Friday, February 27, 2015

Morning News: What's Ahead, Minnesota Wins A Wild Game, Kevin Stallings And Jordan McLaughlin

Utah had more blocks (10) than ASU had points in the 1st half.

What's Ahead On a slow night of college basketball, I wanted to give you all some quick words on what the plans are for this blog over its busiest part of the year: the next six weeks or so. First, I've decided that I don't quite have the time to pump out previews for all of the conference tournaments, so I won't be posting those this year. But I will start the daily Bubble Watch again on Sunday, continuing it for the two weeks through to Selection Sunday.

In addition, I am going to start working on my 2015-16 conference previews today. Yes, today. They take a ton of work, and I hope to start rolling them out on March 23rd or 24th, just before the Sweet 16 games tip off. In the past, I have always posted my preseason bracket projection one week after the title game, which this year would be April 13th. I'll try to get it done even earlier this year, though I can't promise it. If you're new to the blog this season, you can click on this past season's conference previews which are still on the upper right hand corner of this page to see what is ahead.

Minnesota Wins A Wild Game This game was just wild down the stretch, and Michigan State fans surely can't understand how their team blew this one. Minnesota entered this game 2-7 in Big Ten games decided by six points or fewer, so everybody was firing up their "Minnesota can't win close games" narrative, but it was Michigan State that messed up late. First, up by three points in the closing seconds they fouled Carlos Morris in the process of hitting a three-pointer. Morris missed the free throw that would have won the game in regulation, and they went to overtime. In overtime, Travis Trice, normally a good free throw shooter, missed four of six at the line. Minnesota was able to grab the early lead and hit enough free throws down the stretch to hang on.

Minnesota is now 6-10 in Big Ten play with this win. Last season, an 8-10 Big Ten team would have had a strong bubble case, but not this year. Unless Minnesota wins out all the way to the Big Ten tournament game, it's hard to see any scenario where they're in the bubble mix on Selection Sunday.

Michigan State drops to 10-5 in Big Ten play with a tough finishing stretch, including a road game at Wisconsin on Sunday. It's worth noting that they still only have two RPI Top 50 wins, so Michigan State isn't a complete Tourney lock yet. They need another win or two to be fully safe.

Kevin Stallings Berates Wade Baldwin This was a "controversy" where it felt like everybody was just going through the motions. I don't think anybody was actually really bothered by what happened. In short, Wade Baldwin was taunting some Tennessee players late in this game fairly blatantly. Stallings shouted at him in view of the camera, with the offending line being "I’ll ****ing kill you". Those words are a bit too strong, but anybody who has played high level college sports has been called pretty bad things by a coach, and if anything you respect Stallings for getting angry about his own team taunting and wanting them to respect their opponent.

Jordan McLaughlin Done For The Season This isn't the first injury problem for Andy Enfield's star recruit at USC. It's not that this season is going anywhere anyway, but this is the sort of injury where you wonder if it might impact him next season as well. The Andy Enfield Media Honeymoon appears to have ended this season, and if the Trojans don't become a competitive middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team next season, the whispers will start to call for Enfield's job.

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