Jim Boeheim, the modern day Al McGuire, does it his way. Not a lot of film, no shooting the day of the game, etc. He concentrates on executing his system both on offense and on defense and the hell with all that other stuff that other coaches think is so important. He feels all that film and shooting is just extra wear and tear on the team. Maybe eliminating all that extra “nonsense” is the reason the Orange won three straight on their final possession. I still say they will have a tough time winning three straight road games starting with the game at Duke Saturday that I’ll be at for WestwoodOne and continuing to Maryland and Virginia. If they do, we might be looking at something special in an undefeated team that captures Boeheim’s second national championship.
The other lock to be a #1 seed is Florida. The Gators have been on fire lately. Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin lead this team with great offense, super defense and a lot of big plays.
Success in the Cornhusker State
How about the job Tim Miles is doing at Nebraska? All of us fell asleep on them, but with the win at Michigan State it looks like two teams from Nebraska will be in the NCAA Tournament. Don’t believe me? The 14-10 overall mark and 6-6 record in the Big Ten don’t overwhelm you, but with a strength of schedule of 17 and six top-100 wins, Nebraska is in the hunt. Wins over Ohio State and Minnesota are good. What might hurt Nebraska is a 3-10 record away from home. Now here is what will blow your mind – their remaining schedule. The Huskers have home games against Penn State and Purdue, a trip to Illinois, a home game with Northwestern, a trip to Indiana and a home game with Wisconsin to finish the year. Quite possible that Nebraska will finish its regular season playing two NCAA Tournament teams in its final nine games. Nebraska has not made the NCAAs since 1998 and is 0-6 in the Big Dance. Not sure how sophomore Terran Petteway got out of Texas, but the Cornhusker family is sure glad he did.
Congrats to my old school Arizona State on beating Arizona, as the Sun Devils are now 8-7 in the past 15 meetings with the Wildcats. It is a very intriguing weekend in the Pac-12 with UCLA going to the Bay Area and the Arizona schools heading to Colorado and Utah. Anyone realize that Utah is 16-1 at home? And Oregon, a team everyone has left for dead, is 4-8 in the league but has home games with Washington and Washington State on the way. The Ducks then go to Los Angeles and hosts the Arizona schools. If Oregon gets to 6-8, it can get to 8-10 and make the committee look real hard at them.
Baylor Building a Resume?
Someone described Baylor’s win over Oklahoma State as “resume-building” which is interesting, because Oklahoma State is now 4-9 in the Big 12. Oklahoma State still has big games with Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State among others, and they are going to need them all. No way Oklahoma State goes to the NCAAs without a conference record of at least 8-10. Baylor has a chance because of wins over Colorado, Kentucky, Kansas State and the sweep of Oklahoma State. Its strength of schedule is in the top 10, but the Bears need to do business on the road, as games at West Virginia, Texas and Kansas State await. Remember, Baylor is only 15-9 in the committee’s eyes, as it has two wins over non-Division I teams.
– Bill Frieder
Former Michigan and Arizona State head coach Bill Frieder is an analyst for WestwoodOne’s coverage of NCAA Basketball. In his weekly blog Boxed Out, Bill scours the box scores to bring you interesting stories from the world of college basketball.