The past week in the world of college hoops was great as always, unless you’re a Middle Eastern cab driver in Cincinnati. In that case, not so much. This week is even better than the last with Saturday being the biggest day of the young year with more elite match-ups than one can handle. Before we get into the week that will be, let’s take a look back at the week that was…
– The highlight of the week was seeing that 60-footer drop for Cedric Jackson (left) of Cleveland St to knock off 11th ranked Syracuse. CSU coach Gary Waters didn’t even see the shot because he turned around to his bench and told them to get ready for OT. Then – BOOM – the bench erupts, Waters doesn’t know what the hell is going on, and Cleveland St. has their biggest win since being the first 14 seed to beat a 3 in the 1988 tourney against Indiana. I’m in the group that says the ‘Cuse got their comeuppance and karma bit them in the proverbial ass for allowing Ike…I mean Eric Devendorf continue to play as he appeals his suspension. Not to say that a lady wouldn’t tell a fib and Jimmy Boehiem seems to think he’s innocent, but it is very dicey to let an accused woman-beater continue to play.
– The boys at Gonzaga got a wake-up call from their coach’s possible future employer, Arizona, in the form of a 69-64 upset on a “neutral” floor in Phoenix. The Zags were stepping up as a top-5 team and still may very well be. However, for how chaotic of a situation that’s going on with the Wildcats, this classifies as a pretty big upset. The Zags play the game of the week Saturday against UCONN.
– Congratulations to Psycho T Hansbrough for setting a record that was 30 years old, the North Carolina scoring mark. If the season lengths stay the same, this record could be around for generations. All the good players leave early (Jamison, Jordan) and the others won’t start all 4 years. Remember, when Mark Madsen with talent arrived in Chapel Hill, they had just lost all 5 starters from a great title team and he was asked to shoulder a lot of the scoring load. I never thought Maris/McGwire’s HR record would be broken either. So I guess what I’m saying is, if they don’t find a performance-enhancement drug for hoopers, then Psycho T will hold the record for a significant amount of time. Even though he should foul out of every game with 10 minutes left, but that’s just nitpicking, right?
– The Andy Kennedy thing kills me. I was in Cincy Thursday night at the games and all sorts of crazy stories were getting thrown around about what happened. It is alleged the Ole Miss coach was belligerent at a bar (The Lodge) carousing with women and got asked to leave. Now, I don’t know if this happened for sure, but most of us have been in the same situation in college – not when you’re the head coach on the eve of playing the #9 team in the country. Stupid that he went out. Even stupider that he blacked-out and fought a cabbie while racially slurring him American History X style. Crazy.
The week that will be…
Gonzaga/UCONN – Saturday 2PM on CBS – Since it’s such a big game, it deserves it’s own section. The Zags are coming off their first loss as I mentioned, but have had this game circled for a while. UCONN gets F Stanley Robinson back for the first time (against competition) and the Huskies inside punch of Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien could be too much for the Zags frontcourt. Although, bigs Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye are exceptional players, they are soft as Charmin in comparison with the Huskies. The game is in Seattle, giving Gonzaga a slight edge in intangibles and a small homecort advantage. Nonetheless, it is going to be a knock-down-drag-out war between 2 teams who nearly every analyst would have in their Final Four.
Friday – Same as last week, Brownie’s the Shed for beer, food, laughs and more beer. For some reason there are never good games on Friday night, maybe due to an unwritten rule with high school ball to avoid conflict. Al-Farooq Aminu is the real life Akeem from Coming to America – he descends from kings. He is also one of my top 5 freshman in the country and his Wake Forest Deacons face Richmond at 7 on the U. I’ve read a couple stories that say Lawrence North alum and Wake starter Jeff Teague is one of the more underrated players in he country. Be the judge for yourself.
