Bubble Banter: Big wins for LSU, Xavier, Texas; why is Indiana in trouble and Georgia safe?

7 Comments
source:
Yogi Ferrell (AP Photo)

(This post will be updated as the games are completed.)

Let’s have a conversation about Indiana, shall we?

The Hoosiers have now lost eight of their last 12 games after falling at home to Michigan State on Saturday afternoon. They’re 19-12 overall, 9-9 in the Big Ten and headed for a first round Big Ten tournament game that they simply cannot afford to lose.

And to think, just six weeks ago, they were tied for first place in the conference and ranked in the top 25, fresh off of a 19 point win over Maryland.

At this point, I don’t think it’s fair to slot the Hoosiers on the wrong side of the bubble. I know that their win over Maryland was fluky and at home, but they smacked around the Terps, and that’s one of four top 40 wins they have. They’re 8-11 against the top 100 and their only bad loss came on the road against a Northwestern team that is better than their record would indicate.

Indiana’s profile is far from perfect, but when you put them up against Texas A&M, Tulsa, Texas, Davidson, Temple, BYU and the rest of the bubble, they actually look fairly strong.

That might change if the Hoosiers lose to, say, Northwestern in their Big Ten opener. The Hoosiers certainly aren’t safe.

But the sky hasn’t completely fallen just yet.

READ MORE: Latest Bracketology

WINNERS

  • LSU: The Tigers picked up a massive, massive win on Saturday, going into Bud Walton Arena and knocking off No. 18 Arkansas, which is one of the better road wins that you’ll come across for any bubble team this season. The win just about locks LSU into an NCAA tournament bid. They can still get tripped up by one of the league’s bottom-feeders in the SEC tournament, but even with another loss to a sub-150 team, LSU might be OK. They now have five top 50 wins, with the Arkansas win being their best on the season. They do have five losses to teams ranked outside the top 90, but it is really hard to argue with 12 top 100 wins.
  • Xavier: Creighton had a shot to win it at the buzzer, but the how is much less important than the what: Xavier won in Omaha, and now the Musketeers look like a good bet to get a big to the Big Dance on Selection Sunday. They have five top 50 wins and nine top 100 wins, but with four sub-100 losses on their profile, avoiding a loss to DePaul, Creighton or Marquette in the Big East tournament will be critical.
  • Texas: The Longhorns picked up a vital win over Kansas State in Austin to close out the regular season. Bear in mind, beating the Wildcats is not a “good” win, but the Longhorns’ profile is only bubble-worthy because they don’t have any bad losses. Their worst loss of the season came to Stanford at home, and the Cardinal were legitimately considered a potential top-two team in the Pac-12 at the time. With just two wins over top seven Big 12 teams and just a 3-11 record against the top 50, Texas needs all the help they can get right now. Their work is not done yet. They need at least one win in the conference tournament.
  • Temple: The Owls completed their sweep of UConn, beating the Huskies in Philly on Saturday. It’s a win they needed, but it remains to be seen if they have done enough to get into the tournament. Temple has just two top 50 wins and six top 100 wins, but they beat Kansas by 25 points. Only having one bad loss is a good thing, and they did win 10 of their last 12, but Temple is just 1-5 against the top three teams in the league.
  • Georgia: The Bulldogs won at Auburn, and the consensus seems to be that will be enough to get Georgia into the Big Dance. I don’t understand that. Like Texas A&M, the Bulldogs don’t have any great wins. They’ve beaten two NCAA tournament-caliber teams, winning at Texas A&M and sweeping Ole Miss. But they also have four bad losses — South Carolina twice, Georgia Tech and Auburn. At 20-10 overall, I just don’t see how Georgia has a markedly better profile than, say, Indiana. Feel free to explain that one to me.
  • Purdue: The Boilermakers landed a key win over Illinois, one that strengthens their position on the bubble. They don’t have any great wins — their best is either Iowa at home or BYU on a neutral floor — but they are 9-9 against the top 100, which would be enough if they hadn’t lost to North Florida and Gardner-Webb at home in December. As it stands, they probably want to win at least one game in the Big Ten tournament to feel safe.
  • N.C. State: The Wolfpack landed a convincing win over Syracuse, one that will further solidify their NCAA tournament standing. I don’t want to say definitively that N.C. State is in the NCAA tournament, but with their trio of great wins — Duke, at North Carolina, at Louisville — and their strength of schedule, Mark Gottfried’s club should be able to rest easy on Selection Sunday Eve barring an awful loss in the ACC tournament.
  • Davidson and Boise State: The Wildcats and the Broncos avoided hurting themselves on Saturday. Davidson smacked around Duquesne and Boise beat Fresno State. Those wins don’t help their profiles outside of the fact that losses to sub-200 teams would have been killers. Both are still in the same spot they were at the start of the day: probably in right now, but with work to do to lock themselves into a bid.
  • Colorado State: The Rams won at Utah State, meaning, like Davidson and Boise State, they’re still on the right side of the bubble with work to do.
  • BYU: The Cougars avoided what would have been a disastrous loss to Santa Clara in the WCC semifinals, a loss that they could not afford as one of the teams on the bubble’s cut-line. I still think they need to get to the finals of their conference tournament and, at worst, lose to Gonzaga.
  • Miami: The best thing that you can say about Miami’s win over Virginia Tech is that they didn’t lose to Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes are still on the wrong side of the bubble with some ground to make up in the ACC tournament.
  • Michigan State: I’m not sure if the Spartans were actually in trouble, but winning at Indiana locks up their bid.
source:
AP Photo

