The College Basketball Closer is written by the gang at Storming the Floor.
As basketball fans watch the bubble report every season, two names seem to come up with alarming frequency: the Maryland Terrapins and the Syracuse Orange. As we were batting those names around over at STF, we came up with the radical theory that perhaps the difference between the two teams is razor-thin. In fact, they are living parallel lives.
• Large eastern state schools with a basketball-first mentality (granted, this may not be completely by choice)
• Each program is run by an old-school coach with a persecution complex
• Both Boeheim and Williams are coaching at their alma maters
• Maryland won the NCAA title in 2002, Syracuse the very next season
• The Terrapins experienced a decline in returns, missing the tournament in 2005 and 2006. The Orange missed out in 2007 and are likely to do the same this year
• Maryland no longer plays in Cole Field House. Syracuse no longer runs plays for Derrick Coleman
The evidence speaks for itself. Perhaps Gary Williams sweats so much because he is, in fact, Jim Boeheim in a Gary Williams suit.
It rubs the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.
Mom Always Did Like Pat Best. St. Josephs 71-Xavier 66. Maybe all that talk of a Philly curse was premature. I'm not going to say Xavier tanked, but they have already locked up the at-large bid from the A-10, and found plenty of minutes for bench players on this road trip. Nonetheless, this is a huge win for St. Joe's profile, and it helped them close Alumni Fieldhouse in truly memorable fashion. Pat Calathes had a fine Senior Night, going for 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals in 39 minutes. And one last sweet floor-storming.
Meanwhile, In the Maritime Provinces... Providence 85-UConn 76. Friars... Huskies... Dunkin Donuts Center.... Too many jokes, head exploding!!!!! Seriously, though. Big, bad UConn got Efejuku'd last night, as the Providence Guard poured in 25 points to keep his team within farting distance of the bubble. Still, it's not really jake to storm the floor when you just ran your record to 15-14, unless you beat a top-5 team. So let it be written, so let it be (not) done.
Lord, I'm not Asking for Much. Just Big Kenny vs. Duke in the Dance. UNC-Asheville 75-Liberty 57. Big Kenny George's knees were good for 24 minutes, 19 points, and 11 rebounds. The 7'7" Junior didn't get any of his signature blocks, which was probably a result of (or proximate cause of) the Flames taking 30 three-point shots and making only nine of them. The Bulldogs set up a home-floor rematch with Winthrop for the Big South title and a shot at the Big Dance.
Tournament Bids decided this weekend:
• Ohio Valley: There's a 75% chance that a team from Tennessee gets in.
• Big South: 2-seed Winthrop plays #1 Asheville on Bulldogs home court.
• Atlantic Sun: Belmont is the favorite, but Gardner-Webb is still pulling upsets.
• Missouri Valley: Respek for Arch Madness in St. Louis. Drake is #1 seed.
• America East: Retrievers, Great Danes, Terriers... who will be Best in Show?
Top 25 Action:
• Louisville (24-6) at Georgetown (24-4). A great deal of Big East marbles hang in the balance. Louisville's Padgett has either been dominant (20+ points in wins over Notre Dame and Pitt) or schlominant (single digits in wins over Syracuse and 'Nova). Which guy shows up to do battle with Roy Hibbert?
• North Carolina (28-2) at Duke (26-3) .Yawn - Apparently this is supposed to be some big deal. Like, Coach K won his 800th game or something? But he, like, has to still play this Roy Williams guy, OK? Like maybe even twice? But anyhow, this game is going to be on television. As if.
• Florida (21-9) at Kentucky (17-11). The ultimate in bubble warfare. Two-time defending champs vs. All-time wins leader. The prize? A shot at a middle-low seed and a possible first-round exit. Man, times be changin'. Patrick Patterson's stress fracture complicates this one for the 'Cats.
• Virginia Tech (18-11) at Clemson (21-8). Clemson is shopping for bracket position with a skylight and a nice view of the ocean. Virginia Tech will take a garden-level efficiency, and thank you for it. Aside from that, both teams are currently 9-6 in the ACC, so this could have tournament seed implications as well.
I'll be at the CAA tournament in Richmond starting today and running through the Championship game on Monday. If you're so inclined, you can follow the action through the auspices of the fantastic CAAZone, where they'll be hosting chats, live-blogs, video streaming, and more.
Eric Angevine writes about college basketball in a few different places, usually with a minimum of embarrassing factual, logical, and grammatical errors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.