Author Archive - Chris Mackinder

Ohio State Buckeyes

Good Wins: N-Cal, Florida State, @Purdue, Wisconsin, @Michigan State Bad Losses: N-North Carolina Strengths: 1. Evan Turner. When you have one of the top two players in college basketball, you can chalk that up as being a major strength. While Turner will never have an illusionistic nickname, he reminds me of Earvin “Magic” Johnson by… more »

Michigan State Spartans

MICHIGAN STATE (22-7, 12-4 Big Ten) Good Wins: Gonzaga, Wisconsin, @ Purdue. Bad Losses: None. Strengths: 1. Toughness. This seems to be MSU’s biggest strength every year, and 2010 is no different. The “War Drill,” explained in last year’s team capsule, highlights why MSU teams are tough. What the Spartans lack in height, they make… more »

Team Profile: Louisiana Tech 70, Northeastern 67

You could feel the energy and the excitement as the hair rose on the back of your neck. The crowd as Matthews Arena was electric, its heart pounding with each shot. This Louisiana Tech-Northeastern game, my friends, had the feel of a NCAA Tournament game. And like the best NCAA Tournament games, it came down… more »

Team Profile: Louisiana Tech at Northeastern

Game Information: Louisiana Tech (20-5, 8-3 WAC) at Northeastern (17-9, 12-3 CAA) 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN2/ About Louisiana Tech: One year ago, Louisiana Tech went on the road in the Bracketbusters event and knocked off Murray State, 69-60. Nothing much was made of the victory because the Bulldogs were in the midst of a… more »

Big Ten Midseason Report

Depending on the week, time of day or whether the sky is filled with cirrus or cumulonimbus clouds, the Big Ten is either having a great year, a good year, or a down year. The same can be said about nearly all of the teams in the conference. At one point, many prognosticators had seven… more »

North Carolina 89, Michigan State 82

For the third time less than a full year, the Spartans and Tar Heels battled in the national spotlight. And for the third time, the Tar Heels turned what was supposed to be a hard-fought battle into a one-team coronation with a convincing thrashing of a highly-ranked and highly-talented Spartan squad. You would think losing… more »

Michigan Wolverines

Good Wins: N-UCLA, Duke, Illinois, @Purdue, Minnesota, @Minnesota Bad Losses: @ Iowa. Strengths: 1. Free-Throw Shooting: Late-game situations on the foul line require each player to have “ice water in his veins” as the popular cliché goes. Despite its youth, Michigan shoots 74.8 percent from the charity stripe, 22nd in the country. If the Wolverines hold… more »

Northwestern Wildcats

Good Wins: Florida State, Minnesota, @Michigan State, Wisconsin, @Purdue. Bad Losses: @ Iowa. Strengths: 1. Patience. Fans of up-tempo North Carolina-style offense would be appalled if forced to watch Northwestern’s Princeton-style offense. But that is exactly what helps Northwestern stay in and even win games it shouldn’t based on talent alone. On average, Northwestern gets… more »

Purdue Boilermakers

Good Wins: Boston College, Davidson, Wisconsin, @Minnesota, @Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State Bad Losses: None. Strengths: 1. Defense: The Boilermakers are an angry swarm of bees on defense. Purdue is ninth in the country in field goal percent defense (38.5 percent) and tenth in scoring defense (58.7 points per game). Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings exemplify even… more »

Ohio State Buckeyes

Good Wins: @ Miami (Fla.), @Notre Dame, Butler, @Michigan, Michigan, Purdue, Minnesota, Penn State Bad Losses: None. Strengths: Youth. For some teams, youthfulness brings out hesitation and nervousness on the court. At Ohio State, where Thad Matta has seemingly lost his entire roster to the NBA for the past few seasons, youth on the court… more »

Michigan State Spartans

Good Wins: Oklahoma State, @Texas, @Minnesota, Ohio State, Kansas, Illinois, @Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, @ Illinois. Bad Losses: None. Strengths: 1. Toughness. The mantra of Tom Izzo’s Spartans has been toughness from the first day he stepped in the gym. You may have heard of the “War Drill” which Izzo instituted as a regular at… more »

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Good Wins: Louisville (neutral site), Ohio State, @ Wisconsin, Illinois, Wisconsin Bad Losses: None. Strengths: 1. Interior Defense: There isn’t a whole lot to love about Tubby Smith’s team this season, but if forced to pick one thing, interior defense jumps to the forefront. Minnesota gets a block on nearly 1/5 of opponent possessions (19.2… more »

