Posts Tagged ncaa

Wichita St. a No. 1 seed? They’ll have to prove that in March.

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What has Wichita State done this season to warrant a No. 1 seed?

Point is that what happened last season does not count. It may count in the polls (to some voters). But any computer, or aggregate of rankings dismisses last season’s accomplishments out of hand. Why? Because last season is just that last season.

It’s unfortunate for the Shockers that some of their marquee non-conference games featured opponents who probably weren’t as good as their original billing. It’s unfortunate that Creighton left the Valley for the Big East. It’s unfortunate that Valley foes like Northern Iowa and Missouri State aren’t up to par this season. All of that plays into the notion that there is no objective basis to put the Shockers on the No. 1 line. None.

You can look at:

Ken Pomeroy’s rankings – http://kenpom.com/.
The BPI – http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/bpi.
The Massey Composite, which features basically every single ratings metric known to man – http://www.masseyratings.com/cb/compare.htm.
The (gasp) RPI, which is a terrible metric for ranking individual teams – http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/rpi.

None of these have the Shockers on the 1-line. None. And a majority have them clinging to a No. 2 seed. It isn’t about how good Wichita State it. It is about what, under the circumstances, they will never be able to do to prove how good they are.

They’ll probably get a No. 2 seed in the Midwest with Kansas as the No. 1 seed. Hell, K-State may get an 8 or 9 in the same region. One thing is for certain, come March none of the crowing either for or against the Wichita State will matter, only what happens on the court.

Note: This may qualify as a “hot sports take.” I sure hope not.

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K-State’s Rodriguez steps up when the lights shine brightest.

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Angel Rodriguez steps up for a crunch-time layup against Oklahoma.
Photo by Bo Rader

Big-time players step up and make big-time plays.

It’s been an adage ever since then Miami Hurricane football player Santana Moss said something similar after doing just that years ago.  Saturday afternoon in Bramlage Coliseum Angel Rodriguez, the Miami native and Kansas State point guard who plays with a confidence that sometimes may seem larger than his ability, added his own chapter to the legacy of the oft-used phrase.

His No. 16 Wildcats had seen visiting Oklahoma whittle their once 14-point lead down to just seven with 6:24 left to play on a layup by OU forward Romero Osby. Osby blocked a Rodriguez attempt on a desperation drive on K-State’s next possession.  Rodriguez, up to that point, had shot just 1 of 11 from the field. He was 0 for 3 from three-point range.

Kansas State needed a spark.

When the Wildcats got the ball back, the score remained the same, and Rodriguez didn’t waste any time extending the K-State lead.  He took the ball on an outlet from Thomas Gipson, made his way down the right side of the court and with a hesitation move a step inside the free-throw line, blew past Osby and OU forward Cameron Clark for the score off of the glass.  54-45.

Then, after Oklahoma’s Steven Pledger and the Wildcats’ Will Spradling traded a three for a long two, and two free throws by Amath M’Baye cut the K-State lead six, Rodriguez went to the paint again. This time within the framework of K-State head coach Bruce Weber’s motion offense.

Receiving a pass at the top of the key Rodriguez turned down a screen from Gipson to the left side, crossed-over Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and drove past a host of Sooner defenders for his second lay-in in a row. 58-50.

Osby answered with a jumper to cut the lead back to six, but on the ensuing possession Rodriguez sank his first three-pointer of the game, an off-the-dribble 23-footer with seven seconds left on the Wildcat shot clock. 61-52.

Three huge buckets in 3 minutes 43 seconds of game time that were vital to holding off head coach and K-State alum Lon Kruger’s Sooners.

That isn’t so say that Rodriguez wasn’t heavenly in other aspects of the game before his shots started falling.  He was tough on defense, picking up three steals and frustrating the Sooners by constantly hedging on screens and getting in the grills of OU ball-handlers without a hint of the foul trouble that has plagued him in recent weeks.

He was conscious with the basketball, committing just one turnover and dishing nine assists in 32 minutes of play recognizing the hot hands of teammates Rodney McGruder, Shane Southwell and Spradling, who carried K-State’s scoring load for much of the game. None of which were bigger than a highlight-reel drive, stop, between the legs dribble and dish to a cutting McGruder whose reverse lay-in gave the Wildcats a 64-54 lead with 1:29 to play.

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Rodriguez celebrates late in K-State’s 69-60 win over Oklahoma on Jan. 19, 2013.
Photo by Bo Rader

“Big-time players make big-time plays in big games,” was the quote from fellow Miamian Moss, and it was apt to describe Rodriguez’ effort that helped K-State to it’s 69-60 win over Oklahoma on Saturday, securing K-State’s fourth Big 12 win this season, and an undefeated conference record.

Rodriguez displayed every ounce of that Miami toughness, that moxie on Saturday. It’s why Louisville head coach Rick Pitino once coveted him on the recruiting trail, why some K-State fans worried that former K-State head coach Frank Martin might take Rodriguez along with him to South Carolina last spring, and why Weber has so openly said that the Wildcats need Angel to play well and for a high amount of minutes to find success.

With a mammoth Tuesday-night showdown with No. 4 Kansas in Manhattan that will grant one Sunflower State team sole possession of first place in the Big 12 looming, Rodriguez should have ample opportunity to, once again, step up to the challenge soon enough.

