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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his Blue Devils are projected as a high seed when the NCAA tournament’s brackets are revealed Sunday. After beating N.C. State in an ACC tournament semifinal on Saturday, he argued that the Wolfpack would be a better at-large selection than a team from the mid-major Atlantic 10.
The ACC is widely projected to have five teams selected – Virginia, Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina and probably Pittsburgh — with N.C. State and Clemson on the bubble. The A-10 could land as many as six teams in the tournament. Coach K said that likely wouldn’t be the case if teams like No. 17 Saint Louis, No. 25 VCU and other A-10 entries such as Dayton, George Washington, St. Joseph’s and UMass had to survive a tougher ACC conference schedule.
“I said to [N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried] at the end of the game, “I hope you guys get in.” I don’t understand it. They won at Tennessee. They probably should have beaten Syracuse twice. I think they’ve played a really good schedule, and they’ve got one of the best players in the country…. I’ll get in trouble probably for saying it. Like the Atlantic 10, they’re a really good conference. I hear people saying there are six teams in there. Come on. I mean, they’re good, but put them in our conference and go through the meat grinder that our conference has to go through.
But really… our league should get more respect. The fact that Pitt comes in here and people are saying they have to do something, come on. Come on, man. I don’t get it. The Clemson team we played last night is a heck of a basketball team.”
Remember the last time Duke played a team from a conference that’s not considered a “major power conference?” I do. And just like St. Bonaventure, they wore poop colored uniforms. Best video ever?
I know a lot of people hate Duke, but I honestly had very little opinion on them. Until now. I started jumping up and down like a 15 year old junior smokeshow who just saw the Biebs when UMass prematurely appeared on my screen as a six seed, because they could POTENTIALLY get a second round matchup with Duke. Could you just imagine the wave of orgasm that will encompass UMass Nation if we beat them after he literally shit all over our conference? I want to see UMass smash their face in more than ever now. I want Duke blood. Do you realize how sweet, creamy, and delicious the irony would be if an Atlantic Ten team knocked Duke out of the tournament after he just took a giant St. Bonaventure sized dump all over it?
Newsflash to Coach K: Your conference blows. Virginia Tech blows. Boston College blows. Georgia Tech blows. Notre Dame blows. Miami blows. Wake Forest blows. Pittsburgh sucks too and the only person who likes them is an idiot named Kevin Gorman from the Pittsburgh Tribune who was the only person voting for them all season in the AP Top 25 Poll.
Oh yea, and you know that Clemson team you’re praising Coach K? Yea, UMass beat them too. We weren’t nearly as impressed with them as you were in your one point win.
So how on earth could St. Louis, Dayton, and UMass possibly make it through the gauntlet that is the ACC? Probably the same way they did all season: by going 9-3 against that conference. I’ve heard for years how Duke thinks they’re college royalty from UNC fans, and now I see it for the first time. We should apparently all bow down and worship this amazing conference.
What Coach K fails to point out is that his conference and the Atlantic Ten are both good, but in very different ways. The ACC is a pro factory. Newsflash: Jabari Parker’s career will last as long as Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, and Seth Curry’s at Duke. One and done. The A-10 simply doesn’t have guys like this. Instead the players develop over four years, graduate, and go on to get real jobs. Most of these teams are led by seniors – every player in the UMass starting lineup is 21 or over. None of these players are going to be lottery picks. If they were, then they’d go to Duke.
But the fact of the matter is that they can compete with any group of one-and-done McDonald’s All-Americans on an annual basis. The perception is on paper that they’re not as good. Indeed they’re not as talented, but certainly they’ve proven time and time again that they can beat any team from the ACC or other power conferences on any given night.
So yesterday on the way home from Brooklyn we were listening to XM radio, and Doug Gottlieb and Mateen Cleeves were talking tournament. They had another coach (Southern Mississippi’s Donnie Tyndall) come on the show and bash the Atlantic Ten. Southern Miss lost in the all powerful Conference USA Tournament, which Tulsa ended up winning. They happened to be one of my last four in, but they were a long shot. They’ve played absolutely no one, and couldn’t win their crap happy conference tournament, so obviously he used this as an opportunity to bash the Atlantic 10.
