Tuesday, January 15, 2013
3-point shot: Wyoming will need Martinez
By Andy Katz
1. Wyoming had no choice but to suspend Luke Martinez after charges were filed in a bar room fight on Dec. 30 that resulted in a broken hand. The coaching staff played coy with the nature of Martinez' injury initially. The staff, and according to the report Monday the police as well, weren't expecting charges in the case. Martinez was instrumental in the Pokes' 12-0 start. The Cowboys are 2-1 since Martinez got hurt, beating SMU and Nevada on the road, but losing to Boise State. Martinez is still three weeks away from being cleared to play. Still, with the pending charges and the Cowboys playing well, they have time to make a decision. Ultimately, the Pokes likely would need Martinez to finish higher in the MWC and make a run at an NCAA berth. But nothing may be done until he's healthy and the case has some sort of resolution.
2. Teams in some of the lower-level conferences don't have the luxury of home nonconference games or even neutral-site affairs. That's why it's always impressive to see which teams have won true road games at this point in the season. The list won't have a single power-six type school on it since they hardly play any real road games. Our ESPN research crew has produced the current list: Stony Brook has seven. Albany, Bryant, Bucknell, Louisiana Tech, Murray State, Stephen F. Austin and Texas-Arlington have six. If you're looking for a few predictions on who on this list will make the NCAA tournament, I'll go with Stony Brook out of the America East, Bucknell from the Patriot, Murray State from the OVC and Stephen F. Austin out of the Southland. Bucknell is the one school on this list that I will blindly predict wins at least one game.
3. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy is no fool when it comes to making the NCAA tournament. He knows the deal. The Rebels just won one game at home against Missouri and one on the road against Tennessee. That doesn't equate to an NCAA tourney berth. So Kennedy knows, "we've got to win games.'' The Rebels have been on too many bubbles and in NITs (five of six years under Kennedy) for Kennedy to be too confident. It's hard not to be a little optimistic, though, with the play of JC transfer (originally at Utah) Marshall Henderson. He's averaging 18.6 points a game and is one of the toughest matchups in the SEC. "He's a good shooter, a scorer and a competitor,'' said Kennedy. He's all of the above, for sure.