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Monday's List of 13: Random college basketball thoughts.......
With only 27 days until Selection Sunday, here are some random thoughts on college basketball......
13) Right now, Kentucky looks like the best team in the country, but we said that about Ohio State/Syracuse/North Carolina at various times this season, so things can change in a hurry. Wildcats are blocking 22.6% of their opponents' shots, so the team that upsets them will have to be very good shooting behind the arc.
12) Big Dozen has five of top 25 teams in the country, but doesn't have a dominant team; Ohio State/Michigan State are tied for first at 9-3, with Michigan/Wisconsin a game behind them.
11) California is clearly the best team in the Pac-12 at #15, but Arizona is next at #40, which infers that the only way they'll get a second team in the NCAAs is if Cal stumbles in the conference tournament
10) Horizon tournament is going to be wacky; Valparaiso/Cleveland State are tied for league lead, with four losses each. This is a one-big league, and the sixth place team right now, Milwaukee is 8-7 and was in first place for good part of this season. Anything could happen here.
9) Middle Tennessee State is 23-4, 12-1 in the Sun Belt, but at #52, they are no lock for the NCAAs; Ark-Little Rock is second in Sun Belt at 9-3, but they're 3-11 in non-league games. Going to be lot of pressure on the Blue Raiders when they head to Hot Springs for the Sun Belt tourney.
8) My favorite team this year is Montana, which is tied with Weber State at 12-1 in the Big Sky, with Wildcats coming to Missoula for a deciding game for the regular season title. Weber State won the first matchup, and home court hasn't always been golden in this league, but it can't hurt.
7) Best team flying under radar might be Saint Louis, which is 20-5, 8-3 in the underrated Atlantic 14, which needs some ESPN exposure. Billikens won a tournament in Anaheim in November, but none of the teams they beat there are having good seasons. Saint Louis is very well-coached.
6) Duke has won 10 of the last 13 ACC tournaments, and this year they're in a league that is down, way down. Florida State is tied for 1st place with Duke and North Carolina, and they've lost to Princeton/Boston College. The bottom half of the ACC is truly awful.
5) Big East is also struggling this year, with teams like West Virginia, Pitt and Villanova having down years. South Florida is in top half of the league for the first time ever, and they were 7-6 out of conference.
4) Long Beach State got beat by UCSB in the Big West tourney the last two years; they better win it this year, because San Diego State is moving into the Big West next year, and they're going to dominate this league like Jerry Tarkanian's UNLV teams did 20 years ago. Its now-or-never for the experienced 49ers, who are unbeaten in conference play.
3) SEC scrapped divisional play this year; they'll be seeded 1-12 for the conference tourney next month. Alabama has four guys suspended right now; interested to see how many they get back this season. Looks like it will be four teams in the NCAAs for this league.
2) Creighton was golden for the NCAAs until they lost three games in a row, now they have work to do. Wichita State looks good for the tourney, but the Bluejays have a lot of winning to do before they're in.
1) March is the best month of the year, and it'll be here before we know it. Its interesting to track which teams are peaking and fading as we head to March Madness. You'd think the more experienced teams have the edge, but its not always the case, which is why we track these things.
Van Gumby's comments must have revitalized Washington, but don't tell interim head coach Randy Wittman. Javale McGee and Nick Young each scored 22 points while John Wall dished out 15 assists as the Wizards used a 53-32 second half to destroy Detroit 98-77. Might not be of considerable significance, but that was Washington's second win over their last 4 and their second road win overall this season.
The Horizon may be one of several leagues that clearly takes another team other than it's conference champion during the regular season. You can talk about your Cleveland States, Valpo dog foods, and even your Green Bay and Milwaukees. However one team within that conference always loves to spoil the party, and most bracketteers always seem to overlook its #1 slogan. Never count out Butler.
