A somewhat uneventful week in college hoops was highlighted by a few upsets, a few disappointments and one team that is head and shoulders above everyone else. This is beginning to become a one horse Secretariat-type of race for the national title. The “Aw shucks” attitude of Roy Williams is the only thing that can stop the mighty Tar Heels. They beat a Michigan State team on Wednesday by 35 points and I thought the Spartans actually played well. It reminds me of the story when Larry Bird came into the locker room before a late 80′s 3-point Shootout at All-Star Weekend wearing his smedium shorts and Celtics warm up. He looked at his competitors and said “So, who’s finishing second?” He went on to win, of course. that’s the kind of swagger Carolina is carrying right now. It seems as though everyone else is playing for second.
- My weekly Blake Griffin update consists of his team winning the preseason NIT behind 18 & 21 on a vastly overrated Purdue squad who had no one that could guard him. Griffin then faced USC’s Taj Gibson, a fellow mule, and Griffin was only able to snag 6 boards in a narrow oone point victory. Oh, and we found out that he likes to frolic through meadows dressed in drag that would make RuPaul proud. Is this a guy that strikes fear in the eyes of fellow players or a confused college kid? Bottom line is he will feed off guppies in the Big 12 paint this year, but when faced up with someone with a little muscle and talent Griffin and his Sooners will struggle.
- Kyle Singler is a player. Of course, like the majority of Dukies over history, he turns into milk toast at times but his skill set is amazing for a kid his size. He made Robbie Hummel look stupid on hios home court the other night as the Devils destroyed Purdue by 16. Singler reminds me of Mike Dunleavy Jr. with responsibility. greater He is asked to take on more of the scoring load and is ten times the rebounder. Duke has a complete team and as much as we all hate the hype surrounding their battles with Carolina, as a college basketball fan you have to look forward to them. Purdue is lost right now, but Coach Matt Painter thinks that they are having growing pains and are actually ahead of schedule. Pundits (myself included) ranked Purdue way too high to start the season. However, that doesn’t mean come March they won’t be reckoned with.
- Gonzaga is getting well-deserved hype for their run through the Old Spice Classic. They have as complete a team as anyone outside of Chapel Hill. They have stars – Jeremy Pargo, Austin Daye, Josh Heytvelt. Second tier scorers – Matt Bouldin and Micah Downs. And role players – led by Ira Brown a former semi-pro baseball player who at 26 is running with the youngins and viciously cramming in their face when needbe. Defense has always been a concern for the Zags, but from what I’ve seen they create a lot of points off turnovers. Convincing wins over Tennessee and Maryland last week extended their record to 5-0. Blowouts over Indiana and Wazzou this week will make them 7-0. Mark down December 20th on you calendar – 4 o’clock CBS – UCONN visits Gonzaga.
- Final 4 teams UCLA and Memphis are really struggling at this point. I don’t really think people realize how much the Bruins lost from last year’s team and it’s hard to leave Ben Howland’s bunch out of the top 5 after three straight final 4 runs. Memphis shot a dismal 15-30 from the foul line in a loss to Xavier. Calapari does a great job bringing in the studs, but this group does not seem to mesh like the previous units. Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans demand the ball entirely too much for either UCLA or Memphis to do anything significant in the tourney this year.
On to the week that will be…
Friday – Only one game on the slate that is worth anything – Arizona and Texas A&M. Both teams are definitely going to find themselves around the bubble come tournament time. Arizona’s Chase Budinger’s play has been somewhat frustrating to Wildcat fans, but I like watching him play. In addition to seeing him party in this classic deadspin pic. Catch this gem at 9:30 on ESPNU
Saturday – With the football conference title games going on, it might be tough to find time for some college hoops. A.J Ogilvy will battle inside with Gani Lawal as Vandy takes on Georgia Tech at 2 on FoxSports. Lawal is averaging 22 and 11 and has shown that he will be one of the top players in the ACC this season. Ogilvy is a tall, goofy, slow, white center in a fast guards game. Only one more year before he gets paid millions to become posterize-material for LeBron and Amare is the league. Notre Dame and the hot shooting Kyle McAlarney take on the exciting Evan Turner and the Buckeyes at 4. McAlarney has hit 7+ threes in multiple games this year. Frankengody is still battling pneumonia, so it’s doubtful we’ll get to see him bully around all-world freshman BJ Mullens. Aw shucks! I always like seeing two slow white guys dominate the ball in the post. In state rivals Wisconsin and Marquette battle it out for the “Wheel of Cheese’ trophy at 930 on the U. Wisconsin is coming off a big buzzer beating win against VaTech and Marquette is coming off a bad loss to Dayton. All I know is I’ll be tuning in just to see both teams’ smokin’ hot cheerleaders.
Sunday – If they aren’t too busy waxing each others eyebrows and gelling up their model-spikes to perfection, the Florida Gators will take on rival Florida St. in the only watchable game of the day (6 FoxSports). Chandler Parsons is the worst of them all. He looks like a European soccer player crossed with a West Virginia mullet wearing inbred. Nick Calathes is not much better as he seem to be channeling his inner Ryan Seacrest. Nonetheless, Alex Tyus is playing exceptional ball for Donavan and it will be fun to see FSU freshman Burger boy Chris Singleton do his thing for the Seminoles.
Monday – I can’t tell whether Georgetown is for real or not. They seem to have all the necessary pieces for a good team, yet it’s not coming together. They are playing stud freshman Greg Monroe out of position at the 5 and seem to be relying on the 3 ball entirely too much. Austin Freeman and DaJuan Summers (right) are both legitimate players on the wing and Chris Wright is a solid point guard. The team is shooting a pathetic 28% from three and is averaging over 15 turnovers a game. I still think they can bring it all together. They slap around Savannah St. at 730
Tuesday – Two big matchups on the tube. West Virginia tries to bounce back from an absolutely horrid game against UK as they take on the Stephan Curry Show at 7 on ESPN. Davidson is a good team with a great player. Bob Mckillop’s bunch take great offense to the “one-man show” moniker and have earned their current top 20 ranking. Can’t you just see Bob Thuggins doing something sleazy to take Curry off his game? He’s going to need to if his team continues to shoot the ball so poorly. Plus, always love to see those close ups of Mrs. Curry in spine-tingling HD. Two of the great shooters/scorers in the game today clash as AJ Abrams leads his Texas boys into Philly to take on Scotty Reynolds and Villanova. With both teams being heavily guard oriented, look for those two and Nova’s Corey Fisher to put on a display. i will pick Nova in a mild upset in this one.
Wednesday - Not much on tap so I think Rutgers-Princeton on ESPNU at 7 will be the game to catch. Mike Rosario and Greg Echinique are both freshman who have risen the hopes of Rutgers fans to levels they haven’t seen in years. Early losses to St. Bonnie’s and Lehigh took those hopes and set them aside for now, but from watching both guys in high school I know the Scarlet Knights have a duo to lead then into the future. Rosario is a business-like PG who can fill it up and Echinique was granted eligibility a year early by the NCAA, so he is having growing pains like Maggie right now. Plus, it’s always crazy to watch the intricacies of the Princeton “back door” offense.
No good games of note on Thursday. i’ll be back next Friday to drop some more college hoop knowledge on you. Go to lyesreport.blogspot.com. It’s never too late to join the “good guys”. Peace