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NCAA Basketball News

College Basketball: Monday Mailbag

By Joel Welser

March 7th, 2005


Joel’s Monday Mailbag


Each Monday, Joel Welser will be bringing you his Monday Mailbag.  If you have a question which you'd like Joel to answer, email  He’ll post and answer as many questions as possible.  Please include your first name and home state when contacting Joel. 


One question each week is chosen as the "Question of the Week", and is answered by a few CHN staffers.  At the end of each Monday Mailbag, Joel presents his "Team of the Week" and his "Thoughts of the Week."  Visit the Mailbag Archive for past installments.


Joel’s Monday Mailbag



Who was the last basketball team to go through the Big Ten conference schedule undefeated before the Illini this year?


From Jim,



Well the Illini didn’t quite make it this year.  Much like all those other undefeated records, this one too belongs to the ’75-76 Hoosiers.  Indiana went 18-0 in the Big Ten that season, en route to a 32-0 overall record and a national championship.  The closest teams since then have been Indiana in 1993 (17-1) and Michigan State in 1999 (15-1).  The Spartans didn’t really come that close to an undefeated Big Ten season in 1999.  They lost the first conference game of the year to Wisconsin.  It took an overtime loss to Ohio State in late February for the Hoosiers to lose a Big Ten game in 1993. 


The only other teams to go undefeated in conference play in the post WWII era are:  Ohio State 1961 (14-0), Iowa 1970 (14-0) and Indiana in 1975 (18-0).



Whom do you see winning the ACC Conference Tournament?  Could Duke shine again or will a surprise team pop up and take the title?


From Aaron,



I wouldn’t say Duke is a favorite by any means.  That honor has to go to UNC and Wake Forest.  The Blue Devils shouldn’t be at its best playing three games in three days due to their depth issues, but I’ve been saying that all year and it never really seems to matter.  The match-ups will only get more difficult as the tourney wears on and Reggie Love is going to get tired.  If all goes as planned, Duke will have to face Wake Forest and North Carolina in the semi-finals and finals.  If they make it to the finals, they won’t win it. 


Another issue at hand here is the amount of bubble teams in the ACC.  They all have more to play for than the Dukies.  Duke, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t mind taking a longer rest before the NCAAs.  At least that is a good excuse for them when they lose to Wake or UNC.

Question of the Week

 - The question of the week is answered by multiple CHN staffers -


If you had to pick right now, who are your four favorites to make it to St. Louis for the Final Four?


From Karl,

Washington, D.C.


Shawn Siegel - Editor

Tournament Ads



Well, at the beginning of the year, I picked Illinois to win it all.  That prediction has made me look good thus far, so I'll stick with it.  I really like the way UCONN has been playing of late, and the Big East has a strong recent record in the Big Dance.  You know the ACC has to be represented, and in all honesty, its up-for-grabs which of the top 3 ACC teams will make it, and this will most likely depend on seeding.  I still like Wake Forest more than UNC, so I'll reluctantly go with the Demons.  Lastly, I like one of either Oklahoma State or Arizona to make a deep run, but I think the Cowboys have more inside toughness in Graham to get to St Louis.


Jon Teitel - Ivy League

Quick and easy: Illinois, Boston College, Wake Forest, and Arizona.

Joel Welser - Mailbag

This will change a lot with the seeds and parings, but here is who I like at the moment.  Ironically I was just trying to make this list and I came up with my preseason top four, from the top 144.  I’ve been saying it all year, so I guess I’ll stick with it.  At least I’m consistent.   My deepest apologies to Illinois and UNC, but you can only have two #1 seeds in the Final Four.

Wake Forest, Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona are my final four at the moment.  And, of course, Kentucky and Kansas go and lose on me after I wrote this.  Arizona and Wake had a couple close calls as well.

Have a question?  Email Joel at, and please include your first name and home state. We’ll post and answer as many as possible.  All questions may be published or edited unless requested otherwise.


Joel’s Team of the Week

Ohio State Buckeyes

During the timeout when Ohio State was down by two, I said they are at home and should go for the two to tie against Illinois, or at least drive the lane and dish out if the open three is there.  But what I thought was going to happen was Matt Sylvester was going to take a three to try and win it.  The only part where I was wrong was when I figured he wouldn’t make the shot.  But he did, to cap off a career high 25 points and knock off the undefeated Illini 65-64.  OSU lost earlier in the week to Iowa 74-72, but who really cares when you knock off the #1 team in the nation.


Joel’s Thoughts of the Week

I can’t wait until Wednesday.  That is when we have games at 1 o’clock in the afternoon on TV, starting those five straight days of championship week action culminating with the selection show.  The over/under on games I’ll watch in those five days is 67.  The over/under on hours of sleep I’ll get those five days is 11. 


-Derek VanSolkema …for being the first unlikely hero for Eastern Michigan, hitting a three to send the game into overtime with time running out.  The Eagles ended up losing to Toledo in double overtime at Savage Hall. 

-Andy Harvey…for making his first field goal of his career on senior night at Michigan State.  The senior even hit the free throw following his hoop and harm for a grand total of three points on the evening.  He only had one career point going into the game against Penn State.

-Stanford…for making up for their “For Shame” against Washington State and beating #10 Washington.

For Shame

-Stanford…for scoring 12 points in the first half in what was basically a must win game for the Cardinal.  Luckily, Stanford was only down four at the break to Washington State, but they still lost.

-Davidson…for picking the absolute worst time to finally lose a conference game.

-Charlotte…for losing to South Florida.  The 49ers first game in the CUSA Tournament should be against host Memphis.  Losing three in a row won’t be a good way to head into the NCAA Tourney.

Have a question?  Email Joel at, and please include your first name and home state. We’ll post and answer as many as possible.  All questions may be published or edited unless requested otherwise.


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