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Posts Tagged ‘kansas jayhawks’

The past few days have been crazy with the rumor mill churning out a new scenario about conference expansion every five minutes. After being on life support, the Big 12 was resuscitated at the very last minute and it appears that it will now live on as a 10 school conference. While we won’t ultimately know the ramifications of this development for a few years, there are some clear short-term winners and losers.

Winners

Texas

Ultimately this decision is what’s best for the Longhorns at this moment. Reports claim Texas will bring in between $22-25 million per year from the conference in the new configuration. The Big 12 will continue to distribute its revenue on a graduated scale and the Longhorns will also be able to establish their own television network and keep the proceeds. From a competition standpoint, the loss of the Big 12 championship game and a rising challenger in Nebraska will give Texas an easier route to the BCS championship game.

Kansas, Kansas St., Missouri, Baylor and Iowa St.

Staring down the prospect of being hung out to dry without a conference, the decision to keep the band together certainly stabilizes the fortunes of these five schools. The Big 12 also claims that it will be able to roughly double the revenue it gives to each of these schools. Only Missouri could have hoped to bring in more revenue than that; the hope being contingent on an invitation to join the Big Ten. I’m still not completely writing that possibility off.

Dan Beebe

Facing the prospects of losing his conference and his job, Beebe was able to present a compelling case to the school that clearly calls all the shots, Texas. Whatever he did over the weekend worked and he deserves a lot of credit. Of course, now comes the hard part – delivering what he has promised.

Utah

It now looks like a safe bet that the Utes will be invited to join the Pac-10. This will be a really nice upgrade for Utah. It also makes me excited to say that I did predict that the Pac-10 would add Colorado and Utah to grow to 12 teams back in May.

Losers

Texas A&M

– This is assuming there was some commitment by the SEC that they would invite the Aggies to join their conference. If Texas A&M turned down that opportunity to stay in the Big 12 than they are a big loser. Joining the SEC would have given the Aggies a chance to step out of the Longhorns’ shadow, earn more revenue than they will in the Big 12 and be affiliated with the premier conference in college football. Of course, politics may have been at play here. Like Virginia when it came time to voting Virginia Tech into the ACC, Texas A&M may have been forced to do something that worked to the detriment of their university by state politicians.

Colorado

– The Buffaloes lost on two fronts. One, because they are being painted as panicking that the Big 12 was going to dissolve and moving too quickly. I don’t think this is fair but it can be filed under “perception is reality.” Two, because with the Big 12 staying together they are now responsible for what’s being estimated as a $6-8 million exit payment to the conference. Ultimately I think the Pac-10 move is a good one for Colorado.

Larry Scott

– He deserves a lot of credit for swinging for the fences but ultimately he got a single. Adding Colorado and Utah will be nice and the Pac-10 will now be able to host an annual football championship game. But it’s nowhere near the visions of grandeur that were being imagined.

Mountain West

– With the bold attempts by the Pac-10 to raid the Big 12, the Mountain West was starting to picture a scenario where they could add Kansas, Kansas St., Missouri and Iowa St. and become a bigger player in football and basketball. Now that the possibility has collapsed the conference is likely to lose Utah to the Pac-10. Even with the addition of Boise St., that is a big loss.

Who do you think the biggest winners and losers were? Please post your thoughts in the comments.

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After the Big Ten and SEC max out their conferences with major expansions that take them to 16 programs, the Pac-10 will get back into the game.  I’ve already predicted that the Pac-10 will execute a modest two program expansion that includes Colorado and Utah.  I think they will pursue a second expansion, but after further thought I do not think it will be to a maximum level of 16.  I think they will add two more teams to get to 14.

Part of my reasoning is that I don’t think there are four more candidates that would be good fits in the conference.  As Schmolik over at the bleacher report writes, it is difficult to find six ideal candidates for a Pac-10 expansion.  One school that he doesn’t include in his evaluation is Nebraska.  That’s because he’s assuming Nebraska will be invited to join the Big Ten.  I do not believe that will be the case.  I believe Nebraska will be invited and will join the Pac-10.

