Tag:One Blogging Moment
Posted on: March 8, 2010 3:00 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2010 4:51 pm
 

Five for Fighting


JOHN WILKINSON

The NCAA Tournament is set to deliver four more bids tonight as Conference Championship week #2 tips off, but for the five schools with hands already stamped, the waiting game is now the formidable foe. Let's take a quick look into the waiting room, where knees and champagne are iced, and dated periodicals and Kiss FM will have to suffice until Sunday. 

 

 

Cornell  (Ivy League)

Mascot: Big Red

Record: 27-4

Projected seed: 10-12

 

 

 

 

 

The Big XII will send 7 or 8 teams to the big dance this season and could potentially have two #1 seeds, and still, only one team managed to scare the Kansas Jayhawks on their home floor all season...yep, Cornell. Boasting an ever-so-rare senior laden starting lineup, Cornell ran roughshod through the Ivy League and secured their second straight spot in the NCAA Tourney. This time, however, the Big Red should receive a much more favorable draw with the potential to make a run to the Sweet 16 behind a lethally accurate 3-point barrage and what else, but a gritty, intelligent approach to the game. The Washington Post's Sultan of Sentiment, John Feinstein, profiled the team in February and discovered that the entire team lives together in an off-campus house. Which, of course got me thinking...what happens when 14 teammates, picked to live in the same house,  stop being polite, and start being real? 

 

Mark Coury, forward: Umm, who ate my last string cheese?

Geoff Reeves, guard: Dude, don't you even look at me. You know I'm lactose intolerant. 

Coury: Yes, I know all about your gastrointestinal deficiencies as a result of enzymatic short-comings, but I need some answers. And I need cheese!

Jeff Foote, Center: What are you crying about now, Mark? Another B in organic chem? 

Reeves: Someone ate his cheese. 

Coury: Fine, I'm calling a house meeting. Game room, 10 minutes. 

Coury: (in confessional booth) It wasn't so much about the actual cheese as it was respect. Look, I can always go get more cheese at the grocery store but they don't sell loaves of respect. They also don't sell ginger ale, which really perturbs me. 

 


Winthrop (Big South)

Mascot: Eagles

Record: 19-13

Projected seed: 15

 

To most low-majors, simply earning a trip to the big show is enough to hang the proverbial hat, but for Winthrop, it's a habit. The Big South Tournament champs for the 9th time in 11 seasons are playing their best ball of the season at precisely the right time and will look to put a their patented scare into their first round opponent. In 2006, a 15-seeded Winthrop came up just two points shy of knocking off 2-seed Tennessee, and in 2007 as an 11-seed, stunned 6-seeded Notre Dame in what proved to be an upset on paper only. This year's Eagles don't appear quite as dangerous as in brackets of the past, but an unusually vulnerable slate of potential two seeds better take this tournament-tested bunch seriously. 

 

 

East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun)

Mascot: Buccaneers

Record: 20-14

Projected seed: 16

 

The Bucs enter the dance for the second consecutive season winners of their last six, and appear bound for bloodshed as an ornamental 16-seed. The Atlantic Sun was fairly mediocre this season even by low-major standards and their signature win against the Arkansas B-team merits only a golf clap, but back-to-back league crowns in an impressive feat nontheless, eh Ken?

 

Hey folks, Kenny Chesney here, pop-country chart topper, beach bum, and proud ETSU alum. I'm in the middle of recording my next album right now, Puka Shells n' Cheese, but you can bet I'll be in attendance to watch my Bucs in the big dance. I'll be sittin' courtside in my old rickety rockin' chair with a big ol' jug of sweet tea. I remember watching this team win the conference last year and thinkin, man, that's something that just don't happen twice, but lo and behold, here we are again, and I can proudly say I never wanted nothing more...well, other than Jimmy Buffet's career, of course. 

