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Changing Pace With Conference Realignment

Today, I explore how conference realignment and this summer’s coaching changes may impact the pace-of-play in the major conferences.

When it comes to pace-of-play, a team’s head coach is critical. Thus I list each coach’s mean pace in the below tables over the last 11 years. This summer Ken Pomeroy also developed two new metrics measuring Average Possession Length (APL) on offense and defense. These metrics allow us to understand what causes a team to have a faster or a slower tempo. For example if a team has a slower than expected tempo, we can see whether this is because the team shoots later in the shot clock (like Wisconsin) or because the team presents a frustrating defense to score against (like Syracuse). In the following tables I present the mean APL values for each coach for the four seasons for which Ken Pomeroy has calculated these new metrics.

Big Ten

Current Team

Mean Pace

Mean APL Off

Mean APL Def

Fran McCaffery

Iowa

69.3

16.5

18.8

Richard Pitino

Minnesota

68.9

16.4

17.9

John Groce

Illinois

67.3

17.1

18.4

Tom Crean

Indiana

67.2

17.1

18.6

Matt Painter

Purdue

67.1

17.8

18.6

Pat Chambers

Penn St.

66.3

18.0

18.7

Tim Miles

Nebraska

66.2

18.8

18.0

Thad Matta

Ohio St.

66.1

17.2

19.5

Tom Izzo

Michigan St.

65.4

17.4

19.3

John Beilein

Michigan

64.0

19.2

19.2

Bo Ryan

Wisconsin

61.9

22.0

18.3

Chris Collins

Northwestern

 

 

 

 

Average

66.3

 

 

In the Big Ten, there is once again optimism that the pace is getting faster. Tubby Smith’s career pace was only 66.3, and it was much lower in recent seasons. Richard Pitino should play faster than that based on what he did at Florida International and what he has announced publicly. There is some concern whether the younger Pitino will accomplish that goal by allowing too many easy baskets (see the low Average Possession Length on Defense), but for the rest of the teams in the Big Ten, a few easy baskets would be a blessing.

Meanwhile, Chris Collins will almost certainly use a faster tempo than Bill Carmody at Northwestern. Carmody’s career pace was tied with Bo Ryan for slowest in the league, and after having spent a career on the sidelines at Duke, Collins will almost certainly prefer a more up-tempo attack. He may not quite want to run as much at first given Northwestern’s weaknesses in personnel, but in the long-run, only Bo Ryan and John Beilein stand out as truly grinding coaches.

ACC

Current Team

Mean Pace

Mean APL Off

Mean APL Def

Roy Williams

North Carolina

72.6

15.1

18.0

Mike Krzyzewski

Duke

69.0

17.4

17.6

Jim Boeheim

Syracuse

68.7

15.9

19.8

Leonard Hamilton

Florida St.

67.3

16.7

18.6

Mark Gottfried

NC State

66.8

16.7

18.6

James Johnson

Virginia Tech

66.6

17.3

17.9

Mike Brey

Notre Dame

66.1

19.7

18.2

Steve Donahue

Boston College

65.7

18.8

18.3

Mark Turgeon

Maryland

65.5

18.1

18.2

Brian Gregory

Georgia Tech

64.9

17.5

18.9

Jim Larranaga

Miami FL

64.8

18.8

18.0

Jeff Bzdelik

Wake Forest

64.4

17.3

17.5

Jamie Dixon

Pittsburgh

63.7

19.3

19.1

Brad Brownell

Clemson

63.6

18.4

19.3

Tony Bennett

Virginia

60.6

19.8

18.7

 

Average

66.0

 

 

The ACC doesn’t add any new coaches, but that may not be a blessing for ACC fans. Many of the recent additions like Brad Brownell and Brian Gregory continue to be among the slower-paced coaches in the conference. And without any fast-paced coaches joining the league to contradict that, there will remain plenty of ugly ACC games in the future.

The three teams that were added via realignment this year barely change expectations. Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh run the gambit from fast to slow, and together the three have almost no impact on the league average.

