Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Publishing Problems

For the second time in the past week, I have been having trouble with the publishing of this blog. As a result, there have not been any posts this week because I simply have not been able to publish the blog without errors. If the problems continue, I might have to look for alternate ways of putting out March Madness All Season. Hopefully it won't come to that.

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Week Ahead

The first week of the New Year is always an exciting one for college basketball. It still features some marquee non-conference games that could not fit in the previous calendar year, but it also marks the first full week of conference play for nearly every conference around the country. It is the week where teams begin to show their true colors – if they are a contender or a pretender. Also, don’t look now, but there’s just ten weeks until Selection Sunday – the stretch run starts now.


Georgetown at Connecticut
Temple at Villanova
Portland State at Baylor
Cincinnati at Memphis
Davidson at Charleston


Illinois at Purdue
Seton Hall at Syracuse
Clemson at South Carolina
UAB at Butler
Oklahoma at Arkansas


Michigan State at Minnesota
Northwestern at Penn State
Pittsburgh at Rutgers
Wisconsin at Michigan
Evansville at Illinois State
UNLV at Louisville


Fairfield at Siena
Villanova at Marquette


USC at Oregon
South Carolina at Baylor
Arizona at California
Arizona State at Stanford

Friday, December 26, 2008

Site Update and Schedule

First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone -- I hope you all are enjoying it.

Secondly, I wanted to give a few updates and notifications about the site. The blog was down for the past couple of days due to publishing problems within the network; luckily, it was during Christmas and Christmas Eve, so traffic wasn't heavy anyway. It is back up and running, though, so fresh content will be up here everyday.

Also, with 2009 on the horizon, we only have about two and a half months left until Selection Sunday -- and things are already starting to heat up around the country. With that in mind, I've decided to let everyone know the content schedule around here. It is subject to change, but this is what it will be until February or so, when I start doing the Bubble Watch, projected brackets, "Road to Selection Sunday," etc. Anyway, here it is (of course, this is tentative and subject to change):

Sunday Night: Power Sweet Sixteen Rankings
Monday: The Week Ahead
Tuesday: CHN Player of the Week
Wednesday: NCAA Tournament Stock Report
Thursday: Alternating stories about various things
Friday: Weekend Preview

Also, I'm going to resume the "Full-Court Press" column that ran every morning last season. It includes links to various stories and news items from newspapers and other outlets from around the country. And, of course, don't forget about my Daily Predictions every evening. Furthermore, I will be writing stories and columns for the NBE Basketball Report, so I will definitely post links to those works as they appear.

As always, thank you for visiting March Madness All Season, and continue to do so in 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Week Four Blogpoll

Just like last season, March Madness All Season has been participating in a weekly top-25 ranking with 21 other bloggers. I began posting the overall top-25 rankings a couple of weeks ago, and will continue to post my rankings and the consensus rankings on a weekly basis for the rest of the season. The final rankings come out on Wednesdays, but the rankings are based on games through Monday night. It is run by Gabby from the March to Madness blog, who does a great job recruiting and organizing bloggers to take part in the poll.

Anyway, here is this week's top-25 blogpoll ranking. It includes the rankings for each of the individual bloggers as well as the consensus top-25.

Week Four Blogpoll

Feedback is appreciated, and if you are a blogger who would like to participate in the blogpoll, shoot me an e-mail at and I will get you in contact with Gabby. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday, December 23 Predictions

Prediction Record: 65-27 (ATS: 46-37-4)

Butler at Xavier (-8): Prediction: Xavier 67, Butler 60
Illinois at Missouri (-3.5): Prediction: Missouri 83, Illinois 73
Portland State at Gonzaga (-21.5): Prediction: Gonzaga 88, Portland State 72
Texas at Wisconsin (-1): Prediction: Wisconsin 65, Texas 60
Kansas at Arizona (-2): Prediction: Arizona 81, Kansas 74

CHN Player of the Week, Dec. 22

Player of the Week: A.J. Price, Connecticut

With college football mostly out of the country’s mind until the major bowls pick up after Christmas, this was the perfect week and weekend to really get into the college basketball season – if you hadn’t already. Furthermore, with snow blanketing most of the country, sitting inside on Saturday to watch a full slate of college hoops games was the ideal thing to do. If so, you were treated to a host of fantastic contests. Several top-10 teams battled it out, with a handful of marquee match-ups going down to the wire.

Of course, with all the high-quality games, there were several tremendous performances throughout the week. In Duke’s thrashing of Xavier, Jon Scheyer led the way with 23 points. James Harden of Arizona State continued his outstanding season, putting up 30 points, six rebounds and six assists in a last-second escape over BYU. Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks dropped 46 points on Appalachian State, while Al Nolen of Minnesota finished with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists in an upset win over No. 9 Louisville. Arguably the most impressive win of the week, though, was Connecticut going on the road to face Gonzaga and knocking the Bulldogs off in overtime. And the hero of that game was A.J. Price, this week’s CollegeHoopsNet Player of the Week.

