BSB NCAA Pool – For the 2nd time in 3 years, Justin wins

I know they call it madness, but this tournament has been unbelievable.  Evidence?  How about 12 of the 15 entries in our pool got ZERO of the Final Four teams right?  How about no entry got more than one Final Four team?  That includes our winner, Justin, who wins this competition for the second time in three years.  Congrats, Justin!  He had UConn in the Final Four.  The only other two that hit a Final Four team were Maureen (also UConn) and Jon (Kentucky), and they earned second and third place finishes for that achievement.  Since none of those 3 had those teams reaching the title game, below you’ll find our final standings.

Final Standings:

1. JUSTIN- 85.5
2. Maureen- 76.5
3. Jon- 74.5
4. Weirauch- 68.5
5. Bry- 67
6. Doogan- 66
7. Ian- 65.5
8. J- 63
9. Jared- 61.5
10. Shawn- 61
11. Talia- 58
11. Walsh- 58
13. Ben- 56.5
14. Ryan- 54
15. Greg- 46.5

BSB NCAA Pool Standings: Justin close to the win; Walsh only one with a chance

With 8 teams still alive, there are just two possible winners of the pool, and one of them is still a fairly big long shot.  The only reason Justin hasn’t locked up the crown already is thanks to Walsh’s coin-flipping method putting Arizona into the title game.  Walsh could edge Justin for the title if Zona can get to the title game and North Carolina loses tomorrow OR if Zona gets to the title game and Florida beats Butler today.

Standings through Sweet 16:

1. Justin- 76.5
2. Weirauch- 68.5
3. Maureen- 67.5
4. Bry- 67
5. Doogan- 66
6. Ian- 65.5
6. Jon- 65.5
8. J- 63
9. Jared- 61.5
10. Shawn- 61
11. Walsh- 58
11. Talia- 58
13. Ben- 56.5
14. Ryan- 54
15. Greg- 46.5

Sweet 16 Preview with BSB Pool Implications

The last really great flurry of college hoops games comes with the 8 games in two days for the Sweet 16.  Below are brief previews of each game, and a note on the implications for the 15 entries in BSB’s NCAA Pool.

#2 San Diego St. vs. #3 Connecticut
Both of these teams come in riding 7-game winning streaks and each will be led by a soon-to-be NBA 1st Round pick with a cool name: Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard.  SDSU’s only two losses on the season were at the hands of The Jimmer and BYU, so there has to be concern with facing Walker, who’s been the East Coast version of Fredette.  UConn center Alex Oriakhi will have to hold his own against the big and talented Aztec frontcourt.  Playing in Anaheim, SDSU should have plenty of fan support.

Pool Implications:  The field is split on this game.  6 entries (Justin, Maureen, Ian, Jon, Jared, and Shawn) have UConn, 8 have San Diego St., and only Walsh has already lost here, with Missouri.  A potentially big game for the two current favorites, with Justin and Bry on opposite sides here, and Justin putting a Final Four pick on the line.

#2 Florida vs. #3 BYU
With this game starting 12 minutes after the above one, Kemba and Jimmer will be competing for viewers’ attention and trying to one-up each other.  Both of these teams won their regular-season conference titles and then stumbled in their conference championship games.  BYU beat Florida in overtime in the 1st Round of last year’s tournament, with Jimmer dropping 37.  Bad news for Florida: the man most likely to guard Jimmer, Kenny Boynton, missed practice this week with an ankle sprain.  Bad news for BYU:  the Gators have numerous athletic big men that can exploit the absence of dismissed BYU center Brandon Davies.

Pool Implications:  11 of the 15 entries have the favored Gators winning this one.  Maureen and Doogan are the only two with BYU, so it’s a decent shot for them to gain some points and possibly move into the top two spots in the standings, at least temporarily.  Ben (with Gonzaga) and Jon (with Michigan St.) have already lost here.

#1 Duke vs. #5 Arizona
 Kyrie Irving now has two games under his belt and is probably knocking more rust off of his game with each day.  That makes the Dukies very much a threat to repeat as national champs.  Coach K and his staff will have to come up with a creative plan for knocking Zona star Derrick Williams off of his game.  With this game being played in Anaheim, Duke can’t count on having a ton of fan support compared to Arizona.

Pool Implications:  9 entries have the Blue Devils, while Walsh is the only one to go with Arizona.  The other 5 entries (Doogan, Ian, Weirauch, Ryan, and Greg) had Texas.

#4 Wisconsin vs. #8 Butler
Everyone probably looks at this game and thinks it will be real boring basketball, but don’t be fooled.  Yes, it will probably be low-scoring and pretty slow and both teams are better defensively than offensively, but Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer and Butler’s Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack will all be on NBA rosters in a year or two, so there’s plenty of elite talent, and two teams that always play smart basketball from start to finish.

Pool Implications:  Not much.  Ben is the only one with a shot to get points, with Wisconsin.  12 others had Pitt, and J and Jared had K-State.

#2 North Carolina vs. #11 Marquette
Marquette coach Buzz Williams has started to get some “buzz” (couldn’t help myself) for possibly a higher-profile job, and that buzz will get exponentially louder if he can knock off the Tar Heels in the Sweet 16.  He probably has enough talent to keep pace with them for a good while, but they’ll have to find a way to slow down the hot Carolina frontcourt of Zeller, Barnes, and Henson.

Pool Implications:  There wasn’t much confidence in Carolina, with only 4 entries (Justin, Maureen, Doogan, and Weirauch) picking the favored Heels to make the Elite 8.  8 entries went with Syracuse, 2 (Talia and Walsh) took Washington, and Ian had Xavier.  Bry will really be rooting for Marquette, as he’s the only one in the top four of the standings that doesn’t have the Heels.

#1 Kansas vs. #12 Richmond
Expectations were high coming into the season for Richmond, with almost everyone coming back from a team that earned a 7-seed in last year’s tournament.  They were disappointing early on though, with losses to Iona, Bucknell, and Georgia Tech.  But since the start of February they’ve won 13 of 14 games, including the A-10 tournament, with their only loss at Temple.  Granted, they didn’t have to beat Temple or Xavier to win the A-10 tourney, and they’ve only beaten Vanderbilt and Morehead St. to reach this Sweet 16, but they’re still a dangerous team with two stars, Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper.  Kansas, on the other hand, is 34-2.  Not much struggles for the Jayhawks this season, despite a bunch of roster changes and other distractions.

Pool Implications:  13 entries have the Jayhawks and the other two (Maureen and Greg) had Louisville.

#1 Ohio St. vs. #4 Kentucky
This could end up being the best game of the round, but only if the Kentucky Kids aren’t intimidated by facing the top team in the country on such a big stage.  Ohio St., on the other hand, has veteran leadership and Jared Sullinger, who could have his way down low in this one.  Watch for another freshman, Aaron Craft, checking Brandon Knight when he’s in the game, and maybe taking Kentucky’s leading scorer out of the game.

Pool Implications:  11 entries have Ohio St., while Jon, Weirauch, and J could hit the nice upset pick with Kentucky.  Our leader, Justin, stubbed his toe a bit here, going with Nova.  He will be a Kentucky fan in this one.

#10 Florida St. vs. #11 VCU
Maybe not the game everyone would want to see here, but still an interesting one.  VCU rolled into the Sweet 16 with three straight relatively easy wins over quality major-conference schools.  I’d say that makes them the favorite in this game, but FSU just picked up two nice wins of its own, and did it with minimal contribution from their best player, Chris Singleton, who’s working his way back in after an injury.  With four more days of rest for Singleton, he could really be a factor here.  He’s maybe the best defensive player in the nation when healthy.

Pool Implications:  Zilch.  Everyone had either Purdue or Notre Dame.

2011 BSB NCAA Pool Standings

Well, it was another successful four-day Annual BSB Summit in Sea Isle City, NJ this weekend, and that means it’s time to post the current BSB NCAA Pool Standings.  Bry looks to be the favorite at the moment, but there’s still plenty of pot holes to dodge over the course of the tourney’s final 15 games.

Standings (National Champ pick in parentheses):

1. Justin- 60 (Kansas)
2. Maureen- 59 (Pitt)
2. Bry- 59 (Kansas)
4. Doogan- 58 (Texas)
5. Ian- 53.5 (Kansas)
6. Ben- 52.5 (Notre Dame)
7. Jon- 51.5 (Duke)
8. Weirauch- 51 (Texas)
9. Talia- 50 (Duke)
10. J- 49.5 (Kansas)
11. Jared- 49 (Kansas)
12. Shawn- 48.5 (Pitt)
13. Ryan- 46 (Kansas)
14. Walsh- 44.5 (Kansas)
15. Greg- 42.5 (Ohio St.)

