Tag Archives: Wichita State

The 2014 Bracketology

The 2014 NCAA Men’s National Tournament has finally arrived and true March Madness is here. With all 68 teams fighting to get to the big dance, college basketball will start to get a little more interesting. My favorite team UNC is in the tournament as a 6-seed, but I doubt that they will last too long. Last year, I picked Indiana to win the whole thing, but I was wrong. My 2013 bracket was pretty bad. I only got just over half of the picks right. I tried again this year to fill out my bracket and we’ll see what happens. I won’t give you all of my exact picks, but I will make some predictions!

Fantastic, fabulous, whichever alliteration you like best, but the teams with these freakishly talented freshmen will make it far in the tournament, but I don’t think a team with one of these freshmen will win the whole thing. Kentucky was the last team that had a fabulous freshman (Anthony Davis) to win the title. Although these freshmen do a great job of carrying these teams, they don’t have a lot of experience to carry them all the way to the top. I have Jabari Parker (the winner of the freshman of the year award) and Duke losing to Wichita State in the Elite Eight. Syracuse and freshman point guard Tyler Ennis will go very far in the tournament (I have them in the Elite Eight against Syracuse), but this Syracuse team has weaknesses and people are starting to figure them out. C.J. Fair will help Ennis carry the load, but Syracuse has too many obstacles to overcome in this tournament. Aaron Gordon and Arizona have the best shot at winning the title, but I have them losing in the Final Four to the upset-minded Wichita State Shockers! Then there is a team with two fabulous freshman on the squad: Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid for Kansas. Embiid is still battling a back injury and no one knows how well he will be able to perform in an enduring tournament full of heated competition. Wiggins showed that he could carry the team on his back with the 41 scoring outburst in the loss at West Virginia and a barrage of points in the overtime win against Oklahoma State with 30. However, he has also managed to turn the ball over in crucial moments and the rest of his team isn’t at the same level. I have Kansas losing early in the Sweet Sixteen to Syracuse.

Parker was phenomenal as a freshman this year with 13 double-doubles this year. He finished the regular season with 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Credit: nbcchicago.com
Parker was phenomenal as a freshman this year with 13 double-doubles. He finished the regular season with 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Credit: nbcchicago.com

The 1-seeds are very promising this year. Wichita State is always ready to give an unexpected performance of brilliance, Virginia could create a lot of bracket busting with their surprising rise in the ACC tournament, Florida is the number one team in the nation (their last loss was at Connecticut on December 2nd), and Arizona’s strength and athleticism outshines their weaknesses and flaws. Virginia is the only team I don’t have in the Final Four because I have them losing to a very well-coached and experienced Michigan State team in the Elite Eight. Virginia’s run in the big dance would make for a great story, but sometimes happy endings don’t come for most Cinderella teams. The two teams I have in the National Championship are two number one seeds: Florida and Wichita State. I believe in the Shockers and think that they can go all the way, unfortunately they’re going to hit a brick wall against Florida. Billy Donovan is too good of a coach to let the drama of an undefeated team beat his club. His coaching and his player’s experience in big games (mostly against Kentucky) will be his advantage in the Gator’s national championship win. Donovan is a very underrated coach who has been overshadowed by Kentucky’s star power over the last few years. I strongly believe that he will solidify his place as one of the greats with this win in the national championship.

If I had to pick a wild-card to win it all, I would go with two teams: Michigan State and Louisville. Tom Izzo’s Spartans have been overlooked this year, but they are quietly one of the best teams in the country. If they could beat Florida in the Final Four, then they deserve to win the national title instead of them. Louisville could win back-to-back championships if they play their cards right. If they properly utilize the talents of Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell, then that deadly combination could lead them to victory once more. Not only that, but Luke Hancock has some experience in big games and is always ready to put up a big performance if asked (he did it before last year). Louisville would possibly have to beat Wichita State, Duke and Arizona if they were going to go all the way again.

This senior point guard led his team to great heights with 18.3 points and 4.7 assists per game. Credit: sports.yahoo,com
This senior point guard led his team to great heights with 18.3 points and 4.7 assists per game.
Credit: sports.yahoo,com

So there you have it. Don’t rely too much on my understanding, but this is what I believe will happen this year. Then again, you can never correctly what is going to happen in all the madness that is the month of March. All I know is that the team with the most experience is going to be the one to win it all. Freshmen are great and talented, but talent always falls short to the heart of the champion. Never underestimate the heart of a champion!

