Well, not really, but I'm headed over to Boise to help out with the NCAA First and Second Rounds (Free hotel and shirt doncha' know), and then it's Spring Break and I'm taking some time off to hang around the house and reintroduce myself to my family and pets, so it'll be quiet here for a little while, but the tentative spring roster for football is up, and I'm still trolling around a little. Brad might add his thoughts on the first round, and I'll let you know how my "for-fun" bracket did.
Just adding on what Brad was talking about, but here is Idaho State's non-conference schedule and where everyone ended up....it's unreal. Note in the non-conference schedule only ONE team finished below .500 (Hawai'i, despite 18 home games...yikes). Also, Idaho State went from November 29 to December 29, exactly one calendar month, where every team they played eventually qualified for the postseason. The non-conference record for ISU's opponents was a staggering 291-156 (a .651 winning percentage). The average record of ISU's non-conference opponents is currently 21-11 ... yeesh. Remember, these guys are still playing too....
Eastern Oregon (25-8) -- Lost is quarterfinals of NAIA Tournament Hawai'i (13-17) -- No Postseason Boise State (19-12) -- CBI at Stanford (18-13) Long Beach State (15-15) No Postseason Brigham Young (25-7) -- NCAA 8-seed vs. Texas A&M (23-9) Washington State (17-15) -- NIT 7-seed at St. Mary's (26-6) Utah (24-9) -- NCAA 5-seed vs. Arizona (19-13) Wisconsin (19-12) -- NCAA 12-seed vs. Florida State (25-9) Green Bay (22-10) -- CBI hosting Vermont (23-8) Utah State (30-4) -- NCAA 11-seed vs. Marquette (24-9) Arizona State (24-9) -- NCAA 6-seed vs. Temple (22-11) Nevada (21-12) -- CBI hosting UTEP (19-12) Idaho (16-15) -- CollegeInsider Tournament hosting Drake (17-15) Kansas State (21-11) -- NIT #4 seed hosting Illinois State (24-9)
and of course.... Portland State (23-9) -- NCAA 13-seed vs. Xavier (25-7) Weber State (21-9) -- NIT 8-seed at San Diego State (23-9)
So the final tally is that ISU played against 14 non-conference opponents, and 12 of them made the postseason. All told, ISU played 23 different opponents, with 14 of them making the postseason, but 12 of 14 non-conference opponents means Idaho State truly did have the nation's toughest non-conference schedule....I'm calling it. Here's my question though....where is Montana? Really...17-12, they couldn't get into the CBI or the CollegeInsider? With that fan base? And Idaho got a home game? Double really? Really really???
Despite the fact that Portland State didn't win the Big Sky Conference regular season, the Vikings were treated pretty well by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The winners of the Big Sky post-season tournament earned a No. 13 seed and a rather palatible first-round matchup with Xavier in Boise.
The Musketeers are obviously a pretty good basketball team, as evidenced by their regular season wins over Memphis, Missouri and LSU. But they struggled down the stretch, going 5-4 over their last nine regular season games, and losing in the Atlantic 10 Conference semi-finals to Temple. They are inconsistent on offense, and teams that pressure the basketball have caused them issues over the last third of the season. Portland State, who led the Big Sky in steals and turnovers forced, could take advantage of the Musketeers' lack of a great point guard.
In addition, Xavier doesn't have the NBA-quality power players up front that they've featured in years past. That's a positive for PSU, which doesn't really have much of an inside game. PSU will still be underdogs, but all things considered the Vikings and the Big Sky could not have asked for a better seed or first-round match-up. And PSU gets to play in their backyard, a driveable distance away in Boise.
Bengal Schedule Was Indeed Difficult
After all four of the post-season tournaments issued their brackets Sunday night, the true magnitude of Idaho State's schedule this past season became clear. ISU played 15 games against 13 different teams that went to post season tournaments. Six Bengal opponents went to the NCAA tournament: Mountain West champion Utah, who the Bengals beat; and BYU, Utah State, Wisconsin (a two-point winner over the Bengals), Portland State (who ISU went 1-2 against), and Arizona State.
Three Bengal opponents went to the National Invitation Tournament: Weber State (who beat ISU twice), Washington State and Kansas State. Three ISU opponents drew invitations to the College Basketball Invitational: Nevada, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Boise; and Idaho, who the Bengals defeated, will host a first-round game in the inaugural College Insider.com tournament.
It would take a good deal of research, but I can't imagine the Bengals have ever played as many games against as many post-season teams as they did this season.
And thanks for being Bengal fans -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.