CTC Final Recap: By an Amazing Score of 2,652 – 2,651, Rikey Wins the 2011 Overall Title

Truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction.  And, in this case, you can’t make this kind of thing up.  After 13 days, 276 games played, and 45,712 points awarded, the CTC overall title was decided by one single, solitary point.  Doogan asked me how many times I recounted the scores to make sure I wasn’t missing anything – well, the answer is, “a lot.”  I actually found two mistakes in my “audit,” but they were just small point omissions for Teddy and Mac.  Nothing that would change the fact that Bry’s brilliant pick of the eventual Big East champion to lose to an 0-18 team on the first day of the Big East tournament cost him a 3rd straight overall title.  A much-deserved overall victory to Rikey, who hid in the shadows, lurking around the leaders for most of the contest, before exploding onto the scene to win 4 of the last 6 days and take the overall title.  He dominated the big conferences, finishing either 1st of 2nd in the ACC, A-10, Big XII, and SEC.  He hit three of the four games on Day Thirteen to finish off the comeback.  And, maybe most impressive of all was his consistency.  Rikey took the overall title and yet only won one conference (the SEC on the final day). 

Sharing the Day Thirteen victory honors are Bry, Alexi, Lil Lohse, and Gersh.  Lynch and Cheryl got no points on Day Thirteen and fell to 17th and 20th, respectively, in the final standings.  J, who lost three straight potential clinchers, still finish a solid 3rd place, just 21 points behind the winner.  Alexi and Lohse finish solidly in the top 5, while Doogan drops to 7th on the final day.  Gersh actually made the biggest jump on Day Thirteen, moving from 16th after Day Twelve to an 11th place finish.  Dave and Lil Lohse also climbed a couple spots when it mattered most.  KA climbed a big spot into 19th in the final standings.  Stri fell 4 spots and out of the top 10.

Thanks to all for participating and Doogan for all the help with the recaps.  We hope to see everyone back for the 2012 version.


  1. Alexi – 270 (2)
  2. Bry – 270 (4)
  3. Gersh – 270 (1)
  4. Lil Lohse – 270 (1)
  5. Rikey – 270 (4)
  6. Dave – 190
  7. Lohse – 190
  8. Teddy – 190
  9. Dan – 180
  10. Primm – 180 (1)
  11. Scoot – 180
  12. Waters – 180
  13. J – 170 (1)
  14. Gross – 100 (1)
  15. Doogan – 90 (2)
  16. KA – 90 (1)
  17. Mac – 80 (1)
  18. Stri – 80
  19. Cheryl – 0
  20. Lynch – 0

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS (conferences won):

  1. Rikey – 2652 (SEC)
  2. Bry – 2651 (Big XII, Big Sky*, CAA, Horizon*, MWC*, Summit*, WCC*)
  3. J – 2631 (A-Sun, Big West, Great West, MAC, MWC*, OVC, Sun Belt)
  4. Alexi – 2548 (ACC, MVC)
  5. Lohse – 2366 (Summit*)
  6. Dan – 2362 (A-Sun, Great West)
  7. Doogan – 2324 (AmEast*, Big South, MAC, MEAC)
  8. Waters – 2317 (A-10, WAC)
  9. Scoot – 2316 (Big East, NEC*)
  10. Dave – 2295 (A-Sun, Southland)
  11. Gersh – 2268
  12. Stri – 2248 (NEC*, Summit*)
  13. Primm – 2242 (Big 10, MAAC)
  14. Lil Lohse – 2240 (Summit*)
  15. Mac – 2195 (Great West, Summit*)
  16. Gross – 2174 (Patriot*, SoCon, Summit*)
  17. Lynch – 2134 (C-USA, Pac-10, SWAC, Summit*)
  18. Teddy – 2052 (Summit*)
  19. KA – 1860
  20. Cheryl – 1837 (Summit*)


  1. Alexi (’11) – 310
  2. J – 300
  3. Rikey – 280
  4. Gersh – 260
  5. KA – 260
  6. Bry (’08) – 250
  7. Teddy – 250
  8. Doogan (’09) – 240
  9. Lil Lohse – 240
  10. Lohse – 240
  11. Dan – 190
  12. Dave – 190
  13. Lynch – 180
  14. Mac – 170
  15. Cheryl – 160
  16. Scoot – 160
  17. Stri (’10) – 160
  18. Primm – 150
  19. Gross – 130
  20. Waters – 130


  1. Rikey (’11) – 320
  2. Scoot – 310
  3. Dan – 290
  4. Dave – 290
  5. Gersh – 290
  6. Lohse – 290
  7. Alexi (’09, ’10) – 270
  8. Bry – 240
  9. Gross – 240
  10. Lil Lohse – 240
  11. Teddy – 240
  12. Cheryl – 230
  13. Stri – 230
  14. Primm – 220
  15. Mac – 200
  16. Waters (’08) – 170
  17. J – 160
  18. KA – 160
  19. Doogan – 160
  20. Lynch – 80


  1. Waters (’08, ’11) – 290
  2. Rikey – 240
  3. Gross – 160
  4. Bry (’09, ’10) – 140
  5. Cheryl – 140
  6. Stri – 130
  7. Alexi – 120
  8. Scoot – 120
  9. Doogan (’10) – 110
  10. Dave – 100
  11. J – 100
  12. Dan – 70
  13. Mac – 70
  14. Lil Lohse – 60
  15. Lohse – 60
  16. Lynch – 60
  17. Primm – 60
  18. Teddy – 60
  19. Gersh – 50
  20. KA – 30


  1. Primm (’11) – 280
  2. Alexi – 260
  3. Dan – 260
  4. J – 230
  5. Scoot – 220
  6. Waters (’10) – 220
  7. Gersh – 180
  8. Lil Lohse – 180
  9. Mac – 160
  10. Rikey – 160
  11. Stri – 160
  12. Gross – 150
  13. Bry (’08, ’09) – 140
  14. KA – 110
  15. Lohse – 110
  16. Teddy – 110
  17. Dave – 100
  18. Cheryl – 80
  19. Doogan – 80
  20. Lynch – 50

Tournament Bracket Selections: Initial Reactions

Well, here are some unfiltered, unedited initial reactions to the brackets.  These opinions might change by Thursday…or tonight…but they are immediate.

  • Even I – the ultimate defender of the mid-major – cannot really defend VCU or UAB. 
  • But, that being said, I don’t mind leaning on RPI, and Alabama, Colorado, and Va Tech really didn’t play ANYONE in the non-conference.  I love that the Committee is saying “Play good games in November and December,”  You why I like that?  Because I like WATCHING good games in November and December.  So, we should all applaud the Committee for leaving out teams like Colorado (non-conference SOS of 335).
  • I do think St. Mary’s deserved to be in and probably Harvard, too.
  • It’s hysterical that Va Tech missed the tournament AGAIN.  I just wish we got Seth Greenberg’s immediate reaction.  Honestly, what do you think he did when he say VCU up there?
  • UConn – Cincy favored to meet in the second round?  I guess it’s hard to avoid with 11 teams from one conference, but wow.  Also, if Marquette upsets Xavier (certainly possibly), they will take on Syracuse in the second round.
  • Missouri falls all the way to 11, while Nova gets a 9?
  • Georgia in SAFELY with a 10-seed?
  • Utah State got SCREWED with a 12-seed.  What are they supposed to do?
  • The Southeast (Pitt’s region) is really, really weak.  An overseeded Florida, a short-handed BYU, and a Wisconsin team that is going to lose to Belmont.  There is a chance – I know it sounds crazy – that Michigan State goes to the Elite Eight and, possibly, the Final Four again.  Yes, a 10-seed.
  • I think Marquette is a pretty nice underdog Sweet 16 pick.
  • Best First-Round games:  Vanderbilt-Richmond and Butler-ODU
  • Call it wishful thinking:  I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see N.Colorado to beat San Diego State.  Interesting because there have only been three 15-seeds winning over a 2.  And, in two of the cases, that 15-seed ended up playing Temple in the second round.  So, the Owls have benefitted from that kind of upset before.
  • I love how the Committee never “thinks about matchups,” yet you always get things like this:  Josh Pastor against Arizona and the Illinois taking on Lon Kruger in the first round and then, if they win, Bill Self in the second round.

Today’s Top Twelve: Temple Possible First-Round Draws

With the Selection Show just hours away, I wanted to start thinking about the possible first-round matchups for the Owls.  In looking at Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology that was posted before today’s games, the Owls were pegged as a 7-seed, even after the loss yesterday.  And, since “Joey Brackets” is so good at what he does, we will assume that he is pretty close.  Honestly, though, I think it’s more likely that he has overvalued the seed than undervalued it.  I could see the Owls in the 8-9 game before I see them moving up to the 6-line.  So, to try and narrow down the potential opponents, I considered all of Lunardi’s 8-, 9-, and 10-seeds as potential first-round draws.  I quickly eliminated two of this group – Richmond and Villanova – because the Committee always tries to avoid regular-season rematches in the first two rounds.  To replace them, I decided to take what I felt to be the weakest #7 (Cincinnati) and the strongest #11 (Michigan) as logical draws.  Penn State, who is currently a 12-seed in Lunardi’s bracket, could easily climb into the range of possibility if they beat Ohio State today, but, for now, a rematch of the 2001 Sweet 16 is probably an unlikely first-round matchup.  Also, Georgetown, a #7 that might be weaker than Cincy, but that is not an option because the two teams played in the regular season.

With those 12 teams, I tried to think about the best (and worst) possible matchups for a Temple team that is without a key interior defender in Michael Eric and with a hobbled inside-outside scorer in Scootie Randall.