Penn State Nittany Lions

Good Wins: @Michigan State, Purdue, Minnesota, @Illinois, Illinois Bad Losses: None. Strengths: 1. Ball security: It might sound like a ridiculous strength, but getting the most out of each possession is extremely important, especially in the possessions-are-at-a-premium Big Ten Conference. Penn State ranks 18th in the country in turnover rate, giving the ball away on… more »

Wisconsin Badgers

Good Wins: @ Virginia Tech, @ Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State Bad Losses: @ Iowa. Strengths: 1. Ball Control: Watching Wisconsin’s methodical offense can be like watching the overweight contestants sweat on “The Biggest Loser”–it’s not pretty. But, just like the pound-dropping humans, the wear-you-down-until-you’re-too-bored-to-play-defense offense works. Wisconsin turns the ball over just 16.6 percent of… more »

Team Profile: Illinois State – Niagara Recap

Niagara 70, Illinois State 56 No matter how much Illinois State chiseled at its lead, Niagara was not going to be denied on this night, in this game. In the opening act of the 2009 ESPNU Bracketbusters, the Purple Eagles sprinted out to a big lead in front of the faithful Gallagher Center crowd and… more »

Big Ten’s Pre-Christmas Breakdown

You want a laugh, find a copy of Bill Cosby’s “Himself” DVD. You want a chuckle, look at this season’s preseason prognostications, one month later. Before Kentucky’s Billy Gillispie came out for Kentucky’s Midnight Madness and tried to secure a dozen letters of intent from 8th graders in the crowd and before Tom Izzo turned… more »

Old Spice Classic Recap

The Old Spice Classic was slated to be the monster among monster pre-conference tournaments. Thanks to Michigan State (or Maryland, depending on how you view the situation), the tournament didn’t live up to the hype. When it was all said and done, the four “big boys” all showcased their stuff. But Michigan State’s shocking thumping… more »

Old Spice Classic Preview

Unlike the 2k Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer, where organizers had an idea of who would play for the title, the organizers of the 2008 Old Spice Classic left the future open to interpretation. That is what happens when an 8-team tournament features five teams from last year’s NCAA Tournament. Moreover, we’re not talking… more »

Mackinder’s Bracketography

Thank goodness the NCAA Tournament field isn’t decided based on November expectations. If that were the case, teams that fly under the radar (Davidson, West Virginia, etc.) not only wouldn’t get a chance to prove they belong in the Big Dance but that their seed should be higher than expected. It also makes the big-name… more »

How will the Big Ten fare in the NCAA Tournament?

“The Big Ten was bad this year. No way around the truth.” – Bracketography’s David Mihm on Selection Sunday. Lost in all the Selection Sunday madness was any discussion of the Big Ten. And, because of the questionable season the entire conference put together, maybe the lack of discussion was warranted. That said, only four… more »

Big Ten Tournament Preview

Regardless of what happens in Indianapolis at this week’s Big Ten Tournament, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin all are dancing. One team – Ohio State – still has realistic dreams of a landing on the right side of the Selection Sunday bubble. That makes this year’s Big Ten Tournament a little mundane, but there are… more »

2007-2008 Purdue Boilermakers

Record: (23-7, 14-3 Big Ten) Key Wins: @Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Michigan State, N-Louisville Key Losses: Wofford, Iowa State, @Missouri, @Ohio State Key Stats: 8.2 – Purdue’s steals per game, second in the Big Ten. 87.9 – Purdue’s defensive efficiency (points allowed in 100 opponent possessions), 11th in the country Key Numbers: RPI: 31; SOS: 90; NCSOS:… more »

2007-2008 Michigan State Spartans

Record: (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten) Key Wins: N-Texas; Purdue, N-BYU, Indiana Key Losses: N-UCLA, @Wisconsin, @Iowa, @Penn State Key Stats: 20-1. The Spartans are undefeated at home this season and have recorded a 5-1 neutral floor record. While road record is important, there are no “road” games in the NCAA Tournament. And, if the Spartans… more »

Wisconsin Badgers

Record: (24-4, 14-2 Big Ten) Key Wins: @Texas, Indiana, @Indiana, Michigan State. Key Losses: @Purdue, Purdue, @Duke, Marquette Key Stat: 54.9. That is how many points per game the Badgers allow – best in the nation. Key Numbers: RPI: 12; SOS: 42; NSOS: 61; Vs. Top 50: 4-4 Biggest Strengths: For years, coach Bo Ryan… more »

Indiana Hoosiers

Record: (24-5, 13-3 Big Ten) Key Wins: Michigan State, Purdue, Kentucky, @So. Illinois, N-Illinois State Key Losses: Michigan State, @ Wisconsin, Connecticut, @ Xavier Key Stat: 0.964– As good as Indiana has played this season, it is one of the few elite teams that averages more turnovers per game than assists with a .964 assist-to-turnover… more »

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