ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Men's basketball feeling the Madness

Yale and Quinnipiac fall on tough times

As the regular season of men's college basketball comes to an end here's a quick look at what has transpired.

Locally, Yale and Quinnipiac both have disappointed as of late.
As for the Bulldogs, they never recovered from an early-season sweep at the hands of Columbia and Cornell. Yale was chosen to finish second in the preseason poll but will finish in the middle of the pack. Clearly Cornell was the best team in the conference and Brown has been the most pleasant surprise.

Yale's best win of the season came in its Ivy League opener against the Bears but it has struggled badly afterward. Yale won three straight games in the middle of the conference slate but then was hammered in an all-important league game at Penn.

That sealed its fate.

Cornell looks like a dangerous No. 12 or 13 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. The Big Red is on a long winning streak and with the trio of Adam Gore, Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale, Cornell probably won't win a tourney game but sure as heck will scare someone.

The worst news for the rest of the Ivy League is that Cornell's best players are all underclassmen. They'll be heavy favorites to win the Ivy again next year.

For the Bulldogs it was purely a disappointing year. Yale had an experienced team with depth but faced an unlikely struggle with confidence throughout the year. And the Bulldogs never defended well allowing most opponents to shoot over 50 percent during the season.

It was, and still is, a head-scratching year for coach James Jones.

Quinnipiac started strong but seemed to hit a wall as of late. Coach Tom Moore knew his team would struggle with depth but it has hurt his team even fielding competitive practices. The end result has seen the Bobcats lose four of its last six games and they face two more good teams on the road to complete the regular season.

The likely spot that Moore's charges will find itself in is a first-round road game in the NEC tournament. That in itself won't spell the end of the line for the Bobcats. They've played well on the road and with DeMario Anderson they have been in virtually every game they've played.

Recently, however, they've been on the losing end. The Bobcats have exceeded some of Moore's expectations during the season but overall, if they don't have another nice run in them, he'll consider this year a disappointment.

No. 1 seeds still up for grabs

On the national scene, Saturday night's showdown between No. 1 Memphis and No. 2 Tennessee proved one thing. Neither team will win a national title.

The No. 1 seeds look to be: UCLA, either North Carolina or Duke, either Memphis or Tennessee, and either Kansas or Texas.

UCLA seems to be the biggest lock for a top seed and the rest will depend on conference tournaments.

If Kansas holds off Texas in the Big 12 they'll get one. If Tennessee can win the SEC the top seed is theirs, otherwise it will go to Memphis.

Finally, whoever wins the ACC, Duke or UNC will get the other No. 1 seed. That will be biggest single decision the NCAA tourney committee will make as that No. 1 seed will play its first four games in the state of North Carolina and practically have a Final Four bid in its hands.

My choice for both that No. 1 seed and the eventual champion is North Carolina.

Here's a look at the RPI ratings.

I'll recap the women's scene Monday.


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