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Posts Tagged ‘Illinois Fighting Illini’

Quick Takes: Kansas offers a Big 12 reminder

January 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015About those 13 straight Big 12 titles: Kansas isn’t conceding No. 14.  Down double-digits at halftime in Morgantown, the Jayhawks rallied to beat West Virginia, and in the process, remind us that the road to a Big 12 title still runs through Lawrence.  There’s this, too: while he played limited minutes, Silvio De Sousa made his Jayhawks’ debut, adding a much-needed body to a thin front line.  As a whole, the Big 12 is as good as its ever been, so one win doesn’t guarantee anything.  But if you had decided, “this was the year,” for Kansas to relinquish its crown, let’s hope you wrote it in pencil.

Other Quick Takes from Monday: Read more…

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Quick Takes: Tough day for Cats, ‘Canes

December 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015Kentucky and Miami-FL received a couple of unwelcome presents on Saturday.  UK’s arrived wrapped in UCLA paper; Miami’s covered in a New Mexico State print.  For the Wildcats, who started five freshman against the Bruins, some bumps are expected.  Losing to a re-tooling UCLA outfit qualifies as one of those.  If they bounce back against Louisville on Friday, the Cats will have gone 2-2 against their top non-conference opponents.  And unlike some previous years, plenty of quality wins await in the SEC.  As for the Hurricanes, the loss stings a little more.  First, it means their final game in Honolulu will be against Middle Tennessee instead of USC (even though USC has underachieved).  Second, it leaves us wondering a little about the Canes’ resolve.  Other than an early win at Minnesota (ACC-Big10 Challenge), Miami has played a rather ho-hum schedule.  The loss, perhaps, adds a little urgency to the team’s opening ACC slate, which includes three of five on the road.

Other Christmas Eve Quick Takes … Read more…

Categories: Current Updates

Preseason: Ten teams that could surprise in ’17-18

October 30, 2017 2 comments

Dave2015Every year a few surprise teams emerge during the college hoops season:  squads that burst on the scene and find themselves in the mix for a bid to the NCAA tournament.  Who might those teams be in 2017-18?  Here are ten candidates.  You may have others.  Note: Teams are listed in alphabetical order, not by rank.

Central Florida – If you’re a hoops junkie, the Golden Knights may already be on your radar.  In addition to massive 7’6″ center Tacko Fall, UCF returns B.J. Taylor and A.J. Davis. They also inherit the services of Aubrey Dawkins, coach Johnny Dawkins’ son, who sat out last year after transferring from Michigan.  If the Knights continue to be a stout defense group, a bid is more than attainable. Read more…

Categories: Current Updates

Quick Takes: Illinois, Vandy among surprise bubble teams

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015Even with a weak bubble that features a host of double-digit loss resumes, a couple of surprising bubble teams have re-emerged: Illinois and Vanderbilt. With improved play and strong SOS numbers, neither should be discounted if they keep up momentum.  This morning, both have nine (9) Top 100 wins and Top 20 schedules.  In fact, Vandy owns the nation’s No. 5 overall schedule and No. 1 non-conference SOS.  Historically, such numbers have given teams a little more leeway when it comes to losses.  The question is exactly how much?  A team with 15 losses has never received an invitation (unless winning their conference tourney).

Editor’s note:  A reader noted my original statistic was derived pre-2011 data, which is correct.  It used to be rare  for 14-loss teams to receive at-large bids (prior to 2011, it only happened six times).  More recently, in 2011, as an example, five teams received at-large bids with 14 losses.  Sorry for the confusion. Read more…

Bracket Bits: Inside the ACC-Big Ten Challenge

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

dave1Ask someone which ACC-Big Ten Challenge game they are most looking forward to and you’ll likely hear a common answer: Duke at Wisconsin.  That’s certainly the headliner, with two projected No. 1 seeds battling at the Kohl Center.

