WeAreDePaul.com Bubble Report – 11/21/05

This is the first of a weekly series of NCAA "Bubble" Reports written by WeAreDePaul.com's Mike Adam. Each week Mike, a/k/a BDE, will break down the RPI (Ratings Power Index) used in collegiate basketball and progress made towards the NCAA Tournament in March.

To get my writing fix until we get full into "Bubble" season, I'm going to write a Monday report to keep people updated on relevant (and likely occasionally not so relevant) um, "stuff" that occurred in college basketball during the week. Before I do, though, some notes:

I would like to enjoy a big, hearty laugh at the expense of all the national football writers who thought the Bears would get crushed yesterday because they "hadn't played anyone." I'm talking to you, Pete Prisco on cbs.sportsline, who in the five years I've been reading you has given the Bears respect only begrudgingly. There, that was fun.

Sitting in my apartment Sunday afternoon, I sure was glad that I could see overtime of the worthless Steelers-Ravens tilt, while the Colts and the Bengals started and I missed the first 24 points. I hope you took the "over" in that game, by the way.

Did I really see Flava Flav from Public Enemy in a beer commercial last night?

And, yes, I am going to write this report every week until "Bubble Season", at which point I'll go daily. I can hear the cynics – "What's the point? We lost to Bradley. I am concerned. You should be too, BDE. There's no reason to do this – there's no postseason this year." You go be cynical; I'll go be positive. Don't mistake my stance here. We, as a fan base, have a right to be critical of our team. Yet to make broad sweeping generalizations about how the rest of the season is going to go based on the data set we have so far (two exhibitions and one regular-season game) is a bit unfair, in my opinion.

This Week in the Big East

Cincinnati: The Andy Kennedy era started off a bit shaky on Saturday night. The Bearcats escaped with an overtime win over the Murray State Runnin' Racers 79-75. Coming up this week are home games with Illinois State, then a very intriguing game on Friday night with Holy Cross. Also, no DUIs were reported from the Athletic Department, to the best of my knowledge.

Connecticut: The Huskies had a pretty slow week, winning their first game at Pepperdine (75-56). The Maui Classic looms starting tonight, with Arkansas the first victim, er, opponent.

Georgetown: The Hoyas started the season by waltzing over the Naval Academy 72-49. Bonus point for them since the game was on the road. Coming up for them this week are games at James Madison and a home game against Vanderbilt.

Louisville: The Cardinals began with a win over Tennessee Martin, who I'm not sure whether that's a college or some schoolboy legend in Nashville. Regardless, they won 78-61. After such a strenuous test, Slick Rick's boys are off until December 3.

Marquette: Not such a good day Saturday for the folks up north, either. After beating Rice on Friday, they were beaten by Winthrop 71-64, which counts as a home loss for RPI rank purposes. Now the Golden Gold head to Alaska to play in the "Great Alaska Shootout", with their first game against Eastern Washington.

Notre Dame: The Irish started their season last night with a victory over Lafayette. This week holds two interesting games for Notre Dame, as they'll host a pesky Hofstra team, followed by a game in Indianapolis against North Carolina State. And don't miss the ceremony on Wednesday at the Joyce Center where ND clears a spot for their future 2006 NIT appearance banner.

Pitt: And the Panthers are off and rolling with an 82-71 victory over St. Peter's. This week doesn't hold too many obstacles – home games versus Robert Morris (I don't think we're talking about the Chicago version of the school here) and Maine.

Providence: The Friars spent the week thanking their athletic department that they didn't have to play a game this week. Alas, they do eventually have to start the season, hosting Vermont and New Hampshire this upcoming week.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights started their season with a win over Austin Peay. They host Delaware State on Tuesday, then take a vacation at South Padre Island to play Kent State.

Seton Hall: Well, we all saw what happened to them at Duke on Wednesday. Their small consolation is that the overall record is still 2-1, with victories over Manhattan and Marist. You don't see many teams with a winning record who have been outscored in aggregate by 36 points. The Pirates get the week off, which means Louis Orr gets to keep his job for another week.

St. John's: The Red Storm stormed out of the gate with a 77-40 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore. This week holds St. Francis of New York and Niagara, and I don't really have anything interesting to say about either game.

South Florida: You know, I'm going to try and lay off South Florida a bit this year. They're clearly overwhelmed from a basketball perspective although (shh) they may end up being the BCS representative from the Big East in football if they beat West Virginia next week. They've had some bad stuff happen to them in their basketball pre-season, so it's almost like they're too easy of a target. That having been said, they did start with a win this week over Alcorn State. This week, they play Jacksonville on Friday and yes, Fred Taylor is on the injury report for that game.

