Sunday, February 14, 2010

Squarely on the Bubble With The Starland Vocal Band

Before I begin with today's subject, a little bit of timely news. First, with my google news alerts, I often come across interesting, well written and often timely articles. David Jones of the Patriot News wrote a good article called "How a 96 Team Field Will Ruin the NCAA Tournament". I especially loved his first sentence in the article. It's one of those attention grabbing lines that if you know the subject, and agree with it, reels you into the rest of a good column. Make sure to read it.

Next, the College Hardwood's college homebase, Hofstra (14-13 overall, 7-8 CAA) is having a good second half of their CAA conference season. Hofstra has now won five of their last six conference games after disposing of UNC Wilmington 87-70 at the Trask Center in scenic Wilmington, NC. Cornelius Vines was in the zone last night, as he scored a career high 24 points on seven three pointers to lead the Pride. Charles Jenkins chipped in with 22 points and Chaz Williams had 7 assists for Hofstra.

When your child wakes up early as my younger son Jonathan often does, while he is watching the classics like "Tom and Jerry" on Boomerang this morning, I grab my laptop. I usually look at the national news headlines before I starting write my daily article for this blog. Well I was reviewing CNN's home page and came across the headline "Sexiest song of all time". And I was like, ok let's read.

So Billboard came out with its "The 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time" list. First, when you read the CNN article, the number one song is "Physical" by Olivia Newton John, which lets face it, is anything but sexy. So since Billboard got this sooo wrong, I had to see what other 49 songs they have on this "list" and I went to the above linked site.

It's a freakin howl. I mean when you read this you will start snickering. Some of these songs on the list are so NOT sexy it's just downright hilarious. You have dandies like "She Bop" from Cyndi Lauper, to "Do That to Me One More Time" by the Captain and Tenille. I am sorry but this song by the Captain and Tenille is proof of how bad some of the music was in the 70's.

Now the list did get some songs right. "Poor Some Sugar on Me". Sure. "Slowhand" by the Pointer Sisters. Definitely, a great song. And finally, "Let's Get it On" by Marvin Gaye. Finally some good choices.

But again on the other end of the spectrum, you have the absolute dandy above. "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band. It makes "Do That to Me One More Time" look like Al Green's "Let's Stay Together". Now it gets better, when you play the video, this is from a VH1 countdown. The introduction by the "legendary" David Cassidy talks about how the Starland Vocal Band got two Grammy for this ditty (further proof of how bad some 70's music was) and they got their own TV variety show out of it (as did the Captain and Tenille). But sexy?? Oh dear god no.

So now that we have that howler of a list out of the way, if you want sexy, watch the above. It's a great version of John Hiatt's classic "Feels Like Rain" by Buddy Guy and John Mayer. Now that's sexy.

Ok enough about sexy songs. It's on to the subject of the day. Several teams proverbially shot themselves in the foot yesterday. As a result, those teams are squarely on the bubble, and in one case, I think that team fell off the bubble.

I was watching the first half of Dayton vs. St Louis on ESPNU yesterday. And you couldn't have asked for a more impressive first half by the Dayton Flyers. They bolted out to a 33-18 halftime lead, shot 50 percent from the field, held the Billikens to 20 percent from the field and outrebounded them 21-11. But it felt eerily familiar to the first half Dayton had at Xavier earlier in the season, a game they lost 78-74.

I couldn't watch the second half because we were meeting up with my wife's family for dinner. But I kept close tabs with my cell phone updates of the game. Saint Louis was making a comeback, due in large part to two factors. One, the Billikens shot 6 of 13 from beyond the arc in the second half. Two, the Flyers killed themselves with 5 of 13 shooting from the charity stripe.

Both factors would haunt the Flyers at the end of regulation. Up 54-49 with 43 seconds left, Dayton's Paul Williams missed the front end of a one -one. St Louis' Kyle Cassity would follow with a layup to put the Billikens within three with 27 seconds left. Again, St Louis fouled Williams. And again, Williams missed the front end of a one-one. The Billikens grab the rebound then Dayton coach Brian Gregory makes the cardinal mistake of not fouling anyone ahead of time to deny the three point attempt. And Kwmain Mitchell made him pay, banking a 30 footer with 3 seconds left to tie the game. St Louis would go onto win the game in double overtime 68-65.

The loss puts Dayton (17-7) in seventh place in the A10 at 6-4 and precariously on the bubble. As late as Friday, Joe Lunardi had the Flyers in as one of the six A10 teams in the NCAA Tournament. But the A10 is a wannabe conference and the NCAA is not going to look kindly to give the seventh place team in the A10 an at large bid. Also the Flyers are only 4-3 in their last seven games and 4-5 on the road. Non conference wins over Georgia Tech and Old Dominion and conference wins over Xavier and Charlotte may not be enough to save Dayton unless they finish in the top four or five in the A10.

A fellow A10 member, Xavier punched their ticket with a win at Florida yesterday, and as a result the Gators (17-8 overall) are now squarely on the bubble. The Gators are only 6-4 in their last ten. The Gators have a SOS of 80, which is not good for a Power Six conference member. In Joe Lunardi's Bracketology only Ohio State, Illinois (both of which Lunardi lists as making the dance) and Mississippi State (which Lunardi lists as not making the dance) have a worse SOS for a Power Six team than Florida.

Also the Gators have a poor 2-6 record vs. teams in the Top 50 in RPI. And in their final six regular season games before the SEC Tournament, Florida has Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Not an easy schedule for a bubble team. The Gators only saving grace may be a neutral site win over Michigan State. But that may not even be enough if the Gators enter the SEC tournament with 11 losses.

Finally, it was a rough week for St Mary's (21-5, 8-3 WCC). First after a close first half, the Gaels got blown out at Gonzaga. Then last night, I got to watch most of the St Mary's - Portland game on ESPN2. The Gaels rallied from a thirteen point second half deficit to take a 72-70 lead on a Omar Samhan jumper with 40 seconds left. However St Mary's could not stop Portland's TJ Campbell from hitting a game tying layup with 26 seconds left.

The Gaels had the ball with the shotclock off with a chance to win the game. Then came a play that I truly hate. Instead of working the ball inside to their best player, Samhan, St Mary's Mickey McConnell moved to the top of the key and dribbled the shot clock down to about 10 seconds left before driving to the basket. As many Hofstra fans know, this play usually doesn't work out well. McConnell would drive the lane and pick up a charge. The game went into overtime, Samhan fouled out and the Gaels ended up losing to the Pilots.

With the loss, St Mary's sits squarely on the bubble. In fact, I sadly believe the Gaels fell off the bubble. With no wins vs. the Top 25 in the RPI, only a 2-3 record vs. the Top 50 in RPI and a SOS of 127, St Mary's is in serious trouble. Their three best wins are over San Diego State (44 RPI) , Utah State (47 RPI) and Northeastern (59 RPI).

Compare that with William and Mary (18-7, 10-5 CAA), another bubble team who has wins over Wake Forest (13 RPI), Richmond (26 RPI) and Maryland (39 RPI), along with a win over Northeastern as well. When you make that comparison, the Tribe look much more solid than the Gaels now. St Mary's now has to win the WCC Tournament to go to the dance.

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