There were quite a few games in the 50’s in the ACC last year, and that trend will continue this season. Certainly the matchups between Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse will continue to be some of the faster, more entertaining games in the nation. But for a league that once prided itself on playing faster-paced games from top to bottom, the ACC continues to look more and more like the Big Ten.

Pac-12

Current Team

Mean Pace

Mean APL Off

Mean APL Def

Lorenzo Romar

Washington

71.6

15.9

18.1

Andy Enfield

USC

68.3

16.4

18.5

Tad Boyle

Colorado

67.5

17.3

18.4

Johnny Dawkins

Stanford

67.5

17.7

17.8

M. Montgomery

California

67.3

17.2

18.4

Steve Alford

UCLA

67.2

17.7

18.4

Dana Altman

Oregon

66.7

17.3

18.0

Ken Bone

Wash. St.

66.7

18.2

18.4

Sean Miller

Arizona

66.4

17.6

18.2

Craig Robinson

Oregon St.

65.3

17.7

17.4

L. Krystkowiak

Utah

65.2

20.3

17.6

Herb Sendek

Arizona St.

63.5

18.4

18.8

 

Average

66.9

 

 

The Pac-12 became the fastest-paced power conference in the country last year, and I would expect that trend to continue. After all, Herb Sendek has miraculously determined that as long as he has Jahii Carson on the team, he can live with more than 65 possessions per game. Even Dana Altman has sped up in the Pac-12 relative to his career average. Altman’s average pace in four years at Oregon is now 67.8.

Andy Enfield should clearly bring a faster pace to USC. Compared to Kevin O’Neill and his 63.3 possessions per game, Enfield will clearly bring a more up-tempo style. But even relative to interim head coach Bob Cantu and his 67.5 possessions per game, Enfield should be faster. Enfield averaged 68.3 possessions per game at Florida Gulf Coast.

The biggest concern is how fast Steve Alford will play at UCLA. While his career pace (67.2) is faster than that of Ben Howland (66.2), it isn’t faster than what Howland unleashed last season when Howland’s team was unexpectedly running-and-gunning at 69.5 possessions per game.

Big 12

Current Team

Mean Pace

Mean APL Off

Mean APL Def

Travis Ford

Oklahoma St.

69.2

17.5

18.2

Fred Hoiberg

Iowa St.

69.0

16.2

18.2

Bill Self

Kansas

68.7

16.3

18.5

Rick Barnes

Texas

67.4

17.3

17.6

Lon Kruger

Oklahoma

67.1

17.2

18.4

Scott Drew

Baylor

66.9

17.4

18.2

Trent Johnson

TCU

66.4

19.2

17.8

Tubby Smith

Texas Tech

66.3

18.5

18.6

Bob Huggins

West Virginia

65.8

19.4

17.6

Bruce Weber

Kansas St.

65.0

18.5

18.2

 

Average

67.2

 

 

New Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith (66.3) checks in with a slower pace than interim head coach Chris Walker (67.6). But the real question is whether last year was an anomaly or a trend for some coaches. Trent Johnson, Bruce Weber and Bob Huggins all played with substantially slower paces than their historical averages last year. If they move back up to their norm, the Big 12 can challenge the Pac-12 for the fastest league in the nation.

SEC

Current Team

Mean Pace

Mean APL Off

Mean APL Def

Mike Anderson

Arkansas

71.8

15.5

18.1

Johnny Jones

LSU

70.2

17.4

17.4

Tony Barbee

Auburn

69.3

17.6

18.2

Andy Kennedy

Mississippi

68.8

16.8

18.1

Frank Martin

S. Carolina

68.6

18.2

16.8

John Calipari

Kentucky

68.3

17.4

18.1

Rick Ray

Mississippi St.