LOSERS

  • Every bubble team: Illinois State upset No. 8 Wichita State, meaning the Redbirds will be playing for the Missouri Valley’s automatic bid. Bid thief!
  • Texas A&M: The Aggies lost to Alabama at home on Saturday, meaning that they are now staring down the barrel of a potential trip to the NIT. The only NCAA tournament team that the Aggies have beaten is LSU, who they swept (and who beat Arkansas today), and while they’re 21-10 on the season, losing to Alabama at home — No. 90 in the RPI — is their worst loss of the season. My opinion of A&M can be read in full right here. I haven’t changed it at all.
  • Ole Miss: The Rebels lost at home to Vanderbilt on Saturday evening, dropping Ole Miss ever closer to the cut line. For now, they’re probably safe, but it means that their margin of error in the SEC tournament is just that much smaller. Also working against the Rebels: three ugly non-conference losses to TCU, Western Kentucky and Charleston Southern.
  • Stanford: The Cardinal were in big trouble entering the day, but the good news was that they were playing at Arizona, meaning they had a terrific chance to land a great win. They didn’t. Arizona blew them out, putting Stanford in a position where they have to either win the automatic bid or beat the Wildcats in the Pac-12 tournament to have a chance.
  • Illinois: The Illini really needed to win at Purdue on Saturday, but despite dominating the first 15 minutes in Mackey Arena, they head back to Champaign knowing they have some work to do in the Big Ten tournament. The Illini have a pair of great wins — Maryland at home and Baylor in a neutral floor — but they’re 5-11 against the top 100 with a loss to Nebraska. I’d have them among the first four out right now.
  • Oklahoma State: The Pokes lost at No. 20 West Virginia, and while that, in and of itself, doesn’t kill the Cowboys, they are now 8-10 in the Big 12. Oklahoma State lost five of their last six games, and while they’re 3-8 against the top 25, they’re 5-1 against the rest of the top 100. The concern? You have to factor all of that in with three sub-100 losses on their resume. I think they’re safe, but I’d strongly recommend winning a game in the Big 12 tournament.
  • Kansas State: The Wildcats had an outside chance of getting an at-large bid, but that went out the window with their loss at Texas on Saturday.
  • Pitt: The Panthers lost to Florida State today. They were already on the wrong side of the bubble, and this ensures that they will need to win the ACC’s automatic bid to go dancing.