Price kicked off his week with a solid albeit unspectacular performance against Stony Brook: 13 points, three rebounds, five assists, zero turnovers. He only needed to play 22 minutes as Connecticut throttled Stony Brook. Against Gonzaga, though, Price reverted to his form of last year, when he was one of the top point guards in the country. Price finished with 24 points, three rebounds and 10 assists, and also knocked down six of his nine three-point attempts. Furthermore, Price – who came into the game shooting just 36 percent from the free-throw line – hit six of eight from the charity stripe. Price also hit a miraculous game-tying three-pointer with time winding down in regulation to force the extra session. If Price can return to his 2007-2008 form, the Huskies could pose a threat to North Carolina come March.

- Al Nolen, Minnesota
- Jon Scheyer, Duke
- Jodie Meeks, Kentucky

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Week Ahead

After an outstanding weekend of college basketball, including four top-10 teams losing and an abundance of excellent finishes from around the country, how will the upcoming week keep the momentum going? Despite only two days of games until the weekend because of Christmas and Christmas Eve, there are still several quality contests to keep an eye on while wrapping those holiday gifts.

Wake Forest at East Carolina (Monday): Intrastate battle between the No. 6-ranked team in the country (Sixth? Wake Forest? Really?) and a somewhat surprising Conference-USA team off to an 8-2 start. The Pirates will likely come down to Earth after this one, though.

Marquette at North Carolina State (Monday): Potential upset alert? Doubtful, although NC State does have the frontcourt talent to cause problems for the perimeter-laden Golden Eagles. Can the Wolfpack backcourt hang with Marquette?

American at Maryland (Monday): Match-up in the mid-Atlantic. American is the favorite in the Patriot League, led by Garrison Carr and Derrick Mercer, while Maryland is one of several ACC teams in the middle of the pack.

Georgia Tech at USC (Monday): Two teams filled with plenty of athletes and players that can score the ball. However, the Trojans have more athletes, more scorers – and they actually play defense, too.

Butler at Xavier (Tuesday): Two of the top, uh, “non-BCS” teams in the country, both clubs have been very impressive thus far. Butler’s lone defeat was a close loss at Ohio State, while Xavier is coming off of a massacre at the hands of Duke.

Illinois at Missouri (Tuesday): A Border War in the Midwest. Illinois is looking like a potential contender for an NCAA berth out of the Big Ten, while Missouri entered my top 25 rankings last week and is on the rise.

Portland State at Gonzaga (Tuesday):
Interesting match-up out in the Pacific Northwest. Portland State nearly beat Washington recently and has the personnel to give Gonzaga a run early on. The Zags, though, are going to be hungry after their loss to UConn on Saturday.

Texas at Wisconsin (Tuesday): One of the more intriguing games of the week. It features a contrast in styles, as Texas would rather push the ball and win by scoring, while Wisconsin loves to slow it down and play in the half-court.

Kansas at Arizona (Tuesday): Two teams that love to get up and down the court and score the basketball at a high rate. Kansas has had some growing pains with such a young team, while Arizona has been inconsistent all season so far.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Aaand...Welcome to College Basketball

If college basketball were college football, ESPN would have some corny nickname for Saturday's multitude of great games, like "Statement Saturday" or something along the lines of that. Michigan State at Texas. Duke vs. Xavier. Davidson at Purdue. Syracuse at Memphis. The best of them all, Connecticut at Gonzaga. Top-25 teams squaring off against high-quality competition all across the country made for a fantastic day of college hoops. Looking back at the day and night as a whole, though, one could look at it as the day that really kicked off college basketball for the 2008-2009 campaign.

Sure, us die-hard fans have been following the season for about five weeks now, but most casual fans are still working off their college football hangover and have not had a chance to really take in the hoops landscape for this season. With ice and snow covering much of the country, it was the perfect day to watch marquee match-up after marquee match-up and check out some of the top teams and players in the country. If you were one of those people who haven't really been able to catch up on the season until today, you couldn't have chosen a better day. Here's a look at some of the highlights and storylines from the December 20 slate of games.

- West Virginia kicking off the day with a 36-point shellacking of Miami (Ohio), who usually doesn't give up more than 65 or 70 points in a game. The Mountaineers are going to be a tough out in the Big East.

- Look who has all of a sudden won eight of its last nine games: Kentucky. The Wildcats continue to improve behind the scoring of Jodie Meeks, who dropped in 46 points in a win over Appalachian State.

- Georgetown needed to hold Mount St. Mary's scoreless for the final three and a half minutes in order to secure a win today; the Hoyas shot just 38 percent on the day.

