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Friday, March 10, 2006

I took down the basketball banner on the assumption that the season was over and stuff, NIT nonwithstanding, but we have a possible NSFMF situation developing. ESPN bracket guru Joe Lundardi (who appears to be wearing a Shatner-level rug) has us in as a twelve seed. Johnny helpfully points out that others disagree, though one is "Taking Things Over And Making Things Happen While Taking Over And With The Thing Happening Mein LAVEN" progenitor Digger Phelps, who should be regarded as comic relief at all times. Also providing a useful roundup is Sweaty Men Endeavors.

Rich from the Victors message baord went over the last two tourneys to see where, exactly, the tenuous at-large border is (for comparison, our RPI is now #46):

In the top 42, only #38 LSU did not get in. Why? They were 18-10 and 8-8 conference (sound familiar?) They finished 4-6 in the last 10.

Then #43 Utah State did not get in. Probably got screwed with an 8-2 finish and 24-3 record.

Then 44-47 all made it in. The only other at larges were #60 Washington and #70 Air Force.

An interesting tidbit is that South Carolina DID make it at #45 from the SEC while #38 LSU did not. Both were 8-8 league and both finished 4-6. South Carolina was 23-10 overall vs LSU's 18-10 but again LSU had the better rpi. A key factor may have been that in the opener of the SEC tourney, SCarolina blew out LSU by 21.

The top 42 all made it.

#43 Miami of Ohio did not make it and may have gotten screwed but finished 5-5 and were 6-10 in road/neutral games.

#44 Creighton got an auto bid and then #45-46 Wichita State and Buffalo did not make it. WSU was 20-9 but finished 4-6. Buffalo got screwed with their 8-2 finish and 10-7 road/neutral mark. However, they were only 1-5 vs the top 50.

#47-50 made it in but 3 were auto bids and #49 UAB was an atlarge. UAB finished 5-5 but had a 10-7 road/neutral record. However they were 0-5 vs. the top 50 but 7-1 vs the 51-100 group.

The only other atlarge bids were strange ones with Iowa State getting in at 63 and NC State at 65. ISU finished 7-3 but had a 5-6 record (not bad) against the top 50. NCState finished 6-4 but so did #61 Indiana, who was left out.
The overall impression is that Michigan is the bubbliest of bubble teams. .500 in the best conference according to RPI, wins over MSU, UW, and Illinois, 2-7 in last nine, Charmin-approved noncon... we balance on the very knife edge! Also balanced on the knife's edge: my opinion on whether getting in is good or not. On the upside: Michigan in the tournament. On the downside: almost certain humiliating defeat I am contractually obligated to watch. Upside: basketball is weird and said humiliating defeat could be avoided. Downside: that might prolong the Amaker era.

I hate being that guy, but... I'm that guy as regards Amaker.

File under bloodlust.Via Wonk comes this squib from Oracular Illini Observer Mark Tupper:
I don’t know how to say this nicely, but if Tommy Amaker is a good coach you can kiss my whistle. That team has some real talent, but they look disorganized and out of sync half the time, especially when they are playing away from Ann Arbor. And no one ever seems to take charge out on the floor. Wow. No way Minnesota has the talent to beat Michigan and that’s particularly true on a day when Vince Grier takes just one shot through the game’s first 25 minutes and finishes with 11 points.
Also of note is an excellent article from Keith Langlois of the Oakland Press, who had the same disjointed reaction I did...
You know, at least Mike Davis -- who is a freaking loon and got Indiana to the final four -- had the (... Harris turnover, Minnesota open-court dunk...) dignity to plunge the wakizashi into his own chest. (...missed gopher three... offensive rebound...) That's some Samurai shit there. (Harris three.) Meanwhile we've got (...Harris turnover, Minnesota fastbreak layup...) this. I don't think Martin will have the balls to deep-six Turtleneck Bear, so we're stuck... that ridiculous series in the second half:
Harris got stripped again - the last time I saw anything like this, Ty Detmer was throwing six interceptions at Cleveland - and Minnesota had another layup. Daniel Horton charged. Coleman got stripped again - where are we, Windsor?
Michigan basketball: causing chroniclers to descend into stream-of-consciousness madness since 1998! Seriously, read the Langlois article. It's damning, both to Amaker and the major Detroit newspapers that let Langlois get away while still employing hacks like Sharp and Parker. Money graf that's measured and intelligent:
...accusing Michigan of lacking heart is only slightly more damning than suggesting Tommy Amaker's Wolverines lack the stomach for the fight - and that seems the real issue. Sometimes what appears a lack of effort is really a lack of confidence, and that goes to a mental fragility Amaker surely figured he would have ingrained in his program after five years.
Night and day from Carty's Life Goes On ruminations.

The take-home lesson: We may be in. I want heads on a platter. Carty looks and writes like Corky.