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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “The Big Dance”

The Tigers Aren’t Finished Yet

Picked to finish 14th in the ACC, Coach Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers surprised everyone when they ended the regular season 6th in the conference. Not to mention a season long, star performance by junior forward, K.J. McDaniels who was voted an ACC first team All-American and defensive player of the year.

The Tigers take on Georgia State in Littlejohn Coliseum tonight at 9pm on ESPNU in the first round of the NIT, a postseason honor not all ACC schools can boast about. The ACC is one of the toughest basketball conferences in the nation and you must give credit where credit is due to Brad Brownell. He took the underdogs and made them into competitors that demanded to be taken seriously.

With a heartbreaking overtime loss to Pitt at the end of the regular season, Clemson started the ACC Tournament right with a thrilling overtime win against Georgia Tech, just to be fortunate enough to move on to play Duke in the quarterfinals. What at one point looked like it would be a Blue Devils blowout, the Tigers fought back to bring the game back to within a few points, only to lose by 1 on a controversial call that sent Duke to the next round.

While Clemson won’t be entering “The Big Dance” this March Madness season, they do have a lot to be proud of. Players like Landry Nnoko, Demarcus Harrison, and Jaron Blossomgame improved to become vital assets to the team. Consistent players like K.J. McDaniels and Rod Hall gave another tremendous effort to show that at least one school in South Carolina knows how to play basketball.

This young team should be coming back in full force next season, but might be one short. K.J. McDaniels, while only a junior, is likely to enter the NBA Draft after this season concludes. While I can’t say I blame him, I do hope he’ll consider finishing out his career as a Clemson Tiger and seeing how far he can lead this team next season.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch the Tigers play this season, catch them on ESPNU tonight at 9pm in the first round of the NIT!

clemson

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Confidential Bracket: Final!

Well, it’s over.  Louisville represented the future ACC well by defeating Michigan of the imperialist Big 10.  So that’s a double victory for ACC fans.

Winners bracket proved prophetic by, well, winning.  So that individual wins the prize.

If you liked participating in this, please leave a comment below.  We’ll try to do more of them…

Rank
Bracket
1
2
3
4
Semis
Finals
Bonus Pts
Total Pts
1
WinnersBracket
48 39 25 8 13 21 (Louisville) 30 184
2
TheEssentialsOfCool.com
48 30 15 16 13 21 (Louisville) 23 166
3
Cards 80 86 13?
44 21 15 16 26 21 (Louisville) 17 160
4
Florida State
50 30 20 16 13 0 (Kansas) 29 158
5
LenVILLE
48 30 15 8 13 21 (Louisville) 18 153
6
Cuse Stormin the ACC
48 30 25 16 13 0 (Syracuse) 21 153
7
KC’s Bracket
46 33 10 8 13 21 (Louisville) 16 147
8
Maverick
44 30 20 8 13 21 (Louisville) 8 144
9
Allen’s Bracket
40 27 15 16 13 21 (Louisville) 11 143
10
Da Cuseman Cometh
42 30 25 16 13 0 (Syracuse) 17 143
11
Otto the Great and Powerful
42 33 15 8 13 21 (Louisville) 0 132
12
My Legit Bracket
42 33 15 8 13 21 (Louisville) 0 132
13
Boeheimian Rhapsody
50 27 20 8 0 0 (Syracuse) 23 128
14
Boeheims possible farewell
44 30 20 16 0 0 (Syracuse) 17 127
15
QBcuse
36 27 10 8 13 21 (Louisville) 4 119
16
Will Bonn’s Bracket
42 27 25 0 0 0 (Indiana) 18 112
17
win prizes
40 30 20 0 0 0 (Gonzaga) 20 110
18
Bye Bye Big East
46 33 15 0 0 0 (Georgetown) 12 106
19
KAOS
36 30 20 8 0 0 (Georgetown) 12 106
20
*Commander Caffrey
38 27 10 8 13 0 (Indiana) 8 104
21
Rebecca’s Dandy Bracket
40 30 15 0 0 0 (Duke) 18 103
22
Goop’s Bracket
40 33 10 0 0 0 (Miami (FL)) 20 103
23
BracketBuster.
46 24 15 0 0 0 (Kansas) 16 101
24
mikemab wolf
42 27 20 0 0 0 (Ohio St.) 6 95
25
BeerThirty
40 27 15 0 0 0 (Miami (FL)) 8 90

ACC Fans… Are You Rooting For Syracuse and Louisville?

