The Sunday Blog is on the road in St. Augustine where I was able to enjoy a Florida basketball game with my Dad and brother Tim. Gosh, neither one of them is a big fan of Marshall Henderson.
1. OK, so this is what I told my Dad Saturday — “I don’t want Florida to be No. 1.” My thinking is that this is a team that doesn’t need any more distractions. So I rooted for Syracuse to win Saturday night (a lot of good that did me). Today, I’m sitting here knowing that when the polls come out Florida will likely be No. 1 and my dad was reading the paper and he blurted out, “19 in a row.” And I realized that no matter where they are ranked or seeded or where they play in the postseason, we all need to just sit back and realize what a special team this is. It’s easy to say this now but I will not define this group by what it does in the NCAA Tournament. I’ll leave that to the “swoopers.” Swoopers? That’s what I call the writers who never see Florida play all year and come in and explain what’s wrong with them in March. All I’m trying to say is that we still don’t know the legacy this team and its seniors will leave behind but if they never win another game it will still be pretty impressive. Does that make any sense?
2. The worst call of the year? Puh-lease Jim Boeheim. Have you watched any college basketball this season? There were worse calls in YOUR GAME against Duke. There were 100 worse calls on Saturday. The charging call on C.J Fair was actually a close call that I thought was a bad call in real time but might have been the right call. Look, the product that NCAA officiating czar John Adams is sending out there is not good. This season is driving me crazy with fouls being called for heavy breathing on the perimeter and wrestling being ignored in the paint. That was a big call by Tony Greene. It was a tough call to take. But the worse call? Go watch tape of the Florida-Ole Miss game and get back to me. That’s all I’m saying.
3. My Dad told me to always finish what you start but, really, do I have to continue with this SEC Bubble Watch?
Missouri 19-8 RPI: 44.
Last week: Beat Vanderbilt, lost at Alabama.
This week: At Georgia, Mississippi State.
Prognosis: Despite the numbing loss to a sinking Alabama team, the Tigers still should be in. Season closer against Tennessee will be important and they can’t take any more bad losses.
Tennessee 15-11 RPI: 57.
Last week: Beat Georgia, lost at Texas A&M.
This week: At Mississippi State, Vanderbilt.
And that’s it. The league may get three teams in but it would help if Florida and Kentucky got lost on the way to Atlanta. Arkansas can get back on Bubble Watch with a win at Kentucky this week. LSU can get there with a win at Florida Saturday. Someone mentioned Georgia, which has the third best record in league play. The Bulldogs have an RPI of 89 and have four losses to teams under 100 in RPI. What do you think?
4. One thing that helps the league if any of its teams showed a pulse is that there are not a lot of teams out there who are mid-majors that will make the Dance if they don’t win their conference tournament. I give you as an example Stephen F. Austin. The Jackrabbits are 23-2. Impressive. They never lose at home. Well, this isn’t the women’s tournament so you have to travel. Their RPI is 71st. They have played one game against a team in the top 100 of RPI and lost to Texas. So what do you do with Steve Austin if they get knocked out in the semis of whatever conference they are in? (It’s the Southland, I know). Here are the rest of the the teams in mid-majors at the top of their conferences:
Team Conference Record RPI
Wichita State Missouri Valley 29-0 9
St. Louis Atlantic 10 25-2 11
San Diego State Mountain West 23-3 20
Toledo Mid-American 22-4 28
Gonzaga West Coast 23-6 31
North Dakota St. Summit 21-6 43
Harvard Ivy 22-4 52
Green Bay Horizon 22-5 56
Belmont Ohio Valley 21-8 61
Delaware Colonial 20-8 64
Middle Tenn. Conf. USA 21-7 68
Mercer Atlantic Sun 18-7 73
Iona MAAC 18-8 76
New Mexico State WAC 21-8 79
Boston Patriot 20-8 86
Georgia State Sun Belt 20-7 95
UC-Santa Barbara Big West 18-7 103
Vermont America East 18-9 111
NC Central MEAC 21-5 126
Robert Morris Northeast 18-11 128
Davidson Southern 17-11 149
Weber State Big Sky 15-9 172
Southern SWAC 16-11 186
VMI Big South 17-10 222