- Wofford's Tim Johnson missed two free throws with fewer than five seconds left in overtime, allowing Georgia's Zac Swansey to race down the court and hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 74-73 win.

- Minnesota improved to 10-0 this season with an upset of No. 9 Louisville, 70-64. The Cardinals had awful days from all three point guard options: Edgar Sosa, Andre McGree and Preston Knowles. They need to figure that position out if they want to contend for a Big East and/or national championship. On the other hand, the Golden Gophers look better and better.

- In a match-up of top-10 teams, No. 6 Duke jumped out to a 22-3 lead on No. 7 Xavier before the Musketeers could muster their first field goal of the game. Most college basketball fans knew Xavier was good, but not that good -- this proved it.

- Durrell Summers scored Michigan State's last five points to give the Spartans a 67-63 road victory over No. 5 Texas. Michigan State had a lot of hype heading into the season and this game might have given them their swagger back. A.J. Abrams had just eight points in 40 points for Texas.

- Temple couldn't pull off another upset, as the Owls fell on the road to Kansas, 71-59. Dionte Christmas did hit another six three-pointers, though.

- USC needed to overcome a halftime deficit to defeat North Dakota State by four. NDSU shot only 37 percent from the field, 31 percent from three-point range and 57 percent from the free-throw line, yet USC barely won because they didn't knock down a three all day.

- Arizona couldn't get another big win this weekend, as UNLV defeated the Wildcats by 15 after a huge second half in which Wink Adams and Tre'Von Willis took over for the Rebels. They could be a tough team to beat come March, while Arizona still needs to develop consistency.

- Tennessee barely beat Belmont, knocking off the Bruins by just two points. The Vols miss J.P. Prince, who is still out with an injury.

- In the Battle in Seattle, Gonzaga blew a nine-point second half lead to fall in overtime to the second-ranked Connecticut Huskies. The Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the field -- which is usually unheard of against UConn -- but Austin Daye, Matt Bouldin and Micah Downs all fouled out, leading them shorthanded in the extra period. On the other side, Hasheem Thabeet was disqualified for Connecticut after picking up his fifth foul on a ridiculous technical foul for taunting. The Huskies did not miss him too much, as Gavin Edwards had 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks off the bench. A.J. Price and Jerome Dyson combined for 45 points for Connecticut. Price's off-balance three-pointer with the clock winding down in regulation to tie the game was unbelievable.

- As goes Stephen Curry, goes Davidson. The All-American shot 5-of-26 from the field, including 2-of-12 from three-point range, and also committed six turnovers, as the Wildcats were drilled by Purdue, 76-58. Defensive stopper Chris Kramer proved once again that he is one of the toughest defenders in the country.

- The best ending of the day might have belonged to the BYU-Arizona State match-up. A back-and-forth affair all day, Arizona State took the lead with nine seconds left as James Harden hit the second of two free throws. After the Sun Devils knocked the ball out of bounds with three seconds left, BYU's Charles Abuou laid in a Jonathan Tavernari miss over his shoulder as the buzzer sounded. The referees originally counted the basket, but overturned it after seeing the replay, giving the Sun Devils the victory. My opinion? I didn't think it was good as it happened, but thought it might have counted after seeing the replays. Very, very close call.

- One undefeated team fell, as LSU dropped a road game to Texas A&M, while another undefeated stayed alive, with Stanford knocking off Northwestern.

- In its first game without the suspended Eric Devendorf, No. 11 Syracuse handed defending national runner-up Memphis another loss, defeating the Tigers 72-65 on their home floor. Devendorf's replacement, Andy Rautins, had nine points in 38 minutes. Memphis shot just 34 percent from the field and 21 percent from three-point range. The Tigers missed a whopping 26 three-point attempts; looks like the Syracuse 2-3 zone is still effective.

- Seton Hall dropped its second game of the season, as IUPUI defeated the Pirates on a lay-up by Leroy Nobles at the buzzer. The Jaguars, who nearly beat Arizona State on the road last week, never trailed.

- No. 21 Baylor overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to beat Texas-Arlington, 79-76. The Bears didn't lead in the second half until just over six minutes remaining. The Mavericks' five losses this season have come by a total of 23 points.

- One top-10 team that avoided an upset was No. 4 Oklahoma, who defeated head coach Jeff Capel's former team, VCU, 81-70. Blake Griffin took just eight shots, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds. Tony Crocker stepped up for the Sooners, though, hitting five threes en route to a 26-point performance. Star guard Eric Maynor struggled for the Rams, shooting just 5-of-18 from the field (2-9 from three-point range) and committing eight turnovers.