Saturday – Excluding the game above Saturday brings the college hoops “blue light” and “everything must go” sale for us that want to stay as far from the mall as possible. Another Saturday that you can wake up, get some stuff done, then sit down at noon and watch hoop until midnight. Duke battles with Xavier at 2 on CBS. Even though I’ve ever heard of anyone on Xavier before this season, they continue to reload and have become a regular fixture in the top 20. These are the type of games they must win to take the next step. If Bruce Pearl is the Ladies Man, then Dionte Christmas and Temple are “player haters”. Xmas dropped 35 n UT and will try and continue his hot streak against a struggling Kansas at 2:30. Purdue goes into Davidson to get their taste of “The Stephan Curry Show”, however I consider the Boilers favors in this game due to their size and discipline. Nothing Curry does ceases to amaze me though. At 6 on the Mothership, two exciting contrasting styles clash as Syracuse takes on Memphis. The patented Boeheim zone defense against Calipari’s dribble drive motion offense. Plus, talent coming out of the rafters including a couple of my favorite role players – SU’s Paul Harris and Memphis guard Willie Kemp. Finish your day with some Blake Griffin and see if you can see his pink lace thong through his white basketball shorts as his Sooners take on former Metro conference powerhouse Virginia Commonwealth at 10 on the deuce.
Sunday – PITT is looking rather tough again this year and they take on former UK assistant and huge Red Lobster fan Leonard Hamilton’s Florida St. squad. The game is not televised unfortunately, but I expect PITT to do work on the Seminoles. I want to know why people make such a big deal about Chinese gymnasts and Little Leaguers ages and investigate birth certificates but nobosy has done such for PITT F Sam Young. The guy makes Greg Oden look like Opie Taylor and even plays like a 35 year old wiley NBA vet. Where is that Jeremy Schaap or Mark Schwartz when you them?
Monday – Game of the night is the west coast FoxSports match-up of Georgia Tech and USC. The Jackets are 6-2, the Trojans 6-3, but both have the talent to turn around dismal starts. G Dwight Lewis is lighting it up for USC, scoring double-digits in every game and putting up 25 against Oklahoma. Jacket F Gani Lawal is averaging 20 and 10 in the absence of scoring guard Lewis Clinch who has been out with injury. These teams might not be able to compete with he nations elite, but this match-up could be an exciting mid-level squabble.
Tuesday – Not just your garden variety Tuesday of hoops. There are 3 major battles starting with the contest for mid-major supremacy as Butler takes on Xavier at 7. Like I said before, both teams surprise me with how well they reload without the draw and glamour of classic powers. It all boils down to getting team guys that fi the system and keeping hem. Rarely if ever do you see a guy leave early or transfer from either school. Texas and Wisconsin follow at 9 on the U. Two guys to watch in this game – Damion James for Texas and Marcus Landry for the Badgers. Both aren’t the main option for their respective team, but good basketball players nonetheless. Finish off the day with Arizona-Kansas at 10:30. This would usually be a top-10 scuffle, but both teams are battling separate demons. ‘Zona is dealing with the end of the Lute Olsen Era and Kansas was somewhat snake-bitten by early departure from last year’s team. Yet, it’s always a great game when these two take the floor. Watch Cole Aldrich and Jordan Hill in the post, two young and talented big men that are recently playing exceptionally well lately.
Wednesday – The only and I mean ONLY game is UC-Riverside v. Hawaii. Wow. I’m sure everyone will have their eyes glued to…nevermind. If I played for Riverside I’d have to pull the Wayne Brady line from the Chappelle Show every time I hit a three or had a huge dunk…”Riverside Mother F…..”!
Thursday – Remeber when I said earlier that this week was better than last? Well I lied. No games for the second straight day. I might just have to DVR a game from Saturday or Tuesday and save it so I can get my college hoop fix. This will give you the opportunity to catch a local high school game or catch up on episodes of Heroes. With 20 sports networks, even a single night with hoops should considered criminal. That is reason #206 why I should run college basketball. Until then, I will be stuck here writing about the events of the basketball week.
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