Toodles, 

KC

 





Murray State (Ohio Valley)

Mascot: Racers

Record: 30-4

Projected seed: 12-13

 

The Racers dominated the OVC this season and notched their NCAA leading 30th win dispatching defending champ Morehead State in the finals. Murray might be the most balanced team in the entire tourney, with all five starters averaging 10ppg. Second in the nation in FG%, third in scoring margin and fifth in steals, Murray has the ability on both sides of the ball to make a run at the Sweet 16. 

 

 

Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)

Mascot: Panthers

Record: 28-4

Projected seed: 8-10

 

Trust me, nobody wants to meet UNI in the first round because the Panthers will certainly make you earn it. Second nationally in scoring defense at 55ppg, UNI dominated a stacked MVC tourney by allowing just 132 total points in three games. Aside from conquering MVC foes, UNI throttled Big Conference bottom-feeders Boston College and Iowa this season, which doesn't say much, but they'll likely draw one of the numerous mediocre teams from the power leagues in the first round and notch at least one win in the dance. Who knows, their savage approach to defense could certainly propel them even further and into immortality like two-time NFL MVP, one-time Cedar Falls bag boy, and UNI alum Kurt Warner. 

Now that, is immortality. 

 

Posted on: March 5, 2010 12:13 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2010 3:01 pm
 

The Day Ahead: Friday of Championship Week

BY MATT JONES

While the preliminary games have been scattered throughout the week, in all actuality today is the day that Championship Week begins with authority.  Last night we saw some random scatterings of games and one great finish, but Friday is the day that we start moving towards bids actually being given and the first battles of big teams trying to punch their March tickets.  A primer on what you might have missed last night and what is coming today:

LAST NIGHT WHILE YOU WERE WATCHING THE OFFICE:

Missouri Valley First Round:

The most major of the mid-major conferences kicked off last night with Missouri State beating Evansville in a snoozer and Drake providing the first "March Madness" image of the 2010 postseason, with a buzzer beater victory over Southern Illinois.  The Salukis had a ten point lead with just eight minutes to go, but then scored only six points to close out the game. 

Big South Semifinals

The first championship game was set last night as the Semifinals of the Big South took place in front of family and friends.  Coastal Carolina took care of UNC Asheville 93-72 and confirmed itself as the heavy favorite to make the NCAA Tournament when the finals hit on Saturday.  In the first major upset of the Big South Tournament, Winthrop beat higher seeded Radford, 61-46 and will not face the fight Carolinas of the Coast on Saturday for the first official NCAA bid and the right to have their faces plastered on the halftime report of CBS games all weekend.

Atlantic Sun Quarterfinals

The first conference that has actually made March "mad" is the Atlantic Sun, where all the top teams are falling and a date in the Play-in game for the champion seems all but certain.  Top seed Lipscomb lost to Kennesaw State (that is a real school), East Tennessee State and Mercer beat higher seeds Campbell and Belmont and now Jacksonville has reached its greatest heights since Artis Gilmore, as it remains the top-seeded team left in the tournament.  The new favorite is probably ETSU, which rides a 5 game winning streak into wackiest tournament currently on the market.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY:

1.  The Most Competitive Day of Basketball You Didnt Know About

They call it "Arch Madness" and for true basketball aficionados, it may be one of the best three-day basketball feasts available.  In the Missouri Valley Conference , they play basketball with fundamentals, grittiness and a lot of Midwestern spunk.  And oh yeah, the teams arent bad either.  When you think of Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, you may think of corn and flat land, but MVC basketball should enter into your mind (at least before the vastly overrated "Field of Dreams").  Today may be the best day of that form of basketball that you will see...four games, showcasing the eight best teams.  The schedule:

#1 Northern Iowa vs  #8 Drake:          1:00 pm
#4 Creighton      vs.  #5 Bradley:        3:30 pm
#2 Wichita St      vs   #7 Missouri St    7:00 pm
#3 Illinois St       vs   #6 Indiana St    9:30 pm

If you get the channels where the games are on or live close to St. Louis, watch the games.  They will be good (and Missouri State will upset Wichita State...you heard it here first)

2.  OVC  Semifinals

All season it has seemed that the conference crown would come down to a Murray State vs Morehead State tournament clash.  We saw those two teams play each other on the College Basketball Road Trip and now they each need one more win for a rematch.  Murray State plays Eastern Illinois and Morehead has Tennessee Tech, with both games on ESPNU.  If you love college basketball and have no woman on a Friday night (those two things are not mutually exclusive), then settling down for some OVC battles in Nashville might be a good option.