- With four top-10 teams losing and a couple others struggling before pulling out victories, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who senses the gap between North Carolina and everyone else is growing?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weekend Preview

Conference play is around the corner and non-conference games are winding down – finally. For many fans, we are reaching the point of the college basketball season where things really start mattering – the meat and potatoes of the season. Before we get there, though, there are still some loose ends to tie up in 2008. While there are only a couple of days left for Christmas shopping, don't forget to tune into a ton of college basketball on Saturday. It might be tough to find your last-minute gifts, but that can wait. There are not many games next week, so be sure to get your fill of college hoops with the handful of must-see match-ups and dozens of other quality contests this weekend.

Miami (Ohio) at West Virginia (Saturday, 12:00 NOON, ESPNU): Prediction: West Virginia 68, Miami (Ohio) 59
Louisville at Minnesota (Saturday, 2:00 PM, FSN): Prediction: Louisville 75, Minnesota 66
Michigan State at Texas (Saturday, 2:00 PM, CBS): Prediction: Texas 76, Michigan State 72
Duke at Xavier (Saturday, 2:00 PM, CBS): Prediction: Xavier 78, Duke 74
Temple at Kansas (Saturday, 2:30 PM, ESPN2): Prediction: Kansas 83, Temple 73
Arizona at UNLV (Saturday, 3:00 PM, Versus):
Prediction: UNLV 74, Arizona 68
Connecticut at Gonzaga (Saturday, 4:00 PM, CBS): Prediction: Gonzaga 87, Connecticut 84
Providence at Boston College (Saturday, 4:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt/Regional TV):
Prediction: Boston College 71, Providence 65
Davidson at Purdue (Saturday, 4:00 PM, CBS): Prediction: Purdue 77, Davidson 72
BYU at Arizona State (Saturday, 4:30 PM, FSN): Prediction: Arizona State 70, BYU 64
LSU at Texas A&M (Saturday, 4:30 PM): Prediction: Texas A&M 74, LSU 69
Syracuse at Memphis (Saturday, 6:00 PM, ESPN):
Prediction: Memphis 83, Syracuse 76
Rhode Island at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 7:30 PM, ESPN Classic): Prediction: Oklahoma State 85, Rhode Island 75
Northwestern at Stanford (Saturday, 10:00 PM): Prediction: Stanford 67, Northwestern 60
VCU at Oklahoma (Saturday, 10:00 PM, ESPN2): Prediction: Oklahoma 81, VCU 71
Pittsburgh at Florida State (Sunday, 5:30 PM, FSN): Prediction: Pittsburgh 75, Florida State 66
Clemson at Miami (Fl.) (Sunday, 7:45 PM, FSN): Prediction: Miami (Fl.) 73, Clemson 67

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday, December 18 Predictions

Prediction Record: 50-22 (ATS: 32-32-3)

Mississippi State at Cincinnati (-5): Prediction: Cincinnati 68, Mississippi State 59
Evansville at North Carolina (-29): Prediction: North Carolina 96, Evansville 73
Western Kentucky at South Alabama (-4): Prediction: South Alabama 87, Western Kentucky 84
Mississippi at Louisville (-15.5): Prediction: Louisville 81, Mississippi 70

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, December 17 Predictions

Prediction Record: 47-22 (ATS: 30-32-3)

Mercer at Oklahoma State (OFF): Prediction: Oklahoma State 91, Mercer 77
Siena at Pittsburgh (-17): Prediction: Pittsburgh 78, Siena 67
Saint Mary's at Oregon (+2.5): Prediction: Saint Mary's 83, Oregon 75

And, as always, if you want to wager on any of these games or any other sporting events, just head over to and Bet on USA.

Week Three Blogpoll

Just like last season, March Madness All Season has been participating in a weekly top-25 ranking with 21 other bloggers. I began posting the overall top-25 rankings last week, and will continue to post my rankings and the consensus rankings on a weekly basis for the rest of the season. The final rankings come out on Wednesdays, but the rankings are based on games through Monday night. It is run by Gabby from the March to Madness blog, who does a great job recruiting and organizing bloggers to take part in the poll.

Anyway, here is this week's top-25 blogpoll ranking. It includes the rankings for each of the individual bloggers as well as the consensus top-25.

Week Three Blogpoll

Feedback is appreciated, and if you are a blogger who would like to participate in the blogpoll, shoot me an e-mail at and I will get you in contact with Gabby. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Week Ahead

After an outstanding weekend of college basketball featuring two top-10 teams fall on the road and a few more top-25 squads drop games, it will be interesting to see if this week can continue the trend. It got off to a great start Monday, as Cleveland State went into Syracuse and upset the Orange on a 60-foot (longer than that, if you ask me) shot at the buzzer by Cedric Jackson. There aren’t too many marquee match-ups on the docket in the next couple of days, but there are certainly several intriguing battles – including a top-25 contest tonight.

