The Confidential

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Archive for the tag “Temple”

State of the Pack: Tournament Postmortem

One and done.  The saddest words in NCAA Basketball fandom.

This year, they apply to the Wolfpack.  Yes, I am going to once more whine about What Went Wrong, but first the all-important Disclaimer:

No disrespect intended to the Temple Owls.  They are a very good team and played an excellent game.  Hey, they were a Nine seed; can we really be surprised that they upset an Eight?  Not me, folks; I had them to win this one in my bracket.  It’s one of the few things that are going right there, and the one thing I wanted to be wrong about.

As usual, the Pack came out with an air of entitlement, as if they could just walk out there and would be awarded victory.  They didn’t realize until they were down 18 that this was a bad plan.  When they did, they went to the usual Plan B:  Scott Wood.

Unfortunately, Temple remembered to guard Wood, and he was stifled until late in the 2nd.  Meanwhile, the Owls had a three-point threat of their own in Jake O’Brien, and he dropped 4 of 6 from behind the arc for 12 of his 18 pts.  State rarely got a hand up against him.  Frankly, it seems the Pack had one player who played defense with any consistency all year, that being Richard Howell.

Just when all seemed lost, State started to rally.  Wood began to hit, starting with a couple of free throws followed by threes on two successive possesions. But it was late in the second half by then.  Still, Pack nation had new hope.

Things really got interesting when the lead was cut to two on a Lorenzo Brown three-changed-to-two with two seconds left (no gripe though, his foot was clearly on the line per the replay).  But Temple guard Khalif Wyatt would have none of it.  When he was fouled on the next possession, he calmly sank two free throws to bury the Pack.  Wyatt finished with 31 points to lead all scorers, while Lorenzo Brown led State with 22.

In addition to the forementioned problems, State could not buy a free throw of their own.  This had been a season-long problem as well, and is inexcusable.  Only Wood gets a pass on this one; the rest of the team should spend the entire summer shooting free throws.

So goes another season, and it is not likely anyone will be picking State to win the conference next year.  That won’t be a bad thing, as we seem to fare better when we can sneak up on people.  Except for 1974, and David Thompson isn’t coming back.

So what now?  I suggest the usual:  watch and root for (or against, if you are one of those nobody-but-us fans)  Carolina, Miami and yes, even Duke.  Enjoy the upsets.  Writhe in pain as your bracket inevitably crumbles (or maybe that’s just me).

Football is coming.  And the expectations will be close to zero.

Just the way we like it.

ACC Poll Day–If Notre Dame Went All-In with the ACC, Who Do You Like For Team #16

Today is a good day for a poll.  Query–if Notre Dame was to shock the world by going “all-in” for the ACC, giving it 15 teams, who would you like for team #16?  Let’s assume that schools from the SEC, Big XII, and Big 10 are out of the mix because…. they are.  Nobody is taking a pay cut to join the ACC.  It is what it is.

The candidates:

  • Connecticut.  Pros–outstanding hoops (mens and womens) & competent football, with at least one BCS appearance.  Rivalries with Syracuse and Pitt, and a huge rivalry potential with Boston College.  Even Duke-UConn womens hoops would be huge.  Cons–only competent football, not outstanding football.  Geographical overlap with Boston College.  Not a pedigreed football name.
  • Cincinnati.  Pros–new market (southern Ohio), good football recently, and some decent hoops.  Close to Pittsburgh & Louisville for potential rivalries.  Cons–small market, as Ohio is dominated by Ohio State, while neighboring Kentucky is  swallowed by Louisville and Kentucky.
  • Navy.  Pros–national name and a partner for Notre Dame.  Back into the Maryland/DC market.  Cons–terrible hoops in the post-David Robinson era.  Football would not exactly be an upgrade–although it is hard to say that Navy is demonstrably worse than UConn or Cincinnati in the big picture.
  • South Florida.  Pros–outstanding location for football recruiting and potential.  Cons–ACC already has the Florida market in check with Miami and FSU.  Hoops team has not done much, and the football team has underachieved of late.  Not a national name by any stretch.
  • Temple.  Pros–Philly market, good hoops history, and potential for football.  Cons–football has been more bad than good in the modern era, especially in the absence of a certain Mr. Golden.
  • Hybrid craziness.  Let’s say #16 gets to be UConn for hoops, Navy for football, and Johns Hopkins for lacrosse–take it or leave it, folks.  Or some other combination, like VCU for hoops subbing in for a UConn not being happy with a partial membership.

Anyone else out there?  This seems to be the list.

Who do you like and why?

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