3.  Atlantic Sun Semifinals

They arent on television and chances are if you say you are watching the "Atlantic Sun", people will think you are attempting to find yourself on a beach while growing a beard.  But there have been no games more entertaining than the ones taking place in Macon, Georgia.  Mercer plays Jacksonville and Kennesaw State battles East Tennessee State, with the winners likely being the biggest surprises to play for an NCAA berth.  And if you are reading this and already know what state Kennesaw State is actually in, then this blog and Championship Week are just for you.

Add to these, the beginning of the Southern, MAAC, Horizon and WCC Tournaments and tonight is as busy a Friday night as you will see in college basketball.  So send the kiddies off to see "Alice in Wonderland", sit back and let One Blogging Moment give you a Friday of basketball goodies.  Or go see the movie...I hear its good.

Matt Jones is the founder of the college sports blog KentuckySportsRadio .


Posted on: March 4, 2010 11:43 pm
 

Rolling With My Boy Drake and other MVC Notes

MATT JONES

11:30 PM



As part of this Championship Week coverage, I am reporting on five conferences.  Most of them have funny names that make you feel like you are heading towards the Oregon Trail and are likely made up, such as "Big Sky" and "Horizon."  Others however are conferences that you are told every year are "mid-major" and are "sleepers" and "Billy Packer hates them with a passion."  One of those such conference is the Missouri Valley Conference, which has produced team after team of guys with floppy hair who can shoot threes better than you.  On the off chance that you were distracted by the baby episode of "The Office", (which was decent but has me worried that the show will become way too baby-oriented and as all people my age can tell you, when your friends become too baby-oriented, they become lame...but I digress) then it is up to me to let you knowthis year's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament actually began tonight. 

Unlike in past years, the Missouri Valley is a one-bid league this year unless its top team, Northern Iowa were to get upset in the tournament in St. Louis.  Thus every game at the MVC Tournament is not only a chance to see Nelly live and in person, but also an elimination game that could spell the end of your postseason, unless you get invited to whatever constitutes that wacky "CBI" Tournament.  Northern Iowa is the distinct favorite, but teams like Wichita State, Creighton and Illinois State are perfectly constituted to pull an upset.  That is why all day on Friday we will be giving you game by game MVC coverage on this blog to let you see what is happening in the "Biggest Little Conference in America", right before the Championship game is played on CBS on Sunday.   

Tonight there were two opening games, and they went like this:

DRAKE 63  SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 61

If you are like me, you probably assumed that Southern Illinois was good this year.  They were picked 4th in the conference preseason, have that coach that every year is called an "up and comer" in Chris Lowery and are located Carbondale, Illinois, a place that just sounds like it should be home to a mid-major champion.  But the reality is that the Salukis have actually been disappointing for two straight seasons, finishing last year with a losing record and this year at .500.  Tonight they lost to Drake on a last-second buzzer beater by Josh Young of Drake, producing the first such game-ending shot of the Championship week season.  Southern Illinois was up 10 with 8 minutes ago but channeled their inner Greg Norman for a choke job that will have the Salukis shaking their heads during the long offseason.  For Drake, the reward is a 1 pm tipoff against in-state rival, Northern Iowa in what will likely be the "game you can skip" of the MVC Tournament.  Although both losses came in close games, Drake is 0-2 this year against Northern Iowa and with the quick turnover in game time and the disparity in talent, will soon be 0-3.  But hey, at least they got one conference tournament victory and were great in "Degrassi."