But let’s dig a bit deeper – because barring a collapse, both the Blue Devils and Badgers will be Dancing as high seeds.  This is a much more important event for teams like Florida State, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Purdue, and NC State.  Let’s take a look:

Nebraska at Florida State – The Seminoles have staggered out of the gate, at one point losing three straight to Northeastern, Providence, and Massachusetts.  A victory over Nebraska would begin to rebuild a non-conference resume that finds a victory over Manhattan as its best asset.  For the Huskers, who dropped an OT decision at Rhode Island, a road win at FSU would build some momentum ahead of a date with rival Creighton on Sunday. Read more…

Categories: Current Updates, Team News

Christmas S-Curve Update: Arizona holds No. 1 spot

December 24, 2013 Leave a comment

dave1If our latest s-curve rankings were Christmas presents, Arizona, Syracuse, Louisville, and Wisconsin would receive Santa’s best in 2013.  The Wildcats, Orange, Cardinals, and Badgers hold the top four spots on the seed list and would be No. 1 seeds if we were publishing a new bracket.  Nothing new from December 17.

Current S-curve update

Which teams found one of the final at-large gifts?  George Washington, Cincinnati, Butler, Illinois, and Oklahoma.  As of Christmas Eve, those are the Last 5 IN (at-large) on the seed list.

By contrast, these five teams would find their stocking stuffed with a First 5 OUT certificate:  Marquette, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Indiana, and Xavier.  They are followed (next 5 OUT) by California, Saint Mary’s, Boise State, Utah, and SMU.

This time next week, conference action begins across the country.  Ultimately, those games will be among the most important come Selection Sunday.  What the non-conference schedule provides is an opportunity to build a resume that extends beyond the conference season.  Teams that accomplished little (or played a weak schedule) in November and December have less margin for error in league play.

The overall s-curve is still fluid.  Teams climb or fall several spots based on significant wins (or losses).  And let’s be honest, it’s still hard to fully determine quality wins and/or bad losses because we have two-plus months remaining in the season.  A victory that looks good now may not be as impressive in February and vice-versa.  Regular bracket updates begin in January, and the s-curve will be posted with each update (some additional updates in February and March).

Enjoy the Holidays!  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Safe travels and blessings.

Categories: Current Updates

Weekend full of resume opportunities

December 13, 2013 Leave a comment

dave1It’s a weekend full of resume opportunities.

For starters, we have Kentucky at North Carolina.  Although the Tar Heels have lost to Belmont and UAB, they have also beaten Louisville and Michigan State.  From a resume standpoint, the victories over the Cardinals and Spartans will resonate much longer than the loses to the Bruins and Blazers.  That’s exactly why this is a bigger game for UK.  Beating Boise State on Tuesday was notable, but a win in Chapel Hill would last much longer.  Against its best competition, Kentucky has dropped close games to MSU and Baylor.  No shame in that – especially for an inexperienced team.  But the Wildcats’ non-conference resume will look different if they fail to capture a marquee victory.  Saturday’s game with Carolina and a date with Louisville (Dec. 28) are the best remaining opportunities.

A quick peek at some other teams with resume-building opportunities:

Michigan (vs. Arizona) – The Wolverines edged Florida State in Puerto Rico, but a loss to Charlotte in the title game took a little luster off the trip.  Adjusting to life without Trey Burke, Michigan also missed chances against Iowa State and Duke.  Just in time, No. 1 Arizona arrives in Ann Arbor.  A victory over the Wildcats would calm some nerves and put a nice stamp on the Wolverines profile.

Illinois (vs. Oregon) – With several new faces and a roster reliant on some freshman production, the Illini opted for somewhat moderate early season schedule.  The result is a resume without an eye-catching victory.  Illinois did post a road win at UNLV, but the Rebels have somewhat underachieved to this point.  Beating a talented Oregon team in Portland would certainly make an impression. Read more…

Categories: Current Updates