Top Twelve Toughest Possible Matchups for the Owls in the First Round

12). Florida State.  The one thing that would make me the most happy when tonight’s draw is unveiled is if the Owls were matched up with Florida State in the first round.  And, encouragingly, that is exactly who Lunardi has them playing as of his bracket this morning.  It may sound odd because the one thing I am most concerned about is interior defense, and FSU’s frontline is active and athletic, but it is not nearly as intimidating without, by far, their best player, Chris Singleton.  Yes, they have played pretty well since Singleton was injured on Feb 12, but I still would love to play a Leonard Hamilton-coached team without its best player in the tournament.

11). Michigan.  This will be more because of the “happy-to-be-there” mentality that I think the Wolverines may have coming into this tournament.  The Owls have painful memories of three straight first-round exits that they are dying to erase next week, while just hearing their names called tonight will be a success to this program that has been quickly rebuilt by John Beilein.  Beilein, himself, would be my biggest concern in facing this team, but as great as Beilein is, his teams usually operate best when they can take advantage of an opponent’s lack of discipline.  I trust Coach Dunphy develop a gameplan and hold the kids accountable that will be able to efficiently attack the Wolverines defense.

10). Cincinnati.  Maybe this is an anti-Big East bias here, but is anyone really impressed by this Cincinnati team?  Yes, I know that they finished 7th in a good Big East (ahead of Georgetown and UConn), but their in-conference schedule was disproportionally easy and their non-conference schedule was an utter joke.  Yancy Gates gives me a little bit of a pause, and I could see their hard-nosed, bruising defense really rattling guys like Fernandez and Allen, but bruising Big East teams tend to get in a lot of foul trouble in the NCAA tournament because they are used to the invisible Big East refs that believe in “let them play” as much as they believe in “God bless, America.”

9). Missouri.  I know it is interesting for me to have Missouri this low on a list of teams I want to avoid because I LOVE this team and, as long as they are playing someone other than the Owls, I will be rooting for them next week.  But, from a matchup standpoint, I don’t think Dunphy and company would be that upset to see the Tigers opposite them.  First of all, Mizzou was nearly unbeatable at home this year, but barely ordinary on the road, and neutral court games – especially in the tournament – are much more akin to road games than home games.  Secondly, they feed off of defensive pressure – 40 minutes of hell – and scoring off of turnovers.  The Owls, with the strong handle and poise of Fernandez and the ballhandling abilities of guys like Moore, Wyatt, and even DiLeo, are very, very good at holding on to the ball.  Furthermore, the Tigers have a lot of trouble scoring in the halfcourt, especially down low, where even bruiser Ricardo Ratliffe isn’t a very good back-to-the-basket scorer, so the loss of Eric will not present a major problem against a team like Mizzou.  The only reason they are not lower on this list is because they are very, very talented and I’d be scared of that talent flat-out winning a game.

8). Utah State.  This team just flat out wins.  They are 30-3, with a close loss at BYU and an impressive dominating win at St. Mary’s.  Being a mid-major, they don’t have a ton of size, but their best player is the 6’7″ WAC POY, Tai Wesley, so they can score inside, but I think Lavoy Allen should be able to almost completely neutralize Wesley.  The issue that would present itself in this game is the incredible halfcourt defense that the Aggies play.  I think that, especially if Randall is out or not 100%, the Owls would have a lot of trouble scoring in the halfcourt against this defense.  It might rely on Fernandez (who has been rather inconsistent this year) having a big game shooting the ball.

7). Gonzaga.  Robert Sacre and Steven Gray scare me.  This team was supposed to be a top-15 or even a top-10 team this year, but they had some head-scratching losses early and now they have slipped to the 8/9 territory.  But, I think they are considerably better than that, and they have a boatload of big-time experience.  This is not a team that I want to have to play.

6). George Mason.  While they might not have the big-time size of one of the rich conference schools, this team can flat-out play.  They are reaping the benefits of the recruiting bump that came with the Final Four run and the brand-new building and have a stacked roster.  I love Fernandez, but Cam Long would probably be the best perimeter player on the floor if these two teams played.  Plus, the Patriots are white-hot, having won 16 in a row until losing their quarterfinal against VCU.

5). Butler.  They really only lost Gordon Hayward and Willie Veasley from last year’s team that were one turn-around jumper away from winning the national championship (everyone talks about the halfcourt shot, but they had a good look in the possession before that that would have given them the lead).  But, some interesting losses along the way this year have dropped them into this part of the draw.  But, they are so talented and skilled and still so experienced that there is no way I would want to have to beat them to advance.  If they do draw them, it will be important to get Allen involved early and often to try and get Matt Howard into foul trouble – which sometimes isn’t that hard to do.

4). Marquette.  If I didn’t think Buzz Williams was such a bad in-game coach, I might even have this team at the top of the list of teams to avoid for the Owls.  This roster terrifies me from a matchup perspective.  Without Eric, the Owls will have to use Rahlir Jefferson more on the inside to defend, leaving guys like Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom to be able to operate on Moore and Randall, who are not exactly stalwart perimeter defenders.  Plus, the bruising Big East style and the postseason experience on this team make them not exactly a great matchup for anyone, let alone a depleted Owls team.

3). UCLA.  Without Eric, this UCLA frontline of Nelson, Honeycutt, and Smith could have a field day against the Owls in a first-round matchup.  And, if Allen ends up in foul trouble, we could be looking at Aaron Brown having to guard one of these excellent big men.  Their guard play is suspect, which I think Dunphy could really expose, but this is also one of those games, where I think Dunphy might actually be the lesser head coach (there aren’t many), as Ben Howland is as good as it gets.  The only reason they are not higher is because I do think the Owls have a distinct advantage in the backcourt, and I am not nearly as impressed with a second-place Pac-10 season this year as I would be in normal years.

2). Old Dominion.  Not necessarily from a matchup perspective do I fear this matchup.  I just fear it because I feel strongly that this team will win its first-round game, regardless of competition.  They will be VERY underseeded (a la Cornell last year) and are better than any other team on this list (probably including the Owls).  I wouldn’t want to be any team that draws ODU in this year’s tournament.

1). Tennessee.  And, the one team I do NOT want to see (which, considering the Michigan State and Cornell draws in recent years, is now the most likely) is Tennessee.  Bruce Pearl simply wins tournament games, and this team is so incredibly talented, it took MASSIVE distractions this year just to keep them out of the top-15.  Scotty Hopson is the best single player on any team on this list, and Tobias Harris might be the second-best.  Plus, I cannot imagine this Temple frontline having to deal with Harris and Brian Williams, let alone Moore and Randall checking guys like Hopson and Cameron Tatum.  Please, Committee, to try and ammend the absurdness of the Cornell draw last year, please don’t give me Tennessee this year…

CTC: Day Thirteen

After twelve days of pretty amazing basketball and intense CTC competition, it all comes down to one game (and maybe a single point) to decide the 2011 CTC overall title.  With only four games today – all worth 80 points apiece – it is a real feast or famine day, so there can be a lot of movement on the final leaderboard.

A thorough BSB investigation determined that Duke-UNC is the second-best rivalry in all of sports.  And, now we are ready for yet another chapter.  Today’s ACC title game will be the 6th time since 2001 that these two basketball superpower in this title game, and the winner of each of the first five of them has then gone to the Final Four that April.  That is an incredible statistic.  Alexi, who is currently leading the ACC, will win the 2011 CTC ACC title with a Duke win.  A UNC win will give Dan the 2011 ACC crown.

#1 North Carolina vs. #2 Duke
It should be obvious, from these two weeks, that I love the smaller conferences and, during the season, get pretty sick of having to watch Duke and UNC every Wednesday or Thursday night, playing against some cannon fodder that has no chance of winning in Cameron or the Dean Dome.  But, there is little better than wars between two elite teams, especially those that hate each other as much as these two do.  I haven’t been all that excited about any single ACC tournament game this year…until now.  This one is a must-see battle.  UNC was playing at an extremely high level coming into the tournament, but needed everything they had to erase big deficits against both Miami and Clemson, along the way, winning their semi in OT.  Duke, on the other hand, was not really scared in either of their tournament games against Maryland and Virginia Tech.  Nolan Smith was healthy enough yesterday to drop 27 on the Hokies, so that isn’t a big issue today.  We will see how the youth of UNC responds to the big moment against the immense experience that the Dookies bring to the table.  The CTC is pretty split on this one, with 19 people having one of these two teams as their champion (Lynch had Va Tech).  8 people (Stri, Waters, Scoot, Cheryl, Dan, Primm, Gross, and Mac) have UNC.  The other 11 have Duke.

FINAL SCORE:  Duke 75 – North Carolina 58
With a thorough beatdown of their arch-rivals, the Blue Devils secure themselves yet another ACC title and yet another NCAA tournament #1-seed.  The Devils scored the first 8 points of the game and never looked back, opening the lead up to 19 at one point and never trailing themselves all game.  It was a pretty anticlimactic ending to an okay ACC tournament.  In bad news for the rest of the country, Nolan Smith looked totally healthy again, leading Duke with 20 points.  11 people nailed Duke as their ACC champ.

