There are always a couple of the mid-majors that step it up come NCAA Tournament time. Who are the best candidates to do that this season? Timo provides some insight into that question with this week's Memo....
Gonzaga? Utah State? Southern Illinois? Kent State? Creighton? Murray State? Whoís got the firepower for this March?
There are several mid-majors out there that could possibly make a run in the Tourney this year, but who is it going to be? Or maybe the better question is, who isnít it going to be?
WHO IT MIGHT BE....
Kent State - Center John Edwards is getting it done for this team. 13 points and 6 rebounds a game, this guy is a warrior. Unlike many of the mid-major teams, Kent State has got a big man that could come in handy in March. The toughest team they have played so far is Boston College, and they lost to them by 4. As a team, though, they are averaging over 40% behind the 3-point line, plus, with John Edwards on the inside, this team is dangerous.
Gonzaga - Iíve been on record saying that Gonzaga is not for real, but for now, they have a shot to make some noise. Wins over Missouri and Maryland and losses to the only two undefeated teams in the country, St. Joe's and Stanford. This team can get it done on the inside and on the outside, which could benefit them. Four players are averaging over 10 points a game, and like Kent State, they are shooting over 40% behind the arc. They shouldnít stumble from here on out with no real tough competition.
WHO IT WON'T BE....
Southern Illinois- Losses to Charlotte and Murray State and no impressive wins in my opinion. They have an outstanding point guard in Darren Brooks who is averaging over 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists a game. Ultimately, the Salukis downfall will be their lack of experience in big games this year.
Creighton - More than likely it will be either SIU or Creighton coming out of the Missouri Valley Conference, however I donít think either has got what it takes. A cupcake schedule and a loss to Northern Illinois will not impress the selection committee. This team does shoot a decent number from 3-land and could be dangerous, but they have shown me nothing so far this season.
Utah State - This team is maybe the least impressive of all even with a 19-1 record. About their only tough opponent, Utah, was a loss too. What might carry them is their experience. Everyone on the team is a junior or senior except for two sophomores. One and done for this team in March.