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NCAA Football playoffs start this Saturday (in my dreams)

This Saturday could be the first weekend of Division-I college football playoff.  This Saturday could play host to numerous epic, win or go home match-ups.  College football could be the talk of the sports nation, just like basketball is every March. We could all be readying ourselves for match-ups between Arkansas and Michigan State, or Oklahoma and LSU, in which the winner would survive only long enough for a road-trip to Auburn, Ala. or Eugene, Ore.  Teams like Stanford and Wisconsin could be licking their chops at a possible second round match-up for the right to advance closer to a National Championship.

We could be in the early stages of a month-long drama that would have seen a true National Champion crowned on New Years Day.

Of course we can only dream.

Instead we are mired in the grasp of archaic bowl games and a BCS championship system that does nothing but create fan apathy toward 95% of the now 37 bowl-games. Even in the BCS — which is supposed to pit the creme-de-la creme against one another —  we wind up with match-ups like a meaningless Fiesta Bowl featuring #7 Oklahoma and a Connecticut team that, well, had to be placed somewhere.

“But what about the tradition!?”

Can this excuse get any more tired?  Tradition?  This year the BCS is sending #4 Stanford, the Pac 10 runner-up (Oregon will be in the BCS title game), to Miami to play in the Orange Bowl,  while Texas Christian heads to Pasadena to smell the roses.  Bowl tradition has been all-but-gone for some time. It’s time to put the old dog down.

It’s time for a playoff, and if people still want to put on bowl games for the teams that don’t make it, great.  With a 16 team playoff there would still be enough teams (58) left for 29 bowls.  Which could still take place right alongside the playoff tournament with little or no interference.

Anyway, enough with the ranting, let’s get back to that dream scenario.

College system needs a playoff, and not a plus-one game,  and not even an 8 team tournament.  Division I football needs a 16 team, four round, elimination tournament to crown it’s champion.  It is the best for the fans, the television ratings, and for the schools involved.

Of the 16 teams selected 11 would be “automatic” qualifiers, and would earn that distinction by winning their conference championship.  The remaining 5 teams would be chosen “at-large” either by a committee or by a predetermined system similar to the BCS or some other computer ranking.

Under this system every school in the country would have a tangible chance to win the national championship at the beginning of the regular season, and the best teams that fail to win their conference title would still have a shot to make the playoffs.  This would differ from the current situation where a team like TCU squad literally no shot to win it all, even if they go undefeated.

Once the 16 teams are chosen then the committee or the predetermined system would seed them 1 to 16.  Higher seeded teams would then have “home-field advantage,” up until the championship game, which would be held at a predetermined neutral site.

The whole tournament would have a total of 15 games and last four weeks.  It would start the week after the conference championship games.

So how would it look?

If held this year the playoffs would begin this Saturday, Dec. 11., the second round on the 18th, the semi-finals — think Final Four — on Christmas Day.  The Championship game could then be played on either New Years Day or it could be pushed back a week to allow to ease travel arrangements of teams, fans, and media.

A set-up like this would instantly transform December from one of the slower times in the sports world into a NCAA football bonanza.

But of Course this is only a dream.

Edit:  Independent teams would qualify the same as At-Large teams.

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Jayhawk QB takes a dip: Literally

When Kansas QB Jordan Webb left the field with a shoulder-injury late in the Jayhawks’ 45-10 home-loss to Texas A&M Saturday he did what many God-fearing Midwesterners do after a hard days work: He put in a chaw.

Webb enjoys a lipper

Now this might come as a surprise to many that a University of Kansas student athlete is representing his school and in effect the residents of the Great state of Kansas by succumbing to his nicotine addiction while still in uniform, on the sidelines and while the game is still being played.  The news is especially shocking on a Turner Gill coached team.

Gill, is known for his strict disciplinarianism.  The coach has banned both women and the use of cell-phones at times during the 2010 season.  He has also banned the use of swear-words by both players and coaches, and had them sign pledges (sort of like this) stating that they will abide by such stipulations.

Then again maybe Gill didn’t feel like he should have to add the use of chewing-tobacco to his laundry-list of team bannings.  After all the NCAA strictly prohibits tobacco use in its bylaws.

NCAA Rules Related to Tobacco

11.17 Use of Tobacco Products.  The use of Tobacco products is prohibited by all game personnel (e.g., coaches, trainers, managers and game officials) in all sports during practice and competition.

Tobacco: The use of tobacco products by a student-athlete is prohibited during practice and competition.  A student-athlete who uses tobacco products during a practice or competition shall be disqualified for the remainder of the practice or competition.  The use of tobacco products by coaches and game officials also is prohibited.  At NCAA championships, tobacco use by any individual on the field of play – as well as during other championship activities such as banquets, autograph sessions, press conferences and post-game interviews is prohibited.  Violations of this policy shall be dealt with by the appropriate sports committee in accordance with the misconduct provisions of NCAA

Bylaw 31.1.8.  Further, in the sport of baseball, dugouts are considered to be on the “field of play.”

Whether Webb was unaware of the rule or not he doesn’t seem to be to discreet as he pops in a dip in plain sight of fans and media. A Jayhawk staff-member looks on approvingly. <— video link, got to 1:24 in the video.

Webb is listed as questionable for Saturdays game at Iowa State.  It remains to be seen whether corrective action will be taken in regards to the apparent tobacco usage during the Texas A&M game.

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