The Cornhuskers would be a big coup for Pac-10 football.  They will instantly be one of the top three programs in the conference, will bring some more national attention to the league and also have an excellent athletics program that has them currently ranked sixth in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings.  While Nebraska’s culture and academics are not a perfect match for the conference, their athletics are ideal.  And since the Pac-10 has already moved inland with the addition of Colorado and Utah, their location will not be a problem.  Their move to the Pac-10 will also reignite their rivalry with Colorado.

The other school I believe will join the Pac-10 is Kansas.  The Jayhawks certainly don’t have the depth of sports programs that most Pac-10 schools have, nor are they a major power in football.  But I believe their incredible basketball history will carry the day and appeal greatly to the Pac-10.  The chance to have UCLA and Kansas compete for league titles year after year will be too much for the conference to pass on the Jayhawks.

So the Pac-10 will swoop in and grab a pair of the “remaining” Big 12 schools and greatly enhance their conference membership.  Would they consider additional schools to get to 16?  Sure.  But, I don’t think they’d have a lot to gain from adding Baylor, Kansas St., TCU or any of the other possible candidates.  Their only reasons for expanding further would be to keep up with the SEC and Big Ten or to expand into the Texas market.

What do you think of the new 14 team Pac-10?  Would Colorado, Utah, Nebraska and Kansas be good additions to the conference?

Photo source: beatboxbadhabit

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It’s always fun to look back on predictions and see how they compared to the final results…especially if you were not the one that made the predictions.  I did not put any preseason college basketball predictions in print so instead of looking back at my predictions I will look at the predictions of the Sports Illustrated team.  First, I’ll give credit where it’s due:

Hit the Bullseye

  1. Kansas – SI picked the Jayhawks at #1 and although they did not achieve their ultimate goal they did have a wonderful season that was worthy of the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
  2. Michigan St. – Chosen by SI at #2 the Spartans rallied from a challenging season to make the Final Four and had a solid chance to beat Butler.
  3. Kentucky – Maybe dead on, SI picked the Wildcats in the #5 slot. 
  4. Washington – While the Huskies did not have the best regular season, they made a nice mini-run to get to the Sweet Sixteen.  SI picked them at #9.

Hit Below the Bullseye

  1. Butler – SI wasn’t way off on this one – they picked Butler at #14.  Doubtful that anybody would have picked the Bulldogs at #2.  Although they should be picking them there for next season.
  2. Syracuse – The #1 seed and Big East regular season champions were picked at #35 by SI before the season.
  3. Kansas St. – Right below the Orange SI picked the Wildcats at #36.  Kansas St. played their way to a #2 seed in the big dance.
  4. Baylor – The Bears’ excellent season was a surprise to many, including the writers of SI who did not pick them to make the tournament in their college basketball preview.

Overthrew the Target

  1. Texas – Picked #4 by SI the Longhorns were never able to pull all their talent together in a way that resulted in a lot of wins.
  2. North Carolina – Many were surprised by the poor performance of the Tar Heels this season.  SI picked them at #7.
  3. Connecticut – The Huskies played like a group of individuals instead of a team throughout most of the season.  They did not live up to expectations, including those of SI who picked them at #10.
  4. Michigan – I personally expected a lot out of this team coming into the season and so did SI who picked them at #15. 

The team that most outperformed my expectations was Pittsburgh.  I did not expect anything from them but they really had an excellent season built on the foundation of high effort and defense that they’ve been exhibiting for quite some time.  Michigan is the program that most underachieved when compared to my expectations.  With the return of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims along with the three other starters from the previous season I thought the Wolverines would be really good – they certainly were not.

What teams surprised you most, both positively and negatively?

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As the year started to come to a close it seemed clear that there were three solid NCAA championship contenders – Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse.  That is still the case, but I think there are six other teams that are capable of winning the title – West Virginia, Villanova, Georgetown, Ohio St., Kansas St. and Duke.  After you get past those nine teams I think almost anything could happen in the tournament.