Marquette at Tennessee (Tuesday, 9:30 PM): Definitely the most anticipated game of the week. Marquette has just one loss, a neutral-site defeat at the hands of Dayton, while Tennessee is coming off a blowout loss at Temple over the weekend. The Volunteers should have J.P. Prince, who injured himself in practice last week and didn’t play against Temple, available for this game. There should be plenty of interesting individual battles, including UT’s Tyler Smith against Lazar Hayward – two versatile combo forwards who can do a variety of things. Also look for the perimeter groups; both teams are deep in the backcourt.

Mercer at Oklahoma State (Wednesday, 8:00 PM): Mercer has already knocked off Alabama and Auburn on the road – can the Bears defeat another major-conference team away from home? It also doesn’t get any easier for Mercer, as this game marks the beginning of a seven-game road trip, including its next game against UCLA. Oklahoma State has lost three of its last five, although falling victim to Gonzaga, Michigan State and Washington isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Five straight home games before Big 12 play should get them headed back in the right diretion.

Siena at Pittsburgh (Wednesday, 9:30 PM): Can Siena, who was my mid-major darling before the season started, pick up a resume-building victory on the road against one of the best teams in the country? Doubtful, but the perimeter duo of Kenny Hasbrouck and Edwin Ubiles can hang with anyone in the nation. Pittsburgh has started 10-0 and is playing some of the best basketball of anyone. The Panthers haven’t won a game by less than 13 points, and only four of their wins are by fewer than 20 points.

Saint Mary’s at Oregon (Wednesday, 10:00 PM): Another chance for Saint Mary’s to show that it is going to be a team to be reckoned with come March. The Gaels have already knocked off Providence, Kent State and San Diego State, with their only loss coming against UTEP. Oregon has been inconsistent, beating Kansas State and Alabama but losing at home to Oakland and a struggling San Diego team. The Ducks are just 4-5 currently, with three games remaining before Pac-10 play begins. They can’t afford another non-conference loss here. Patty Mills should slice up a porous Ducks’ defense, though.

Mississippi State at Cincinnati (Thursday, 6:30 PM): Two major-conference clubs in the bottom half of their respective conferences looking to get some momentum before league play begins. Mississippi State has lost three of its last five games, but is coming off of a solid win over South Alabama. Outside of that, though, the Bulldogs’ best win is over St. Bonaventure – not an overly impressive resume. Cincinnati missed a chance to pick up a top-10 win when it fell to Xavier at home in the “Crosstown Shootout.” Still, the Bearcats have been fairly impressive this year, knocking off UAB and UNLV.

Evansville at North Carolina (Thursday, 7:00 PM): No, I do not think that Evansville is going to beat North Carolina, or even give the Tar Heels much of a contest, but it seems noteworthy to mention that the Aces are off to their best start in 27 years. They are 7-1, coming off of a 32-point victory over a hot Western Kentucky team. Shy Ely is a tough match-up. North Carolina is far and away the best team in the country, and is looking better and better with each game. More people are jumping on the bandwagon that the Heels are going to go undefeated.

Western Kentucky at South Alabama (Thursday, 8:05 PM):
Two of the annual favorites in the Sun Belt Conference face off for the first time this season. Western Kentucky had won four in a row, including victories over Southern Illinois, Louisville and Georgia, before falling over the weekend to Evansville. South Alabama is 6-0 against teams outside of the “Big Six” conferences, but 0-4 against teams in those leagues. Both of these teams made the NCAA Tournament last season, but are not looking like the frontrunners out of the Sun Belt this year.

Mississippi at Louisville (Thursday, 9:00 PM):
Two teams that have not lived up to their respective preseason hype face off on a neutral court in Cincinnati. Mississippi was expected to contend for the SEC West title, but injuries to Eniel Polynice and Trevor Gaskins have knocked the Rebels down a few notches. They lost to New Mexico by 33 on Saturday. Louisville had Final Four aspirations before the season, but the Cardinals lost to Western Kentucky on a neutral court by 14 earlier this season and have looked generally inconsistent all season. It will be interesting to see if they can get it together and compete for a Big East and national championship.

Monday, December 15, 2008

CHN Player of the Week, Dec. 15

Player of the Week: Dionte Christmas, Temple

The second week of December is normally a fairly slow week in the college basketball world. Colleges and universities around the country are ending their semesters and final exams are being taken by the student-athletes. After several weeks of tournaments and big-time match-ups, though, it was a nice change of pace for those who needed to catch their breath and/or get some holiday shopping done. Therefore, there were only a few marquee games throughout the week – but it still left plenty of opportunities for some of the top players to put up outstanding performances.

Several of the usual suspects had big games this past week, including A.J. Abrams, who helped lead Texas to a solid win over Villanova and then hold off Texas State. Of course, Stephen Curry had another standout week, averaging 34 points, four rebounds and eight assists per game in two Davidson wins. Xavier’s C.J. Anderson and Derrick Brown both had double-doubles in a road win over Cincinnati, while Ricky Harris of Massachusetts had 18 points in the Minutemen’s win at Kansas. You also can’t forget Ben Woodside of North Dakota State, who poured in 60 points in a loss to Stephen F. Austin on Friday and followed that up with a 31-point, 10-assist performance in a win over Georgia Southern Saturday.