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Regular Season Recap of Ravishing College Basketball

As the regular season draws to a close and the NCAA tournament is starting to unfold, let’s review some of the big moments that happened this weekend that could affect your decision-making when filling out your brackets. First off, Doug McDermott scored a career-high 45 points and became the eighth player in Division I
history to go over 3,000 for a career. Not only did he surpass Oscar Robertson on the scoring list, but he also helped No. 13 Creighton roll to an 88-73 Senior Night victory over Providence on Saturday. He’s one of the finalists for the John Wooden Basketball Player of the Year award. If he wins, it will just be a delicious icing on the cake for an illustrious career at Creighton. He’s also the only senior on that list; the rest of the finalists being freshmen: Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Tyler Ennis.

Speaking of Parker, his Duke Blue Devils got revenge on North Carolina by beating them 93-81. Parker solidified himself as one of the best players in the country with his fourth straight double-double and a career-high 30 points, which is the most ever by a Duke freshman against UNC. The Blue Devils also won their 33rd straight home game. The last team to beat them at home was, you guessed it, North Carolina back in 2012. After Syracuse defeated Florida State today, the Blue Devils become the 3-seed in the ACC tournament and the Tar Heels drop to the 4-seed.

Probably one of the biggest news and highlight of the year was Wichita State going undefeated in the regular season. The last team to do that was UNLV back in 1991. The Shockers defeated Missouri State yesterday 67-42 and then won the conference title today against Indiana State 83-69. This Wichita State team might be for real even though they have beaten some poor teams. I would still watch out for them when filling out my bracket.

Another team that won their conference title today was Saint Louis. It is their second straight Atlantic-10 title and they did it by beating Massachusetts 64-62. This is another under-the-radar team that could also go far in the NCAA tournament, so give them some respect when making your bracket! As for another conference title story, this one is a little more interesting. Louisville and Cincinnati both won yesterday, making them share the American conference title. To determine seeding in the conference tournament, a coin toss commenced. Cincinnati won the coin toss, making them the number one seed in the AAC tournament. I’m sure Rick Pitino of Louisville was pretty upset about that.

Speaking of upsets, Oregon took down Arizona 64-57 yesterday to give the Ducks their 7th straight win. It was the largest margin of defeat for the Wildcats this season, but they shouldn’t be too worried heading into the NCAA tournament. They still get a number one seed in the big dance. Another big upset occurred in the ACC today and that’s when Maryland defeated ACC-champion Virginia 75-69. Maryland’s Dez Wells and Seth Allen combined for 38 points in the big win over their big rival. This loss wasn’t too devastating to the Cavaliers, but they should learn from this loss if they want to go far in the national tournament.

The Florida Gators won 30 games this year and the SEC tournament starts on March 12th. Credit: usatoday.com

The Florida Gators won 30 games this year and the SEC tournament starts on March 12th.
Credit: usatoday.com

One team that is on a roll right now is Florida. There is no denying that they are the best team in the country right now after pulling off an undefeated SEC conference season. They devoured Kentucky 84-65 for their club-record 23rd straight win. These Gators will be tough to take down when the national championship is on the line.

Andrew Wiggins averages 16.8 points and 5.9 rebounds a game this year. Credit: fansided.com
Andrew Wiggins averages 16.8 points and 5.9 rebounds a game this year.
Credit: fansided.com

While Florida was going off on Kentuck, Andrew Wiggins was going off on West Virginia yesterday. He scored a career-high and Kansas freshman-record 41 points, showing everyone why he should be considered a top pick in the upcoming NBA draft. The Jayhawks lost, but Wiggins showed that he could carry a team on his back. Joel Embiid was out with injury, which was probably why Wiggins took so many shots, but the Jayhawks were never out of the game. The 92-86 loss was Kansas’ eighth of the season, but when Embiid comes back from injury, they should be a force in the tournament.

Last story I want to share is teams getting in that haven’t in a while. Eastern Kentucky will make its first tournament appearance since 2007 after a 79-73 win over Belmont yesterday. The Colonels are probably a team that will get kicked out of the big dance in the first round, but who knows, there might be another Cinderella in the making! Another possible Cinderella could be Mercer. After beating former Cinderella team Florida Gulf Coast, they secured their first berth in the tournament since 1985! Then Coastal Carolina will make an appearance after missing the tournament for 21 years! They defeated Winthrop to attain the Big South title.

March Madness is already upon us and it’s nearly time to predict those bracket busters. A lot of teams have the possibility of winning the championship this year. Never count out Wichita State, although they might have their hearts broken in the Elite Eight or the Final Four when they play teams like Florida, Syracuse or Arizona. If I were to pick a champ right now, it would be Florida. They have a very talented and experienced roster and are well coached by Billy Donovan. However, Kansas might be that wild-card pick with the deadly combo of Wiggins and Embiid. So just sit back and enjoy this one folks, because in college basketball, you never know what’s going to happen!