The two teams left standing after 10 SEC tournament games are both playing at extremely high levels and should be heard from deep into the month of March.  It should be an interesting game that, much like the ACC title game, pits a team with age and experience against a team with very little, but a ton of talent.  The two games together may give us a bit of an idea on just what is driving today’s college hoops game and whether or not the Calipari/Hewiit style of recruiting (get the most talented kids regardless of one-and-done NBA ambitions or willingness to cater to a team’s system) is really better than the Coach K/Ben Howland way (get less-heralded kids with strong work ethics who are not thinking of immediate NBA riches and their draft positions, but rather simply of how they can get better as basketball players).  Do you want Ashton Gibbs, Chandler Parsons, and Lance Thomas as seniors or John Wall, Terrence Jones, and Derrick Favors as freshmen?  Honestly, I don’t know, but it’s the interesting dilemma that big-time college coaches are faced with these days.  The SEC’s current leader, Stri, will win the 2011 CTC title with a Florida win.  Rikey will win the 2011 CTC SEC title AND the 2011 CTC overall title with a Kentucky win.  J will win the overall title with a Florida win.

#1E Florida vs. #2E Kentucky
Florida (who won the tough Eastern Division) actually had a much more difficult road in this tournament than Kentucky (who finished second in the East).  The Gators had to go through two tough tournament teams – Tennessee and Vanderbilt – while Kentucky faced a probable CBI team in Ole Miss and a probably NIT team in Alabama.  But, they both got here just the same and will play for it all in the SEC today.  I am very eager to see the individual battle between Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones, plus the point guard battle between highly-touted Brandon Knight versus the 5’7″ jet Erving Walker.  The CTC is only somewhat split on this one.  The majority of the field (12 entries) has Kentucky.  4 people have Florida (Stri, Waters, Cheryl, and Mac), and four more have already lost with either Vandy (Doogan and J), Mississippi State (Lynch), or Alabama (KA).

FINAL SCORE:  Kentucky 70 – Florida 54
In another game that wasn’t all that close, UK closes out an impressive run through the SEC tournament with a convincing win over Florida, giving the ‘Cats another SEC title, and Rikey the 2011 CTC Overall Title.  These Kentucky freshmen look really good, and I would not want to be matched up with them next week.  A dozen people got this championship pick right, including Rikey and Bry, which catapulted them ahead of J into 1-2 in the overall standings.

The A-10 expansion of about a decade ago has really been great for the league.  Adding perennial national contender, Xavier, as well as solid programs like St. Louis and the two teams that will play for this year’s championship – Richmond and Dayton – was a pretty nice step for a league that has dealt with the defections of teams like Villanova, Pitt, West Virginia, Penn State, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech to richer conferences.  In today’s final, the world will get to see – on CBS – two of the great additions to the league play for it all.  And, it could be a great day for the A-10.  If Dayton beats Richmond, the league should get 4 teams in The Dance tonight, which would tie the record for the league, which received 4 bids in 1993, 1997, and 2003.  Bubble teams all over the land are hard-core Richmond fans today, as is Waters, who wins the 2011 CTC A-10 title with a Spiders win today.  Rikey will take the title with a Dayton win.

#3 Richmond vs. #9 Dayton
Well, the 9-seed won the Big East tournament last night, so it is not ridiculous to think it could happen here in the A-10, as well.  In fact, Dayton certainly has the talent to be this conference’s last team standing.  With Chris Wright and Chris Johnson, this team expected to be in the Dance from the start of the year.  They definitely didn’t expect to have to win this tournament to do it, though.  Jawan Staten is a terrific freshman point guard, but he is a freshman, and he is up against one of the best in the country in Kevin Anderson.  Also, there will be a great battle on the inside, as well, with Wright going up against first-team all-A10 player, Justin Harper.  It is not surprising that no one has Dayton winning this tournament, but it is a bit surprising that only one (Waters) has Richmond.

FINAL SCORE:  Richmond 67 – Dayton 54
The Spiders complete the tournament victory, ensuring their selection in the field of 68 (and it was probably a good thing, considering what happened with the bubble teams).  The last chance for the A-10 to place 4 teams in the field was quelled today, when Dayton just didn’t have enough in the tank to take down Richmond.  Waters was the only one to have Richmond winning this tournament, so he picks up a cool 100 points on the rest of the field.

The top of the bracket was rather easy for top-seed Ohio State to navigate, but Penn State coming out of the bottom of the bracket – which contained Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan State – is incredible, and should get the Nittany Lions into the tournament, regardless of the outcome of their game against the nation’s number one today.  What is interesting is that, with this game tipping off at 3:30, it probably will not come to an end until about 5:30 or so.  With the brackets being announced at 6:00, the Committee’s opinion on Penn State is probably already made up before this game even begins.  Personally, I think that it is bad for Penn State, from a seeding perspective, but good for them in terms of selection.  The Committee probably has them in or not and won’t really be able to be swayed if the Lions get blown out today.  But, if they win, normally, their seeding would be improved substantially, but, with all the different things that the Committee has to take into consideration, it will probably be a lot of work to up PSU’s seeding at the 11th hour, if they are to beat OSU.  Primm has already clinched the 2011 CTC Big Ten championship trophy.

#1 Ohio State vs. #6 Penn State
Like I said above, I think PSU is in already.  But, there is no doubt that they very close.  They, obviously, would feel MUCH better, though, if they were to make it official by taking the Big Ten title here, especially if Dayton wins their early game.  OSU is, in my mind, clearly the best team in America, but their one potential weakness is their lack of depth, so it should be interesting to see how Thad Matta works the rotation in their third game in three days.  On the other side, this is PSU’s fourth game in four days, and a lot of their success falls on the shoulders of one guy – Taylor Battle.  If Battle, a jump-shooter and slasher, is fatigued and short on the jumpers, the already somewhat anemic PSU offense becomes basically impotent.  No one has the Lions here, but a dozen entries pegged the Buckeyes as their champ (Bry, J, Stri, Alexi, Waters, Lil Lohse, Scoot, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, Primm, and Mac.

FINAL SCORE:  Ohio State 71 – Penn State 60
In the final game of another amazing two weeks of college hoops, the country’s best team won the Big Ten title in convincing fashion over the upstart Nittany Lions, who played their way into the tournament this week.  Jared Sullinger was a man-child all week, and was named MOP of the tournament, despite only making 12 of his 36 field goal attempts.  12 more people hit this champ here.

CTC Day Twelve Recap: Rikey Wins a Big Day Twelve and Could Complete a Historic Comeback

And, then there were two.  Rikey’s correct picks of Richmond and Kansas yesterday have put him in striking distance of J, the overall leader, on the final day.  And, get this – if Kentucky wins – Rikey will win the overall title by a single point over Bry.  (EDITOR’S NOTE:  One f’ing point?!?!?  Are you kidding me?).  J blew two chances to clinch the overall title yesterday (Michigan State and Texas).  But, he still has the overall lead and another chance to win this thing.  If Florida beats Kentucky today, J will hold off the hard-charging Rikey and take the 2011 CTC Overall Title.  Waters took the biggest jump on Day Twelve, going from 15th to 9th.  Scoot jumped 4 spots, and Dan climbed 3.  Dave took the biggest fall on Day Twelve, dropping from 7th to 13th.  Gross and Primm fell 4 spots.


  1. Rikey – 462 (3)
  2. Mac – 430 (1)
  3. Waters – 428
  4. J – 416 (1)
  5. Alexi – 404 (1)
  6. Scoot – 384
  7. Bry – 372 (3)
  8. Dan – 360
  9. Doogan – 360 (2)
  10. Lynch – 352
  11. Stri – 342
  12. Cheryl – 294
  13. Lil Lohse – 292
  14. KA – 278 (1)
  15. Gross – 262 (1)
  16. Lohse – 260
  17. Dave – 252
  18. Primm – 252 (1)
  19. Gersh – 240
  20. Teddy – 184

OVERALL STANDINGS (conferences won)

  1.  J – 2461 (A-Sun, OVC, Sun Belt)
  2. Rikey – 2382
  3. Bry – 2381 (Big Sky*, CAA, Horizon*, Summit*, WCC*)
  4. Alexi – 2278 (MVC)
  5. Doogan – 2234 (Big South)
  6. Dan – 2182 (A-Sun)
  7. Lohse – 2176 (Summit*)
  8. Stri – 2168 (NEC*, Summit*)
  9. Waters – 2137
  10. Scoot – 2136 (NEC*)
  11. Lynch – 2134 (Summit*)
  12. Mac – 2115 (Summit*)
  13. Dave – 2105 (A-Sun)
  14. Gross – 2074 (Patriot*, SoCon, Summit*)
  15. Primm – 2062 (MAAC)
  16. Gersh – 1998
  17. Lil Lohse – 1970 (Summit*)
  18. Teddy – 1862 (Summit*)
  19. Cheryl – 1837 (Summit*)
  20. KA – 1770


  1. Scoot (’11) – 200
  2. Mac – 175
  3. Dave – 165
  4. Lohse – 160
  5. Primm – 160
  6. Stri – 160
  7. Dan – 150
  8. Doogan (’08, ’09) – 140
  9. Gersh – 130
  10. KA – 130
  11. Rikey – 100
  12. Cheryl – 95
  13. Bry – 85
  14. Lil Lohse – 80
  15. Lynch – 80
  16. J – 75
  17. Alexi – 70
  18. Waters – 65
  19. Gross – 50
  20. Teddy (’10) – 40