MISSOURI STATE 52  EVANSVILLE 46

There are certain moments in which you need to take a step back, look at the way you are spending your time and evaluate your life.  One of those moments occurred for me tonight as I desperately searched the MVC website trying to find a live feed of the Missouri State-Evansville 7-10 matchup in the first round of the Conference Tournament.  I ended up spending an hour following along via a live gamecast and recognizing that the worst basketball played outside of the Young Republicans Convention was taking place on a court in St Louis between these two juggernauts.  Both teams shot poorly, played sloppy and in the end, Missouri State pulled out the victory.  Going into the tournament, Missouri State was my sleeper, mainly because they lost their last 6 games by only a combined 20 points and still have 20 overall wins on the season.  They will have to play better than they did tonight, but I am going out on a limb for tomorrow.  MISSOURI STATE WILL BEAT WICHITA STATE IN THE SECOND ROUND

There you heard it here first....the big upset of the MVC Tournament will occur tomorrow night in the late game.  So call all your friends, wake them up, tell them that there is a school they have never heard of called Missouri State and they will beat Wichita State tomorrow night.  Then find new friends.  See you tomorrow.

If you have questions or comments, email us at onebloggingmoment@gmail.com

Posted on: March 4, 2010 5:05 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2010 5:39 pm
 

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT WEEK BEGINS

MATT JONES

5:00 PM



So after ten days of driving around the country and seeing college basketball at its best, we returned to our homes and tried to get on with the rest of our lives.  While college basketball is likely the best feature of life, there is the tiny rest of life such as paying bills, talking to our families and dealing with other humans that are not based in a Kia Rondo, that we had to deal with upon return.  While we will always have memories of Kansas, Michigan State, Northern Iowa and an empty North Carolina gym, it is time to move to the next facet of our lives and our CBS work.  So with that in mind, it is (wait for it):

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT WEEK!

Yes its the time of year when 30 of the 31 conferences (the Ivy League thinks it is so smart it doesnt have to have a tournament...well you take your top-notch degree and 6 figure paycheck and go somewhere else my friend!) play off for a chance to make it into the NCAA Tournament on an automatic bid.  In terms of sheer madness, nothing can beat it.  You have the little guy playing for its chance to get slaughtered by Kansas, the mid-major hoping to impress the Tournament committee one last time and the big conference powers playing for seeding.  Plus you get ten days of wall-to-wall basketball, with each minute providing highlights that you will remember for a lifetime (or at least until the next game begins). 

Now as far as I know, no one has ever tried to undertake the task of providing running commentary and analysis of every conference tournament in the land.  It is such an absurd goal that only fools and people who drive Kia Rondos would attempt it.  But we are just those fools.  To accomplish the task, we have brought back the four hearty souls from the road trip (Matt Jones, Drew Franklin, TJ Beisner and CM Tomlin) and added two other great writers, John Wilkersly from Kentucky Sports Radio and Mike Rutherford of Cardchronicle.com.  We have divided up the conferences in this manner:

MATT JONES

  1. SEC
  2. Missouri Valley
  3. Big Sky
  4. Horizon
  5. Sun Belt

CM TOMLIN

  1. Pac 10
  2. Conference USA
  3. America East
  4. MAAC
  5. OVC

TJ BEISNER

  1. Big 12
  2. West Coast
  3. Atlantic Sun
  4. MAC
  5. Patriot

DREW FRANKLIN

  1. ACC
  2. Atlantic 10
  3. Big West
  4. MEAC
  5. Summit

JOHN WILKERSLY

  1. Big Ten
  2. Mountain West
  3. Big South
  4. Northeast
  5. Southland

MIKE RUTHERFORD

  1. Big East
  2. WAC
  3. Colonial
  4. Southern
  5. SWAC

If you are a fan of one of these conferences, these are the guys to take you through the coverage.  Some of them have already begun and for those, the coverage begins tonight.  So strap yourself in and get ready to see the Conference Tournaments covered in the most ridiculous manner possible, with more random facts on the MEAC than you could ever imagine.  Its "One Blogging Moment" and it begins now:

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com