Ivy League calls off fall sports due to outbreak

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Ivy League on Wednesday became the first Division I conference to say it will not play sports this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. The league left open the possibility of moving some seasons to the spring if the outbreak is better controlled by then.

The decision was described to the AP by a person speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of the official announcement.

Although the coalition of eight academically elite schools does not grant athletic scholarships or compete for an NCAA football championship, the move could have ripple effects throughout the big business of college sports. Football players in the Power Five conferences have already begun workouts for a season that starts on Aug. 29, even as their schools weigh whether to open their campuses to students or continue classes remotely.

The Ivy decision affects not just football but everything before Jan. 1, including soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country, as well as the nonconference portion of the basketball season.

Power Five conferences told The Associated Press on Wednesday that they were still considering their options. But it was the Ivy League’s March 10 decision to scuttle its postseason basketball tournament that preceded a cascade of cancellations that eventually enveloped all major college and professional sports.

“What’s happening in other conferences is clearly a reflection of what’s happening nationally and any decisions are made within that context,” said Dr. Chris Kratochvil, the chair of the Big Ten’s infectious disease task force, adding that there is no “hard deadline” for a decision.

“Clearly, regardless of what happens in the fall, sports are coming back eventually,” he said. “So we want to make sure that whenever that time (is) right to return to competition, that we have the infrastructure and the recommendations in place to be able to do so safely for the student-athletes, staff, coaches, fans, students.”

Ivy League schools are spread across seven Northeastern states that, as of mid-July, have seen some success at controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. But most of those states still ban large gatherings; under the Massachusetts reopening plan, Harvard would not be allowed to have fans in the stands until a vaccine is developed.

Harvard has already announced that all classes for both semesters will be held virtually; dorms will be open only to freshmen and seniors. Yale said it would limit its dorms to 60% capacity and said most classes would be conducted remotely. Princeton will also do most of its teaching online, with dorms at half capacity.

Coaches 4 Change: Siena’s Carmen Maciariello spearheads social justice initiative

Coaches 4 Change
Leave a comment

Carmen Maciariello found himself in the same place so many of us did in the days after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis.

Devastated by what he was seeing. Motivated to find a way to use his platform as the head coach at Siena College to enact change. Struggling with how, as he puts it, “a white head coach from privilege at a school in New York,” can have real, honest, open dialogue with his majority-Black roster.

So he picked up the phone. He called Louis Orr, his former college coach and now an assistant coach at Georgetown. He called his closest friends in the coaching business. He called his advisor, Brad Konerman, an entrepreneur who connected him with a couple of talented website designers. By early June, 25 like-minded people from all walks of life were on a zoom call.

“I’ve never been pulled over and feared for my life for not using my blinker,” Maciariello, who is white, told me. “We had those conversations. How are we talking to our teams about that? What are we doing with the police? How can we help our young people navigate through these tough times?”

That’s how Coaches 4 Change was born.

Maciariello has grand plans for the organization. On a zoom call with nearly all of the 43 coaches that have committed to the group to date, he said he wants “to try to change the world. Let’s not think small, we’ve gotta think big with this.” He is not lacking for ambition.

But Maciariello also understands that something like this has to start small and it has to start locally. It’s why he limited the first group of invitees to coaches that are “doing this for the right reasons.”

“I didn’t want to have a donate link and bring in coaches that felt like, ‘I donated money, I did my part supporting it,” he said. “It was about the time commitment and the vision. We have to focus on one thing first.”

That first thing?

Voting.

C4C developed a sleek, interactive website to help educate young people about social injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement, things as basic as the difference between systemic and systematic racism and Jackie Robinson’s impact on sports. But the site also provides users with all of the information necessary to vote in this year’s elections, information on what makes voting so important in a democracy and — most importantly — a tutorial for how a person in every state can register to vote, where their polling stations are and whether or not they are eligible for mail-in voting. Their website also has a ‘Keep Learning‘ page that links to all documentaries, podcasts, audiobooks and literary resources available on all streaming platforms, including content for children.