68.2

18.4

17.5

Kevin Stallings

Vanderbilt

66.8

17.3

19.0

Billy Donovan

Florida

66.0

18.0

19.0

Mark Fox

Georgia

65.8

19.3

18.2

Frank Haith

Missouri

65.7

17.6

18.2

Anthony Grant

Alabama

64.7

19.3

18.1

Billy Kennedy

Texas A&M

64.7

19.0

18.4

Cuonzo Martin

Tennessee

64.4

18.9

18.5

 

Average

67.4

 

 

Amazingly there are no new coaches or teams in the SEC this year. The SEC should also be challenging for the title of the fastest league, but last year a number of teams (including Kentucky) had unusual personnel issues and played much slower than normal.

Finally, here is how the Big East looks after the split, and what to expect in the new-look MWC:

The American

Current Team

Mean Pace

Mean APL Off

Mean APL Def

Josh Pastner

Memphis

68.3

16.7

18.4

James Dickey

Houston

68.2

17.2

18.0

Rick Pitino

Louisville

67.8

16.6

18.9

Fran Dunphy

Temple

66.0

18.6

18.0

Donnie Jones

UCF

66.0

17.9

18.2

Kevin Ollie

Connecticut

65.5

17.8

19.0

Mick Cronin

Cincinnati

65.3

18.7

18.2

Stan Heath

South Florida

64.6

20.3

18.2

Larry Brown

SMU

63.8

18.8

18.5

Eddie Jordan

Rutgers

 

 

 

 

Average

66.2

 

 

Big East

Current Team

 

 

 

Oliver Purnell

DePaul

69.3

17.2

16.8

Steve Lavin

St. John's

69.0

17.6

18.1

Jay Wright

Villanova

68.3

17.2

18.0

Buzz Williams

Marquette

66.9

17.6

18.4

Chris Mack

Xavier

66.7

17.7

18.4

Kevin Willard

Seton Hall

66.4

17.7

18.2

Greg McDermott

Creighton

65.5

18.0

18.1

Ed Cooley

Providence

64.8

18.4

17.8

John Thompson

Georgetown

62.0

18.2

19.1

Brandon Miller

Butler

 

 

 

 

Average

66.5

 

 

MWC

Current Team

 

 

 

Dave Rice

UNLV

69.4

15.5

19.1

David Carter

Nevada

67.6

17.5

17.9

Steve Fisher

San Diego St.

66.6

18.0

18.8

Leon Rice

Boise St.

66.5

17.9

18.0

Larry Eustachy

Colorado St.

64.7

19.8

17.4

Dave Pilipovich

Air Force

64.2

17.5

19.7

Stew Morrill

Utah St.

62.6

19.4

18.6

Larry Shyatt

Wyoming

62.6

21.8

17.5

Rodney Terry

Fresno St.

62.3

19.8

18.5

Dave Wojcik

San Jose St.

 

 

 

Craig Neal

New Mexico

 

 

 

 

Average

65.2

 

 

March Madness Through The NBA Lens (Round Of 64)

While the NCAA Tournament has cachet all its own, one way of looking at the Tournament is through the lens of the NBA. While the lottery guys get plenty of buzz leading into the Tourney, I like to spend more time on the players on more middling teams for the first few days since it is less likely that their teams survive long enough to evaluate them further.

On that note, here is the day-by-day:

Thursday

Headline games:

Pittsburgh vs. Wichita State (1:40 PM Eastern)- This game makes the list primarily because of Steven Adams. The big man from New Zealand has not produced as much as many of us hoped during the season but has the chance to show his potential this weekend. The Shockers rebound well enough to challenge him and I am intrigued by Carl Hall.

Memphis vs. St. Mary’s (2:45 PM Eastern)- While Memphis has a slew of intriguing athletic question marks (Adonis Thomas, Joe Johnson and DJ Stephens are just three of them), St. Mary’s has Matthew Dellavedova. Matthew stands out as an unusual draft prospect because of his age (22) and subpar athleticism for his position but has the shooting stroke and basketball IQ to stick in the league longer than expected. We will learn a ton about everyone in this game. 

