February SADness, March Madness

A neighbor of mine complains from time to time about suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Mrs. Dick sometimes tells the story of how Dr. Dick suffered “depression” when we went through our first winter in Oregon, which she attributes to the perpetual cloudiness that plagues the Northwest during the winter months (alternative hypothesis: the rigors of Oregon’s Ph.D. program).

In a related story I could NOT get my motor started to post here the last few weeks.  But February’s SADness gives way to March Madness – so I’m Back!!!

Had a great Saturday watching dueling games at my folks house: Villanova vs Syracuse with a spot off “The Bubble” at stake and Winthrop vs VMI with an auto bid a stake.  My Dad and brother are ‘Nova grads, so I had a strong rooting interest.  In addition, I touted Withrop in the December 15th post here at The Splog:

“Have you heard of Winthrop?  Likely not.  They play in the Big South and have a 3-3 record.  Not too impressive on the surface.  But the three losses were at North Carolina (73-66), at Maryland (71-60) and at Wisconson (82-79).  In the USAtoday/ESPN Coaches Poll those opponents are ranked third, twenty-eighth and seventh, respectively.  And each of the losses was on the road.  As a result, Sagarin’s Pure Point ranking for the Winthrop Eagles is #41.  So watch for the Eagles come Tournament time.”

Well, with their bid hanging in the balance as they eked out an 84-81 victory.  (Truth in reporting: a buddy, Paul Molinari, is an assistant at Winthrop).  So now we can wait for the Brackets to come out Sunday to see who the Eagles’ opponent in the first round is.  Based on the ESPN RPI estimates those losses to Carolina (#3), Wisconson (#4) and Maryland (#10) look even stronger today than they did in December.  Their only other loss was to (RPI #18) Texas A&M.

Winthrop’s RPI is #69, in large part dragged down by the quality of their Big South opponents.  This week they landed in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25.  It will be interesting to see where they are seeded.  My best guess is #11.
As for the ‘Nova Cats, they were also victorious, likely securing a bid.  Fifth -year senior Curtis Sumpter was tremendous.  In my post-game phone call with my brother – the most knowledgable hoops observers I know – he said Sumpter is one of his all-time favorite Nova players.  I’d have to agree.  Plagued by knee injuries, he was a better player than Foye, Ray or Lowery – all of whom were drafted last year.  Whether Sumpter ever regains the health to compete at that level remains to be seen.  But either way he was a TREMENDOUS college star.

The ‘Cats seeding will be impacted by their performance in the Big East Tourney, but at the end of the regular season their RPI stands at #18.

In other ‘Nova news, Yahoo! Sports reports:
Monday, Mar 5, 2007 11:43 am EST


Philadelphia 76ers consultant and former head coach
Larry Brown seems interested in getting Jay Wright
away from Villanova. Brown has started attending
Villanova's practices and games, home and away. The
Villanova coach would be perfect for some of what ails
the 76ers. As Villanova's coach and a Philly guy,
Wright has built solid links with the city's
basketball traditionalists.

They need a coach with youth, personality, passion and
a knack for handling the media. Wright's got it all.
He's also got a seven-year contract extension at
Villanova that he signed last February.

Here is hoping Coach Wright stays the course at ‘Nova – he’s truly one of the great coaches in the NCAA.  He could rise to the level of Calhoun, Massimino, Pitino, Boeheim, Thompson, Carneseca as one of the greats in Big East history.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

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