OPINION — Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: Wins mean the most, no matter the Quad

The good news for the SEC is it's a coaches league and the bad news is any team can beat another and there really isn't such as a good thing a great loss when it comes to qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia's loss to Alabama on Wednesday night was close, but they don't give out cigars in the NCAA NET for being close. The Bulldogs only have one Quad 1 win (ranked in the NET top 30), so the 85-76 loss dropped Georgia from No. 78 to No. 82.

Meanwhile, Kentucky's overtime loss at home to Florida saw the Wildcats drop four spots to No. 25, and there's trend going in the bluegrass land that isn't good.

Arkansas' road win Wednesday over Missouri, who couldn't have had a worst first half if it tried, moved the Razorbacks up six spots to No. 123. But that just means they have a ton of work to do before they can even say bubble, let alone be on it.

Currently the SEC has only four Quad 1 teams: Tennessee is No. 5, Alabama No. 7, Auburn No. 8 and Kentucky.

The NCAA defines quadrants as such: Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, neutral 1-50, away 1-75; Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, neutral 51-100, away 76-135; and Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, neutral 101-200, away 135-240.

So Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Ole Miss are Quad 2 teams; LSU is a Quad 3; and Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Missouri are Quad 4s.

Wins over higher-ranked teams obviously moves you up.

The Razorbacks are currently 1-6 against Quad 1 teams, 2-3 against Quad 2, 3-1 against Quad 3 and fortunately they are 5-0 against Quad 4. Losses to Quad 4 teams at home, on the road or on a neutral court hurt badly.

Missouri's loss to Arkansas dropped the Tigers nine spots to No. 131.

. . .

Everyone knows college basketball officials aren't perfect, that's why there are reviews (too many in my opinion). As the game has gotten more athletic, it seems the officials anticipate calls more than they should, especially in the SEC.

However, a new standard for low was set in Northwestern's 105-96 overtime loss to Purdue.

Northwestern Coach Chris Collins, who played for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and was an assistant there for 13 years, was ejected with less than two minutes to play. He didn't go quietly into the night and he probably shouldn't have.

The Wildcats were called for 31 fouls, with three players fouling out. The Boilermakers were called for 15 and no one had more than three.

What set Collins off was Purdue shot 46 free throws to eight for Northwestern.

The Boilermakers weren't terrible accurate, hitting just 63%, but still got 29 points from free throws compared to six for the Wildcats.

Northwestern had five more field goals including four more three-pointers.

It was their second meeting of the season and Purdue won the first one in overtime as well, making 31 of 41 free throws to 22 of 27 for Northwestern.

So for two regular season games, Purdue has made 60 of 87 free throws while Northwestern has made 28 of 35. That's 25 more made free throws than the Wildcats have attempted.

Some coaches would rip their shirts off for that type of discrepancy, and while the officials probably aren't protecting No. 2 Purdue, it sure looks like they are.

Collins will be reprimanded, but the Big Ten should immediately investigate the crews and the free-throw differences, and perhaps find some new refs.

Incidentally, Northwestern, an academic giant, has quietly started 15-6 and has an NCAA NET ranking of No. 55. The only way it could play Purdue again is in the Big Ten Tournament and smart money says it woiuldn't have the same officiating crew.

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