Other games to watch:

Syracuse vs. Montana (9:57 PM Eastern)- Michael Carter-Williams vs. Will Cherry. My bet is that one of them will massively help his draft stock in this game.

Oklahoma State vs. Oregon (4:40 PM Eastern)- Marcus Smart will have his hands full with future prospect Dominic Artis. We’ll see how Le’Bryan Nash handles the spotlight as well.

Michigan vs. South Dakota State (7:15 PM Eastern)- Senior sensation Nate Wolters gets the chance to show his value against a Michigan team full of potential NBA players (Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III, and Tim Hardaway Jr among them).

UNLV vs. Cal (7:27 PM Eastern)- Anthony Bennett and Allen Crabbe will be the headliners but I am focused on how UNLV matches up on defense.

Friday

Headline game:

UCLA vs. Minnesota (9:57 PM Eastern)- After the injury to Jordan Adams, this could be our only chance to see lottery pick Shabazz Muhammad in the Tourney. Kyle Anderson, Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams are three other likely pros worth keeping an eye on.

Other games to watch:

Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss (12:40 PM Eastern)- Marshall Henderson. That is all.

North Carolina vs. Villanova (7:20 PM Eastern)- Despite deeply disappointing this season, UNC has plenty of NBA talent in the form of James Michael McAdoo, Reggie Bullock and PJ Hariston. Each of those guys needs to make an impression over the next few weeks in order to rehabilitate their stock.

Creighton vs. Cincinnati (2:45 PM Eastern)- One of the best potential tests for Doug McDermott makes this one particularly fascinating.

San Diego State vs. Oklahoma (9:20 PM Eastern)- Jamaal Franklin has been underappreciated by the national college hoops media but has a chance to make his own statement on the opening weekend. If the Aztecs can get past Oklahoma, a potentially star-making meeting with Georgetown looms.

Major Conference Tournaments Day 3

Big 12 Quarterfinals

#4 Iowa St. defeated #5 Oklahoma, #1 Kansas defeated #9 Texas Tech, #2 Kansas St. defeated #7 Texas, #3 Oklahoma St. defeated #6 Baylor

The most compelling image of the conference tournaments (so far) is Baylor’s Pierre Jackson lying on the floor after missing the game winning shot and realizing his NCAA dream may be over.

The backstory: Jackson never had an easy road to success in basketball. He had to play Junior College basketball at the College of Southern Idaho. But after dominating at that level, he finally got his chance in the Big 12. He joined a talented Baylor squad and for two years and was an All-Big 12 caliber player. But this was his senior year, and as the announcers noted, Baylor was 1-7 in close games this season. And that meant that Baylor had to win this game to have a shot at an at large bid.

Things looked ugly for most of the game. Baylor fell behind by 20 and at one point the Bears were 1 of 18 from three point range. But Pierre Jackson refused to let his season end. The senior put his team on his back and scored 31 points. And still his team trailed by 4 in the final seconds. That was when he kicked the ball to teammate Gary Franklin who took a three and was fouled. Franklins’ four point play tied the game and fully completed the 20 point comeback. Baylor’s dream NCAA comeback seemed like it might become a reality.

But then, Phil Forte, the Oklahoma St. player who committed the foolish foul on Franklin, drove the lane and drew a foul. His two free throws gave Oklahoma St. the lead with just 3 seconds left. Jackson would need one more heroic play. Baylor executed to perfection getting the ball to Pierre Jackson on the run and allowing Jackson to step into a three point shot at the three point line. But his shot was off the mark. And the epic senior comeback came up short. Despite all of Jackson’s heroics, Baylor seems headed to the NIT. And as he lay on the floor on Thursday night, you could tell Jackson knew it.

If the NCAA selection committee picks teams based on heart, Jackson will be in. But based on the overall profile, they simply blew too many close games against Top 50 teams.