  1. Bry (’11) – 280
  2. Mac – 260
  3. Rikey – 260
  4. Lil Lohse – 250
  5. Stri (’10) – 220
  6. Alexi (’09) – 180
  7. Dan – 180
  8. KA – 180
  9. Dave – 150
  10. Gersh – 140
  11. J (’10) – 140
  12. Lil Lohse – 140
  13. Lynch – 140
  14. Primm – 120
  15. Scoot – 120
  16. Waters – 120
  17. Gross – 110
  18. Doogan (’08) – 100
  19. Teddy – 100
  20. Cheryl – 90


  1. Lynch (’11) – 230
  2. Gross – 190
  3. Gersh – 160
  4. Lohse – 130
  5. Doogan (’08) – 110
  6. KA – 110
  7. Rikey – 110
  8. J – 100
  9. Scoot – 100
  10. Alexi (’09) – 90
  11. Primm – 90
  12. Stri (’10) – 90
  13. Mac – 80
  14. Waters – 80
  15. Dan – 70
  16. Teddy (’10) – 70
  17. Bry – 60
  18. Lil Lohse – 60
  19. Dave – 50
  20. Cheryl – 40


  1. Bry (’11) – 224*
  2. J (’08, ’11) – 224*
  3. Alexi – 208
  4. Doogan – 208
  5. Primm – 208
  6. Lynch (’09) – 208
  7. Waters – 200
  8. Cheryl – 184
  9. Dave – 184
  10. Lil Lohse – 176
  11. Mac – 176
  12. Rikey – 176
  13. Scoot – 176
  14. Stri (’10) – 152
  15. Dan – 136
  16. Teddy – 136
  17. Gross – 120
  18. Lohse – 120
  19. Gersh – 112
  20. KA – 104


  1. Lynch (’11) – 192
  2. J – 168
  3. Waters – 150
  4. Lil Lohse – 120
  5. Alexi – 108
  6. Dave – 90
  7. Doogan – 90
  8. Mac – 90
  9. Lohse (’10) – 84
  10. Rikey – 84
  11. Cheryl – 78
  12. Gersh – 78
  13. Primm – 66
  14. Gross – 54
  15. Bry (’09) – 48
  16. Teddy – 48
  17. Dan – 42
  18. Scoot – 36
  19. Stri – 36
  20. KA – 24


  1. Waters (’11) – 92
  2. Bry (’09) – 88
  3. Doogan – 84
  4. J – 76
  5. Scoot – 76
  6. Lil Lohse – 72
  7. Cheryl – 68
  8. Dave – 64
  9. Lynch – 64
  10. Stri – 64
  11. Teddy (’10) – 64
  12. Dan – 60
  13. Lohse – 56
  14. Primm – 56
  15. Rikey – 56
  16. Alexi (’08) – 52
  17. Gross – 52
  18. Mac – 52
  19. Gersh – 48
  20. KA – 0


  1. Doogan (’08, ’09, ’11) – 100
  2. J (’11) – 100
  3. Alexi – 96
  4. Gross – 96
  5. Teddy (’10*) – 80
  6. Primm – 72
  7. Bry – 68
  8. Gersh – 56
  9. Rikey – 56
  10. Waters – 52
  11. Dave – 48
  12. KA – 48
  13. Lynch – 48
  14. Mac – 48
  15. Stri – 48
  16. Dan – 44
  17. Lil Lohse – 40
  18. Lohse – 40
  19. Cheryl – 32
  20. Scoot – 24


  1. J (’11) – 32
  2. Waters – 26
  3. Cheryl – 22
  4. Dan – 22
  5. Dave – 22
  6. Gersh – 22
  7. Lynch – 22
  8. Scoot – 22
  9. Stri (’10) – 22
  10. Bry (’09*) – 18
  11. Mac – 18
  12. Teddy – 18
  13. Alexi – 16
  14. Gross – 16
  15. Lil Lohse – 16
  16. Lohse – 16
  17. Primm – 16
  18. Rikey – 16
  19. Doogan (’08) – 12
  20. KA – 12


  1. Doogan (’11*) – 70*
  2. Dave – 66
  3. J – 48
  4. Lil Lohse – 48
  5. Lohse – 48
  6. Waters – 40
  7. Bry (’09) – 36
  8. Primm – 36
  9. Stri (’10) – 36
  10. KA – 34
  11. Scoot – 32
  12. Teddy – 30
  13. Cheryl – 26
  14. Mac – 26
  15. Rikey – 22
  16. Dan – 20
  17. Lynch (’10) – 18
  18. Alexi (’08) – 14
  19. Gross – 14
  20. Gersh – 12


  1. Doogan (’11) – 66
  2. Bry (’10) – 64
  3. J – 46
  4. Lynch (’09) – 46
  5. Rikey – 44
  6. Teddy – 44
  7. Dan – 40
  8. Gersh – 40
  9. Alexi (’08) – 36
  10. Primm – 36
  11. Lil Lohse – 30
  12. Waters – 30
  13. Gross – 26
  14. Dave – 22
  15. KA – 22
  16. Lohse – 22
  17. Mac – 22
  18. Stri – 20
  19. Cheryl – 18
  20. Scoot – 10


  1. Dave (’11) – 30
  2. Lohse – 26
  3. Lynch (’10) – 26
  4. Gross – 22
  5. Gersh – 20
  6. Primm – 20
  7. Rikey – 20
  8. Stri (’10) – 20
  9. Doogan – 18
  10. J – 18
  11. Teddy (’10) – 18
  12. Mac – 16
  13. Scoot – 16
  14. Waters (’09) – 16
  15. Bry (’08) – 14
  16. Cheryl – 8
  17. Dan – 8
  18. KA – 8
  19. Lil Lohse – 8
  20. Alexi (’10) – 4


  1. Lynch (’11) – 48
  2. Dave – 34
  3. KA – 34
  4. Teddy (’10) – 34
  5. Lil Lohse – 26
  6. Waters (’08) – 26
  7. Cheryl – 22
  8. Dan – 22
  9. J – 22
  10. Bry – 18
  11. Gersh – 18
  12. Mac – 12
  13. Rikey – 12
  14. Stri – 12
  15. Alexi – 8
  16. Doogan – 8
  17. Lohse – 8
  18. Primm – 8
  19. Scoot – 8
  20. Gross – 4


  1. Dan (’11) – 38
  2. Gersh (’11) – 38
  3. J (’11) – 38
  4. Mac (’11) – 38
  5. Scoot – 34
  6. KA – 34
  7. Lohse – 22
  8. Alexi – 18
  9. Doogan – 18
  10. Lil Lohse – 18
  11. Primm – 18
  12. Teddy – 18
  13. Dave – 14
  14. Bry – 8
  15. Cheryl – 8
  16. Gross – 8
  17. Lynch – 8
  18. Rikey – 8
  19. Stri (’10*) – 8
  20. Waters – 4

CTC: Day Twelve

Last Update: 9:58 AM
*denotes recent update

Yesterday was an unbelievable day of wild finishes, blown leads, and lots of overtimes.  Can today provide anything like that?  Well, there are some more great games, and some huge CTC implications all day.  Another day “lost” to the roundball…

A great, crazy Big East tournament is down to two, including the 9-seed, UConn.  Scoot is leading the Big East, but Stri (the only one with Louisville) will win the Big East title with a win by the ‘Ville.  Scoot will hold on if UConn wins. 

#3 Louisville vs. #9 Connecticut
Can Kemba do it again?  Walker has been off-the-charts this week and watching him play is just amazing.  The Cards have surprised people all year, so why not one more time?  The Big East tournament never disappoints, so expect a great game in the Garden tonight.  Either way, it should be a great coaching matchup between two of the best of all-time.  Stri is the only one that even has a shot at this, as he has Louisville.

*FINAL SCORE:  Connecticut 69 – Louisville 66
What have you done in the last 5 days?  Well, Kemba Walker played 190 minutes of basketball (154 of them were in the past 4 days against ranked teams), scored 133 points (46 more than the previous Big East tournament record), won 5 games, and took home the MVP along with his team’s Big East championship trophy.  Unbelievable!  And, to all of those who say these conference tournaments don’t matter in the rich conferences because they’re only playing for seeding – you’re dead-wrong.  No matter what happens the rest of the way, UConn has a banner to fly and ridiculous memories to hang on to, and THAT is why we have sports.  For memories, for pride.  And UConn has both of them to take away in spades from MSG.  Oh, and they robbed Stri of being the only one to nail the Big East champ.

The best two teams in the Big XII survived the week to meet in a great Big XII final.  Bry, the current Big XII leader, will win the conference with a Kansas win.  Gersh will steal the crown if Texas wins today.

#1 Kansas vs. #2 Texas 
A 6:00 pm start time for one of the best games of the year.  A great KU team against an almost great UT team will battle for the Big XII title.  Texas has not really been that tested, as they cruised by a bad OU team and then kept A&M at arm’s length all game yesterday.  On the other hand, KU has had it rough this week.  They survived a one-point game against Okie State in the quarters and then trailed for much of the game against Colorado yesterday.  But, they are both here and the score is 0-0.  The Morrises have been fantastic this week and we will see how they are against a good, athletic, and skilled frontline of UT.  A huge game for CTC purposes, particularly at the very top, as the overall leader, J, has Texas, and his three closest pursuants – Bry, Rikey, and Lohse – all have Kansas.  Stri, Alexi, KA, Dan, and Mac also have KU.  Doogan, Gersh, and Gross have Texas here.  Everyone else has already lost it.

