If you missed all the college basketball going on this week thus far, you really missed out.
Three of the top four teams lost, including #1 ranked Indiana (Lost to Minnesota) and #3 ranked Duke (lost to Virginia). It also includes #4 ranked Michigan, who lost to Penn State. For the record, that is Penn State’s ONLY Big Ten Conference win thus far.
Something you might notice is #2 ranked Gonzaga is not in the group I listed above. On Thursday night, they were able to go into Provo, UT on Senior night, in front of nearly 20,000 fans and pull off a 70-65 victory over an inspired BYU team (isn’t every team inspired to beat Gonzaga though?).
Thanks to 19 points from the (you heard it here first) All-American, Kelly Olynyk, and 15 from Gary Bell Jr., the Zags held off a late-game surge by the Cougars to preserve their unblemished Conference record.
With these losses by Indiana, Duke, and Michigan, and assuming the Zags can beat Portland (11-19, 4-11 WCC) there is very little chance that any team will jump Gonzaga for the top ranking in the land. And as much as I dislike being the contrarian to my esteemed “colleague,” it is Gonzaga’s time.
One might be able to make a case that Gonzaga’s strength of schedule (SOS) is not that of Indiana or Michigan, and it shows in Joe Lunardi’s “Braketology.” Gonzaga’s SOS is 75, while Indiana’s is 24 and Michigan’s is 55. However, that’s why the Hoosiers and Wolverines, alike, can have twice as many losses and still be ranked above the Zags (before this week, at least).
The Zags have lost two games this year – an early season matchup against Illinois, and a buzzer-beater to Butler in Indianapolis. Both of those teams are in the top 50 RPI. They’ve won EVERYTHING ELSE. They crushed the likes of Oklahoma and Kansas State, they went to Stillwater and beat Oklahoma State, and they handled Saint Mary’s in both conference matchups (including a 17-point win in Moraga). This year, Gonzaga has beaten their conference foes by an average of 19 points. 19 POINTS!
As the regular season comes to an end, it is no longer about SOS or RPI or BPI or even ranking. It’s about who can win in the spotlight. And quite frankly, Gonzaga can play with any team out there.
They have a big man in Olynyk who has outside touch. Elias Harris is a guy who plays bigger than his 6’8” frame with a solid jump shot. They have exceptional guards in Kevin Pangos, Bell Jr., and David Stockton. They also have a number of guys in the bench who can contribute.
Sam Dower is a big man with inside finesse and the ability to knock down 20-footers. They also have Drew Barham – a guy who shoots .468 from behind the arc.
Gonzaga also has Hart. Sure they have “heart” as well, but the source of that heart is Mike Hart. Hart is from Portland, OR and walked on in 2008. He was not recruited by anyone. Now, he starts for one of the top teams in the land. A guy doesn’t get to where Hart is without unrelenting hustle and determination. I invite anyone to watch a Gonzaga game and follow Mike Hart around the court. I guarantee you’ll be tired just watching him.
It is now March, sports fans. It is time for bets, brackets, and buzzer-beaters. Who will be your pick to win it all? My pick will most likely be a team who hails from Spokane, Washington.
First of all, STAT CORRECT, Ben: Ichiro has just over 2,500 hits in the MLB as of August 3rd (2,542, to be exact). Not 2,993 or whatever you claimed… In his entire professional career he has 3,820 hits, which includes his Japan League days (1,278 hits)…That’s actually pretty impressive…
Don’t be wrong if you don’t want to get corrected, Brad…
Since the sports world is pretty quiet with the obvious exception of the Olympiad, here is an addition to the latest podcast; more specifically, here’s how this FRATERNITY BROTHER stands.
Penn State Punishment:
Frankly, this amateur blogger is sick of discussing Penn State. What Sandusky did is dreadful, despicable, wicked (insert disdaining adjective here), plain and simple. The people directly involved with these crimes needed to be punished, have been punished, and will be punished. Here’s the issue – why is the NCAA punishing kids (who were barely out of diapers) and coaches (who were nowhere near PSU) for what a wrinkly old pervert did years ago?
If the NCAA wants to punish Penn State, they should – I’m okay with them getting involved. Fine the school. Make them forfeit TV profits to a children’s charity (I’d suggest Jim Mora’s “Count On Me Foundation”…side note: Highlight of my year – seeing Jim Mora Sr. IN PERSON talk about “PLAYOFFS?!?”). Basically, don’t punish guys like last year’s recruits for choosing an excellent program to hone their skills, learn the game, and hopefully grow up to be a contributing member of society. Ben and Brad made an excellent point when they mentioned Penn State’s graduation rate has been one of the best in years’ past. The NCAA should build on that aspect if they truly are concerned with the integrity of their organization.
