Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Mexico Grabs MWC Title

#12 New Mexico 83, #11 BYU 81
This was probably the best game of the day, and one of only two match-ups between Top 15 teams, but it happened in the MWC and on a tv channel that a lot of people don't get, and so many don't even realize that this game happened. While this was a wonderful win for New Mexico, I don't think there's much doubt that BYU would have won this with a healthy Jimmer Fredette. He was severely limited with a stomach ailment, scoring six points in 16 minutes. But even without Fredette playing much this is still a very good BYU team that almost never loses at home, and it took a huge effort from all of New Mexico's best players. Darrington Hobson was the star again, with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Dairese Gary poured in 23 points himself. However the win happened, it means that New Mexico has pretty much wrapped up the outright MWC title. All they have to do is take care of TCU at home. This win marks 13 straight for New Mexico, will probably push their Sagarin ELO_CHESS into the Top Ten, and pushes their RPI Top 100 record to 11-2. If the season ended now they would be a 3 or 4 seed, can realistically get a 2 seed if they can win out. As for BYU, it looks like they'll finish second in the MVC, and despite this loss they're still 8-4 against the RPI Top 100. That said, their best win is against San Diego State, rated 40th in the RPI, and although their Sagarin rating will probably be somewhere around 15th when it comes out in the morning, I think they're only a 5-6 seed right now. The Selection Committee is going to have trouble giving a higher seed than that to a team with no big wins. Of course, BYU will get a chance for a big win if they can get a re-match against New Mexico in the MWC tournament.

California 62, Arizona State 46
California locked up at least a share of the Pac-10 regular season title and moved clearly into the Field of 65 all while beating up one of their potential rivals for an at-large bid. Obviously it was a good day for Cal Bears basketball. They still have no wins against the RPI Top 50, but they have quantity over quality and have a respectable 6-7 record against the RPI Top 100, an RPI up to 21st, and a Sagarin rating that is getting up to nearly 40th. They'd be in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended now, and are by far the Pac-10's best shot at an at-large bid. As for Arizona State, they remain in a battle with Washington for the second best resume in the Pac-10, but like Washington they are out of the Field of 65 for the time being. They are 10-6 in the Pac-10 and 20-9 overall, which normally would be a Tournament resume, but in this year's awful Pac-10 that means a 4-8 record against the RPI Top 100 and a Sagarin ELO_CHESS out of the Top 60. They end the season with home games against USC and UCLA, and they'll be favored by at least five points in both. If they win both and then make the Pac-10 tournament finals then that should be enough for an at-large bid, but anything less than that and it's going to be a nervous Selection Sunday for Sun Devils fans.

Oklahoma State 85, #1 Kansas 77
Oklahoma State opened up the lead early in this one and had a 19 point first half lead, and then never really let Kansas get too close the rest of the way. And certainly Matt Pilgrim made a case for his importance on the team after they lost their last game with him suspended following three straight wins with him in the lineup. And Pilgrim came back big here with 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting from the field. And I can't remember the last time James Anderson didn't score 20+ points in a game. If Oklahoma State can win a couple of games in the NCAA Tournament then Anderson can really become a household name. And this win just about gets Oklahoma State there. I'd like to see them win one more game to really lock up a bid, but with a 4-5 record against the RPI Top 50 with wins over Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor, it's very unlikely that Oklahoma State will be left out. As for Kansas, they really just ran into a team today that couldn't miss a shot. They were a little sloppy with the ball and did not rebound up to their usual standards, but it still took 60% shooting from the field for Oklahoma State to carry the day. Kansas remains the best team in the country and will get a 1 seed in the Tournament unless something really crazy happens.


Anonymous said...

Jimmer Fredette's back-up scored 19 points in the 2nd half of the UNM-BYU game, which I'm pretty confident in believing Fredette would not have scored that many, so for you to say that you're pretty sure BYU would have beaten UNM with Fredette I think is a bit of an overstatement on your part.

Jeff said...

Fredette's back up played well, but if he was shooting that well he would have stayed on the floor with Fredette and they'd have taken somebody else out.

Fredette might be the best pure scorer in the entire country. And he was out there for 16 minutes despite the illness, but was just a shell of what he's normally been this season. You can't say that his absence and poor play wasn't key in a two point loss.

Anonymous said...

My point is that if Fredette's on the floor, Loyd Jr. doesn't even make it onto the court to score 19 points. There would have been no 19+Fredette situation. It just wouldn't happen, which you would know if you watched BYU all season.

I'm not going to say that his absence wasn't key to the game, but to say that BYU likely would have beaten UNM with Fredette in the game is pushing it. Why don't you give credit where credit is due and just commend the Lobos for a gutsy win that would have happened with or without Fredette on the court?