brackets that currently have them in the NCAA tournament. That’s because they only have one Quadrant 1 win: Michigan, at home. Their draw is perfect, too. As the No. 4 seed, they’ll (likely) get No. 5 seed Michigan in the quarters and No. 1 seed Michigan State in the semis. If they don’t win those two games, I don’t think they get into the tournament.
WHO IS ON THE BUBBLE?
See above. The only other team anywhere near the bubble is Penn State, but I think they would need to win three games to really be in the discussion.
It’s been weird watching the transformation of Michigan this season. The Wolverines, under John Beilein, have developed a reputation for being an elite offensive team that can struggle on the defensive end of the floor. This year, they are ranked 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. They aren’t just a group of shooters with a couple soft bigs that only want to score. They still have those guys, but they also have a young core of tough-minded, defense-first athletes that can grind out wins when they need to. The Wolverines enter the postseason on a five-game winning streak.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Keita Bates-Diop is probably the best player in the Big Ten. Carsen Edwards can absolutely take over a game offensively. Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson are the two best NBA prospects in the league. But I’m going to go with Wisconsin‘s Ethan Happ. He hasn’t had a great season as a junior, but he’s played much better down the stretch as the Badgers have continued to improve. They won three straight and four out of five — including a win over Purdue — before a season-ending loss by five points to Michigan State at home.
Will Michigan State fully embrace a small-ball lineup? When they play Miles Bridges at the four and Jaren Jackson at the five, the Spartans are very hard to guard.
We all saw what Juwan Morgan is capable of when he went for 34 points in a win over Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic. Like Wisconsin, Indiana came on strong late in the season.
Likewise, Tony Carr is a guy that might ruin someone’s dreams of hoisting a trophy in the Big Apple. Penn State lost three in a row at the end of the season to put an end to their at-large hopes pending a tournament run, but he can catch fire.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Carsen Edwards scored career-high 40 points and Dakota Mathias added 18 to help No. 9 Purdue outlast Illinois in a 93-86 victory on Thursday night.
The Boilermakers were without their second-leading scorer Vincent Edwards but had no problem scoring.
Purdue shot 58.3 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Edwards and Mathias each had four from behind the arc.
There were eight lead changes in the first half, highlighted by two big runs. With just under 10 minutes left Edwards stole the ball and went down for a huge dunk to spark a 17-6 run for the Boilermakers. The Illini responded with a 10-3 run to close out the half trailing 43-38.
Illinois stayed within striking distance the rest of the game, but ultimately Purdue’s size and Edwards scoring were too much. The sophomore scored 25 of his points in the second half, including a monstrous dunk on Trent Frazier with just under seven minutes to play.
The Boilermakers also outrebounded the Illini 33-20.
Leron Black led Illinois with 28 points, notching his fourth-consecutive 20-point game.
Illinois continues to struggle in close games. The Illini have now lost 10 games this season by single digits.
After losing three straight games, Purdue has reestablished itself in the Big Ten with two close victories over Penn State and Illinois. The Boilermakers are one win away from tying the second most victories in school history.