Monday, April 3, 2006

Catching up, Part 2: NCAA Hoops

The Big XII: Major (conference) Disappointment

A lot of hoopla was made over the mid-major conferences getting multiple bids. Problem is, when they're getting that many bids, it means that there's a a lot of bad teams in the middle of the pack of major conferences.

Yes, the ACC was down, the PAC-10 outside of UCLA and Washington wasn't so hot and the Big East turned out to not have the depth we expected come tournament time as 5 of their members were bounced on the first day.

But the worst offender among the major conferences had to be the Big XII.

Face it folks, whether it's Texas, Kansas, Missouri, or Baylor (who probably saved themselves further embarassment by cancelling their non-conference schedule this year), almost everyone in the Big 12 underachieved or just outright stunk.

In order for a season to be a "success", major conferences that take in BCS money have to get at least half their teams in the tournament and land at least one in the Final Four. I realize this means there will be at least a couple major conferences left out every year, but BCS schools spend too much money on hoops to do anything less.

Every one of the teams of the Big 12 has issues right now.

Texas, show us you can translate good recruiting classes into Final Fours. You've had 2 highly rated recruiting years the past 2 years, and so far, you've gotten a first round exit and a near miss at the Final Four to show for it.

Kansas, show us you can be Kansas again. You're one of the elite programs in college hoops history, there's no excuse for you losing first round games like you've done the past 2 years.

Oklahoma State, show us you can uphold your tradition also. That was a weak effort from the Cowboys last season

Oklahoma, show us that there is life after Kelvin Sampson.

Texas A&M, show us you can hang on to Billy Gillespie. Every time major conference jobs open up Gillespie's going to be mentioned.

Colorado, show us you can provide Ricardo Patton with the resources to do his job. Patton's bunch almost made the NCAAs in spite of the budget issues in the athletic department, now you need to give him the resources to take the next step.

Nebraska, show us you're not just a football school.

Baylor, show us you can finish somewhere other than last in the Big XII.

Missouri, show us ... well .... heck, just don't make another hire as bad as Quin Snyder ever again. Failing that, keep the current head coach away from the Kroenke and Laurie families so you're next firing will be painless.

Kansas State and Iowa State, show us you can at least be competitve in you're own state. You're both in states where basketball is the #1 sport. Even if you're overshadowed by State U., you two should be able to make more of an impact in college basketball.

And finally, my beloved alma mater Texas Tech, show us you can freaking recruit! There's no excuse for a program with a name coach like Bobby Knight to be fielding the least athletic guards in the conference and a 6'8" center.

RD's "Shining Moments" of the NCAA tournament
- Craig Littlepage calling out Billy Packer for asking why the ACC and Missouri Valley Conference got the same number of bids. Yes, on the surface it looks like Littlepage and the NCAA are trying to influence the coverage, but Packer is an ACC homer who was just upset that the ACC didn't get 12 bids. Nice to see someone put him in his place.

- Northwestern State sinking a 3 to beat Iowa. A shot that will forever go down as "The shot that cost Steve Alford the Indiana job."

- LSU beating Duke. Not so much for the huge upset factor, but more because it proves that you don't have to play perfectly to knock off a number one anymore

- George Mason's run. Not only was it a great cinderella story, it was also an educational opportunity. Honestly, did you know who the heck George Mason, the founding father whose name is on the school, was before?

- Joakim Noah. Most second-generation athletes don't perform as well as their fathers do, usually because they know they have talent, but don't have the work ethic. Noah has proven that he's got both.
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