C4C has partnered with Vote.org with a goal of “100 percent voter registration for all college athletes” regardless of the sport they play, Maciariello said.

Currently, the only coaches involved with C4C are men’s college basketball coaches, but that will change. They are in the process of reaching out to counterparts on the women’s side, and will eventually invite staff members from other sports as well. One of the barriers to entry to become a member will be ensuring that every player on a coach’s team is registered to vote.

Eventually, Maciariello envisions C4C developing community outreach initiatives. He wants the members of C4C to connect with their campus communities and put together voter registration drives for students. He wants to eventually connect with lawmakers and work on changing legislation that helps systemic racism continue to exist.

No one ever said he wasn’t ambitious.

But he knows he has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is this platform.

“I want to engage people in issues,” he said. “Educate them, empower them to change, encourage them to grow and evolve.”

CBT Podcast: Pat Chambers, moving the season up, Running Back Buddy Hield’s 46 points at Kansas

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the latest edition of the Run It Back podcast, Rob Dauster and Bobby Reagan recap Buddy Hield’s memorable 46-point outburst in a three-overtime loss to Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse in a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 1 back in 2016. The game was unbelievable. Before they dive into the game itself, the boys talk through Pat Chambers’ noose comments to Rasir Bolton and the potential for the college basketball season to get moved up.

Michael Jordan, Roy Williams among UNC greats to condemn systemic racism

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Roy Williams and Michael Jordan joined numerous North Carolina luminaries in condemning systemic racism and voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement in a video that was released by the school on Monday.

“Systematic racism has to stop now,” Jordan said in the video. “We must take the time to listen and educate our family, our friends, our children on social injustice and racial inequality. Black Lives Matter more now than ever before. We have to get this right, so please take time to educate yourself and improve the lives of many people, many Black people. Thank you.”

James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Tyler Hansbrough, Luke Maye and Sean May were among the former players that appeared in the video.

Williams led by discussing Charlie Scott, who was the first Black scholarship athlete in UNC’s history.

“Some of the greatest to play our game have been Black players, but here we are more than 50 years later and our country is still fighting systemic racism and police brutality against Black men and women,” Williams said. “The North Carolina basketball program, our family, our current and former players believe Black lives matter, and it’s critically important that we don’t just believe it. We must stand together and loudly and clearly demand that we as a country and the world embrace the fundamental human right that Black lives matter.”

Former Penn State guard Rasir Bolton left program after coach Pat Chambers made noose comment

pat chambers rasir bolton noose
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former Penn State point guard Rasir Bolton has accused of Pat Chambers of making racially insensitive remarks, including a reference to a noose.

According to Bolton, who tweeted about the incident on Monday morning, midway through his freshman season in 2018-19 with the Nittany Lions, Chambers made a reference to a “noose” about Bolton’s neck.  Bolton described the encounter in an interview with the Undefeated, and said that the phrase was a result of Chambers talking about easing the pressure on his freshman’s shoulders. “I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck,” Bolton recalled.

Bolton also alleged that after his parents went to the Athletic Director with their concerns about this statement, Chambers told him during an exit interview that he was impressed by how “well-spoken” and “organized” his parents are. Remarks like this are considered racially-insensitive because they are based on the underlying assumption that Black people are not expected to be either organized or articulate.

Chambers, to his credit, admitted his wrong in making the noose comment.

Mock Draft | Preseason Top 25

“I’ve realized the pain my words and ignorance caused Rasir Bolton and his family and I apologize to Rasir and the Bolton family for what I said,” Chambers’ statement read. “I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I make was hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable I cannot apologize enough for what I said, and I will carry that forever.”

Bolton left Penn State after his freshman season and transferred to Iowa State. He was given immediately eligibility with the Cyclones after mentioning the noose comment when applying for a waiver. He averaged 14.7 points this past season with Iowa State. He also alleged that after he came to the Penn State athletic department with this claim, they offered him a meeting with a sports psychologist who told him how to “deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.”