I guess for now it’s just Rob’s Roundball Roundup for now. The “Radio” part was taken from all of us at The Ticket by the powers that be at Cumulus on Wednesday. I’m not going to rant, BTI and Beisner took care of that yesterday, but all I’m going to say is, as you know I’m a Card fan and I agree with his assessment that TJ had a part in it, along with the gray-haired money-hungry power-freaks at Cumulus. I can’t really say anymore that hasn’t alredy been said. It’s a damn shame and felt like a swift kick in the junk. At least we all have college basketball to soften the blow.
The week that was…
The highlight of my college basketball week was a game I would never have gotten to see if it weren’t for a necessity for basketball fans – DVR. As UK and Carolina were battling in Chapel Hill, two of the best players in the country were putting on one hell of a performance in Norman. Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry put up All-American caliber performances in the first match-up of ranked teams as Oklahoma outlasted Davidson 82-78. I don’t know which was more impressive, Griffin’s 25 point 21 board effort or Curry dropping a ridiculous 44. Even though I think Griffin is a tad overrated, that was a monster game. We all know what we’re getting with Curry. Both guys will probably win player of the year in their respective conferences and more than likely will be first team All-Americans. Curry is averaging something like 35 points and Griffin 20 and 20 so far. Great early season clash between two guys that will be around for a long time.
The mighty Bears of Mercer of the Atlantic Sun went into SEC country and had their way with both Auburn and Alabama. I know they aren’t powers, but I’m sure both Alabama schools scheduled the Bears expecting a victory. Mercer won 11 games last year one being around this time to 18th ranked O.J Mayo led USC. The school is located in Macon, Georgia and is coached by Bob Hoffman in his first year. I don’t know if the SEC has been this bad in my lifetime – their losses include Mercer, Loyola IL (Georgia) and (ahem) VMI. The Bears try to continue their good luck with trips to Dayton and Georgia Tech this week.
Other highlights of the week…
– Arizona players Jamelle Horne and Kyle Fogg recieve my “Ignoramous of the Week” Award for heir performance in Tuesday’s loss to UAB. Both intentionally fouled UAB players in the final 30-seconds in a tie game to give the Blazers a gift-wrapped victory. If you haven’t seen the video, YouTube it. Anybody else think it’s ironic that Mike Davis was the recipient of a victory because of a bonehead play by the other team?
–Rhode Island’s Jimmy Barron looked like Jimmy Chitwood against Duke, almost willing his team to victory. Barron had 8 threes, including 7 in a row in the second half with the last couple coming with defenders draped over him like under armor. If it wasn’t for Griffin/Curry, Barron’s shooting performance would have been the highlight of the week.
-Texas Tech had 10 players score in double figures and laid a whopping 167 on some scrub school East Central on Thursday. Bob Knight had trouble scoring that many in 3 games when he was there. East Central isn’t anywhere near South Central. It’s a community college in Missouri with 3500 students.
–Freshman Roundup – Al-Farooq Aminu, the Wake Forest freshman who is a decendant of Nigerian Kings, had 21 and 10.. Georgetown’s
Greg Monroe had 14 in a win against Jacksonville…Tyreke Evans put up 19 in his first two games for Memphis… Willie Warren put up 20 in the Griffin/Curry showdown for Oklahoma… Scotty Hopson was named SEC frosh of the week with a 17 point performance vs. Chattanooga.. USC’s DeMar DeRozan has way too many capital letters in his name to get off to a good start averaging only 10 points in two games
Thanksgiving week means preseason tournament time. You have your old staples – Maui, NIT, Puerto Rico – and your newer varieties – CBE, Coaches v. Cancer, Old Spice and 76 classics. Instead of breaking it down day-by-day, I’m going to go tourney-by-tourney. Upsets happen, so you never know for sure who will play who. The good thing is, there is the potential for some very intriguing match-ups later on in the week.
Coaches vs. Cancer (Madison Square Garden)
The dream final match-up of Duke vs. UCLA was spoiled by John Belien’s Michigan team last night and the final will be played Friday night at 7 on ESPN2. After a scare against Rhode Island, Coach K’s squad rolled over Southern Illinois as Gerald Henderson’s found his shot, scoring 20 points on 4-5 from 3. Duke should handle Michigan pretty convincingly as the Wolverines might have been the beneficiary of a jet-lagged UCLA team that traveled cross-country.