The most impressive showing of the week, though, has to go to Temple’s Dionte Christmas. The 6-5 senior shooting guard scored 35 points, grabbed two rebounds, dished out two assists and also had three steals as the Owls dismantled No.8-ranked Tennessee, 88-72. Christmas hit seven three-pointers and shot 12-of-22 from the field overall. He really came alive in the second half, hitting six of his aforementioned seven threes, and 10 of his 12 field goals. Furthermore, he had a stretch where he knocked down three consecutive three-point attempts to help the Owls’ lead balloon back to 15. After scoring just two points a week ago at Penn State, Christmas bounced back in a big way, and might have helped turn Temple’s season around. On the year, Christmas is averaging 21.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

- A.J. Abrams, Texas
- Ben Woodside, North Dakota State
- Stephen Curry, Davidson

Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekend Preview

After one of the least enticing weeks of the college basketball season so far, the upcoming weekend is no different. Every year, there is an extreme lull in terms of quality games two weeks before Christmas. Colleges and universities across the country have final exams this week and many teams do not even schedule games during finals. With that said, though, there are still several quality games to keep an eye on. Oh, and welcome back to the Weekend Preview – I’m starting ratchet things up here again, as my final exams and semester wind down.

Butler at Ohio State (-7) (Saturday, 12:00 Noon, Big Ten Network): Two of the dwindling number of unbeatens remaining (more on that in a post coming Tuesday), the Midwest powers battle it out. Butler has four road wins, including ones over mid-major threats Drake and Cleveland State, as well as a home victory over Northwestern. Matt Howard is one of the better big men around, while Shelvin Mack has done an admirable job replacing A.J. Graves and Mike Green. Ohio State leapt back into the nation’s mind with back-to-back road wins against Miami (Fl.) and Notre Dame. Evan Turner looks like the next Buckeyes’ star, while Jon Diebler can really shoot the ball. Freshman phenom B.J. Mullens has yet to break out. Prediction: Ohio State 67, Butler 61

Tennessee at Temple (+7.5) (Saturday, 12:00 Noon, ESPN): The Volunteers come up north for a tough non-conference game. Temple was expected to compete for an NCAA berth out of the Atlantic-10, but the Owls have struggled, starting just 4-3, including a loss to Buffalo. Dionte Christmas is one of the premier shooting guards in the country, and Lavoy Allen is a double-double threat on the inside. Tennessee has just one blemish on its resume, a loss on a neutral court to Gonzaga. The Vols have not missed a beat from last year, with Tyler Smith becoming more of a go-to-guy and Cameron Tatum and J.P. Prince stepping up on the perimeter. Prediction: Tennessee 88, Temple 76

Memphis at Georgetown (-6.5) (Saturday, 2:00 PM, CBS): Two top-25 teams go at it in their annual marquee match-up; it should be the game of the weekend. Georgetown has just one loss on its record, a 12-point defeat against Tennessee. Since then, the Hoyas have not allowed a team to score 50 points, winning their last three by almost 38 points per game. DaJuan Summers and Greg Monroe lead five players averaging double-figures. Memphis is obviously not as good as it was last year, as the Tigers fell to Xavier a couple of weeks ago by five points. Tyreke Evans is their leading scorer, but he needs to curtail his shot selection. Robert Dozier is very tough to guard, and Shawn Taggart is averaging a double-double. Prediction: Georgetown 76, Memphis 70

Indiana at Kentucky (-16.5) (Saturday, 4:00 PM, CBS): This is not going to be a good game at all, but given the rivalry and the fact that it’s the second game of CBS’ double-header, I figured I should include it. Indiana is expectedly struggling this season, although forward Tom Pritchard has been a bright spot. Kentucky has won six of seven since starting 0-2. Jodie Meeks is filling it up offensively, while Patrick Patterson is dominating the interior. Prediction: Kentucky 83, Indiana 66

Saint Mary’s at San Diego State (+3) (Saturday, 4:30 PM, Regional TV):
A West Coast battle in southern California. Saint Mary’s is looking to keep pace with conference brethren Gonzaga, as the Gaels have just one loss, to UTEP, on their docket. Patty Mills has established himself as one of the best point guards in the country, while Omar Samhan and Diamon Simpson control the frontcourt. San Diego State had won six in a row before falling to Arizona on Wednesday; the Aztecs’ only two losses are to the Wildcats and Arizona State. Kyle Spain can really shoot the ball, while Lorrenzo Wade is a tough match-up on the wing. Prediction: Saint Mary’s 77, San Diego State 73