There is no secret here… Syracuse is joining the ACC later in 2013 and Louisville will be joining in 2014.  While the two went to bowls games this past season in football, both schools are known for having near-elite, if not elite, basketball programs.  It is not the least bit surprising that Syracuse and Louisville are part of this Final Four.  The question is whether YOU, the grizzled ACC fan raised on a rivalry with the Big East, will be rooting for Syracuse.

The Confidential will argue that you should  A Syracuse-Louisville matchup will look that much better for the 2013-2014 preseason.  Recruiting battles can be won by these two schools if they meet in the Championship game. Sure, these recruiting battles may be won anyway–but why not want them to have every edge.  You WANT these programs to be good.

The SEC is a great football conference because it is so very deep.  The Big East has been a great basketball conference because of its depth.  The ACC needs to put together that kind of basketball depth too.  The football should be deep, but it just is not there yet. Until the football teams rise up in out-of-conference games and the best programs stop getting upset, the ACC will have to ride its basketball teams.

Well, that starts this weekend.   Syracuse and Louisville may not have placed in the ACC standings in 2012-2013 (except here, of course), but they will be soon enough.  The better they do, the better for the ACC.

So you tell us… if you are not a fan of Syracuse or Louisville, are you going to be rooting for your future ACC brethren this weekend?

 

Confidential Bracket: Update 3/31/13

The Final Four is set.  Congratulations to Syracuse, Wichita State, Michigan, and Louisville for reaching the pinnacle of college hoops.  Again, the stakes are higher at this stage–losing hurts all the more.  The Confidential noted it recently.

It kind of works like that with the brackets.  If you are in the top 5, you are THIS close to earning $25.  To come this close and fall short would be awful.

Going to be an interesting finish.  Here is the top 20 (including today’s games):

1
WinnersBracket
48 39 25 8 Louisville 30 150
2
Florida State
50 30 20 16 Kansas 29 145
3
Cuse Stormin the ACC
48 30 25 16 Syracuse 21 140
4
TheEssentialsOfCool.com
48 30 15 16 Louisville 23 132
5
Da Cuseman Cometh
42 30 25 16 Syracuse 17 130
6
Boeheimian Rhapsody
50 27 20 8 Syracuse 23 128
7
Boeheims possible farewell
44 30 20 16 Syracuse 17 127
8
LenVILLE
48 30 15 8 Louisville 18 119
9
Cards 80 86 13?
44 21 15 16 Louisville 17 113
9
KC’s Bracket
46 33 10 8 Louisville 16 113
11
Will Bonn’s Bracket
42 27 25 0 Indiana 18 112
12
Maverick
44 30 20 8 Louisville 8 110
12
win prizes
40 30 20 0 Gonzaga 20 110
14
Allen’s Bracket
40 27 15 16 Louisville 11 109
15
Bye Bye Big East
46 33 15 0 Georgetown 12 106
15
KAOS
36 30 20 8 Georgetown 12 106
17
Rebecca’s Dandy Bracket
40 30 15 0 Duke 18 103
17
Goop’s Bracket
40 33 10 0 Miami (FL) 20 103
19
BracketBuster.
46 24 15 0 Kansas 16 101
20
My Legit Bracket
42 33 15 8 Louisville 0 98
20
Otto the Great and Powerful
42 33 15 8 Louisville 0 98

The ACC Has At Least Two Final Four Teams to Root For

As the march to Georgia Tech’s hometown of Atlanta continues, fans of the ACC can be certain that they will have at least two teams to root for.  By beating Marquette handily in yesterday’s Elite 8 game, Syracuse ensured that there will be someone from on that side of the bracket to root for.  Meanwhile, there is no doubt that one of Duke or Louisville will be heading to Atlanta too.  So ACC fans can be certain that they will have a rooting interest for two of the teams next weekend.  But that just leads to two more questions.

#1.  Who are you rooting for in today’s game between the Blue Devils and the Cardinals?

