Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kansas Debacle Ed. 2

Editor's Note:  This post was created in hopes that it would therapeutic, but I'm not so sure it served its cause...

Big Monday rolled into Ames, Iowa last night for a very hyped up match-up between Kansas and Iowa State.  The game was better than advertised.  In this day in age college basketball teams are having a hard time scoring points.  Well, this one was knotted at 90 going into overtime.  The game had an incredible amount of lead changes, momentum swings, plot twists and of course three point baskets.  When all was said and done it was one of the most exciting college basketball games of the season.  Media personnel from all over the country were weighing in on Twitter seemingly celebrating the level of play that was occurring inside of Hilton Coliseum Monday night.  Most importantly, for the second time this year Iowa State had Kansas beat with seconds left only to spark controversy over national media due to a late game decision.

In January it was Iowa State making the choice not to foul up three with 7 seconds left that opened the door for a Ben McLemore banked in three with a second left.  Even Dick Vitale weighed in saying teams must foul up three points (which I'm not convinced).  That loss was tough to take for the team, but at the end of the day Kansas made a basket to send it into overtime.  This time?  Free throws.  Free throws that were unwarranted.  It took an incredible amount of class on the part of Fred Hoiberg and the rest of the team to not let a horrendous decision turn into an ugly situation.

I hate placing blame on officials.  I absolutely hate it.  The truth is that they will always play a part in the game and it adds a dimension to the strategy.  I also hate seeing two teams play at such a high level for 39 minutes end a game in such a way.  Iowa State was just a single play away from winning this game in regulation.  Yes, they were one loose ball, one critical player on KU fouling out, one charge drawn away from winning this game in regulation.  People will say let the players decide the outcome of the game.  The truth is they weren't allowed to.  In what was the fourth crushing defeat like this for Iowa State this year, this one was the cherry on top.  This one absolutely stings for the fan, but its not about us.  The players saw their hard work and execution go unrewarded which happens in sports.  It doesn't typically happen like this though.

Blatant Missed Call #1

Clearly the foul should be on Kevin Young (left) right?  I mean he is staring HARD at Korie Lucious.  Well turns out Jeff Whithey (right) was not charged with his 5th and disqualifying foul.  He was allowed to stay in the game and use his 7 feet of fouling to obtain several more rebounds.

Blatant Missed Calls #2/#3

There was surely contact on Elijah Johnson's drive.  It was either a charge or a charge, but could have been incorrectly viewed as a block.  Instead there was no call.  Let the players play right?  That's all well and dandy until Georges Niang gets picked up for a foul going for a loose ball when Johnson was out of bounds.  Let them play and Tharpe misses a two point basket and ISU walks away the victors.

The Result:

Iowa State was spent.  All of that energy to win the game and have it ripped away just like that.  Give credit where credit is due Elijah Johnson was unconscious.  It took two career performances out of McLemore (1st meeting) and Johnson (2nd meeting) to knock off the Cyclones this year.  People will say the better team won but how can you be so sure?  There is no moral victory that comes out of this loss for the team, just a kick in the nuts.  This one stings.  Iowa State will be forced to rebound after an inexplicable loss for the fourth time this season.  Is that too much to regroup from and make the NCAA tournament.  Everyone seems to think Iowa State will move on the tournament after winning at least one or two more games but if they falter could this have been the turning point?  I guess we will have to wait and see.

With any controversial ending some things get lost in the shuffle.  First, Iowa State matches up really, really well against Kansas.  They dropped 89 and 96 against the nations best defense.  Second, Tyrus McGee could have been an instant legend among Cyclone fans.  The kid was shooting out of his mind.  Finally, Korie Lucious had one of his best games as a Cyclone.

This group seems to be gelling at the right time.  Whether that means anything or not I don't know.  At this point Iowa State is just hoping to make it into the tournament.  At that point anything is possible.  When you knock down 17 three pointers you aren't going to lose too many games.  Let's hope the team isn't too broken from this and makes some noise the rest of the season and down in Kansas City.  Mark down March 16th on your calendar.  Iowa State and Kansas could duel in the Big 12 semi-finals for their third meeting this season.  You know what they say about beating a team three times in a season right? 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Top 25 Ballot (2/10)

For my bracketology class I have to submit a Top 25 ballot this week.  Joe Lunardi is going to compute our class results and use it as his entry for this week's poll.  After going through and completing it I can see why these polls are off so much.  Outside of the top ten teams or so it gets rather uninteresting and any team can be placed anywhere.  In fact, these polls are useless.  It is amazing that coaches get bonuses based on what some writer or sports-information director does in a rush on a Sunday evening.  I will have more thoughts on it later, but for now here is my poll.

Michigan State
Kansas State
Ohio State
Oklahoma State
New Mexico
NC State
Colorado State
Indiana State

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cyclones Tourney Hopes Ed. 4

February 3rd

Since last time...

Loss @Oklahoma State
Win vs Baylor
Win vs Oklahoma

With a win against Oklahoma State I would have been completely comfortable talking about seeding the tournament instead of all the bubble talk.  Turns out things didn't go their way in the final minute but a 2-1 record over that three game stretch was needed and earned.  Oklahoma State turned around and won in Lawerence which vaulted them back into the race for 2nd place.  The wins against Baylor and Oklahoma were impressive.  They beat two potential tournament teams fairly handily.  Good stuff.

Current Resume:

Overall Record: 16-6
Conference Record: 6-3
Big Wins: #11 Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma
Bad Losses: @Texas Tech
RPI: 36 (Before OU win)
BPI:33 (Before OU win)

Ken Pomeroy (Before OU win):

The Cyclones today stand at #35 in KenPom's rankings.  Last week at this time they stood at #41. The Cyclones should shoot up the rankings tomorrow after the efficient offensive output tonight.  They had ISU predicted for 11 conference wins coming into today.  That won't go down obviously after tonight's win and may bump up to 12 wins tomorrow. 

Bracket Matrix:

The Bracket Matrix has ISU in the field in 57 of the 60 (95%) brackets.  This is a significant jump from last week with not all brackets accounting for the OU win.  After doing some reading the 90 percent is a key number.  When the committee meets in Indianapolis they will have already submitted 32 teams they think should make the field.  Any team that is on 9 out of the 10 ballots is put on the "IN" board and are only discussed when it comes to seeding.  A win against KSU on Saturday would put ISU in 100 percent of the brackets (or it should).

My Prediction (2/3) **This is based on what I predict will happen, not their resume to date**

Iowa State looked very good tonight.  How impressed was I?  I couldn't stop thinking they are a banked three away from being in the driver's seat for the Big XII.  Right now they have the ability to get hot and make a run at Kansas but these next two games go a long way toward that.


Overall Record: 22-7
Conference Record: 12-6 (Losses: @OSU, @OU, @BU, @Kansas, @Texas Tech vs Kansas)
Big Wins: Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma St., Oklahoma, @Kansas St.
Bad Losses: Texas Tech
Overall Seed: 10 (This may sky rocket if they take care of business in Manhattan this upcoming Saturday.) 

More big games appear on the ISU schedule.  They will be favored in 2 of their next 3.  One thing is sure, this year's bunch is sure fun to watch.  Until next time...