Puerto Rico Shootout (Some High School gym in San Juan)
The first round played out Thursday with Seton Hall over USC. The Pirates will play Memphis Friday in a “Who has the more annoying coach?” contest. Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez has been called “a raving lunatic” by one national writer and most people in the know will tell you he is the coach that other coaches hate the most. Check out this Freudian slip here after Gonzalez’ squad beat my Cards last year. Virginia Tech encounters an underrated Xavier squad in the other semifinal. This has the potential to be a good mid-level game between teams that lost a lot from last year and have a lot of new faces playing. Memphis is reloaded and should cruise to victory, however they are having trouble finding a point guard to replace Derrick Rose. Calapari has a team full of shoot first players and they look destined for AND1 – Volume 25. They might be the worst team ever to win 30 games this year. I do predict they will lose a game in conference this year, whether it be to UAB or someone else. Final will be played Sunday at 730 on ESPN2.
CBE Classic (Kansas City)
This is one where he Final 4 was predetermined, avoiding any chance of a non-marquee match-up in the semis. Does Florida have to have at least one fratastic looking white guy that can shoot every year? I mean Dupay, Walsh, Lee, Humphrey…now Calathes and Dan Werner. The Florida junior (Werner) altered his release earlier in the week and is averaging 18 points shooting 50% from long range. The Gators face-off with what may be Coach Boeheim’s best Syracuse team since Carmelo left. Paul Harris is a fun player to watch if you’ve never seen him. The Jayhawks take on a Washington team that was beaten by Portland earlier this year. Kansas doesn’t look great, but they look like they won’t lose too much of a step. Kansas is sporting two twin big men this year – Markieff and Marcus Morris – wouldn’t you be pissed if you got a weird name and your twin got a normal one. Yea my names Rob and this is my twin Robinho…. My prediction is Syracuse beats Kansas in the final on Tuesday at 10 pm on the duece.
Maui Invitational (Chaminade University)
North Carolina goes into Hawaii with Psycho-T set to return. Does that mean we don’t have to look at him on the sideline trying to look like Suge Knight in his pinstripe suit with muscle T or “ridiculously obnoxious button”? Good. The Heels will be the odds on favorite obviously, but this loaded field includes the likes of Texas and Notre Dame. The Irish have the two-headed monster of Luke Frankengody and sharp-shooting, reefer-rolling Kyle McAlarney returning from last year and have been ranked around the 3-8 range in most polls. Indiana stands in the Irish’s way and I have a feeling the Hoosiers might give their instate rivals a game Monday at 5. Like Memphis, Texas has a huge void at point guard left by DJ Augustine. The deadly AJ Abrams has been asked to step up, but fans in Austin are worried about the transition he will make from 3-point assassin to floor general. We have a possibility of Texas/Notre Dame Tuesday at 7 with the winner of that facing, in all likelihood, the Tar Heels on Wednesday at 10.
NIT Season Tip-Off (New York)
Believe it or not, Purdue is for real this year. The Boilers are coming off wins of 29, 32 and 32 all be it against lesser comp, but still impressive nonetheless. Sophomores Robbie Hummel and E’Twaun Moore lead a balanced attack and are each putting up 15 a game, shooting 40% from behind the arch and over 50 from the field. They will have their hands full with BC and rainmaker Tyrese Rice. Rice is as good of a scorer as anyone and has the ability to put points up in bunches as he proved playing all 40 minutes and scoring 28 points in a win against St. John’s Tuesday. The other Wednesday semi pits Oklahoma and UAB. Robert Vaden, an IU transfer who dabbled with the NBA Draft after last year, put up 20 in the fluke win against ‘Zona. I just don’t see the Blazers matching up well with Griffin. An Oklahoma/Purdue final on Friday afternoon at 330 would be the perfect excuse for those of you with a job to leave work a little early, hit up Happy Hour and watch some quality college hoop.
Old Spice Classic (Orlando)
Most competitive field of all the preseason tourneys starts Thursday with Georgetown and Tennessee in action against Witchita St. and Siena respectively in the early slots. The big first round contests are Oklahoma St. taking on Gonzaga and Michigan St. vs. Maryland in the night session starting at 7 on ESPN2. Those are NCAA opening round caliber games. If it plays out right, you have mammoth collisions in the second round of Georgetown/Tennessee and Michigan St/Gonzaga on Friday. All 4 of those teams are ranked in or around the top 15. As college basketball fans, we should hope this is how it works out because it will make for a great “Black Friday” afternoon with the semis being played at 1 and 530 on ESPN. Insane amount of pro talent among those 4 squads.
Other Potentially Good Match-Ups this week..
Miami (FL) / UCONN – Paradise Jam – Friday – Miami will prove whether their performance in the NCAAs last year was fool’s gold or a foreshadowing of a good year. Jack McClinton can flat out score, but UCONN has talent upon talent to stop him.
That’s it for this week. RIP 93.9 The Ticket. Peace.