Someone must've forgot to tell me that the ACC is a down conference this season. While solid conference play can later atone for bad early non-conference losses this league still might get 6 teams if Miami can get to 19 20 wins and notch one or two in the conference tourney. So far the biggest surprise has been Virginia, who is 19-5 (6-4) and can wear opponents down with a nasty full court press and solid man to man that forces numerous contested shots.
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I have sucked all season long at both hoops levels...and not a lot of other people can say they are kickin ass either. This has been a year to fade, and I mean that seriously. If had faded my self all year long, I would be in the black.
≡✪≡ ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION:
If it wasn't for sports, I'd have nothing look forward to. ≡✪≡
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) What geniuses run ESPN’s website? They had a poll up Monday on who the NBA’s best point guard is. Jeremy Lin was an option, but Steve Nash wasn’t. Alrighty then.
12) That said, I’m guessing that today in NBA front offices all over the country, especially Houston/Oakland, questions are being asked, as in, “How the bleep did we not sign (keep) Jeremy Lin?” Warriors have an excuse; with Curry/Ellis, they were already heavy with guards, but what was Houston thinking? What is Michael Jordan thinking down there in Charlotte? Lin couldn’t help that sorry team?
The Bobcats are pathetic, Jordan is clearly playing shorthanded as an executive; playing the game ain’t the same as running a team. Different skill sets, different people excel at different jobs. Being one of the greatest players ever doesn’t mean you know how to run a team. Obviously.
11) This Lin story is taking New York by storm; the kid looks exhausted at the end of the game Saturday night, but there he is at Hamilton College Sunday afternoon, watching his little brother play small college ball. Its a 4-hour ride, at least, from NYC to Clinton, NY. Would’ve thought a little rest on his other brother’s now-famous couch might’ve been in order.
10) Phil Mickelson is skipping the Match Play tournament next week, so Ernie Els gets in. Imagine world #1 Luke Donald having to face Els in his first match?
9) 12 football players with eligibility left have transferred out of Maryland since this past season ended; that’s half a recruiting class.
8) Kentucky basketball is most definitely unique; they’re having an intrasquad scrimmage Wednesday, and ESPNU is televising it, that’s how much interest there is in the Wildcats, and it also helps explain why coach Calipari is the perfect coach for their program- he embraces the attention, the scrutiny. Most coaches would cringe at having a scrimmage televised.
7) Disappointed to see that House is going off the air after eight years; show is a little bizarre, but good TV. Curious to see how they end the show; I’ve always thought that it won’t end well for Dr House, the tormented genius.
6) Mets GM Sandy Alderson is driving to spring training, which means he has to drive back, assuming he drove his own car. I’m thinking he’d be using his time a little more wisely to fly down and rent a car and then fly back, but that’s just me. There’s no way the Mets don’t have some kind of a deal with a rent-a-car place down in Florida.
Then again, these are the Mets, so anything is possible.
5) David Ortiz and the Red Sox settled on a one-year, $14.575M contract; am curious to see in Valentine will let him play the field when they visit NL ballparks. If he plays 1B, either Gonzalez or Youkilis has to sit.
4) There is a TV show on the History Channel called Full Metal Jousting, as in people on horses wearing suits of armor and jousting. Very medieval, and a sure sign we have way too many TV channels.
3) Warde Manuel is UConn’s new AD, coming from Buffalo; he played football at Michigan, but his #1 job is going to be finding a graceful way for Jim Calhoun to retire as the Huskies’ basketball coach, then finding a suitable replacement (Hurley, Danny). But Hurley won’t be available for long (think USC/Arizona State); if Calhoun decides to continue on past this year, Manuel is going to have his hands full finding someone who can be anywhere near as successful as Calhoun has been.
2) A’s signed Cuban defector OF Yoenis Cespedes to a 4-year, $36M contract; consider me pleasantly surprised. Hope he's worth it.
1) Sunday was Abe Lincoln’s birthday; he still has his holiday, but no one talks about President Lincoln anymore. We heard a lot about Martin Luther King last month, but Abe Lincoln’s actions helped make Dr King’s achievements possible 100 years later. We shouldn’t forget that.