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Ranking the Best Conferences in College Basketball, Part 1 11

Posted on February 28, 2011 by Ray Thompson

Jimmer Fredette has been the face of college basketball this season and has the BYU Cougars poised for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

If you are paying attention at all to this year’s division I basketball season, you know how crazy things are.  This year is wide open, and for the first time it is a true statement to say that anyone can win it all.  Of course, there are the usual players like Duke, Ohio State, and North Carolina (who is in the top 20 but is usually in the top 5 year in and year out), but there are also teams like BYU, Xavier, Vanderbilt, and Missouri in spots normally occupied by teams from the ACC and SEC.  My boys from Harvard by the way are close to cracking the top 30 and are in a dog fight with Princeton for the top spot in the Ivy league and their own spot in the dance.

It is for this reason that I thought it would be fun to rank the top 10 conferences since this year has been so wide open, and so fun to watch.  My criteria for making this analysis was focused on how many teams are represented by that conference in the top 50 as well as quality wins by those teams against other top opponents.  For reference, there are currently 32 division 1 conferences (33 if you count the independents) with 346 teams in those conferences.  Those teams are vying for 68 spots in the NCAA tournament.

So as we come out of February, and head into March Madness, here is my ranking of the top conferences.  I am breaking this article into two parts, Part I being conferences 10 – 6.  Here goes:

Top Conference #10: Conference USA

The list starts with CUSA ranked at 10 in my top ten.  This conference has two viable teams who will go dancing from this conference in Memphis and UAB.  This conference boasts five teams with 20 wins, (UAB, Memphis, UTEP, Southern Miss, and Marshall).  That said, they are a combined 2-5 against top twenty five talent.  CUSA will be well represented in the NIT with a log jam of teams with impressive season win totals.  When you look at the early brackets, Memphis will come out of the West while UAB will be the 12 seed out of the southeast.

Top Conference #9: Horizon Conference
The home of Milwaukee and Butler and Cleveland State, this is a conference that has made news the last few years with Butler becoming the Gonzaga of sorts for this conference.  Butler used to be an unknown team who has since had some marquis appearances in past tournaments.  This conference will likely send two, potentially three teams to the dance, with Milwaukee and Butler likely coming out of the southwest.  This is a conference of giant killers and will play spoiler to a team like Cincinnati, Kansas or even Duke.  Given how this season has gone, it would not be a surprise to see both Milwaukee and Butler win their early round games, and potentially play each other which is possible given current brackets having both these teams coming out of the same region.   Read the rest of this entry →

Don Coryell Deserves Spot In The Hall of Fame 2

Posted on July 02, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Innovative head coach Don Coryell has passed away at the age of 85.

Sad news last night that former NFL coach Don Coryell has passed away at the age of 85. Though Coryell has yet to pass muster with the selection committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his innovative career is certainly worthy of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, when Coryell finally gets the HOF bust he has deserved for more than 20 years, he will join other deserving former players and coaches including Bob Hayes, George Allen, Gene Hickerson and Hank Stram as Hall of Famers who waited way too long for enshrinement and either had passed away or where too ill to fully enjoy their moment in the sun when it finally came.

Coryell almost made it into the HOF this past February as he was named as a finalist for the first time since retiring from coaching in 1987. Unfortunately, the selection committee maintained their track record of bad decision making and chose to recognize Dick LeBeau and Russ Grimm instead of the deserving and ailing Coryell.

While LeBeau was a solid player with the Lions and has been a good defensive coordinator (though an awful head coach) and Grimm was a key member of the great Redskins offensive lines of the 1980s, neither had the same kind of impact on the NFL of today as Coryell.

Though the game had been played for more than 50 years when he became an NFL head coach, Don Coryell ultimately established a passing attack that was well beyond anything that had preceded it in league history. Read the rest of this entry →

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      September 28, 2019 | 7:09 pm
      Sid Luckman

      After years of struggling to find a consistent quarterback, the Chicago Bears now hope third-year player Mitchell Trubisky will be their quarterback for years to come. As the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month we are recognizing the best quarterback in Chicago Bears history.

      Chosen out of Columbia–where he played tailback–with the second pick in the 1939 NFL Draft, Sid Luckman spent 12 seasons as the quarterback for the Bears and led them to five NFL Championship Game appearances and four titles.

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