FINAL SCORE:  Kansas 85 – Texas 73
Today, Kansas looked like the Final Four favorite that they truly are.  They pretty much dominated a good Texas team from start to finish and probably locked up a #1 seed in the pairings that will be announced tomorrow night.  KU is now 8-1 in Big XII championship games, while Texas is 0-6 (4 were against KU).  8 people hit this game, and J falls to 0-2 in games that would have clinched him the overall title.  He has one chance left (tomorrow’s SEC championship) or he is going to think back on what could have been.

PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
The two most talented Pac-10 teams arrive in the finals today in LA.  If Arizona wins today, Gersh will take the Pac-10 title.  If Washington wins, Lynch will grab the crown.

#1 Arizona vs. #3 Washington 
Arizona knocked off the suddenly-trendy bubble pick of USC yesterday, while UW got a break facing Oregon and took advantage.  The inside game of Arizona and some guy named Derrick Williams will battle the guard-oriented Washington team and some guy named Isaiah Thomas.  Both teams should be in The Dance, but UW would like to get the auto-bid, just in case.  Lynch and Gross have UW here.  Bry, J, both Lohses, KA, Teddy, Scoot, Rikey, Gersh, and Mac all have Arizona.

FINAL SCORE:  Washington 77 – Arizona 75 (OT)
It’s probably not smart to say this before the Big East game has ended, but this was, by far, the best ending in a weekend that was jam-packed with great endings.  And, it just so happens, the great Gus Johnson was on the mike.  I thought he was going to explode when C.J. Wilcox hit a three for UW to send it to OT.  Then, he took it to yet another level when Kevin Parrom hit a game-tying three for Arizona with :06 seconds left in OT.  And, then I think he actually DID explode when Isaiah Thomas hit a ridiculous shot at the buzzer to win it for the Huskies.  When the shot went in (and, trust me, I watched it about 87 times just to hear Gus), he just yelled, “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”  Then, he composed himself (relatively) enough to scream at top volume “COLD-BLOODED!”  Ya, it was amazing.  Thanks, Gus, my life is better because of you.  Lynch and Gross’s life is a little bit better, also, because they had the Huskies here.

ATLANTIC 10 SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
One game between two teams that had to win on the road on Tuesday just to get to AC, and another game between two of the league’s best teams.  Bubble teams around the country have joined us here at BSB as die-hard Temple fans – at least for the next two days. 

#9 Dayton vs. #12 St. Joe’s
One of these teams will be in the A-10 championship game – which is an amazing thing to think.  Dayton, who eliminated their arch-rival and top-seed Xavier yesterday after winning big in UMass on Tuesday.  St. Joe’s went into GW and beat the Colonials on Tuesday and then came to AC and ended Duquesne’s quest for a tournament berth.  Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, and Jawan Staten (who is gonna be incredible) lead a very talented Dayton team that just underachieved all year.  This is not your typical 9-seed.  Clearly, no one has either of these teams even in this game, let alone winning it.

FINAL SCORE: Dayton 64 – St. Joe’s 61
A spirited finish to another disappointing season for the Hawks, but Chris Wright goes for 17 points, 15 boards, and 5 assists to send Dayton to the title game, where they’ll have a chance to steal a tourney bid.

#2 Temple vs. #3 Richmond 
The Owls offense looked really, really good for the second straight game against LaSalle yesterday, dropping a cool 96 with a very balanced offense.  It looks like Scootie Randall may miss another game today, so Aaron Brown may be in the starting lineup again, but Khalief Wyatt is really the third guard in crunch time.  The Spiders – the only team with two first-team all-A10 players – probably need another win here to go back to the tournament to erase the memories of a disappointing first-round loss to St. Mary’s last year.  The Spiders will need to play defense like they did yesterday when they held Rhode Island to less than half what Temple scored against LaSalle.  A pretty big swing game here, especially for Rikey, who can gain on all the other leaders if Richmond wins here.  Doogan, Alexi, Waters, and Scoot all have the Spiders along with Rikey.  Waters is the only one with Richmond winning the title.  Stri, Lil Lohse, Cheryl, Dave, Gersh, Primm, and Mac all have Temple winning here, but not in the finals.  Bry, J, Lynch, Lohse, KA, Teddy, Dan, and Gross all have TU winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Richmond 58 – Temple 54
The first A-10 tournament loss in the career of Temple senior Lavoy Allen comes today in the semis to a Richmond team that probably just put themselves in the Dance.  The big two for Richmond – Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper – combined for 40 of the Spiders 58, and the defense held a Temple team to almost half of what they scored last night against LaSalle.  Juan Fernandez was really bad for the Owls today, going just 3-17 from the floor and missing the front-end of a key 1-and-1 down the stretch.  Waters keeps his champ alive, and 4 other people get this pick right.

ACC SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
With Chris Singleton out for FSU, we probably have the league’s four best teams in the semis today.  Should be a pretty good double-header.

#1 North Carolina vs. #4 Clemson
UNC barely survived Miami yesterday, while Clemson took it to BC in an easy quarterfinal win.  These two teams will now play for the right to go to the ACC championship game.  This could be a big game because if Duke has to play without Nolan Smith, the winner of this game may enter the championship game as a favorite.  Watch for which UNC guard Brad Brownell decides to guard with his great perimeter defender, Demontez Stitt.  Teddy and Dave have already lost this game (BC); Lohse has the big upset pick with Clemson.  Everyone else has UNC.  Stri, Waters, Scoot, Cheryl, Dan, Primm, Gross, and Mac all have the Heels winning the tournament.

FINAL SCORE: North Carolina 92 – Clemson 87 (OT)
This game was reminiscent of a few already today and also UNC’s win yesterday, as Clemson leads all game until a Tar Heel comeback sends it to OT on a nice Tyler Zeller hook shot.  The emergence of Harrison Barnes hit a new high point.  The freshman looked Jimmer-esque, scoring 40.  He’s now averaging nearly 20 points over the Heels’ last 13 games.  Clemson will have to keep their fingers crossed trying to get into the field tomorrow night.  Lohse just misses his upset pick.

#2 Duke vs. # 6 Virginia Tech
I’m not gonna lie, I was really hoping for that Derwin Kitchen shot to count and beat Va Tech, just for the humor of watching the Hokies on the bubble again.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Seth Greenberg, and I really like this Va Tech team, but the humor of three straight years as the first one out would be too much.  But, now, they are probably in.  A win today will assure that.  As for Duke, it should be interesting to see what they do without Nolan Smith (assuming he doesn’t play).  Seth Curry did a good job with the offense at the end of the Maryland game yesterday, but if he the long-term answer?  There is no doubt that he can run this team offensively – maybe almost as well as Smith – but he is quite a liability on defense, and this team is already a bit questionable on that end.  I think that, if we focus on his three-pointers and offensive awareness, we may not notice a huge difference, but let’s pay attention to the points allowed difference with Curry in the lineup as opposed to Smith.  Waters, Primm, and Gross have already lost this game (FSU).  Lynch and Cheryl have the nice upset pick here of Va Tech, with Lynch having them win it all.  Everyone else has Duke here.  Bry, Doogan, J, Alexi, both Lohses, KA, Teddy, Rikey, Dave, and Gersh all have Duke winning the tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Duke 77 – Virginia Tech 63
In their third game in three days and after playing only 6 players in yesterday’s game, Virginia Tech didn’t have enough in the tank today against the Dukies and a not-so-hobbled Nolan Smith, who dropped 27 in a game where many thought he wouldn’t even play.  The Blue Devils advance to the ACC finals against who else – UNC.  Lynch and Cheryl missed this big upset pick, with Lynch losing his champ.

BIG TEN SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
A bit of an odd final four in the Big Ten comes together today.  With Purdue and Wisconsin going down yesterday, the OT survival of OSU gives them a pretty wide open path to the title – but there is still that guy named Izzo.

#1 Ohio State vs. #4 Michigan
The best team in America needed OT to beat the 8th-best team in the Big Ten yesterday, but like last year, when the Buckeyes barely survived their quarterfinal, they can still cut down the nets.  Speaking of that game last year, it was at the expense of a Michigan team that thought they had a huge win to put themselves into at-large conversation.  This year, they already have that win – beating Illinois yesterday – and should be in regardless of today’s result.  But, they are playing incredibly well right now and should be dangerous.  Lynch had Illinois winning this game, so he has already lost it.  Dave is the only one with Michigan.  The other 18 all have OSU, with a dozen picking the Buckeyes to win it.

FINAL SCORE: Ohio St. 68 – Michigan 61
John Bielein is reminding everyone how good of a coach he is, getting the Wolverines back to the Dance, but the Buckeyes were too tough in this one, riding a Jared Sullinger double-double into tomorrow’s Big Ten title game.  Dave misses his upset attempt.

