It's not so much a slow news day as a light one.
All quiet at Bramlage yesterday. Well, you know, on the men's side.
David Cloninger at The (Columbia, SC) State says Gamecock players are supporting Frank Martin, but it's probably worth noting that Will Spradling used to say all the right things when Frank got criticized too.
The Star's Blair Kerkhoff reports that the local draw at the 2014 CBE Classic will be the Iowa State Cyclones. Also invading the Sprint Center: Maryland, Alabama, and Arizona State.
Automatic Bid Tracker:
The following teams have secured automatic invitations to the NCAA Tournament: Coastal Carolina (Big South), Delaware (Colonial), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Harvard (Ivy), Manhattan (Metro Atlantic), Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Wichita State (Missouri Valley), and Wofford (SoCon).
Automatic bids to the NIT have been earned by Belmont (Ohio Valley), Davidson (SoCon), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), High Point (Big South), Iona (Metro Atlantic), Vermont (America East), and Wisconsin-Green Bay (Horizon).
A surprisingly quiet Monday in terms of fallout and reaction, though Emilio Rivera at the Collegian thinks firing Deb Patterson was a mistake. And that requires commentary on my part.
First, let me say I'm not out to hatchet the work of one of the Collegian's most talented young writers. Emilio's done a fantastic job this year, especially considering he's only a freshman. This opinion piece is well-done from a journalistic standpoint; the problem is that the conclusions are just not viable.
Rivera argues that Patterson turned a couple of All-Americans into All-Americans while missing the fact that they were both preternaturally talented when they arrived on campus. He also thinks it was unfair to judge this season as a failure because it was a rebuilding year. However, the fact that the men are locks for the NCAA Tournament in a year in which they were rebuilding just as much as the women really isn't an argument in Patterson's favor.
Worse, he argues that Leti Romero and Kindred Wesemann "propelled the Wildcats to success this season", a proposition which I'd have to challenge based on the meaning of the word "success". If anything, the fact that Romero and Wesemann both played so well and the team still never put it together is a negative. Lastly, Rivera is concerned about losing momentum, but the simple fact is that the team never developed any. The team had one three-game winning streak, and that was in the non-conference schedule. In January, they did win two Big 12 games in a row, beating last-place (and 0-18) Texas Tech in Lubbock before scoring a big upset over then-13th ranked Iowa State at home.
That was the only time after mid-December the Lady Cats won twice in a row, compared to three losing streaks of at least three games after conference play began. They did play better in the final three losses of the year, but it's worth noting that in three of the season's final four games the Lady Cats blew large leads. And that's usually -- not always, but usually -- a sign of something amiss somewhere other than the players themselves.
Automatic Bid Tracker:
Twelve teams are assured of a trip to the Big Dance: Albany (America East), Baylor (Big 12), Connecticut (American), Fordham (Atlantic 10), Marist (Metro Atlantic), Nebraska (Big 10), Notre Dame (ACC), Southern California (Pac-12), Tennessee (SEC), Tennessee-Chattanooga (SoCon), Tennessee-Martin (Ohio Valley), Winthrop (Big South).
The WNIT's a little harder to sort out, as every conference gets to send its best team that didn't make the NCAA. Bearing in mind that some of these teams might sneak into the NCAA field and be replaced by another team, here's the 12 probable WNIT automatic bids from those conferences: Alabama (SEC), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Furman (SoCon), Iona (Metro Atlantic), Liberty (Big South), Miami (ACC), Minnesota (Big 10, the presumptive WNIT top seed), Saint Bonaventure (Atlantic 10), South Florida (American), Stony Brook (America East), Texas Christian (Big 12), and Washington (Pac-12).