San Diego at Oregon (-6.5) (Saturday, 8:00 PM, Regional TV): Both teams need to turn their season around if they want to make noise in their respective conferences. San Diego was expected to compete with Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference, but Brandon Johnson was lost for the season and the Toreros have lost three in a row and five of their last seven. Forwards Gyno Pomare and Rob Jones need to pick up the slack. Oregon is likely going to finish near the bottom of the conference, but the Ducks have looked solid at times – before dropping three of their last four. Tajuan Porter and freshman Michael Dunigan are a decent inside-outside duo. Prediction: Oregon 72, San Diego 65

Xavier at Cincinnati (+2) (Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPN2):
The Crosstown Shootout picks up some added importance this season, as both teams are very competitive and have a chance to reach the postseason (well, that’s always the case with Xavier; Cincinnati is the potential surprise). The Musketeers, ranked in the top-10, are undefeated, with wins over Memphis, Missouri and Virginia Tech. Wings B.J. Raymond and C.J. Anderson are solid, while Derrick Brown is a freakish athlete up front. Terrell Holloway is back from injury at the point. Cincinnati could be a threat to reach the Dance if the Big East wasn’t so deep this season. Still, the Bearcats only have a loss to Florida State marking their record. Deonta Vaughn is one of the best guards in the conference, while Mike Williams leads a slew of forwards. Prediction: Xavier 74, Cincinnati 71

Texas A&M at Alabama (-3.5) (Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt/Regional TV): This game could have potential NCAA Tournament implications, as both teams are expected to be on the Big Dance bubble come March. Texas A&M is one of seven Big 12 teams with exactly one loss; the Aggies’ defeat came to Tulsa. They are also coming off of a win over Arizona. Josh Carter is one of the top three-point shooters in the country, while Donald Sloan is developing quickly as a solid guard. Bryan Davis has stepped into the frontcourt and become a factor. Alabama has won four in a row since starting the season 1-2. Ronald Steele leads the team in scoring despite not looking like his old self after two years of injuries. Senario Hillman has been a surprise, and Alonzo Gee has been tough on the wing. Prediction: Alabama 70, Texas A&M 65

Gonzaga at Arizona (Sunday, 6:00 PM, FSN):
If you like a lot of points – and not a ton of defense, to put it kindly – this is the game for you. Expect a lot of up-tempo basketball with exciting finishes at the basket and fast-break offense. Gonzaga is establishing itself as a national title contender with its 7-0 start, which includes wins over Tennessee, Washington State, Maryland and Oklahoma State. Josh Heytvelt looks like the version from two years ago, while Austin Daye continues to assert himself offensively. Jeremy Pargo is one of the best point guards in the country. Arizona could really use a marquee win here to establish itself in the Pac-10 discussion. The Wildcats’ two losses – to UAB and Texas A&M – were by one point each. Chase Budinger has been a scoring machine this season, while Jordan Hill is absolutely dominating on the inside, averaging more than 18 points and 12 rebounds per contest. Nic Wise is solid at the point. Prediction: Gonzaga 85, Arizona 79

Portland State at Washington (Sunday, 8:00 PM, Regional TV): This game might not stand out to that many people, but look a little closer at this Pacific Northwest battle between intrastate opponents. Portland State reached the NCAA Tournament last season, and is off to a good start this season, sitting at 7-1 currently. Six players are averaging at least 9.8 points per game, including three D-1 transfers, chief among them Portland transfer Jamie Jones. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Washington has won three in a row since losing three of its first five. The Huskies need to develop consistency if they want to reach the NCAA Tournament from the Pac-10. Jon Brockman is a 20-10 threat every night, and is one of the best power forwards in the country. Guards Isaiah Thomas, a 5-8 freshman, and Justin Dentmon, a 5-11 senior, are leading the way on the perimeter. Prediction: Washington 75, Portland State 64

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Week Two Blogpoll

Just like last season, March Madness All Season has been participating in a weekly top-25 ranking with 21 other bloggers. I have not posted the overall top-25 rankings yet this season, but I am going to start posting my rankings and the consensus rankings on a weekly basis for the rest of the season. The final rankings come out on Wednesdays, but the rankings are based on games through Monday night. It is run by Gabby from the March to Madness blog, who does a great job recruiting and organizing bloggers to take part in the poll.

Anyway, here is this week's top-25 blogpoll ranking. It includes the rankings for each of the individual bloggers as well as the consensus top-25.

