Oh Louisville.. what should we make of you? You have a big name and a hall of fame coach.. but I guess you're just not that good. Graduation losses and injuries have been too much to bare. There's no shame in losing to a 9-2 UMASS team, or an 8-1 Dayton team, or a 7-1 Arizona team either.. but ultimately you're running out of chances to prove your worth. You don't play a ranked team again until 10 games from now.. by then, perhaps with a loss to Kentucky this weekend or a loss to Notre Dame in a couple weeks.. you'll have blown your at-large chances. Sorry, David Padgett's not going to help you.. the fragile one is as reliable as my old 1980 Ford Fiesta. Juan Palacios is solid but not the star I'd thought he'd be. Derrick Caracter almost has more missed free throws than career points.. But perhaps our expectations are simply too high for you Louisville.. so many freshmen and sophomores is hard to deal with.. especially against more experienced teams like UMASS and Dayton. Perhaps you only need time.. but my patience is running thin.
If you're wondering what game I am referring to in the title, that would be the overtime thriller between Utah and Rhode Island, won 85-84 by the homestanding Rams on Saturday. What could possibly taint a game like this? For starters, the game was nowhere to be found on television. Of course, a game between these two programs would be left off the major networks schedules, but shouldn't the game at least be televised locally? I don't live in either state, so I had to refer to the NCAA's TV schedule (http://www.ncaasports.com/broadcast/schedule/divi-m-basketball) to figure this one out. Had this game been on TV, we all would have some visual evidence to see whether or not the second negative was justified.
Its nice to see college athletics programs limiting games played during finals period.. its the only time of the year there's even a fake veil of caring about academics. Not all teams had the day off though..
Hofstra barely escaped with a 67-64 win over lowly Saint Francis (NY). Hofstra's bounced back from a dismal 0-3 start.. but mainly because they've now played 6 bad teams in a row. Wins over Alsaka Anchorage and 0-11 SFNY don't necessarily point to a big Hofstra turnaround as much as a big drop in quality of opponent. Things pick up again for the Pride as they now go on the road to face Syracuse, Saint Joseph's, and UNCW in the next couple of weeks.
The difference as usual for LSU in their win over #6 Texas A&M was that they had Glen Davis, while their opponent didn't. Lost in Florida's championship, Tyler Hansbrough's Player of the Year hype, and this year's stellar class, is that Davis just might be the country's best player. Big Baby had 24 points and 9 rebounds to key the win. And this isn't one of those 24 point efforts in an up and down game where both teams are scoring into the 80's or beyond. This is 24 points in a game featuring two tight defenses, limited possessions, and where Davis' 9 field goals were almost half of LSU's 20. A&M was led by Antanas Kavaliauskas who is quietly becoming a major offensive player for Billy Gillispie. The big Lithuanian added 18 points a game after setting a career high with 23 against Pacific.
6-3 Winthrop gave it another good run against a ranked team.. falling in overtime to Wiscosnin. The Eagles pose an interesting problem for how we look at mid-major teams. For example, well-played, close losses at UNC, Maryland, and Wisconsin are impressive and have to count for something. But on the flip side, Winthrop's best win so far is at Mississippi State. We had Winthrop in our CHN Top 50 Ranking.. and I still believe they are a top 50 team.. but there gets to the point that they have to win a big game to warrant the ranking. If Purdue for example lost to those three teams and had only beaten Mississippi State and some nobodies, then it would seem perfectly normal not to put them in the Top 50. The difference though when comparing a Purdue and a Winthrop is that a Winthrop will never have the chance to play the likes of a UNC, Wisconsin, and Maryland on their home floor. Winthrop plays a 5th BCS team this year, Texas A&M, but also on the road. I'd say its an assumption that if a team goes on the road and takes a team to OT, that they would be the favored team at home. Unfortuntely, we may never know.
Maryland's win in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic finals should catapult them into the top 25 for the first time this season. I dont necessarily know if Maryland will be better than Michigan State or Texas at the end of the season.. but this shows you what a team with three senior starters can do to start a season. For the Terps, like Texas and Michigan State as well, point guard play will go a long way in determining future success. Greivis Vasquez, Drew Neitzel, and DJ Augustin all impressed this week. The freshman Vasquez was perhaps the most surprising and ultimately got the W's. Neitzel is the veteran of these three, and looks noticeably stronger and more mature this season. Augustin in the end might be the best of those three. The high school All-American often dribbles around too much and needs to do a better job running the offense, but his ability to get into the lane and finish is simply unteachable and gives Texas an edge on most teams.
- Bracketology: Selection Sunday Projection
- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
- Non-BCS Top 25: Creighton, Colorado St Rise
- College Basketball Top 50: Indiana Ends Regular Season #1
- Non-BCS Top 25: Valpo Replaces BYU
- College Basketball Top 50: Maryland and Iowa St Drop Out
- Non-BCS Top 25: Davidson In, Wyoming Out
- College Basketball Top 50: #2 Gonzaga Hits All-Time High
- Non-BCS Top 25: Air Force, Davidson Making Moves
- College Basketball Top 50: Another Week, Another #1