Monday, March 7, 2005

Big XII Tournament Preview, Part 1

Followup on High School Steroids

According to WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas, there was an arrest over the weekend in Euless (outside of Fort Worth) of a dealer that allegedly sold steroids to kids, but authorities are not saying if he sold them to Colleyville Heritage or Southlake Carroll.

Thankfully, there's video to go with this. Click here.

Texas Tech Bracketology Watch

I know I said that Texas Tech needs to get in first, but if the consensus among experts has had Tech in since beating Kansas, I think we're OK to start talking about this stuff.

Where the experts project the Red Raiders will go:

Joe Lunardi (ESPN)
Projected Seed: #8 Syracuse (East) Regional
Projected opponent: #9 Mississippi State (21-10)
Highest seed in pod: #1 North Carolina

This draw stinks for Texas Tech. Period. Texas Tech cannot contain big men like Lawrence Roberts or Sean May. Lunardi's had a lot of very high RPI teams in the tournament at various points, so there's hope that he's completely off base here.

Stewart Mandel (SI.com)
Projected Seed: #7 Chicago (Midwest) Regional
Projected opponent: #10 St. Mary's (CA)
Highest seed in pod: #2 Duke

This draw reminds me of the draw Texas Tech had last year when Tech had #9 Charlotte and #1 St. Josephs in their pod, two teams which the Red Raiders matched up very well with on paper. The thing that concerns me about St. Mary's is that they do have some size, but they don't have a whole lot of depth at the forward/center positions. I think we can penetrate enough to get their big men in foul trouble, though. As for Duke, they rely on J.J. Redick and their guards offensively, and Tech gets good defensive efforts out of Ronald Ross, Martin Zeno and Jarrious Jackson every time out. I don't know if we'd beat Duke, but I like our chances if this is our bracket.
Don't know Stewart Mandel's track record, though and it doesn't look like he updates as often as Lunardi

Jerry Palm (CollegeRPI.com)
Projected Seed: #7 Austin (South) Regional
Projected opponent: #10 DePaul
Highest seed in pod: #2 Kentucky

I like this draw also. DePaul is another guard-oriented team that we can match up well with, Jerry Palm's usually pretty accurate, plus, there's the carrot at the end of the stick of playing closer to home for the regional. The thing is Kentucky stands in between Tech and the Sweet 16 here. Sometimes they play very, very well, and if they can, there's no way Tech or anyone is going to stop them. But sometimes they take nights off, which works in the weak SEC, but not in the tournament. Of course Tech has been maddeningly inconsistent also, so who knows.

Big XII Tournament Preview, Part 1

Seedings
#1 Oklahoma
#2 Kansas
#3 Oklahoma State
#4 Texas Tech
#5 Iowa State
#6 Texas
#7 Texas A&M
#8 Missouri
#9 Nebraska
#10 Kansas State
#11 Colorado
#12 Baylor

Brackets are available here in PDF format

The Bottom Four

Baylor
Record: 1-15 conference, 9-18 overall
Leading Scorer: Aaron Bruce (18.4 PPG)
Summary: Not much you can really say about Baylor, except to say that they are still reeling from the effects of the Dave Bliss's mishandling of that program. Yeah, some say Patrick Dennehy's death brought the program down, but it's not really Dennehy's fault. It's Bliss's actions after that which caused players to jump ship, stained the program's reputation with recruits, and left the cupboard bare for current coach Scott Drew.
Anyway, Baylor continues to be the punching bag of the Big XII in the revenue sports. Among their 9 wins this season: winless Savannah State.
Draw: No draw was going to help this team. Sorry Bears.
Prediction: One-and-done

Colorado
Record: 4-12 conference, 13-15 overall
Leading scorer: Richard Roby (15.8 PPG)
Summary: The sad part about Colorado is that Ricardo Patton is a great guy, good coach, and deserves a hell of a lot better. Better from the administration, who cuts the basketball budget to give more to the scandal-ridden football team, tells them to fly commercial, and doesn't give them the facilities or recruiting budget to be competitive. Better from his players, who have quit at many times this season and gotten themselves suspended a lot.
Draw: The good news for Colorado is that they face Texas, a team that they have beaten once already back on February 8th. The bad news is Texas is on a roll after beating Okahoma State.
Prediction: Close first-round loss to Texas

Kansas State
Record: 6-10 conference, 16-11 overall
Leading scorer: Jeremiah Massey (17.9 PPG)
Summary: Jim Wooldridge is on the hot seat here, and for good reason. Aside from sweeping mediocre Missouri and beating bubble team Iowa State at home, this team has done squat.
Draw: They face Texas A&M, a program on the rise and looking for a tournament bid. A&M also beat K-State in their only meeting this year.

Prediction: One-and-done.

Nebraska
Record: 7-9 conference,
Leading Scorer: Joe McCray (15.3 PPG)
Summary: Nebraska is one of those programs that's tough to figure out. They do have wins over Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Iowa State, but they've lost other games close. Also, they suffer from being at a school known for it's football.
Draw: Being in the 8/9 game gives them some hope though, as they face a Missouri team that is underachieving. But then they would have to face OU. Not good
Prediction: Upset Missouri, lose to OU.

Later Today: Conference Tournament Watch
Tomorrow: Tournament Preview, Part 2
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