Daily Dribble: 1/02
I guess I need to start with the obligatory congratulations to Bob Knight for breaking the all-time wins record. ESPN has beat this story to death so I really don't have anything interesting to add. My only hope is that they won't keep televising Texas Tech games. This is a slightly above average team that has proven this week that they'd be middle of the pack in the Mountain West Conference. New Mexico was a few missed open lay ups and one or two bad JR Giddens shots away from winning today. Still, 880 wins is 880 wins so the man deserves respect.. at least for a day or so until he obnoxiously goes off on his team or the media or the refs and he loses my respect again..
I'm writing the Dribble pretty early on Monday night.. and Wichita State is down 38-23 at Southern Illinois. The way the Salukis play defense, the Shockers pretty much have no chance of making up this defecit. Pretty amazing how far this team has fallen in two weeks.. dropping 4 straight and on the verge of not even getting any votes next week (at least they were still 26th in the AP this week).
There's still 10 teams that have yet to beat a D1 team.. sadly 4 of those 10 are from the SWAC, one of the worst conferences you'll ever see. 4 other SWAC teams only have 1 D1 win.. meaning that the bottom 8 teams have won 4 real games all year.. it just can't get any worse than that. Luckily, 0-10 Alcorn St faces 0-10 Prairie View A&M tomorrow in one of the worst games you'll ever see.
Due to geography, the Big East has been the league I've followed the closest for a long time. This might be the worst the conference has ever been. Forget the nice rankings of UCONN, Notre Dame, and now West Virginia in the AP. This league has been shockingly bad. Pittsburh's a legit team.. but their best win is at home over Dayton. West Virgnia's best non-conference win.. at home (well, in Charelston but thats basically a home game) over NC State. Villanova has a win at Oklahoma, but the 8-4 Sooners are proving to be mediocre. Georgetown's best win is at a Michigan team that's beaten nobody.. and Syracuse' best is over Hofstra at home. UCONN, St John's, and South Florida don't even have one Top-100 RPI win between them.
As a whole, the Big East has 4, just 4, good wins combined out of a 16-team league. Notre Dame's beat Alabama at home and Maryland on the road (in DC). Marquette of course beat Duke and DePaul upset Kansas. Those are the only wins by the conference over Top 25 teams, and only 3 of those wins are against teams in the RPI Top 25. For comparison, Butler alone has 3 wins over teams in the RPI Top 27 (Indiana, Gonzaga, Tennessee) and UNC also has 3 wins over the Top 25 (Ohio St, Kentucky, and Tennessee).
Interesting game between 10-3 Winthrop and Texas A&M tomorrow. Winthrop won't be given much of a chance against the #12 team in the country, but the Eagles can play some ball. They're 6 point loss at UNC earlier in the year was the closest anyone's played the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill including Ohio State (9 points) and Kentucky. They've also been the only team that's come close to beating Wisconsin in Madison, losing by 3. For comparison, the Badgers blew out Pitt by 14, FSU by 15, and Auburn by 14. In both of those games, senior Torrell Martin stepped up on the scoring end (25 at UNC, 31 at Wisconsin) and he'll need to do the same against a tough A&M defense.