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My Field of 65

March 11, 2004 Columns No Comments


My Field of 65

by Jim Woods

Here are the final picks.

Strictly Automatic

America East, Atlantic Sun (Central Florida), Big Sky, Big South (Liberty), Big West, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy (Princeton), MAAC, Mid-Continent, MEAC, NEC, Ohio Valley (Murray St.), Patriot, Southern Conference (ETSU), Southland, SWAC, Sun Belt, WCC, MAC.

Issues

Out of these above conferences you have the potential for upsets and a second team to go. This applies to the WCC and Big West. Gonzaga (WCC) and Utah State (Big West) are going to get in regardless of winning their league tournament. For the purposes of this article I am assuming these two schools will garner the conference’s automatic bid. Last week I said Southern Illinois would be in this situation and they did get beat in the conference tourney so the Missouri Valley becomes a multiple bid league.

That accounts for 20 Automatic Bids

Here is what remains. Each of the below conferences I believe will get multiple teams into the tournament. Again, for the purposes of this article, one of the teams listed I am assuming to win the conference tournament and the automatic bid.

Atlantic Ten: St. Joe’s, Dayton.

ACC: Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Maryland

Big 12: Oklahoma St., Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Missouri

Big East: Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Providence, Syracuse, Boston College, Seton Hall

Big Ten: Michigan St., Illinois, Wisconsin

Conference USA: Memphis, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Louisville, DePaul, UAB

Mountain West: Air Force, Utah, BYU

Pac 10: Stanford, Arizona, Washington

Southeastern Conference: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Florida, Alabama, LSU

WAC: UTEP, Nevada

Missouri Valley Conference: Tourney Winner, Southern Illinois

Thoughts, Changes and Analysis

I already know that my inclusion of Missouri in this week’s field is probably my most questionable. They are going to beat Texas A&M in their first round Big 12 game to get to sixteen wins. If they can win one more game in that tournament to get to seventeen, with their RPI of 36, they will get in. They have to root so hard for Gonzaga and Utah State to win their respective conferences. If those two are to fall, Missouri and South Carolina could be the first two out. South Carolina better win an SEC game to feel safe heading into Sunday. Other teams that could sneak in with good conference tourneys are Colorado and Oklahoma. These teams are so similar it is tough to pick between. Right now I feel like both are out. Richmond is this week’s highest rated team not to dance. They just did not play well enough in a mediocre Atlantic Ten. A run to the A-10 Final by Richmond or Xavier could change things. An early conference tourney loss by any of UTEP, Nevada, Utah, and Air Force could change which side of the bubble they fall on. None of them should feel very secure right now.

More Notes from “The Sideline”

• Did anybody else think the one of the best parts of the Jim Harrick Jr. Final Exam was the final question about the best assistant coach in the country? I don’t mean the actual question, but the fact that he spelt Steve Wojciechowski correct and Ron Jirsa (incorrectly spelled Jursa) wrong when Jirsa was previously the Head Coach at Georgia!

• The only New Yorkers who will rejoice over the potential Vin Baker signing are the bartenders.

• I went to the RAC yesterday to see Rutgers host Seton Hall. A great college atmosphere to see first hand, and the game was excellent. That rivalry is on the verge of being something really great as both teams are well coached and will continues to recruit the fertile ground of the New York metropolitan area.

• Stony Brook knocking off Boston University was probably the most shocking upset of the first weekend of Championship Week. BU was the host school and favorite to take the America East crown. Vermont will now host Maine this Saturday and the big question is whether Vermont star Taylor Coppenrath will come back from a broken wrist to play.

• Everybody seems to think Jeff Jones will be the next head coach at SMU, and do not be surprised to see Maryland assistant Jimmy Patsos take Jones’ place at American.

• Northwestern assistant coach Paul Lee would be a perfect candidate to take over the reins at Dartmouth. Lee was a player and longtime assistant at Columbia, and has spent time under former Princeton head coach Bill Carmody at Northwestern. Lee would bring national and international recruiting ties to Hanover, as he has played a primary role in the turnaround of the Northwestern program.

• I promised my friend Murph that I would get him in a column because he hasn’t been in one yet and he is feeling left out. So far all he has given me though is Quin Snyder looks like the Patrick Bateman character in “American Psycho.”

• The Florida Gators have taken on a new slogan and have even been wearing tee shirts for warm-ups with the slogan printed on it. It reads, “We All We Got.” This slogan tells me two things: 1) The Gators are focused, together and ready for a tournament run, and 2) Jim Harrick Jr. has resurfaced as an English Professor in Gainesville.

Enjoy the rest of your Championship Week.

     

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