Nolan Richardson, Jeff Lebo, Tommy Amaker, Barnes' old assistant now at Western Kentucky, even Kelvin Sampson or John Calipari. Don't limit your search, Bobby. We are Clemson and we play in the best basketball conference in the nation.
Well, it's conference tournament time and as I speak, there are already 11 teams with bids. There have been some upsets, so will Pepperdine, Butler, etc. get bids over Virginia, Minnesota, or a number of Big East teams. Selection Sunday is going to be as wacky as the tournament. Let's look at the major conference tournaments:
Who else could win?: Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia
Other news: Virginia has to beat N.C. State in the quarters to have a shot at a bid. I think they'll do that and get in as the 5th team from the ACC.
My pick: Duke
Who else could win?: Georgia, Kentucky, Florida
Other news: It will be tough for the Gators to win 4 games in 4 days. I want to pick Alabama, but they get the Arkansas-Tennessee winner in the quarters before a probable matchup with Kentucky in the semis. Six teams are in, so everyone is playing for seeding in the NCAA's.
My pick: Kentucky
Who else could win?: Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State
Other news: I think Minnesota is in as the 6th team, but a win or two would help. With a 4 team tie for the regular season championship, this is obviously a wide open tournament. Illinois is the hottest team going in.
My pick: Indiana
Who else could win?: Oklahoma, Missouri
Other news: Six teams are in, so this is another conference where they will be playing for NCAA seeding. The Jayhawks didn't lose in the regular season, but they could have a tough semi and will definitely have a tough final.
My pick: Kansas
Who else could win?: Arizona, USC, UCLA
Other news: Another conference where 6 teams are locks and will be playing for seeding. Oregon came up big @ UCLA to win the outright regular season championship, but like Alabama, they are not in a familiar role.
My pick: Arizona
I think Cincinnatti, Marquette, and Memphis are in. Can Louisville or Charlotte become the 4th? They're going to have to make some noise this weekend.
Pitt, UConn, and Miami are in. They may only get 3 in the dance. Teams that could play their way in, but will have to win at least 2 games are Syracuse, Notre Dame, St. Johns, BC, and Rutgers.
So, it's pretty much set with 3 of the 4 no. 1 seeds in the NCAA's with Kansas, Maryland, and Duke. The Conference USA final is on Saturday, so if Cincinnatti can win it, they could get penciled in before Sunday. If Cinci doesn't pull it out, Alabama and Oklahoma could be playing for it on Sunday.
Either way, Sunday is going to be sit on the couch day for approximately 12 hours. Five major conference tournament championships, the selection show, and then ‘A Season on the Brink' where the F-bomb is going to be dropped on national TV. What a day for a college basketball freak like myself.
As I'll be inclined to switch around when the brackets are announced, I already have some info I'll throw your way for the NCAA tournament.
Sleepers: Pitt, Arizona, Missouri, Wisconsin
Not buying these high seeds: Gonzaga, Cincinnatti, Oregon
I'll be getting to you on Wednesday's for the next few weeks, so let's enjoy a great, maybe the greatest, month in sports.
Keep the feedback coming: firstname.lastname@example.org.
JackSmack: Issue #40
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