Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/12/2008 03:07:00 PM
Could 'Nova Be This Year's Syracuse?
NEW YORK -- As the first game of the Big East tournament neared its end -- a snoozer befitting of its noon start time -- a fan in Villanova's student section hoisted one of those ubiquitous acronym signs that read, "No Cuse At-large Anymore." That much was clear. After losing 82-63 to 'Nova, Syracuse will be on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. Even Jim Boeheim, the perennial coach on the bubble, was resigned to his bubble having burst in 2008, saying afterwards, "We probably needed to win 2-3 games to get even close to where we were last year [when they were snubbed on Selection Sunday]. I don't think one win would have been enough by any stretch of the imagination."
But what of the Wildcats? Are they now safe? Their fans had no complementary sign that expressed confidence in 'Nova's own NCAA tournament footing ("Now 'Cats Are Assured" would have worked). There was, however, someone holding a t-shirt that said Don't Stop Believin' -- and that, perhaps, is the best 'Nova can do at this point. Beating Georgetown tomorrow would secure the 'Cats a place in the dance. One-and-done here and they're in very much the same position that Syracuse was last season, setting themselves up for heartbreak at the hands of the selection committee.
While the nature of the bubble may change every season, the following comparison should scare 'Nova fans: In nearly every key category, this year's 'Cats have a worse resume than the Orange did when they were snubbed in '07.
Team RPI SOS NC-SOS W-L BE W-L T50 Syracuse '07 50 46 122 22-10 10-6 3-6 Villanova '08 57 56 164 20-11 9-9 5-6
Wins over NCAA tournament-bound teams: Syracuse '07 (5): Penn, Holy Cross, Marquette, Villanova, Georgetown Villanova '08 (4): George Mason, Pitt, West Virginia, UConn
In his latest Bubble Watch, SI.com's Stewart Mandel has Villanova in the "bubble in" section, citing its five wins over top-50 competition as its main selling point to the committee. But if the 'Cats do lose to Georgetown tomorrow, they'd best set to work on creating a slick package to send to the selection committee, the centerpiece being footage of the blown calls that cost them a win against N.C. State (in Orlando on Nov. 25) and a trip to overtime against Georgetown (in D.C. on Feb. 11). The committee has consistently stated that it's willing to consider extra information like this in its deliberations on the bracket. How much weight it's willing to put into poor refereeing may ultimately decide Villanova's fate.
Luke- good article. One minor correction though. While the Georgetown call was a bad call at that point in the game, the game was tied when the call was made. The call in question DID NOT COST Villanova the WIN. It cost Villanova the chance to go into overtime, where they could have potentially beat the Hoyas at home. This is very different than the NC State call. And saying to the Committee "we could have gone into overtime" isn't doing much.
You have to admit that the respective credentials mean nothing in a vacuum. All depends on other bubble teams. I was at first game - outscoring 'Cuse by 28 in the last 31:10 is not an insignificant accomplishment. At the game - slow, ragged start. Not sure what Coach Wright said to the 'Cats, but it did the trick. At least they are in the discussion come Sunday.
I like this blog. Are you going to be at the BE tournament through the Championship? If so, please keep it up. These type of firsthand accounts give all of us that can't be there a little more feel for the atmosphere and a lot of envy for those that can.
Anon, All you had to do was fill out your name and you could have been credited. Now, you can't go to your roommates and tell them that was you. they'll never believe you. How sad.
good pick-up, though.
Also, Luke, I realize that tourney teams are tourney teams, but should the wins over Penn (13), HolyCross (14) and Mason (TBD) be taken into consideration? I mean, GMU wasn't even supposed to win. VCU was. Therefore, even though it was good filler, should those wins even 'count'? My personal opinon is that neither should make the group of 65. Unless Nova wins 2 more games. But that's why I'm not writing for cnn
Two points: To rebut the first commenter, the poor call in the Georgetown game did not cost VU a "chance" to go into overtime - they didn't need a chance; if the call isn't made with 1 second left there no "chance" involved - they're in overtime. What the call did was determine the outcome of the game and sentence VU to a loss not determined by fair competition. A slightly different spin, but the injustice needs to be emphasized to the selection committee as Luke muses..No one can assert VU would have won, but the loss should be thrown out.
Second point: Comparing the bubble situation of VU this year with SU last year is an apples and oranges comparison (no pun). The problem with the comparison is that VU does not have as many qualified teams to beat out this year as SU did last year. The quality of the bubble teams this year is no where near as strong, mainly due to the poor depth of major conferences such as the ACC, Big Ten and SEC, all having off years.
I think the point is - the bad call in the Gtown game prevented Vill from a chance to win in overtime. Vill's chances were not particularly strong - they had already lost 2 players to foul-outs and had two others with 4 and were playing a superior team.
Quit whining. And find something else to hang your hat on or go away.
You couldn't be more right... esp point 2. SEC BIG10 and ACC are jokes this year they have one or two solid teams. the Pac10,and BigEast are extremely solid this year and as is the Big12 with my pick to win it all: Kansas(who I dislike very very much)