Elsewhere in the Big 12, Iowa St. may have sealed their NCAA bid by completing a come from behind win against Oklahoma. The Cyclones trailed by 14 before winning by 7. This win was all the more impressive considering how poorly Iowa St. shot from three point range to open the game. True, their 1 of 12 pales in comparison to Baylor’s 1 for 18, but Iowa St. relies extremely heavily on three point shots for their offense, whereas Baylor can thrive on drives and post feeds. Despite an 0-8 game from PG Korie Lucious and 2 for 8 game from Tyrus McGee, Iowa St. won, showing they can win games even when their shot isn’t falling.

A10 First Round

#9 Charlotte defeats #8 Richmond, #5 Butler defeats #12 Dayton, #10 St. Joseph’s defeats #7 Charlotte, #6 UMass defeated #11 George Washington

Yesterday I noted that the A10 tournament might be the best tournament this weekend, and so far it has delivered.

St. Joseph’s was the preseason pick for A-10 champion because they brought back their entire rotation from last season. And seeing them play on the Barclays center floor reminded me of the game they played on that floor in November against Notre Dame. At that point, we were so excited about the prospects of this team, and Langston Galloway embodied his team’s heart by diving on the floor and losing a tooth in that upset. Four months later, the preseason favorites finished in 10th place, and the team’s primary stars have all regressed:

St. Joseph’s Players

2012 ORtg

2013 ORtg

Langston Galloway

124.9

108.3

Carl Jones

103.9

102.9

Halil Kanacevic

94.6

93.6

CJ Aiken

117.0

116.4

 Teams are supposed to build chemistry over time, not lose it. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if St. Joseph’s might be looking for some redemption in this tournament. St. Joseph’s came back from 8 down to make it close. Down 1 with 8 seconds left, St. Joseph’s Langston Galloway drove the lane and drew a foul (instead of settling for a jump shot), and his free throws gave St. Joseph’s a one point lead.  Then with just 1.4 seconds on the clock Xavier knew they needed to throw the ball the length of the court. Justin Martin reached back and chucked the ball the entire length of the court. In fact, he threw it so hard it bounced off the backboard on the other end. This surprised St. Joseph’s and left them completely out of position defensively. Xavier’s Isaiah Philmore was in the right place at the right time, and caught the ball right under the basket and had a wide open 2 foot look at the game winning shot. But in the hurry of the moment Philmore missed. And St. Joseph’s lives to play another day. They still have no shot at an at-large tournament berth, but don’t count the preseason favorites out until the final buzzer sounds. St. Joseph’s plays VCU on Friday and the Hawks took VCU to overtime in the regular season.

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s win over Richmond will go down as one of the wildest endings of all time. Richmond led 63-60 and elected to foul to prevent Charlotte from getting a game-tying three point shot. They committed that foul with less than 5 seconds left. For those who think this is a perfect strategy, what followed has to be the worst-ever sequence of events. Charlotte went to the line to shoot a one-and-one. The first free throw was good, but during the first free throw attempt Richmond’s Derrick Williams fouled a Charlotte player while boxing out for the rebound. That meant an automatic technical on Williams.

Charlotte got to finish the one-and-one, which cut the lead to 63-62, and then made two technical foul shots to take a 64-63 lead. Charlotte also got possession of the ball. Somehow, Richmond fouled while trying to steal the inbound and it was called a 3 point shot. Richmond coach Chris Mooney went ballistic and was called for a double technical and ejected from the game. Four made free throws later and Charlotte iced the game 68-63. Sometimes when you foul up three, you can still lose in regulation.

Finally, UMass trailed George Washington late in the game and Cady Lalanne and Terrell Vinson had fouled out. But UMass PG Chaz Williams refused to be denied. If you’ve never seen Williams play, you are really missing something special. Williams is simply a lightning bolt, and he had 3 drives for baskets in the final 90 seconds where he looked like he was shot out of a cannon. But even though Williams gave his team the 3 point lead, they still needed a stop. That’s when Williams stole the ball with 7 seconds left. UMass doesn’t quite have an NCAA tournament profile, but Chaz Williams run in this tournament is worth the price of admission.

