Why can't they leave the tourney alone?

BY foxsports • December 14, 2009

I'm so sick and tired of hearing about the expansion of the NCAA tournament.

Just leave it alone at 65.

I have a difficult enough time finding teams that warrant inclusion in the top 25 these days.

It's the greatest sporting event in the country and doesn't need to be tinkered with just because there's no shortage of coaches who want more job security.

I always hear from college basketball coaches how there are a much higher percentage of their college football counterparts who get to the postseason via bowl games.

However, that doesn't mean the bowl system works. In fact, the vast majority of the bowl games are completely irrelevant.

Just leave it alone — or else you might get this.

The Georgetown Hoyas entered the week as somewhat of a mystery but left as a legitimate top 10 club after knocking off Butler at Madison Square Garden and then beating the Pac-10 preseason favorite, Washington, out west. Greg Monroe was the star against Butler with 24 points and 15 rebounds, but the Hoyas have four guys averaging double-figures and Jason Clark has become one of the most underrated players in the country with his versatility.

Kansas State junior guard Jacob Pullen averaged 22 points in a pair of wins against Xavier and UNLV. Pullen finished with 28 in the road victory at UNLV and made seven of 10 shots from beyond the arc.

I know that Loyola Marymount is much improved from a year ago, when the Lions were one of the worst teams in the nation. But Notre Dame can't be losing to LMU in South Bend — not if the Irish want to have any shot of getting to the NCAA tournament this season.

This might be the easiest pick of any category all week. Larry Hunter's Western Carolina club went out and knocked off Bradley, Campbell and Louisville in a four-day span. The Catamounts, who got their first-ever win against a Big East team with the victory against Louisville in Freedom Hall, have now won nine straight games after being blown out by Texas.

This had to be the Crosstown Shootout between Xavier and Cincinnati. The two programs — which despise one another — nearly went at it a couple of times, and after two overtimes, it was rookie head coach Chris Mack and the Musketeers who came out on top.

Boston College losing at home to Harvard. Not just because of the setback, but because it was the second straight year that Al Skinner's team couldn't get past Harvard on its own home floor.

Vanderbilt — I had high hopes for the Commodores heading into the season, but Kevin Stallings' team is struggling of late with losses to Illinois and Western Kentucky this past week. Vandy is now 6-3, and Stallings needs to find a way to get skilled big man A.J. Ogilvy, who is averaging a lackluster 12.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, going.

I'm now 4-for-5 on the season after picking New Mexico to pull the upset against a ranked Texas A&M team.

I didn't think Harvard had a chance in you-know-what of pulling off the upset at Boston College for the second straight year.

UCLA coming up short against Mississippi State just down the road from the Bruins' campus. Not that there was much of a chance for Ben Howland's team to get to the Big Dance after its brutal start, but this pretty much solidified the fact that the Bruins won't be in the NCAA tournament come March.

Cal's Theo Robertson returned to the team after missing six games with a foot injury. Robertson played 22 minutes and scored eight points in a win against Pacific.

There's a reason why UConn coach Jim Calhoun wasn't upset even though the Huskies came up short against Kentucky in Madison Square Garden. UConn played one of the most talented teams in the nation to a one-possession game without one of its most talented players. Huskies athletic forward Ater Majok becomes eligible this weekend and should immediately move into the starting lineup.

South Florida started out 7-1 but will be without its best player, Gus Gilchrist, for the next six weeks with a severely sprained ankle he suffered in practice earlier in the week. The Bulls lost to Central Michigan in their first game without Gilchrist, who was averaging 18.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.


1. North Carolina vs. Texas at Cowboys Stadium, Saturday at 2 p.m. ET — The Longhorns will get their stiffest test of the season.

2. Gonzaga vs. Duke in Madison Square Garden, Saturday at 4 p.m. ET — Great neutral-site matchup.

3. Florida State at Georgia Tech, Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET — Two of the most talented teams in the ACC.

4. Xavier at Butler, Saturday at 2 p.m. ET — The Bulldogs got one against Ohio State and will have another chance to get a quality victory here against the Musketeers.

5. UTEP at Mississippi, Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET — Are the Miners for real? Tony Barbee's team will get a chance to show whether they are or not with a trip to play Ole Miss.

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