Syracuse: It's almost as if, even if you wanted to ignore Syracuse, you can't. They seem to always find their way into a national pre-season tournament that concludes on ESPN, which guarantees early exposure. The Orange are 3-1 overall after romping over Bobby Knight and friends, then losing to Florida at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday, they host Bucknell then Friday, it's Siena.

Villanova: One game this week: Villanova 78, Stony Brook 35. Sunday holds another "test" versus Lehigh.

West Virginia: The Pittsnogles posted two home victories last week over Louisiana Monroe (who I think played with Tennessee Martin in high school) and Wofford. They may or may not be playing Texas tonight at the Guardians Classic in Kansas City, so set your TiVo (espn.com lists the game, but kenpom.com does not). An interesting intra-sectional early-season match-up (check out all those hyphens) against LSU awaits on Saturday.

Future Non-Conference Opponents

Northwestern: As was noted earlier in the week on the board, the Wildcats scored an impressive victory over Charlotte at a neutral site, then went out and lost to UNC-Wilmington. Overall, they stand at 2-1, with a game versus Florida Atlantic to tune up for the trip to Allstate.

Northern Illinois: Oh, good – the Huskies are picking up where they left off last year, losing to Missouri State 87-51. And in case you're wondering, Missouri State used to be Southwest Missouri State, but they're just Missouri State now because, um – I really have no idea. Doesn't matter if they're Missouri State or Southwest Missouri State – either way, they're still better than Missouri. NIU plays Aurora on Saturday, which doesn't help or hurt anyone's RPI, since Aurora is not Division I.

Creighton: The Blue Jays started their season by beating one of our favorite schools, the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and the only upset here was that the Golden Lions only lost by 32. This week for Creighton includes George Mason and Dayton.

Bucknell: The Bison start their season with a road victory at Rider, but only by the tally of 56-54. Their game at Syracuse on Tuesday will be a game of interest on the board, then they host Yale later in the week.

UAB: The Blazers are in full chill mode right now, not playing a game until Friday at UMass.

Dayton: The Flyers opened their campaign with an 81-60 against Tennessee Tech. This week is a busy one for Dayton, traveling to play Miami (OH), then hosting Morehead State, then traveling to Creighton.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons have been a regular topic on the board, as they've been featured as part of the same tournament in which Syracuse has played. While I think most of us know that Wake lost to Florida in the semi-finals, they did end up salvaging third-place with a double-overtime victory over Texas Tech in the consolation game for a 3-1 overall record. The Deacons are hoping for a couple of respites this week, with UNC-Asheville and Appalachian State coming to visit.

Old Dominion: Just like we can count on Northern Illinois to lose badly every week, we can count on the Monarchs to win impressively every week. ODU went 2-0 this week in the Virgin Islands, knocking off Georgia and Fordham. They play for the championship tonight against Wisconsin.

California: As was mentioned, the Bears are struggling without Leon Powe, losing at Eastern Michigan. This week holds two probable wins versus Long Beach State and Northern Colorado.

Florida International: Our early "MolsonBlue" watch, following the most irrelevant team on DePaul's schedule again this year. FIU started their season with a loss at Hofstra. This week, they host Central Connecticut State and travel to Florida A&M.

Other Games of Note This Week

Air Force 57, Miami (FL) 53. Miami hovered around the bubble all year last year before bowing out of the NCAA chase. Losses like these might send them to the same fate this year.

Memphis 87, Alabama 76. The latest notation on John Calipari's resume that he sent to Rutgers and Seton Hall this week.

UC-Irvine 79, Stanford 63. Any opportunity to bring in the conference with my favorite nicknames up and down the conference (the Big West; UC-Irvine are the Anteaters, by the way) is appreciated.

Hawaii 84, Michigan State 62. This doesn't need further analysis other than, "wow".

North Carolina 83, Gardner-Webb 80. So, just how long does the national championship afterglow grace period last?

New Mexico 95, Mississippi 42. When was the last time an SEC team lost by 53 out of conference? Then again, I would have asked the same question about a Big East team, and then Seton Hall went to Duke…

Tarleton State 68, TCU 59. What's Tarleton State? They're a Division II team located in Stephenville, Texas. Their nickname is the Texans, and one of their star players is named Mookie Works. None of this is entertaining to TCU, I'm sure.

Denver 44, Southern Miss 30. The Larry Eustachy experiment doesn't seem to be going so well. The Golden Eagles managed nine points in the second half.

Until next week, let's go, Demons.

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