Big Ten First Round

#8 Illinois defeated #9 Minnesota, #5 Michigan defeated #12 Penn St., #10 Nebraska defeated #7 Purdue, #6 Iowa defeated #11 Northwestern

Minnesota and Illinois might both be in the NCAA tournament, but the loser of this game was going to be sweating on Sunday. Early on Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe picked up two fouls. And after Austin Hollins made his first two shots of the game to give Minnesota a 7-2 lead, Hollins also picked up his second foul. With Tubby Smith stubbornly refusing to play his key starters with foul trouble, Illinois went on a 23-9 run and built a 25-16 lead. The Gopher’s subs couldn’t even seem to find open shots against the Illinois defense and the shot-clock violations and turnovers were horrible. (On a day where Villanova committed 18 first half turnovers, it doesn’t seem that bad, but the Gophers had 11 first have turnovers.) Then with the starters back in Minnesota went on a run and took the lead.

But with both teams diving for a loose ball in the final minute, Illinois’ DJ Richardson hit a three to tie the game. And after a Minnesota turnover, Brandon Paul drove to the left side of the elbow and hit a pull-up jumper for the game-winner.

Minnesota’s comeback and last second loss wasn’t nearly as emotional as Baylor’s comeback, but at least the Gophers showed some fight. For a team that has lost 11 of its last 16 games (but still earned enough quality wins to be in the NCAA discussion), that may be a small consolation. Illinois can now sit back comfortably on Selection Sunday while the Gophers will be sweating.

When Penn St. pulled to within 3 points of Michigan (50-47 with 13 minutes remaining) it felt like DeJaVu all over again. Michigan had struggled at home against the last place Nittany lions and lost on the road at Penn St. in one of the year’s biggest shockers. But instead of letting the close game rattle them, the Wolverines pulled away to win by 17.

Nebraska’s upset of Purdue moved the Cornhuskers up to #100 in the RPI which at least momentarily gives a number of Big Ten teams one or two more Top 100 wins. Iowa’s win against Northwestern kept them in the bubble discussion, but the game against Michigan St. is the much bigger game on Friday.

ACC First Round

#8 Boston College defeated #9 Georgia Tech, #5 NC State defeated #12 Virginia Tech, #7 Maryland defeated #10 Wake Forest, #6 Florida St. defeated #11 Clemson

This might have been the least compelling opening round of the ACC tournament in recent memory as the only legitimate bubble team, Virginia, is off until tomorrow.

Georgia Tech took a 15-0 lead to open its game against Boston College, but was outscored by 35 points the rest of the way. Boston College freshman Olivier Hanlan set an ACC tournament record with 41 points.

Maryland and Florida St.’s wins weren’t exactly easy, but at least they stayed alive on Thursday. The big games for these schools will come on Friday against Duke and North Carolina respectively.

Big East Quarterfinals

#1 Georgetown defeated #9 Cincinnati, #5 Syracuse defeated #4 Pittsburgh, #2 Louisville defeated #7 Villanova, # 6 Notre Dame defeated #3 Marquette

The beauty of the Big East Tournament is that all 8 quarterfinal teams will likely be in the NCAA tournament. This is why the Big East Tournament has been so fun to watch since it expanded to its current format less than a decade ago.

After Georgetown took a 24-8 lead, Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin sent 4 players to the scorer’s table for a mass-substitution, just looking for some energy. Cincinnati responded by knocking down a series of three pointers and jump shots. But as Len Elmore noted when Cincinnati tied the game up, it seemed like a bit of fool’s gold. Cincinnati had only 4 points in the paint, and the jump shots couldn’t keep falling forever. The Hoyas eventually pulled away again to win by 19.

When Syracuse went up 43-30 on Pittsburgh on a Brandon Triche three pointer, it felt like this game might be over. But if the above recaps have taught me anything, it is that no lead is safe. Pittsburgh fought all the way back and had the ball down three with a chance to tie in the final minute. Pittsburgh’s Lamar Patterson took a three that was off the mark, but Talib Zanna grabbed the rebound and his bucket and one could tie the game. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Zanna missed the free throw, Syracuse made its free throws, and Pittsburgh turned the ball over on the subsequent possession to end the game.

