Only seven unbeaten schools remain

SONG SELECTION:

Matt Wertz, “Snow Globe”

Released November 15, 2011 by Handwritten Records under same album title as above song

SPECIAL NOTE:

I want to wish a Happy Birthday to a pair of ladies who give our business news straight and without too much fluff or weird filters–and they both appear in back-to-back hours each weekday afternoon on Fox Business.

Happy Birthday to both Liz Claman and Melissa Francis:).

Back to my regular blog post…

Oh, the mighty have fallen (but oh so briefly)

The true blueboods of the sport usually like to win as many games as possible.  But we have only seen a month of games and the likes of traditional powers in Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina along with some mid-major schools worth checking out in the likes of Butler and Wichita State all have at least one loss.

Among the seven schools remaining, I think Villanova and maybe Gonzaga might have a chance to run the table prior to the Big East and West Coast Conference tournaments come around in early March.

The other five schools have some spine-tingling games worth keeping an eye out (or at least a window open on your smartphones or laptops):

Baylor at Oklahoma, December 30.  That game could be a track meet waiting to happen, both teams love to go up and down the floor like there is no tomorrow.  The key for Baylor is to avoid getting their guards in foul trouble early in the contest.

Creighton has road dates coming up with Oral Roberts and one of the ultimate college party schools in Arizona State.  The Blue Jays also will entertain Seton Hall tonight prior to their Big East opener against the defending champs from Villanova on December 31 in Omaha.

Speaking of Villanova, they used a career-high 37 points from Josh Hart on Saturday to escape an upset bid from Notre Dame in New Jersey on Saturday.  Hart was the only player on Villanova’s roster to end up in double figures, even though the Irish were as up by as many as 11 points before letting the lead slip away during the second half.  Clearly, the defending champions have a target on their back and every game will feel like an NCAA Tournament type atmosphere for each game they play on the road.  But consider this fact–if they manage to beat Temple on Tuesday night, Jay Wright’s crew will have won 18 consecutive Big Five matchups in the City of Brotherly Love.  I would have to go back to the record books, but I don’t believe Rocky Balboa had that many wins in a row between his first two fights against Apollo Creed back in the day.

The other two schools who are undefeated as of this blog post reside in Lipstick City, aka La-La Land of Los Angeles.

First, the UCLA Bruins and their 11 national championships are using a lot of hot shooting from the perimeter to knock off Michigan at home with a pair of freshmen leading the charge–T.J. Leaf scoring 21 points to go along with eight rebounds, Lonzo Ball dishing out 19 points and seven assists.  As a team, UCLA shot a blistering 67 percent from the floor that included an eye-opening 15 three-pointers and 23 made assists on 39 field goals made.  That, my online friends will win your school a lot of basketball games.

Across a few miles through many busy traveled streets at USC, the Trojans have emerged as one the early season version of the Cardiac Kids–winning four games late after trailing by as many as nine points in each of those games (this included the first three games of the season).  Even with Bennie Boatwright on the shelf for at least six weeks due to suffering a sprained knee, five other Trojans are averaging at least 10.5 points per games.  All of a sudden, that game could loom large in a scattered Pac-12 race.  But before we get ahead of ourselves, USC still has inner-city rival Pepperdine, Troy, Cornell, Missouri State, and either Wyoming or DePaul of Chicago to take care of before heading north to Oregon State and suddenly surging Oregon to kick off the Pac-12 portion of the schedule.

Three other key upsets worth noting from this past week could loom large come Selection Sunday

On Wednesday night, Brenton Scott’s free-throw with .8 seconds on the clock lifted Indiana State to a surprising 72-71 win over Butler, which was ranked 16th at the time of the Associated Press poll that was released on December 5 (the Bulldogs fell two spots with the new poll released today).

The other upsets worth noting was Colorado over Xavier and Wichita State winning at Oklahoma.  When the casual fan looks back when the draw is released, the Selection Committee might point to these games as the back breakers to determine in the overall seed list who would be seeded 65, 66, 67, and 68–in other words, those four schools would be packing their bags and heading to Dayton, Ohio for the First Four opening round games.

Even with the 43rd POTUS George W. Bush along with his wife Laura attending a recent game at SMU with the Mustangs coming up short against TCU, the game also marked the third game attended by former Prime Minister of Great Britain Dave Cameron.  One might recall a few years back, the former Prime Minister was an invited guest of President Obama (himself a huge college basketball fan having conducted his own views of the brackets during his eight years in office) at the First Four games of Dayton to kick off the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

At the very least, with all of the divisiveness this world has been seeing for the better part of 16 plus months, it is comforting to know that there are some things we can all agree on.

At the top of that list is possibly seeing the NCAA mess up or expand to 96 teams the greatest tournament in the world, outside of vintage cricket.

My next blog will detail some recent comments said on the AP website from Monday afternoon detailing what we as fans won’t be seeing change and what some fans might expect prior to see when attending future Sweet 16 and Elite 8 match-ups.

See you all in a bit.

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