One Undefeated Team Left

Syracuse drops to 25-1 after the 62-59 upset loss to Boston College! That means that Wichita State is the only undefeated team in college basketball right now. Olivier Hanlan scored 20 points for the Eagles, but Ryan Anderson was the MVP of the upset win with 9 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. His performance helped seal the win for Boston College. Syracuse’s loss could attribte to their inefficency off the bench. None of the bench players scored points, while Boston College’s bench player, Patrick Heckmann had nine points. Fortunately for Syracuse, they can still easily be considered the best team in the nation. They have gone against fierce competitors and their strong play on defense could help them out greatly in the national championship run.

Cleanthony Early is one of Wichita State's top players, averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds a game. Credit: zimbio.com
Cleanthony Early is one of Wichita State’s top players, averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds a game.
Credit: zimbio.com

As for Wichita State, they only have three games left in the regular season after the win over Loyola-Illinois. Syracuse’s loss will also put Wichita State to #2 in the nation behind Florida, who just won their game against Auburn to keep them undefeated in the SEC. Things are starting to look interesting in college basketball now. The last team to go undefeated in college basketball was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers led by Coach Bob Knight. Wichita State has a chance to join that elite club of only seven other undefeated squads (John Wooden and UCLA did it four times). They have a good shot of doing it to with only Drake, Bradley and Missouri State left to play in the Missouri Valley Conference.

And Then There Were Three

Wisconsin has lost two straight to Indiana and Michigan. Arizona, Syracuse, and Wichita State are now the only undefeated teams left in Division I basketball. Arizona took down in-state rival Arizona State 91-68 last Thursday and will take on a tough Colorado team next Thursday on January 23rd. Syracuse faced Pittsburgh for their first ACC meeting and their 103rd overall last Saturday night and it was the Orangemen that came out on top 59-54. That was Pitt’s first ACC loss of the season and drops them to 16-2 (4-1). Then Wichita State blew out Indiana State 68-48 to go 18-0 for the first time in program history. So why are these three teams still undefeated midway through the season? Well let’s start with Arizona.

Arizona's Aaron Gordon Credit: projectshanks.com
Arizona’s Aaron Gordon
Credit: projectshanks.com

Besides Duke, UNLV, and Michigan, they had a fairly easy non-conference schedule to begin the season. They’re balanced both offensively and defensively. They control the inside of the paint because of super-freshman Aaron Gordon and they pass the ball to the open man (they are 29th in the nation in assists per game). Head Coach Sean Miller has done a terrific job at handling these young athletes so that they can play as one solid unit (they only have one senior on the roster and five freshmen). The only teams that should give Arizona trouble for the rest of the season are Colorado, California, and Oregon. If Arizona could hold up against those guys and the rest of their opponents, they could go undefeated for the rest of the year and head back to that national championship that they’ve been waiting for since 1997. Then there’s Syracuse. Jim Boeheim’s zone defense is looking better than ever thanks to experienced players like C.J. Fair, Jerami Grant, and Rakeem Christmas. The Orange don’t exactly pop out at you on offense, but they say the best defense is the best offense. Speaking of offense, freshman point guard Tyler Ennis has been running the Orange’s offense to literally perfection while senior C.J. Fair is having the best year of his illustrious career averaging 17.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. He will be a sure first round pick in this upcoming NBA draft that is just loaded with talent. For NBA teams, it doesn’t matter if you make the playoffs or not, you will still end up drafting a future superstar player no matter what pick you have in the draft. Last, but not least is Wichita State.

Wichita State's Fred Van Vleet Credit: zimbio.com
Wichita State’s Fred Van Vleet
Credit: zimbio.com

They have been blowing by everyone they have played against. Just like Syracuse, they have a great defense that crashes the boards (they are 31st in the nation in rebounding). During their perfect run, they have not allowed an opponent to score more than 72 points against them all year. After Wisconsin’s loss, they should move up to the third or fourth ranking in the nation, something that Coach Gregg Marshall probably didn’t dream of since he took over the program in 2007. Looking at their schedule, they should remain undefeated unless someone else “shocks” them. Their offense runs through their talented sophomore point guard Fred Van Vleet and their senior big man Cleanthony Early. With this one-two punch on the court, Wichita State could be fighting for a number one seed in the national tournament, something that will really “shock” the world! Sorry about the puns. I just can’t help it! It’s too easy!

So you’ve got the dominating Arizona Wildcats, the smart and experienced Syracuse Orangemen, and the suprisingly talented Wichita State Shockers. Keep your eyes open for these three; either one of them could make history this year.