Here are my 2010 NCAA Tournament predictions:

Midwest

First Round
#1 Kansas v. #16 Lehigh
#8 UNLV v. #9 Northern Iowa
#5 Michigan St. v. #12 New Mexico St.
#4 Maryland v. #13 Houston
#6 Tennessee v. #11 San Diego St.
#3 Georgetown v. #14 Ohio
#7 Oklahoma St. v. #10 Georgia Tech
#2 Ohio St. v. #15 UC Santa Barbara

Second Round
#1 Kansas v. #9 Northern Iowa
#4 Maryland v. #5 Michigan St.
#3 Georgetown v. #6 Tennessee
#2 Ohio St. v. #10 Georgia Tech

Sweet 16
#1 Kansas v. #5 Michigan St.
#2 Ohio St. v. #3 Georgetown

Regional Final
#1 Kansas v. #3 Georgetown

West

First Round
#1 Syracuse v. #16 Vermont
#8 Gonzaga v. #9 Florida St.
#5 Butler v. #12 UTEP
#4 Vanderbilt v. #13 Murray St.
#6 Xavier v. #11 Minnesota
#3 Pittsburgh v. #14 Oakland
#7 BYU v. #10 Florida
#2 Kansas St. v. #15 North Texas

Second Round
#1 Syracuse v. #8 Gonzaga
#4 Vanderbilt v. #12 UTEP
#3 Pittsburgh v. #11 Minnesota
#2 Kansas St. v. #7 BYU

Sweet 16
#1 Syracuse v. #12 UTEP
#3 Pittsburgh v. #2 Kansas St.

Regional Final
#1 Syracuse v. #2 Kansas St.

East

First Round
#1 Kentucky v. #16 East Tennessee St.
#8 Texas v. #9 Wake Forest
#5 Temple v. #12 Cornell
#4 Wisconsin v. #13 Wofford
#6 Marquette v. #11 Washington
#3 New Mexico v. #14 Montana
#7 Clemson v. #10 Missouri
#2 West Virginia v. #15 Morgan St.

Second Round
#1 Kentucky v. #8 Texas
#4 Wisconsin v. #12 Cornell
#3 New Mexico v. #6 Marquette
#2 West Virginia v. #10 Missouri

Sweet 16
#1 Kentucky v. #4 Wisconsin
#2 West Virginia v. #6 Marquette

Regional Final
#1 Kentucky v. #2 West Virginia

South

First Round
#1 Duke v. Play-In Winner
#8 California v. #9 Louisville
#5 Texas A&M v. #12 Utah St.
#4 Purdue v. #13 Siena
#6 Notre Dame v. #11 Old Dominion
#3 Baylor v. #14 Sam Houston St.
#7 Richmond v. #10 Saint Mary’s
#2 Villanova v. #15 Robert Morris

Second Round
#1 Duke v. #9 Louisville
#5 Texas A&M v. #13 Siena
#3 Baylor v. #6 Notre Dame
#2 Villanova v. #7 Richmond

Sweet 16
#1 Duke v. #5 Texas A&M
#2 Villanova v. #3 Baylor

Regional Final
#2 Villanova v. #5 Texas A&M

Final Four

So that leaves three one seeds and a two seed in the Final Four.  Also, while I didn’t pick a lot of upsets along the way there were a lot of early games I could have gone either way with, and will not be surprised if they go in the opposite direction.

Kansas v. Syracuse
Kentucky v. Villanova

I think the Jayhawks will find a way to beat the Orange zone by moving guys in and out of the free throw line and block areas, and then finding the open man.  They also have the big bodies down low to challenge Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson and force the Orange to rely on the outside shot.  Kentucky has a lot of talent and certainly speed, but against Villanova I think their big guys, DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson, will make the difference.

National Championship Game

Kansas v. Kentucky

I think the Wildcats will score the mild upset victory in this great battle and be the ones cutting down the nets in Indianapolis.  I think Coach John Calipari will be very determined to beat Kansas and Coach Bill Self in this game after losing to them a couple of years ago.  I like Kentucky’s quickness, of course with John Wall, and their ability to match the Kansas frontline.

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