Saturday, January 28, 2012

Poised to Make Some Noise 2

The Madness of March is drawing closer and the Bracket Busters are less than a month away. Poised to Make Some is a series of posts that will look at some of the mid-major teams that could produce some surprises when it comes to tournament time. We mentioned the Wichita St. Shockers and the Long Beach St. 49ers last time. San Diego St. was on our radar for this week's post but they have quietly climbed up to 13th in the rankings. So that's hardly a surprise team. If fact, after checking the Aztecs over a little bit, they might be a team that wont be around very long. This week's teams are the George Mason Patriots and the Harvard Crimson.

The Colonial Athletic Association used to be better known as a FCS football powerhouse, the SEC of the Football Championship Subdivision. The last few years some teams from the CAA have caused quite a stir in the NCAA Tournament, though. VCU and George Mason have played their way into Final Four berths in recent seasons. The Patriots are currently atop the conference, which just like is past years is a log jam with four teams within a game of the lead. George Mason gets the nod because they have a quality big man in senior forward Ryan Pearson. A good big man wins games. Pearson is among the league leaders in scoring and rebounds. The Patriots strength of schedule is low and the only tough opponent we see is their loss at Virginia but they should draw a name opponent for the Bracket Busters showdown.

Harvard has been teetering on the edge of the basketball rankings for most of the season. The Crimson knocked off Florida St early in the season and that win looks even better now as the Noles have surprised Duke and North Carolina. The Ivy League is the only conference that doesn't have a season ending tournament so the regular season champ gets the automatic berth. Currently the Crimson are undefeated in league play but clearly have a target on their back. We should see them in March if they can continue to play like they have all season. The Crimson have a very balanced team that makes few mistakes and just might send some big boys home early come tourney time.

Enjoy all the games today and keep your eyes on those mid-majors that are "Poised to Make Some Noise."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cardinals Worls Series Trophy

Today the local US Cellular store had the 2011 Cardinals World Series trophy in the store. Tons of people showed up and there was quite a line. Even though we're not Card fans it was pretty cool to see all the small details in it. Hopefully the Cubbies can track it down sometime.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poised to Make Some Noise

The college basketball season is well under way and you're starting to hear with words "quality win" and "bracketology" more frequently. That can only mean the Madness of March is around the corner. Poised to Make Some is going to be a series of articles that will look at some mid-major teams that could show that they aren't necessarily a little guy when it comes to tournament time.

Everyone has probably heard of the top twp mid-majors of this season, the Creighton Blue Jays and the Murray St. Racers. Both teams have been ranked for a number of weeks but let's mention a couple of other teams that are sneaky good. This week those teams are Wichita St. and Long Beach St.

The Missouri Valley is back this season and should get multiple bids to the Big Dance. Originally the Valley looked like it might get three invites but Northern Iowa has slumped since conference play began. Wichita St. returned almost everyone from last season's NIT Championship team and have quietly compiled a 16-3 record so far. The Shockers are tied for the MVC lead with Creighton and have some quality wins on their resume. They have beaten Colorado and knocked off a ranked UNLV team. The Shockers only losses this season were to Alabama, who was ranked at the time, Temple in OT, and the Blue Jays. The Shockers have one of the most experienced teams in all of hoops land and are no strangers to big games. A rumored matchup against Murray St. in the upcoming Bracket Busters will no doubt get the Shockers some national exposure and if they continue playing well, watch out in March.

The Long Beach St. 49ers are the defending Big West champions and currently undefeated in conference play. The 49ers are coached by Dan Monson, who brought Gonzaga to hoops prominence. Monson is duplicating his successful Zag's approach and isn't afraid to put anyone on the schedule. The 49ers are 2-3 against ranked teams this season. Senior guard Casper Ware leads the way and is the early favorite to add his second conference Player of the Year award. Long Beach St. will need a win in their Bracket Buster matchup to add to the post season resume, but they are a dangerous team and definitely one to watch in March.