His argument was that the Atlantic Ten has six non-conference wins against top 50 RPI teams, while Conference USA has eight wins. Obviously this infuriated me, because of its blatant idiocy, but I got over it. Then I heard Gottlieb say as I got onto the Merritt Parkway,
“We have a caller named Brian from Massachusetts.”
At first I didn’t put two and two together. The caller led off by saying “First I wanna say that I am a huge Umass fan.” That should’ve been a dead giveaway at that point. But it took me a solid 30 seconds before I yelled out,
“That’s Brian Long!!!”
He made some really good points. For starters the coaches numbers were wrong. The A-10 has seven non –conference top 50 RPI wins, not six. Then Gottlieb ended the conversation a little early. I started taping it towards the end. Here’s all I got:
I called Mr. UMass superfan, and he convinced me to call up too. So I did. My wife was supposed to tape the conversation, but due to technical difficulties we only got the tail end of it:
Since you can’t hear the majority of the long convo we had, here are the arguments I made to Mr. Gottlieb:
Half the teams in the Atlantic 10 ARE top 50 RPI teams. Therefore pointing out their nonconference strength of schedule is moronic and irrelevant.
I wanted UMass to match up against Gottlieb’s Oklahoma State Cowboys so that we can remind Travis Ford that we don’t miss him at all, and we rebuilt the program that he blew up on his way out the door.
TurtleBoy Sports predicted that Iowa would be either left out of the tournament or play in one of the play in games. There isn’t an “expert” in the country that had them in danger of missing the tournament. Gottlieb told me blatantly that he agreed Iowa doesn’t deserve to get in, but that they would, and if UMass drew them in the “second round” then UMass would win. Iowa ended up as one of the last four in, and plays in Friday’s plain-in game for the “right” to play UMass. Guru status.
Gottlieb kept asking me questions about the Barclay’s. I told him it was a palace, but that the second day we figured out you could see the jumbotron from outside, so we watched the games from there instead of paying $35 for tickets.
Gottlieb asked me who had the biggest fan base down there. Easy answer – VCU, followed by the animals from St. Bonaventure.
Gottlieb and Cleeves both concurred with BLong and I that these coaches are morons. To say that a conference should have a set number of teams that SHOULD get in, is ridiculous. The best teams should get in regardless of conference. Dayton, UMass, St. Louis, VCU, St. Joe’s, and George Washington were all better than North Carolina State and Southern Mississippi this year. Period.
Almost every major “expert” on college basketball is picking UMass to lose in the first round. Why? Because they’re over seeded. They certainly shouldn’t be a six seed. But if they were seeded ninth, all these yahoos would be picking UMass to win because they’re “under seeded,” even though they’d be playing a better team than Iowa or Tennessee. Think of how illogical that is – UMass will lose to an 11th seeded team, but would beat an 8th seeded team. Yea, that makes sense.
The worst by far is the four letter network. Here’s what the Worldwide leader had to say:
Apparently, the selection committee misinterpreted a memo stating that UMass had been seeded sixth in its conference tournament and instead took it as a directive for how to slot the Midwest Region. Not only is our model’s power rating skeptical of the Minutemen, calling them the 48th-best team in the nation, but it says Iowa (14th) and Tennessee (21st) are just as badly underseeded.
Right. Because college games are always decided by statistical equations. Why even play the game right? They only have a 22% chance of beating a team that just lost to Northwestern and Illinois. The people that came up with this formula are the same kind of nudniks who would drive their car into the ocean because their GPS told them to.
The bottom line is that I simply cannot stop thinking about Friday. It’s consuming my mind. At this point I would literally kill a man for UMass basketball. The thought of them winning at 2:40 on Friday gives me the biggest UMass pants tent in the history of the world. I can’t think about Duke yet though. We either have to beat Iowa or Tennessee. Let’s do this UMASS!!!!
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