Well, we are about halfway thru the College Hoops Season, and though we never know who could crack the elite eight or even the final four, it isn’t much of a guessing game of who is actually going to be cutting down the nets in Hotlanta in April. It comes down to 9 teams..if one of these 9 don’t win, I’ll run around naked downtown, and no one wants that. Why these 9? Well let’s break it down to what you need to win a Championship in today’s modern age. Look at the last 15-20 years of championship NCAA basketball teams and you will find these similarities.

1.) Must have 1-2 legitimate NBA prospects: If you don’t have 1-2 NBA prospects, you aren’t winning a national title plain and simple. Reason being is that no matter how great of an effort or how great a team game someone may play, talent in the end is going to win out if the effort is equal. Once you get to that sweet sixteen and definitely final four level, this is why a lot of cindrellas fall to the wayside…talent is going to win out, and if it doesn’t look like it will, the refeeres will make sure of it…I call it “getting CBS’ED.” Look at the last five national title winners…Kentucky—Anthony Davis, Kidd Gilchrist etc etc, UCONN–Kemba Walker  Duke—Plumlee, Singler  UNC—lawson, green, hansborough etc etc Kansas—chalmers, arthur

2.) Strong Guard Play: In today’s college basketball world, it is all about guard play…you have a strong point guard who can break down a defense, that should get to at least the second weekend in March Madness….However, that only gets you so far…you also must

3.) Have a strong inside presence with 1-2 guys: Look again at the last give championship teams..Kentucky had Davis, UConn had Oriakihi and what seems like 4 other 7 footers, Duke had Plumlee and Kelly, UNC had Hansborough and Kansas had Aldrich.

4.) Strong Defense: This is almost like a “duh” statement but going down the list again, most of the teams that win championships are in the top ten of almost every single defensive team stat.

So, with all of that said here is the list this year…as I said if someone outside of this list wins…ill go running naked down the street…

1.) Louisville—high pressure yet controlled defense, Siva at guard, Dieng and Behanan at the forward spots…And as far as NBA goes…Dieng for Sure, Blackshear and one of the guards possible.

2.) Indiana—strong d again..holding opponents to an absurd fg percentage..Oladipo, watford, zeller..enough said

3.) Kansas—I despise them but the ingredients are there.

4.) Florida—9th year senior (or atleast it seems like it) Boynton, Patric Young etc.

5.) Michigan—Burke, Hardaway Jr….stingy defense

6.) Syracuse—Considered taking them off this list now that it seems Southerland might not play again this year.

7.) Arizona–Lyons, Hill and company

8.) Duke—Blah…who likes these guys?? Kelly, Plumless, Curry etc

9.) Missouri—complete homer pick I know but the ingredients are there and I had to have at least one darkhorse…Oriakhi, Bowers, Pressey

So there you have it…anyone think outside of this that anyone has a chance? Let me hear it!

 

Later this week, I will write an entry detailing the ten college basketball teams that look like they could win the championship this year…until then, I am going to write my alma mater, Xavier and its basketball season thus far.

So, here we are basically at the midway point and it is about where I thought Xavier would be at 9-6 on the season. I didn’t think that they would have wins against Temple or Butler, but didn’t think they would be losing to Vandy or Wofford either. In the end though to quote Dennis Green..we are who we thought they were. It is mightily obvious to anyone that has follwed Xavier for over a decade now that this may be the least talented team, Xavier has had in that time frame. However, just as Xavier always tends to do, they will for the most part give you effort night in and night out; which in turn leads to them getting better over the course of the season. So at 9-6 what would Xavier have to do to get into the NCAA tournament? It would probably mean 12-3 the rest of the regular season, which is a gignatic stretch for the talent that is on this team, but let’s investigate player by player to see what they need to do to make it happen…

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Dee Davis—I almost feel sorry for the kid. Honestly, I don’t have a clue as to why this kid was ranked in the top 100 coming out of high school. He doesn’t have the talent to ever be a legitimate starting pg, and should be relegated back to the bench after this year. I feel sorry for him though, because the kid is an absolute warrior and a defensive difference maker. The problem lies in that he is extremely limited offensively, by the fact he is short, and not quick nor fast. That usually translates to being limited offensively. Anyways, all Xavier needs from Davis, is to not turn the ball over, and to play with great effort defensively night in and night out.

Semaj Christon—the guy is a stud..probably the best freshman to ever play at X. He has the tools to do anything and everything, and if he keeps improving, is going to be on an NBA team in a few short years. Xavier needs him to improve every single game in regards to his ball-handling and his decision-making. If that keeps happening, this team could make a run.

Travis Taylor—love this kid and love the fact that I was wrong about him last year. He is high energy, and plays his rear end off game in and game out. Just keep doing what you do Taylor!

Jeff Robinson—sigh…..probably the second most talented player on the roster just behind christon, but mostly has minimal effort. If this guy could ever just be a consistent 8 ppg 7-8 rpg that would help tremendously. Jeff also needs to realize he is 6’10 and can jump…he really should be dominating the college game, yet something (maybe his mind) is holding him back. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable Jeff…X needs you.

Brad Redford—shoot…shoot from half court, the parking lot…the sophmore dorms..i don’t care. Just keep shooting the basketball.

Justin Martin—Unlike Davis, I can see why this kid was highly thought of coming out of high school. The talent is there, Xavier fans just don’t see it consistently just like Robinson. If he can get back to taking guys off the dribble as he was doing earlier this season, and keep up the defense and rebounding, then Xavier will be in good shape.