I sort of wish Zanna would have made that free throw. I would have loved to see Syracuse go for another buzzer beating win in the Big East tournament. James Southerland was 6 for 6 from three point range (after shooting 6 for 9 on Friday) and I was very curious if Jim Boeheim would have drawn something up to get Southerland a shot. Syracuse was 12 of 19 from three point range in this game which was critical because Pittsburgh got 16 offensive boards against the zone defense. Syracuse needed every ounce of its hot shooting to grab the victory.

Syracuse and Georgetown will now play for the third time this season on Friday night. If the Big East’s biggest rivalry is going to end, it only seems fitting that Georgetown and Syracuse will meet in the Big East Tournament.

Villanova turned the ball over 18 times in the first half against Louisville, and Louisville eventually pulled away. Meanwhile Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton’s has 6 threes on back-to-back nights. That would be impressive in any tournament, but his 12 of 18 three point shooting in the Big East tournament has been overshadowed by James Southerland’s 12 of 15 shooting on threes (as noted above).

SEC Second Round

#9 LSU defeated #8 Georgia, #5 Tennessee defeated #13 Mississippi St., # 10 Vanderbilt defeated #7 Arkansas, #6 Missouri defeated #11 Texas A&M

Tennessee and Missouri kept their at-large tournament hopes alive with wins. But Arkansas, which hasn’t been able to do anything away from home, once again blew it, losing against Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks slim NCAA hopes are now over.

Pac 12 Quarterfinals

#1 UCLA defeated #9 Arizona St., #4 Arizona defeated #5 Colorado, # 10 Utah defeated #2 California, #3 Oregon defeated #6 Washington

Arizona St. entered the day needing a major upset to have hope at an NCAA at-large bid, but blew a 15 point lead to UCLA. But Arizona St. super-freshman Jahii Carson made a case for the Pac-12 tournament team with his 55 points in two games. North Carolina fans continue to grimace at Larry Drew’s redemption tour for UCLA. Drew had 20 points on 8 for 10 shooting while dishing 4 assists in the win. UCLA will face Arizona on Friday in one of the day’s most intriguing games.

Speaking of Seniors who refuse to let their seasons end, Utah Senior Jarred DuBois’s three at the end of regulation tied the Cal-Utah game and sent it to overtime, where the Utes prevailed. Utah knows that any loss will end their season, but they are now just two wins away from the NCAA tournament. And even though their game went to OT, Utah can take solace in the fact that Oregon also needed OT to advance to the semifinals.

Comparing The Conferences

The Pac-12 has been suffering through a long dark period. The Big Ten has been dominant (at least in the pre-conference schedule) for the last few years. Should we expect a change this year? Is the Pac-12s slump over? Is the Big Tens boom about to come to an end?

2012 Big Ten Power Rankings

The Big Ten was incredibly close at the top, with a three-way tie in the standings and also in our statistical rankings.

Murray St., Surprise Leader Of The A-10, Tray Woodall And Assane Sene

John Calipari paved the way for a non-BCS conference to receive a No. 1 seed in the tournament while with Memphis, but here's why Murray State doesn't have the same juice.

Big Ten Power Rankings (Jan. 9th)

With teams having played either three or four conference games, it is an opportune time for a Big Ten power rankings.

Freshmen Bring Hope

Teams that play a lot of freshmen are the most likely to improve as the season goes on, while those with a lot of experience are more likely to plateau. In this piece, we examine freshmen minutes for every major school in the country.

Old Spice Classic Day 1

Sure the Maui invitational had its marquee teams and double overtime games, but even early season tournaments with "weak" fields can be fascinating. Here is my live report.

Important NCAA Injury Splits

Michigan State, Pitt, Villanova, North Carolina and Seton Hall are just a few teams impacted with specific players either in or out of the lineup.
 

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