Speaking of “integrity”…(working on my transitions)
I wish Ichiro the best; he’s put in his time in Seattle. As reported, Ichiro did request some sort of trade as the Mariners are clearly building for the future (how many years have the Mariners been building now?). I only wish the Mariners traded Ichiro sooner. It is a bit frustrating having to pay the Yankees along with only get a pair of pedestrian minor leaguers. A few years ago, the Mariners could have traded him for someone like Jose Bautista (BEFORE he started dropping bombs over Baghdad) or another solid starting pitcher like David Price or Cliff Lee…wait, never mind on the Cliff Lee deal…
In any case, good for Ichiro. He now has a chance to contend for a ring, and the Mariners have some cap space to continue building…off to Club Safeco!
While on the subject of “building”…
Not much to say much here. If you build it, they will come. Ben and Brad probably follow this more than I do. I’ve written to council members to express my support for the arena, so I feel like I’ve done my part.
While reading a bit about the proposal and listening to some expert analysis by the aforementioned duo, it sounds like arguments against the arena are diminishing.
One quick note: if an NHL team makes its way to the Great Northwest, this loyal blogger, you heard it here first, will purchase season tickets. Go Metropolitans!! I would say “Go Metros,” but people might get the wrong idea since we live in Seattle…
On a general point, this truant editor is looking forward to the upcoming PHFFL draft. Any plans on a Fantasy Football Preview podcast?
Brad and Ben, fans with mikes, talk about some pressing issues. You can also find the podcast on iTunes if you want to take this with you on your MP3 player or phone.
NCAA ruling on Penn State
Ichiro traded to Yankees
More Seattle arena chatter.
A lot of people have been calling for the “death penalty” for the Penn State football program in response to how the school dealt with Jerry Sandusky child molestation case. There seems to be a clear coverup by a few of the top individuals at the school. Not just at the football level but the presidential level. According to the Louis Freeh report, a few individuals knew there was something going on and tried to keep it underwraps to maintain the image of the school. The decision of those people was completely wrong and dispicable but, letting the actions of a those few destroy the opportunity of thousands is what the death penalty would do.
This is not a violation of NCAA rules, it is a violation of the law. The justice system doesn’t impose the death penalty the NCAA does. The death penalty was put in place to punish frequent violators of NCAA rules. It essentially is a way of keeping power in the hands of the NCAA and not letting schools do whatever they want with no governing body. When Southern Methodist University was given the death penalty, they were blatantly violating NCAA rules even after being told to stop. Their football program was trying to be above the rules.
The Sandusky case isn’t in that same relm. This is an issue of a few individuals breaking the law. They should be punished by the justice system. They will receive jail time, as they should, for their what they did. Their actions didn’t affect the results on the field and players weren’t give special treatment for playing sports at the university. Their actions affected people’s lives in a more dramatic way. Reggie Bush didn’t get jail time for taking money at USC. Sandusky and the others involved should be sent to prison.
By shutting down the football program full of people that had nothing to do with the crimes commited, you will affect more than just the football team. Football generates enough money to support all sports at the school. Women’s tennis, men’s swimming, lacross and so on, will be hurt by such a dramatic punishment. There are people that rely on working at football games for income, plus all the local business that count on those weekends for their yearly revenue. Penn State’s Beaver Stadium holds 107,000 people, that is a lot people coming to a game. All those people would be affected in some way by the loss of the football team. All those people that had nothing to do with the coverup that involved Sandusky.
If you look at punishments given to schools in the past, you will see that people pay for the violations of others. Look at the USC Trojans this past season. The players and coaches weren’t allowed to play in a bowl, because of Reggie Bush and the coaching staff that was in place in 2004. I understand that the school needs to be held accountible to an extent, but how many people really knew what Reggie Bush was doing? So, you have an entire group of people that were probably in junior high or middle school or at other football programs that serve the punishment for others. If you are worried about the Penn State paying, they will. Civil lawsuits from the victims and their families will cost the university millions of dollars.
This is a time where the individuals that are guilty are being punished for their actions and future players, coaches and employees aren’t paying the price for the actions of others. I don’t think there is reason for the NCAA to step in and punish the school further. The guilty are receiving prison sentences and the school will lose money in lawsuits. Let the innocent learn from the actions of the guilty and go forward. Penn State needs to better itself and that starts with the people that are in charge now. Students, athletes, coaches, employees and the community don’t need to suffer more.