So there you have it. If X can get most of these things to happen, the team may be able to go 12-3 the rest of the way, but it is going to take a herculean effort. As I said at the beginning of the year, if X can win 20 games, Xavier will need to tear down the Dartagnan statue outside of Cintas and replace it immediately with a Mack statue. The talent is just not there this year, as I believe Mack even knows..why would you get that excited about beating GW by 15 at half, which is ok…I am still going to enjoy each and every game!

eat

Ok so that was a complete beatdown last night by Alabama against Notre Dame. Simply put, Alabama is on a whole other level than the rest of the college football world. For those of you who believe that Notre Dame should not have been there in the first place…who else should have taken their spot and actually been able to compete with Alabama who had 40 days to prepare? Oregon? Oregon couldn’t beat Stanford at home, whom Notre Dame beat. Texas A&M? Yes they beat Alabama, but they couldn’t handle Florida or LSU at home. So please just stop with the nonsense and accept that Alabama is just better. I had to come to that conclusion last night, and it was a very bitter pill to swallow.

Now Alabama isn’t perfect..their secondary is suspect, and I’m not convinced McCarron is that great of a QB. I mean when you can read War and Peace in the pocket before having to throw the ball, anyone can look good. However, what made Alabama so great, is that offensive line. It made the front seven of Notre Dame look like a high school team…and it isn’t. The ND front seven has as much girth as any college team in the nation, and still looked small and slow.

So, that is another College Football Season in the books and the last of no playoffs. The four team playoff might not fix everything wrong with college football, but at least it is a start. I really wish we didn’t have to go another year with this terrible system. Hopefully, after a year or two, football will realize just how great a playoff system can be with 8 or 16 teams. Then, we can crown a true national champion. Now it is on to College Basketball and the second half of the NBA and the beginning of the NHL. Although Xavier is down, I have no dog in the fight in the NBA, and the NHL is just about to begin, this still may be one of my favorite parts of the sports calendar.

Because it just isn’t true. The hype machine that is the worldwide leader has fed the public this line for years now, based on the fact that they have a huge stake in the conference. The fact is that yes, the most dominant team in college football for the past six years has come from the SEC, that does not mean that the conference as a whole is the most dominant conference from top to bottom.

Alabama might make it seven in a row for the conference ( I am not of that opinion,) but it could happen. However, again that just means that the most dominant team came from the conference, nothing more nothing less. Also, unlike most teams in college football, if you are a member of the SEC you get the benefit of losing a game or two yet still have the chance at even competing in the title game, based on the perception that the conference is the best. What exactly has Alabama proven over a team like Oregon that they get the nod instead of the Ducks or the Wildcats from K State? They haven’t…it is just perceptionthat has been built up for more than a decade now from the sports media world.

Take this year’s bowl results so far….Florida’s offense was exposed against Louisville, Clemson beat LSU with arguably their best player out from the first play of the game, Northwestern beat Miss St. All the SEC teams have done so far is beat a mediocre Nebraska team that lost by thirty against a 7-5 Wisconsin team, beat a suspect 8-4 Michigan team, and an N.C State team who was 7-5. That’s dominant? Hmmm…maybe the sports media world and the American public need to realize there are good teams outside of the South.

teddy

That is all that is ever invited to the “dance” in the current College Football Championship, and it will be the same when the four team “playoff” starts in two years.

For the sake of argument, and because I am pretty familiar with the team, let’s take a look at the University of Louisville Football team. Currently they are 7-0, in a mediocre conference, with no big wins of note. The only possible big time win they could have this year is at the end of the season when they go on the road to Rutgers. Both of these teams could be undefeated at that time, and both would be ranked somewhere between 8-15 in the country. Again for the sake of argument, let’s say that both teams are undefeated until their matchup and Louisville wins that matchup. Best case scenario they move up to about 6-7 in the country. They will be behind any other undefeated squads sans Ohio U, and probably behind a one loss Sec or Big 12 team or two. That is just the way it is in College Football, and it isn’t right.

Save Room at the Table

Now do I think that Louisville is better than an undefeated SEC or Big 12 team…or even a one loss team from either of these conferences? Eye test tells me no. It isn’t like Louisville is playing good competition, and they aren’t blowing out the teams that are on their schedule. However, why don’t they even get the chance to play the “big boys” at the end of the season? I doubt anyone thought that Butler would go to back to back National Championship Games in Basketball…but hey at least they got the chance to prove they could! The system is screwed up and why does anyone think that the four game “playoff” is going to be any better??

Louisville doesn’t have a freaking chance in either of these systems, neither does Ohio U from the MAC who may also go undefeated. Well why don’t they schedule tougher non-conference games you might say?? Well Louisville tries, but people won’t play them. Georgia backed out of a home and home just a few years ago. It could do more potential harm than good for a Big 12 or SEC team to play a good college football team outside of their conference. There is just no point….it isn’t like they are playing for seeding in a tournament and need that signature road win outside of their conference. There is zero initiative.

So, what is a team like Louisville to do? Well nothing except win the games that are on their schedule. Sadly, unless they change conferences, it isn’t going to matter when it comes to the Championship game. Louisville could go undefeated for the next three years and still won’t get to sit at the big boys table. It’s not fair, but that is just the way it is. Here is my question….why are the College Presidents, Conference Commissioners, and the Media trying to persuade us that everything is going to be great in two years when this new system is in place? All it is doing is inviting more big boys to the big boy table for big boy money….whoopdeefreakingdo!