Friday, March 04, 2011

Seton Hall Upsets St. John's

Seton Hall 84, #15 St. John's 70
This really wasn't as big of an upset as the media is making this out to be. I love Steve Lavin and thought he was the best college basketball announcer that ESPN had, but that doesn't mean I need to join the party in overrating both his team and his coaching job this season. St. John's is a good team, but on the road at Seton Hall? St. John's was only a three point favorite in Vegas. This wasn't exactly Princeton over UCLA. And honestly, it's hard to draw too much from this game - it was a Rucker League game. And I don't blame St. John's for that, it's just the way Seton Hall plays. It's a team with zero discipline, but with a spectacular scorer in Jeremy Hazell (31 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field). Even so, it took a truly fluky shooting performance from Seton Hall to carry them through. They shot 12-for-18 behind the arc in this game, which is more than double the 29.7% three-point shooting they're averaging on the season. Give them an average shooting performance (5.4 three pointers made on 18 attempts), give Seton Hall an extra couple of offensive rebounds off those misses, and this game is basically a draw.

The main impact of this game is on the double-bye status of St. John's. Unless Syracuse loses at home to DePaul on Senior Night (they're 20 point favorites) they will lock up the final double-bye, and St. John's will only receive a single-bye. That said, the loss of the double bye will be overrated. Assuming St. John's gets the 5 seed, they will get the winner of Seton Hall/Rutgers in the Big East second round. Playing that game in Madison Square Garden, I just don't see St. John's losing to either of those teams. This game also meant nothing to Seton Hall. Even before the tip of this game they were already locked into a first round game against Rutgers. The only question was whether Seton Hall would be the 12 or 13 seed, which only impacts which uniform color the teams will be wearing when they play.

Washington 70, UCLA 63
This was a tremendous coming-out party for C.J. Wilcox, who came off five points in Washington's loss to Washington State to net 24 points in the second half to power Washington to a big victory. Washington also got a big performance from Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who had 13 rebounds (including 7 offensive boards) in only 26 minutes played. The good news for UCLA was the big game they got from Jerime Anderson, who was once a highly-touted recruit but had seen his minutes reduced. He came off the bench to score 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting (including 4-for-6 behind the arc), his biggest scoring outburst of the season.

This was a game that Washington really needed after that disastrous home loss to Wazzu. They are now 11-6 in Pac-10 play and 8-6 against the RPI Top 100, with wins over Arizona and UCLA (twice), along with bad losses to Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State. Their RPI is 34th and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is 47th. I think that if the season ended now Washington would be in the Field of 68, but only narrowly. Tomorrow night they close the regular season on Senior Night against USC, but even a win there won't lock up an at-large bid. They'll need at least one more win the Pac-10 tournament to feel safe. Keep in mind that Washington fans need to not only root for a win on Saturday, but they need to root for rival Washington State to knock off UCLA. That would push Washington into the 2 seed in the Pac-10, which would allow them to play Oregon/Stanford/Arizona State in the Pac-10 quarterfinals instead of California.

This loss drags UCLA just a little bit closer to the bubble. They are 12-5 in the Pac-10 and 6-8 against the RPI Top 100, with wins over BYU, St. John's and Arizona, along with a bad loss to Montana. Their RPI is 39th and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is 43rd. They close on Saturday afternoon against Washington State, and will want to win the game to assure themselves a 2 seed in the Pac-10 tournament, for the reasons I listed in the previous paragraph. They also still need another quality win to really firm up their at-large bid.

Tennessee 73, South Carolina 69
You never know what you're going to get out of this bipolar Tennessee team, so Vols fans will be relieved to escape from South Carolina with this win. Tennessee was actually bipolar within this game. They opened up a 17 point halftime lead, and gave it away with ice cold offense in the second half. In fact, Tennessee only scored 18 points from the field in the entire second half (15 points at the free throw line, though). It was the free throw line that saved them all day. South Carolina defenders couldn't keep up athletically, and despite the homecourt advantage they lost the free throw attempt battle 34-to-13.

Tennessee moves back above .500 to 8-7 in the SEC with this win. They have their wins over Pittsburgh, Villanova, Memphis and Vanderbilt (twice), as well as their bad losses to Charlotte, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Charleston. Their RPI is 33rd and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is 50th. There's no question that they'd be in the Tournament if the season ended now, but they probably need another win to stay in. They get a chance for a huge win on Sunday against Kentucky. If they fall there then they'll need to win a game or two in the SEC tournament.

South Carolina falls to 5-10 in the SEC and 14-14 overall. They are locked into the sixth seed in the SEC East, and will play either Arkansas or Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC tournament. If they win that game they'll play in the quarterfinals against whichever team finishes second place in the SEC East, which is currently stuck in a three way tie between Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Georgia with one game to go.


Tom said...

Does the Klay Thompson suspension get factored heavily into the result of tomorrow's game? Say they win tomorrow without him (which IMO would put them in the bubble discussion) does it look better because he was out? If they lose, is it less damaging? (Though I understand finishing 9-9 in the Pac-10 necessitates winning the P-10 tourney this year). Does the committee factor in the fact he was benched to start the ASU game? Or is it simply his bad for being an idiot on these two occasions? Because I know injuries can factor into the process. I was starting to think Wazzu might be able to sneak in as a 4th bid with a win Saturday and a win in the 4/5 match in the P-10 tourney...

Jeff said...

The Selection Committee has historically given very little attention to who is injured and when. From their perspective they're looking at resumes - who did you beat and who did you lose to.

Washington State will not get a pass because he won't be playing, and UCLA will not be get less credit if they win.

That said, don't chalk that game up as a win for UCLA yet. I think Klay Thompson is a little overrated - he scores so many points because he shoots so much. He's the best player on the team, but he's not the whole team. They can win without him.