For Duke fans, that is easy.  For Louisville fans, that is easy.  But if you are a fan of one of the other thirteen schools, who are you going to be cheering for?  Is the Duke hatred so strong that you are leaning Louisville?  As a future ACC member, it would be fine to root for Louisville anyway.  Then again, they currently represent the Big East (or the leftovers, or whatever they are being called right now)?  And then there is the coaches–some people have strong feelings about Coach K and Rick Pitino.  The one thing that is clear is that both are excellent coaches.  Should be a great game today.

#2. A similar question arises out of the Michigan-Florida matchup.

The Big 10 is becoming the New York Yankees of college sports–throwing their money around without any regard for making sound decisions or the “Butterfly Effect” impact on the rest of college sports.  If that is not bad enough, how can anyone root for the Michigan Wolverines?  The cockiest of all the Big 10 fanbases, the program brought us the Fab 5, and then sanctions for apparently having bought the Fab 5.  And the football team is full of self-worth and entitlement, despite once thinking that hiring Greg Robinson was a step in the right direction for a defense.  But the other option is Florida–rival to Florida State and Miami.  Not exactly the most modest of fan bases either.  And Billy Donovan had his own core of players that, much like the Fab 5, provided two years of outstanding play.  At the very least, it is difficult to dislike Billy Donovan and his Michigan counterpart, John Beilein.

So, you tell us, who are you rooting for in today’s Elite 8 matchups?

Confidential Bracket: Update 3/30/13

At the midpoint of the Elite Eight stage, half the participants are not picked to win by anyone (Florida, Michigan, Marquette, and Wichita State).  Meanwhile, the entrants that picked Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Miami, and St. Louis are in trouble.

Going to be an interesting finish.  Here is the top 25 (excluding today’s games):

1
WinnersBracket
48 39 25 Louisville 30 142
2
Florida State
50 30 20 Kansas 28 128
3
Cuse Stormin the ACC
48 30 25 Syracuse 20 123
4
Boeheimian Rhapsody
50 27 20 Syracuse 22 119
5
TheEssentialsOfCool.com
48 30 15 Louisville 22 115
6
Da Cuseman Cometh
42 30 25 Syracuse 16 113
7
Will Bonn’s Bracket
42 27 25 Indiana 18 112
8
LenVILLE
48 30 15 Louisville 18 111
9
win prizes
40 30 20 Gonzaga 20 110
9
Boeheims possible farewell
44 30 20 Syracuse 16 110
11
Bye Bye Big East
46 33 15 Georgetown 12 106
12
KC’s Bracket
46 33 10 Louisville 16 105
13
Goop’s Bracket
40 33 10 Miami (FL) 20 103
13
Rebecca’s Dandy Bracket
40 30 15 Duke 18 103
15
Maverick
44 30 20 Louisville 8 102
16
BracketBuster.
46 24 15 Kansas 16 101
17
KAOS
36 30 20 Georgetown 12 98
18
Cards 80 86 13?
44 21 15 Louisville 16 96
19
mikemab wolf
42 27 20 Ohio St. 6 95
20
Allen’s Bracket
40 27 15 Louisville 10 92
21
My Legit Bracket
42 33 15 Louisville 0 90
21
BeerThirty
40 27 15 Miami (FL) 8 90
21
Otto the Great and Powerful
42 33 15 Louisville 0 90
24
Mr. Tar Heel
36 24 15 Saint Louis 8 83
24
*Commander Caffrey
38 27 10 Indiana 8 83

March Madness? More Like March Sadness

Well, we are down to 8 teams left for the NCAA Championship.  There are 347 teams that compete in Division 1 basketball.  Aside from the other post-season tournaments, there are 8 teams left.  What an amazing accomplishment for those teams.  March Madness can be the greatest of times.  But it really is also the worst of times.   A March Sadness, if you will.

Each year, there are 16 teams given 1 through 4 seeds.  If a #1 seed wins it all, that means that 15 of those 16 seeded teams will end the season with a loss.  In fact, 67 of the 68 teams in the Big Dance end the season with a loss.  All but one.

Of course, that happens in the NFL too.  And the other major sports have playoff series that end.  The difference with the pros is that those teams can, in theory, remain fully intact for the following year.  There is always “next year.”

There is no next year for college Seniors.  And if you are a very good college underclassman, there is no next year either.  It just makes it so…. “final.”  As a fan, it’s tough enough to know that this is the last time you will see that superstar.  But it is even harder to say goodbye to that 4-year Senior who went from a clueless Freshman to a capable Senior.  The guy who went from a boy to a man right in front of your eyes.  And then he loses, sheds tears on TV, and is gone.  Forever.  At least in that jersey.

