If you haven't noticed, (hint: look in the top left corner) The Slipper Still Fits is part of the SBNation network of blogs. Recently they have been expanding at a pretty rapid pace to become a more opinionated and fanbased (not a word, I know) version of ESPN or CBS Sports. They do a great job with breaking news and, since they have some of the best team-specific bloggers on their network, are able to rapidly get opinions on news right away. With college basketball season hitting its stride, SBNation has really turned up the heat on college basketball coverage and today a few examples of that were published.
First of all, SB Nation has begun a series entitled "Decade of Change" in which writers for the hub site take on the modest task of laying out changes they would like to see in their favorite sport. For college basketball, SB Nation has tabbed the great Chris Dobbertean of Blogging the Bracket, to help change the college basketball landscape. Obviously there are plenty of things college basketball fans would like to see changed. For example things like the NBA Draft age limit, the number of teams in the tournament, and the importance of nonconference scheduling. Chris does a great job covering all those things and he also shares some thoughts on something that most Gonzaga fans will have a vested interest in. The debate over Seattle University and their bid to be in the West Coast Conference has been a hot button issue and it is pretty clear where Chris stands:
Get Seattle back into the West Coast Conference.
The Redhawks, then known as the Chieftains, were members of the WCC in the 1970s, before they dropped down to the NAIA. As part of their process to return to Division I, they naturally applied for readmission to their old league, an application that was rejected in 2007. That means school that produced Elgin Baylor and lost the 1958 National Championship game to Kentucky is without a conference for the moment.
The Redhawks are currently 7-11 in their first year playing a Division I schedule. They've grabbed home wins against Fresno State and Weber State and victories at Utah and Oregon State. If first-year head coach Cameron Dollar continues to develop the program, they should be an immediate contender when they finally become tournament-eligible for the 2012-13 campaign. Yet they won't go anywhere if they don't have a conference to play in, and, no, the Great West doesn't count.
I've shied away from the Seattle conversation a bit because I think, like some of our freshman's minutes, the jury is still out on how good they will be. Charles Garcia's arrival at Seattle is a total anomaly. He fell in their lap on accident but the good news for them is they have Cameron Dollar who is an outstanding recruiter. It also helps that they are located right in the middle of a great basketball city. Dollar has had great success recruiting the area in the past but selling Seattle will be hard unless they get into a conference like the WCC. I do think that it is possible for the West Coast Conference to allow Seattle in at some point but the last thing we need is for the WCC to be further watered down. I imagine our conference will have a close eye on Seattle and other potential members, possibly Pacific. Or, you know, we could join the Mountain West and Seattle can take our spot. I'd love to turn the Mountain West into a Big East type conference where we are just a basketball member. Just a thought.
After the jump, check out SB Nation's "Power 16", which will be a weekly power rankings done by the various college basketball bloggers on the network.
Last week, SB Nation debuted their version of college basketball power rankings. Just this morning, our hub site published their second version of the rankings and, not surprisingly, Gonzaga was not ranked as one of the top 16 teams.
Being the Gonzaga homer that I am, you should know that I did rank the Zags last week and this week. If my memory serves me correct, I put them at 16 last week and 14 this week. My justification for this was pretty simple: they have got a great list of wins and some pretty good explanations for their losses. Michigan State was obviously as close to a moral victory as you can get, Wake Forest was a close loss without our second best player for most of the game, and Duke...well there is no real explanation for that. Throw in a Maui title over a pretty good Colorado team, a very good Wisconsin team, and a solid Cincinnati team and that's a nice resume already. Throw in back-to-back-to-back wins over Oklahoma, Illinois, and Portland and I feel like this is a top 16 team.
I think you'll find that some of these rankings are flawed. Purdue is too high, Villanova is too low, and North Carolina shouldn't be sniffing the rankings. They are flawed because our ballot was due on Tuesday evening and today is Thursday. Obviously some lag there but that will happen.
Even if Gonzaga wins tonight, I don't expect there to be much change in these power rankings unless we win out in the conference and beat Memphis. We all know that this is our toughest conference game of the year but there are two major factors working against us. First, the majority of America forgot about Saint Mary's when Patty Mills left. I mean no offense by that as we all know how good they are but I can bet only 5% of the people East of the rockies can name a player on the Gaels. That's not too bad as a I bet only 15-20% of people can name a player on Gonzaga not named Bouldin. Secondly, the game tips off at 8 PM pacific, 11 PM east. Most of our college basketball bloggers, and the general populous of the nation probably won't see the entire game, if any.
So the point of my little speech here is that this is a big game. Not only for fun little things like our SB Nation power rankings but for national respect. But...you probably already knew that.