#6 Penn State vs. #7 Michigan State
No one will argue that this MSU team is immensely talented and incredibly well-coached.  The question is, then, why are they on the bubble?  They have been very disappointing, but maybe finding their stride at the right time.  Kalin Lucas look dynamic yesterday, which makes this team really tough to defend.  Penn State scored 36 in an elimination game yesterday – and are playing again today.  What?!?  Well, this senior-laden team is trying to take one last shot at the tournament and might get themselves in with a win today.  No one has PSU winning this game.  J and Primm are the only two with MSU winning here.  A Michigan State win might seal up the overall title for J.

FINAL SCORE:  Penn State 61 – Michigan State 48
A day after holding the Badgers to 33 points, the Nittany Lions did it again – this time to Michigan State, holding the Spartans to 48 points on just 32% shooting.  Taylor Battle had 25 for the Lions, who may have punched their ticket to the Dance, but have a chance to make it official tomorrow against OSU.  J misses the first of three chances to officially clinch the overall title here, as he and Primm miss on this upset pick.

SEC SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
Alabama came from way down to crash the Eastern Division’s coronation today in the SEC semis.

#1W Alabama vs. #2E Kentucky
Alabama should be out and NIT-bound, but their NCAA hopes are still alive after a miracle comeback against Georgia yesterday.  Joe Lunardi actually has the Tide (and their 82 RPI) in the field as of today.  A win here against UK should cement that.  Kentucky, who, as usual, is mostly freshmen, is starting to play some good basketball down the stretch, but they didn’t look dominant against Ole Miss yesterday.  Everyone is alive here.  Lynch and KA are the only two with Alabama.  Everyone else has UK, with 12 having the Wildcats win the tournament.  KA has the Tide rolling to the SEC title.

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 72 – Alabama 58
An impressive performance by the Wildcats, as this game was not even as close as the score indicates.  They’ll get Florida or Vandy tomorrow in what should be an excellent SEC title game.  18 of the 20 CTC’ers hit this “upset” pick.

#1E Florida vs. #3E Vanderbilt 
This Florida team is very, very good and survived a really tough Tennessee team yesterday.  Vandy held off Mississippi State as John Jenkins comes back in style.  This should be a great game, as these two teams play for the shot at an SEC title and better seeding in tomorrow’s announcement.  Alexi, Lynch, Lil Lohse, and Primm have already lost this game with either Tennessee or Mississippi State.  Bry, Doogan, J, Lohse, Teddy, Gersh, and Gross all have Vandy.  Everyone else has Florida, including Stri, Waters, Cheryl, and Mac, who have UF winning the title.  Doogan and J both have Vandy cutting down the nets.

FINAL SCORE:  Florida 77 – Vanderbilt 66
Down for nearly the entire first half, the Gators came out of the locker room on a mission and blew out Vandy in the second half, 49-30.  This is the 7th time this year and twice in as many days that UF has turned a halftime deficit into a victory.  Doogan and J lose their champ.  Bry also loses this game, and Rikey gets it right.

Round Three between two of the best teams in the history of the M-West should be fantastic today.  I have been waiting for this game all week.  There will be at least one champion here with a perfect bracket.  Bry and J will both go perfect if SDSU wins.  Stri will hit perfection with a BYU win.

#1 BYU vs. #2 San Diego State 
With all due respect to the Kansas-Texas Big XII title game, this game here is the game of the day.  And, that is really saying something for a game on the Versus Network.  We all know now what The Jimmer did yesterday, so we will see if he has an encore in store.  The key to this one – as it was in their first two meetings – will be the pace of play.  SDSU is much more comfortable in the 50s, while BYU would like to run in the 80s.  Last time they met, SDSU used Billy White on Fredette, and his athleticism did give him some trouble, but he got really worn out very quickly.  Steve Fisher will have to recognize when White is gassed and switch him off or he could be staring at a 10-0 Jimmer run.  Another huge storyline in this one is how different will BYU be this time around on the frontline without their leading rebounder in Davies.  Can Leonard, White, and Malcolm Thomas take full advantage of their big size advantage now?  It will probably change the dynamic of this game, at least.  Another matchup that might decide this game is which point guard plays better – Jackson Emery for BYU or D.J. Gay for the Aztecs.  Personally, I like Gay a lot more as a player, but it should be interesting because Gay is so incredibly good with the basketball, and Emery is so adept at taking it away.  18 of the 20 have a horse in this race.  KA and Gross have lost with UNLV.  Stri, Lohse, Teddy, Dan, and Gersh have BYU.  The other 13 have SDSU.

FINAL SCORE:  San Diego State 72 – BYU 54
Okay, I am going to make the case one more time:  is it me or is it almost ridiculous to think SDSU is ANYTHING BUT a #1-seed in the NCAA tournament?  I really don’t get it.  They are 31-2.  They tied for the regular season title and won the conference tournament in the 4th-rated conference in America.  They beat UNLV three times, including twice on the road.  Their ONLY 2 losses were against BYU – a top-10 team who they hammered here on the eve of Selection Sunday.  For all those who say that they didn’t play anyone – their SOS is 46 and their RPI is 3.  THREE!  And, here’s the key part – can you name me four teams more deserving? 

  • Kansas?  Sure. 
  • Ohio State?  Definitely if they win tomorrow; but, even if they don’t, sure. 
  • The Carolina/Duke winner tomorrow?  Okay. 
  • The Carolina/Duke loser?  Definitely not if it’s Carolina.  Probably not even Duke, either.  The Dukies lost to Va Tech, St. John’s, and FSU this year.  All tournament teams, to be sure, but BYU (the only team to beat SDSU) is a lot better than any of those three.
  • Notre Dame?  They have 6 losses, an RPI of 7, and they only won one game in their conference tournament and didn’t even make the finals.
  • Pitt?  They lost 5 games; their RPI is 9; and, they didn’t win a single game in their conference tournament.
  • Texas?  13 RPI and got pounded by Kansas today.  No way.
  • The Big East winner tonight?  Don’t even try and give me UConn – they were NINTH in their conference.  And, Louisville as an RPI of 15 and a loss to Providence.
  • Florida?  Not terrible resume, but losses to Jacksonville, South Carolina, and Ole Miss probably kill any chance.
  • BYU?  Do I have to answer that?

My point:  Give the Aztecs a #1-seed!  But, they won’t.  They will be a 3-seed and it’ll be a joke.  Anyway, Jimmer had 30 tonight in a losing effort to Bill White and his 21 points, 12 rebound, and 5 steals.  13 people got this right.

It is hard to say that these are not the two best teams in C-USA, regardless of their seedings.  This should be a real war – starting at 11:30 am – on CBS.  If Memphis wins, Lynch will take the C-USA title.  Lil Lohse will be the 2011 C-USA champ if UTEP wins.

#3 UTEP vs. #4 Memphis
What a huge game here for these two teams.  One of them will go to the tournament to erase the thought of this disappointing season.  The other will be playing in the NIT with the constant memories of what could have been in 2011.  Randy Culpepper, the senior star for UTEP, will try to go out with another trip to the Dance, while Joe Jackson, the highly-touted freshman for Memphis, will try and salvage what was otherwise a rather disappointing freshman season.  This is another big CTC game.  Bry, Doogan, Lil Lohse, Cheryl, Dave, and Gross all have UTEP winning the title.  J, Waters, and Lynch all have Memphis winning it.

FINAL SCORE:  Memphis 67 – UTEP 66
It just doesn’t stop this time of year.  UTEP leads the entire game, but Joe Jackson gets fouled on a drive to the basket with 7 seconds left, makes both free throws to put the Tigers up by a point, and UTEP can’t get a bucket at the other end.  Josh Pastner has his first NCAA bid as a head coach, and the Miners miss out on a second straight berth in heart-breaking fashion.  J, Waters, and Lynch correctly pick the 4th-seeded Tigers for a nice pickup here.

Not surprising that USU is here, and the way the Aggies have played all year, it might not even matter.  Waters has already clinched the 2011 WAC championship.

#1 Utah State vs. #2 Boise State 
One team cruised through a blowout win yesterday, while the other struggled and was a long, late jumper away from maybe getting beat.  Well, USU against #8 San Jose State is the latter – they almost lost.  Boise State hammered #3 New Mexico State and enters this game with a lot of momentum.  But, it might not matter, as 17th-ranked USU is clearly the best team in this conference.  Bubble teams across the land are rooting for USU here because they will probably get in regardless.  Boise has one shot and one shot only to steal a bid – win this game.  KA was the only one of the 20 entries not to take USU to win this tournament, as she had Hawaii and is just hoping for a Boise win here to zero everyone out.

*FINAL SCORE:  Utah State 77 – Boise State 69
You have to hand it to the Broncos – they really never gave up, even as the Aggies kept hitting them with seeming knockout punches.  But, in the end, Boise just didn’t have the horses to take out the 17th-ranked team in America.  WAC POY, Tai Wesley, led the Aggies with 19.  Everyone except KA hit this champion.

Akron’s 5th straight trip to the MAC title game will end like 3 of the first 4 ended, unless they can upset Kent State today.  Either way, J and Doogan will share the 2011 MAC title belt. 