And it is never easy.  Think being Georgetown is tough?  Losing to a 15-seed is embarrassing and difficult-to-stomach.  But what about Indiana–a #1 seed losing to ANYONE is tough.  They were, in theory, “supposed to beat” Syracuse.  And now it’s over.  It is not limited to being a high seed.  Pittsburgh and North Carolina State had low expectations and exited without much fanfare.  It’s still ending the season with a loss.

Of course, some team will lose in the National Championship and consider THAT to be the worst-type of defeat.  Syracuse fans still mourn the Keith Smart shot–even though they were the last team to taste the bitter pill of defeat in 1987.  They may have lost on a shot with a few seconds left, but everyone else was at home.  Syracuse had it better than all but one team.  And yet there is only painful memories.  So there is nothing great about losing late.  Or early.  Or in the middle.  It’s all about losses.  And yet the late losses sting the most.  So as the teams continue to win, the emotions increase.  The desire to win is as much to taste victory as it is to stave off the inevitable sadness that all but one fanbase will be forced to suffer through.  What a paradox!

March Madness may be the greatest event in sports, but one cannot help but notice just how much sadness permeates the whole process.  For this year’s crop of Elite 8, losing this weekend means no Final Four.  It means walking off the court as the net-cutting ladder is coming on.  The only consolation is that you did not have to endure the same thing on the final night of the season.  Maybe the bowl season is not so bad after all?

 

Sweet Sixteen: Oregon vs. Louisville, LukeRuss Oil Stadium

(Credits: Disney/University of Louisville)

(Credits: Disney/University of Louisville)

When the University of Louisville takes the court to face the Oregon Ducks in the Sweet Sixteen in Indianapolis on Friday, there will be much speculation as to whether the Cardinals can extend their tournament domination by beating up on the Ducks like they did the Aggies and Rams.

Of course, the team Rick Pitino & Co. will face is unlike the previous foes in rounds two and three; Oregon hails from a power conference whereas NC A&T and Colorado State hail from conferences which are not at the top of the college basketball food chain.

The Cardinals have made their way to the Sweet Sixteen by beating their opponents by an average of 28.5 points and shooting over 56 percent from the field.  The Cardinals shot better from the charity stripe against Colorado State and scored 24 points off 20 Ram turnovers.

Enter the Ducks of Eugene.  After defeating ranked UCLA in the PAC-12 conference title game, Oregon beat its first two opponents by 13 points (Oklahoma State) and 14 points (Saint Louis) by shooting over 45 percent from the field.  One disparity jumps out when studying the statistics from the Ducks’ victories thus far – they shot 38 percent from behind the arc versus OK State and 72 percent against Saint Louis.  This inconsistency from three-point range could murk the waters in the Round of 32.

However, when the casual observer looks further into both teams’ overall shooting percentages this season, the teams appear comparable.  Louisville is shooting 44.5 percent from field goal range and Oregon is averaging 44.7 percent.  Louisville is averaging 33.17 percent from behind the arc and Oregon is shooting 33.27 percent.

In a game where offensive statistics can tell a story of two similar teams, one must dig deeper to find a true winner on paper.

Horses and Hoops prediction: this game will come down to turnovers.  Louisville committed 456 turnovers (12.6 per game) on the whole while Oregon turned the ball over 543 times (15 per game).

Guard play and defensive pressure will play pivotal roles in this matchup.  With Louisville’s tendency to force more turnovers and to score lots of points off those errors, I expect the Cardinals to keep up the intensity and stifle the Oregon offense.  Besides, the Big East was strides better than the PAC-12 in the 2012-13 season and these figures must be viewed in light of conference competition and defense.

My analysis hinges upon there being no hiccups or surprise injuries (knock on wood) in Friday’s matchup at 7:15 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Hopefully, Russ Arena’s furor and Luke Hancock’s consistency will travel with the Cardinals to Indianapolis and descend with the same intensity to create a LukeRuss Oil Stadium all clad in red.

