Sunday, December 16, 2007

College Hoops Update

Before we get into this entry, I want to apologize to our readers for the lack of college basketball articles over the last couple of weeks. We told you that we were the NCAA hoops headquarters and then went almost a month between articles (other than updates on our man-crush: Mike Beasley). Part of the reason was other news that we needed to cover, part of it was my busy schedule/being lazy. Sorry, it won’t happen again. That said, there hasn’t been much news of late surrounding the top 25. In fact, there haven’t been many games recently because the teams have to pretend that their players are studying for finals. But that’s about to change soon.

Conference play will begin shortly and that’s when we’ll get to see some action. Rather than playing the Cal State Sacramento’s of the world, the top teams in the country will be facing more familiar opponents and crazy arenas. We will get to learn a lot about some teams that look strong right now, but haven’t exactly played the toughest schedules. The most intriguing conference, the Pac 10, will surely provide fans with some great games featuring UCLA, USC, Oregon, and Arizona, among others. Locally, Gopher fans will get to see just how legit Tubby’s group is when they square off against the likes of Michigan State, Indiana, and the rest of the Big Ten.

As was previously stated, there hasn’t been a lot of shake up in the top 25. Here’s what we know so far: UNC can fly up and down the court, but have had games where they look very beatable. Texas is proving that they don’t need Durant as DJ Augustine and company are taking care of business, including a big time win against UCLA. Memphis can still score in bunches, struggles on D, and can’t find anyone to shoot from the outside with any consistency. Kansas and UCLA are playing fairly well while they wait out some key injuries. Duke, as much as I fucking hate them, seem to actually be a somewhat decent team (that’s the nicest thing I’ve ever said about a Blue Devil team; you’re welcome Fuzz).

Washington State is still the most underrated team in the country, but they’ll get a chance to wake everyone up in the next few weeks. Indiana looks tough, Marquette is very balanced and playing well, and Pitt and Georgetown have been quietly dominant.

On the other side of life, Kentucky sucks. They’re 4-4 and have lost to Indiana (though that’s not a bad loss, especially with how well Eric Gordon has been playing), Gardner Webb (yuck), and UAB (double yuck). Just a month into his tenure, Billy Gillispie’s seat must be feeling a bit warm right now.

Usually there’s a period where fans will allow a new coach to have some trip ups. But not in Lexington. They pushed out Tubby because he couldn’t win more than one national championship in 10 years. Do you really think they’re going to stand for this for very long? Not likely. You know who else sucks? Louisville. As my partner Dogg predicted, they’ve looked absolutely horrible early in the year. They’re 5-3, including back to back losses to Dayton and Purdue. Ouch.

But let’s not focus so much on the teams that blow and instead look at this much heralded freshman class. We all know that Kansas State’s Michael Beasley is an absolute force and would look nice in a blue jersey with pine trees around the collar. Much has also been said about Indiana’s Eric Gordon as he continues to fill it up. OJ Mayo is still doing his thing in Southern California, though his team hasn’t been playing that great. Kevin Love is still throwing amazing outlet passes in LA, Donte Greene is quickly moving into the national eye out in Syracuse, and Derrick Rose is flying up and down the court in Memphis.

Other than Greene, who wasn’t given much press heading into the year, all of the hyped, impact freshmen have been playing very well. This could lead to a very talented, very young NBA draft this spring.

Sleeper Update: in our preview, we told you to watch out for Davidson as a big time sleeper in college basketball this year. Well they’re 4-5, but it’s an intriguing and promising 4-5. Their five defeats include a four point loss to North Carolina, a six point loss to Duke, and an 11 point loss to UCLA in a game that Davidson led for the first 30 minutes. Those games should give this Wildcat team a lot of confidence that they can hang with, and beat, the big dogs in the tourney. The problem is that by losing all of these early games, they now have to win their conference tournament and get that automatic bid to get into the field of 65. That’s fine. Stephen Curry will dominate the Southern Conference and they’ll be a team to remember come March.

Ok, so that’s where we’re at in the college basketball landscape. So without any further ado, I present to you the second installment our NCAA hoops rankings:

The Highly Scientific TKOT Fantastic 15 BCS-Style Poll Thing
Note: These rankings are based on the average position of the teams from each of the three TKOT writer’s personal rankings. First place votes in parenthesis.

1) Memphis
2) UNC (1)
3) Kansas (1)
4) Texas
6) Washington State
7) Duke (1—though Dogg says it’s because it’s tough to play 8-5 every night)
8) Georgetown
9) Marquette
10) Indiana
11) Pittsburgh
12) Tennessee
13) Michigan State
14) Oregon
15) Texas A&M
Also receiving votes: West Virginia, Clemson, Butler, Davidson


Finn-to-Win said...

I think you have Marquette a little too high thats because they are a guard first team. They do not have a post player that they give touches too. It seems like the gaurds can do whatever they want on that team. I feel they would be even better if they could get a solid touch on the low block. That would open the driving lanes more for those fast guards. But you guys might know better then I sence you have seen them play a lot more than I have. But other then them being ranked to high I think its a solid top 15.

Except Duke. They suck.

Finn-to-Win said...

Also when will people stop ranking Kansas so high. I know you have to rank them high during the regular season but common people they choke every year.

Dogg said...

You are definitely right about Marquette. McNeal and James can get to the rim basically whenever they want to but it's tough for them to finish being that all the post defenders will help off knowing their bigs aren't even finishers. Hayward is the closest thing they have to a legitimate post player and he's more of an inside/outside type 4 man. Guards usually win tournament games though so if the wings can knock down a few outside shots, this team could be very dangerous.

Finn-to-Win said...

Well, I do agree that guards for the most part win tournament games but you have to have an inside presance for then the outside shots and the guards are not getting to the rim. I think thats why Duke as struggled some of the past tourny's. If you look that the last couple of National Champs they all had inside and outside players.

But when it comes down to it the team that plays the best D will end up winning. Thats the stat you have to look at when filling out brackets.