Everyone acknowledges the SEC is having quite the down year. Right now, the only NCAA Tournament locks appear to be Kentucky and Florida. But several power conferences are struggling, as noted by Dick Vitale:
“Will the conference get three or four teams into the tournament? Possibly, but there is still work to be done. And the SEC isn’t alone: It is interesting to note that in several power conferences, the race for the final at-large berths is up in the air, creating a large bubble less than a month from Selection Sunday.”
Though he plays for Louisville, I am a Russ Smith fan. He probably should have declared for the draft last year but he didn’t, opting instead to come back for his senior season. This season, he’s made himself a more well-rounded player, yet he’s gone virtually unnoticed. From Jeff Borzello:
“After passing on the NBA, people told Smith he needed to play more under control and be more of a point guard — as opposed to a scorer.
And this season, Smith has improved in nearly offensive category, especially assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. Moreover, he’s shooting the ball better from both the field and 3-point range. There are far fewer negative “Russidiculous” plays than past seasons.
Despite all this, Smith is seeing less publicity than he had heading into the season. A preseason All-American, Smith has been seemingly bypassed in the national pecking order by players like DeAndre Kane and Tyler Ennis.”
When Marcus Smart shoved a fan at the end of the Oklahoma State – Texas Tech game, Big XII officials were quick to note that they had no policy on how such an incident ought to be handled during the game. The NCAA, however, has tweaked its rules so that should such an incident occur again, the player involved would be ejected, according to Andy Katz:
“The NCAA rules committee and officials have tweaked a rule in the wake of Marcus Smart‘s confrontation with a Texas Tech fan earlier this month, with a flagrant noncontact foul 2 and ejection now given to a player who goes into the stands.”
John Calipari has certainly displayed his frustration with his team in his post-game news conferences but he has nothing on The Russian men’s hockey coach. From Sports Illustrated
“Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, the head coach of the Russian hockey team, was not happy when he went to face the Russian press following his team’s 3-1 loss to Finland, which eliminated them from medal contention. After answering some questions about the his line choices and taking the blame for the loss, the Q&A session took a very odd turn.”
And then there was one. Wichita State is the lone remaining undefeated team after Syracuse inexplicably lost to Boston College, in overtime, at the Carrier Dome. Boston College is terrible. And yet, they just knocked off the #1 team in the country. Nicole Auerbach writes:
“In easily the most unexpected upset of the season, unranked Boston College handed No. 1 Syracuse its first loss of the season, beating the Orange, 62-59, in overtime at the Carrier Dome Wednesday night.”