Ranking College Basketball Programs in Florida

OK, unless you have been living under a particularly large rock, you know that Florida Gulf Coast beat Georgetown (i.e. the team picked by this author to win a bracket or two) and then beat San Diego State to make it to the Sweet 16.  You also know that the FGCU’s coach’s wife was a supermodel.  Or is.  Not sure if that is like being President, where you always get to call yourself a supermodel.  So, yeah, quite a story!  But, with FGCU beating Miami and playing Florida this week in the Sweet 16, how do YOU rank the Florida college basketball programs?

First, let’s identify all the schools by conference:

  • ACC: Florida State, Miami
  • Atlantic Sun: FGC, Stetson, Jacksonville, North Florida
  • Big East (old): South Florida
  • Conference USA: Central Florida
  • MEAC: Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M
  • SEC: Florida
  • Sun Belt: Florida Atlantic, Florida International

Second, let’s cull the list to eliminate those who have never made the big dance: Bethune Cookman, Stetson, and North Florida.  That reduces things to 10 teams.

Third, let’s rank the remaining 10 teams:

  1. Florida.  4 Final Fours.  2 National Championships.  A 70% winning percentage in NCAA tournament games.  Conference championships!  Very easy selection.
  2. Florida State.  The Seminoles have been invited to 10 Big Dances.  The 10-10 record means an average of at least one win per invite.  Not too shabby.  Had a nice ACC run last year too.
  3. Miami.  In the last 33 years, Miami has been invited to 5 NCAA tournaments, with a record of 4-5 (and counting).
  4. South Florida.  The USF Bulls have only been invited to 3 NCAA tournaments, and are 2-3 overall.  Struggling to get anywhere in the loaded Big East.
  5. Florida Gulf Coast.  The Eagles have never lost in the NCAA tournament!  Who can top that?  Have to put these guys at #5 already.
  6. Florida A&M.  With a 1-3 record in their 3 appearances, Florida A&M nestles right in behind FGC.
  7. Central Florida has had four one-and-dones in the NCAA tournament.  Still looking for that first win in March Madness though.  Gotta put them below the Eagles.
  8. Florida Atlantic.  One tournament appearance, about a dozen years ago.  Yawn.
  9. Florida International.  Coached by Richard Pitino, the last and only NCAA tournament appearance was in 1995.
  10. Jacksonville State.  Like the two schools above them, they had a one and done, albeit in 1986.

As you can see, Florida Gulf Coast is already #5 on the list of NCAA tournament wins.  An argument could be made that they are now the #4 program in the state.  Only a matter of time before conference realignment turns its eye towards these guys.  Conference USA?

What do you think?  Is too much credit being given for this one year?  Too little?

Confidential Bracket: Update 3/25/13

Who is in the running for the prize?  At the Sweet Sixteen, here is the top 25:

Round
Rank
Bracket
1
2
3
4
Semis
Finals
Bonus Pts
Total Pts
1
WinnersBracket
48 39 Louisville 28 115
2
Florida State
50 30 Kansas 24 104
3
TheEssentialsOfCool.com
48 30 Louisville 20 98
4
Boeheimian Rhapsody
50 27 Syracuse 20 97
5
KC’s Bracket
46 33 Louisville 16 95
6
LenVILLE
48 30 Louisville 16 94
6
Cuse Stormin the ACC
48 30 Syracuse 16 94
8
Goop’s Bracket
40 33 Miami (FL) 20 93
9
Bye Bye Big East
46 33 Georgetown 12 91
10
Rebecca’s Dandy Bracket
40 30 Duke 16 86
10
win prizes
40 30 Gonzaga 16 86
10
BracketBuster.
46 24 Kansas 16 86
10
Boeheims possible farewell
44 30 Syracuse 12 86
14
Will Bonn’s Bracket
42 27 Indiana 16 85
15
Da Cuseman Cometh
42 30 Syracuse 12 84
16
Maverick
44 30 Louisville 8 82
17
Cards 80 86 13?
44 21 Louisville 12 77
18
My Legit Bracket
42 33 Louisville 0 75
18
BeerThirty
40 27 Miami (FL) 8 75
18
Allen’s Bracket
40 27 Louisville 8 75
18
Otto the Great and Powerful
42 33 Louisville 0 75
22
KAOS
36 30 Georgetown 8 74
23
mikemab wolf
42 27 Ohio St. 4 73
23
*Commander Caffrey
38 27 Indiana 8 73
25
Mr. Tar Heel
36 24 Saint Louis 8 68

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