Week Two Blogpoll

Feedback is appreciated, and if you are a blogger who would like to participate in the blogpoll, shoot me an e-mail at and I will get you in contact with Gabby. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 10 Predictions

Prediction Record: 37-19 (ATS: 22-28-2)

Dayton at Creighton (-7): Prediction: Creighton 70, Dayton 64
San Diego State at Arizona (-6): Prediction: Arizona 81, San Diego State 71
Gonzaga at Washington State (+5.5): Prediction: Gonzaga 73, Washington State 64

Monday, December 8, 2008

CHN Player of the Week, Dec. 8

Player of the Week: Evan Turner, Ohio State

With just about a month of the college basketball season over, some trends are beginning to develop across the landscape. National title contenders are starting to separate themselves – well, okay, just North Carolina – while pretenders are fading back into the pack (Michigan State?). Furthermore, there are surprises and disappointments abound. Conference play has gotten underway in several mid-major conferences already, and it will start in the major conferences in a few short weeks. Until then, though, enjoy the big-time performances in marquee non-conference games.

This past week, there were plenty of the aforementioned standout showings by big names. Stephen Curry had another great game, dropping 44 in a win over North Carolina State, including several ridiculous shots late in the game. Arizona State’s James Harden continued to make his All-America case, averaging 31 points over two games. Of course, Blake Griffin also kept up his dominant play, while fellow Big 12 mate A.J. Abrams had 31 points to help lead Texas over UCLA.

The best performance of the week by a team was likely Ohio State, and it came mostly as a result of the outstanding play by sophomore swingman Evan Turner. After averaging less than nine points per game last season, Turner has developed into the Buckeyes’ go-to-guy this year, increasing his scoring production in each game. This past week, Turner led the Buckeyes to back-to-back road wins over top-25 teams, Miami (Fl.) and Notre Dame. Against the Hurricanes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Turner had 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in a comeback victory. He really came alive against the Fighting Irish, though, playing all 40 minutes and scoring 28 points. Turner also grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals. On the season, he is now averaging 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.0 steals per game – could he be the next Buckeyes’ star? It sure seems like it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday, December 6 Predictions

Prediction Record: 35-13 (ATS: 19-23-2)

Duke at Michigan (+9.5): Prediction: Duke 81, Michigan 69
Ohio State at Notre Dame (-4.5): Prediction: Notre Dame 86, Ohio State 74
Miami (Fl.) at Kentucky (-3): Prediction: Kentucky 67, Miami (Fl.) 65
Creighton at Saint Joseph's (-3.5): Prediction: Saint Joseph's 73, Creighton 66
BYU at Utah State (+6): Prediction: Utah State 72, BYU 68
Wisconsin at Marquette (-5): Prediction: Marquette 67, Wisconsin 61
UNLV at Nevada (+3): Prediction: Nevada 74, UNLV 69
Baylor at Washington State (-3.5): Prediction: Baylor 71, Washington State 64

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top 25 Rankings, Dec. 2

1. North Carolina
2. Connecticut
3. Pittsburgh
4. Duke
5. Gonzaga
6. Oklahoma
7. Notre Dame
9. Purdue
10. Louisville
11. Michigan State
12. Texas
13. Tennessee
14. Villanova
15. Wake Forest
16. Xavier
17. Syracuse
18. Memphis
19. Arizona State
20. Miami (Fl.)
21. Baylor
22. Georgetown
23. Davidson
24. Wisconsin
25. Kansas

Monday, December 1, 2008

CHN Player of the Week, Dec. 1

Player of the Week: Jonny Flynn, Syracuse

Thanksgiving week is always a hotbed for college basketball -- holiday tournaments and invitationals are a nice reprise for people who don't want to watch riveting NFL blowouts on Thanksgiving or overhyped college football games on Saturday. Plus, there's really nothing better than eating leftovers, laying on the couch and watching some college hoops. As a result of all the top-notch match-ups, there were plenty of outstanding individual performances this week.

Tyler Hansbrough got things kicked off with a dominant performance in the Maui Invitational title game, in only his second game back from injury. Notre Dame's Kyle McAlarney's 39 points were overshadowed in the loss. James Harden of Arizona State had games of 40 and 32 points, but he too could not lead his team to a title. Of course, Blake Griffin had another monster week -- but he doesn't get the CHN Player of the Week again. This week, the honor goes to Syracuse's Jonny Flynn.

The 6-0 sophomore point guard cemented his spot among the nation's elite at his position with a sensational week, leading the Orange to victories over Florida and Kansas en route to a CBE Classic title. 'Cuse also knocked off Virginia. Flynn started the week with an 18-point, four-assist performance against Florida in the semi-finals. In the title game against Kansas, Flynn had 25 points and five assists, including a three-pointer with seconds left in regulation to force the game into overtime. Flynn played 43 minutes against the Jayhawks. To cap the week, Flynn helped the Orange to a comeback victory over Virginia, scoring 15 points and dishing out six assists. He also turned the ball over just twice and played another 39 minutes. On the season, Flynn is averaging 20.0 points, 5.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, while shooting nearly 42 percent from three-point range and playing more than 36 minutes per game.