#1 Kent State vs. #6 Akron
Kent State arrives here with two workmanlike victories over Buffalo and Ball State.  Akron arrives with anything but, as they needed two OTs to beat Miami (OH) in the quarters and then they shook off the fatigue to beat W. Michigan.  The Zips are playing really well, but the Golden Flashes are the conference’s best team.  No one has Akron winning this tournament.  Bry, Doogan, J, Stri, Alexi, Waters, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, Primm, Gross, and Mac all have KSU.

FINAL SCORE:  Akron 66 – Kent State 65 (OT)
In another chapter in a viscous rivalry ended with a flurry of blocked shots, the final buzzer, and a lot of pushing and shoving between players and coaches alike, but, when the smoke cleared, the Akron Zips were left standing and ready to dance.  The last two minutes of this game were as good and exciting as any you will ever see, but Akron is used to that, as they have played countless OT sessions in this five-year run of going to the MAC title game every year.  No one hit this and a lot of people missed on KSU.

In a CTC-first, we are adding a bonus for the Ivy League’s one-game playoff (partially inspired by the CTC veteran who is a Harvard alum who may be witnessing the first NCAA appearance for the Crimson since 1946).  I have to say that the Ivy League does it right (granted, they have the advantage of not needing any revenue from sports, so money is never a motivation, leaving all decision strictly for competition purposes).  They play the true round-robin on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year.  They have long-standing travel partners, which creates real good rivalries.  And, as much as I love the conference tournaments, they decide their auto-bid the fairest way – over a full year.  And, if a regular season isn’t enough, they play a one-game playoff on a neutral site.  And, that neutral site is the Ivy school that is most equidistant between the two.  Today, it will be played in Yale – for all the marbles.  Fantastic!

Harvard (12-2) vs. Princeton (12-2)
The preseason predictions pegged Princeton as the Ivy favorites, but only slightly above Harvard.  I think that history may have weighed upon that decision, as Princeton has a phenomenal basketball history, and Harvard, well, doesn’t.  Princeton has made 23 NCAA tournament, and actually won 13 tournament games.  Harvard has made ONE, and that was 65 years ago.  They went 0-2 in that tournament (not really sure how that worked, we weren’t exactly running a CTC back then).  So, it all comes down to this.  As for the bonus, J, Stri, Waters, Lynch, and Cheryl are the only 5 entries that went with Princeton.  The rest of the field thinks that the Harvard drought is going to end today.

FINAL SCORE:  Princeton 63 – Harvard 62
An absolute stomach-punch game, to say the least, for the Crimson.  Having not made the NCAA tournament in 65 years, they took a 62-61 lead with :11 seconds left on a Brandyn Curry layup.  They just needed one stop and they appeared to get it, but the ball was knocked out of bounds and remained Princeton’s ball with 2.8 seconds left.  Douglas Davis took the inbounds play, pump-faked his defender in the air and hit a fallaway jumper that just beat the buzzer and sends the Tigers to the tournament.  The Crimson may still have an outside shot at an at-large bid, but their chances may be slim.  J, Stri, Waters, Lynch, and Cheryl earned the first ever bonus points in CTC history.

The best team in the regular season will take on the preseason favorites in a pretty good Big West final.  With all 20 entries having LBSU winning here, the current leader, J, will take the 2011 Big West title.

#1 Long Beach State vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara 
This game should actually be really good.  Orlando Johnson and the UCSB Gouchos are playing their best ball, and they were the preseason pick to win this conference.  But, LBSU is a fantastic team, led by a trio of super juniors in Ware, Anderson, and Robinson.  Next year was supposed to be the year for The Beach, but why not now?  Everyone has LBSU winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  UC-Santa Barbara 64 – Long Beach State 56
Personally, I am a little upset about this result because I loved watching The Beach play and was looking forward to see what Dan Monson’s team could do next week in the Big Dance.  Instead, we’ll have to pick them as an NIT sleeper, as the Gouchos, led by their star (who you might hear a lot about in the next 4-5 days), Orlando Johnson, flat-out beat the 49ers.  Everyone got this one wrong.

This league has been dark for almost a week now, but it is time to pick it back up with the championship game in Boston.  Doogan, who has already wrapped up the 2011 Am-East title, will get it with perfection if BU can win.

#2 Boston U vs. #5 Stony Brook
Stony Brook pulled off the big upset of Vermont last Sunday in Hartford in the semifinals to advance to the finals today.  BU benefitted almost as much as SB with the UVM upset because that means that the Terriers, after beating the hosts Hartford, get to host the championship game today.  No one has Stony Brook winning the Am East, but 7 people do have BU – Doogan, J, Waters, Lohse, Lil Lohse, KA, and Dave.

FINAL SCORE:  Boston U 56- Stony Brook 54
Maybe not a “good” game here, but yet another that came right down to the final seconds.  BU started the game shooting 3-21 from the field and trailed by 15 in the 2nd half before launching a comeback.  A pretty bogus foul call with the game tied and 2.5 seconds left put the Terriers on the line, where they took their first lead of the game and the conference championship.  It’s a sad day in Eastern Long Island and for Nickname Bracket fans, as the Sea Wolves fall just short.  7 entries, including our leader J, pick BU to win this tournament and are rewarded.

Probably the best final the MEAC could give us is between a highly talented Hampton team against the two-time defending champs, Morgan State.  If Hampton wins, Doogan will take this title.  If Morgan State wins, Lynch will come from behind to steal the belt.

#2 Hampton vs. #4 Morgan State
Hampton has absolutely rolled through this tournament with a pair of 24-point wins over some of the MEAC’s weaker competition.  Morgan State has won two straight game 61-48 against some of the better competition in this conference.  Now, the two teams who have been on a collision course to this game all year, will settle it all on the court.  As I said above, this is probably the best the MEAC has to offer, so it could be, well, watchable, at least.  Alexi, Waters, and Lynch have Morgan State winning this tournament.  Bry, Doogan, J, Teddy, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, and Primm all have Hampton.  Everyone else had someone already eliminated.

FINAL SCORE:  Hampton 60 – Morgan State 55
The three straight regular season titles ended this year for Morgan State, and now the two straight tournament title streak is over as well.  Brandon Tunnell basically took this game over for the Pirates, and they are going dancing – probably in Dayton in the First Four.  8 people got this champ correct.

A crazy SL regular season might end up with the top-seed winning the tournament.  No matter what, Dave will take this title here in 2011.

#1 McNeese State vs. #7 UT-San Antonio
McNeese has shown some versatility in this tournament, winning their quarterfinal 61-54 and then turning around and beating Texas State 91-83 in the semis.  The Roadrunners like to run, upsetting Northwestern State 97-96 in the quarters and then stopping a very good Sam Houston State team in the semis.  It is not surprising that no one has the #7-seed winning this tournament, but it is very surprising that only 2 people (Stri and Scoot) have the #1-seed, McNeese State.

FINAL SCORE:  UT-San Antonio 75 – McNeese State 72
The craziness of the SL season ends with the #7-seed winning the tournament.  Welcome to the First Four, UTSA!  Jeromie Hill, a freshman, was the star, scoring 25 for the Roadrunners.  Stri and Scoot miss out on hitting a champion pick.

A crazy SWAC tournament (after a non-crazy regular season) has a First Four play-in game today between two teams that never even competed for a bad conference in the regular season.  If Alabama State wins this game, Lynch will take the SWAC title in 2011.  If Grambling wins, there will be a three-way tie between KA, Teddy, and Dave.

#4 Alabama State vs. #6 Grambling State
Not exactly the final SWAC followers expected, as this league was dominated by three teams all year, and none of them are here in the finals.  The winner of this game will advance to Dayton to play in the inaugural First Four.  Everyone is out of this game, except one – Lynch – who has Alabama State.

FINAL SCORE:  Alabama State 65 – Grambling State 48
Grambling actually had a 2-point lead at halftime in this game, but ASU scored 28 of the first 32 points scored in the second half to put it away and clinch a spot in the First Four.  We can now probably guarantee Alabama State, AR-Little Rock, and UT-San Antonio in the First Four.  The big question is who will be the 4th auto bid there?  It is probably between UC-Santa Barbara, Hampton, St. Peter’s, and Long Island.  I don’t think it’ll be LIU because they, at least, won their league.  I think it will either be UCSB or Hampton.  Lynch nailed this great champion pick to win the SWAC.

The battle of the Dakotas in a tournament that must have been incredibly exciting all week.  Lohse, the current leader, will win the title if SD wins.  If ND wins, there will be a four-way split of this title between J, Dan, Gersh, and Mac. 

#3 North Dakota vs. #4 South Dakota 
There is no NCAA tournament berth on the line (First Four or not), but the prestigious Great West tournament title is.  South Dakota survived an OT game against Chicago State in the quarters, and then beat the host and 1-seed Utah Valley yesterday.  North Dakota is here after beating two of the three worst teams in Division-I (by a combined 3 points).  Only one entry (Lohse) has South Dakota, but 6 have North Dakota (J, KA, Scoot, Dan, Gersh, and Mac).

*FINAL SCORE:  North Dakota 77 – South Dakota 76 (2 OTs)
Honestly, how amazing must the Great West tournament have been?  You know, other than the bad basketball.  This one went to double-OT and Josh Schuler hit a three with :04 seconds left in the second OT to give the Fighting Sioux the title and the auto-bid…to the CBI.  6 people hit the champ here.