Tuesday, March 11, 2008
My response to Michael J. is too lengthy to put in a comment.
I am not upset about Marist's projected ranking. What I am upset about is that the Foxes dropped from 20th in the nation to 21st in the Coaches poll. Vanderbilt lost to Tennessee, but still managed to jump ahead of Marist. That's a load of crap. Anyway:
Marist's strength of schedule is suspect, but I assure you, the Red Foxes can beat anybody outside of the top 10, and some within. Last year they played Maryland and Duke (both #1 seeds at the time of the games), and held their own. Their only big game this year was a rematch against Ohio State (in their house, I might add). The Buckeyes were nationally ranked the entire season up until this week, and Marist only lost by six points.
Due to matchup problems, teams that can handle Marist inside and out are:
You will note that I did not include Rutgers, Duke, LSU, or Baylor on that list. That's quite simply because Marist can beat those teams.
The most unfortunate thing about Marist's projected (and probable) ranking is that they can't avoid playing a #1 or #2 seed in the second round unless they manage to be seeded sixth, where they can most easily repeat a trip to the Sweet 16.
By no means should they look past their first round matchup, whatever it may be, but I'm allowed to. The best possible scenario other than getting a 6-seed is earning a 7-seed or being disrespected with a 10-seed. This way they can draw a Rutgers, Baylor, or LSU in the second-round. Dangerous third-seeded teams will be Duke and Oklahoma.
The starters have been taking care of business (see: 21-23 from the free throw line in their MAAC Championship win, as well as 18 assists and only 8 turnovers), and the bench has been producing more than can ever be expected (see: Sarah Smrdel = MAAC Tournament MVP). For most teams, all they can do is pray Marist is cold from long range. If you aren't one of the top teams in the country, the only way to beat them is if they beat themselves.