Who's Number 1 in college hoops? Not "Number 1" number 1 – the question on everyone's mind is which four teams will earn No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Touranment: The Big Ten champ? UNC?
I love the next two weeks of debate leading up to Selection Sunday as much as anyone, but here is where college football's system and college basketball's system diverge:
However flawed the BCS system may be, the question of "Who's Number 1?" (and, perhaps even more, "Who's Number 2?") is the essence of the season. In college hoops, who is Number One now – and certainly on Selection Sunday – is completely meaningless. Just ask any of last year's No. 1 seeds.
As opposed to being concerned with poll position and, ultimately, seedings, I would be much more focused on how teams are playing – how teams are winning. What their strengths and weaknesses are.
Or how they'll look in various possible NCAA Tournament matchups, so you can spot the upsets or the alchemy of talents that might illuminate which team will be number one when it exclusively matters: At the end.
(Reader Matt reminds me that the NCAA seedings are finalized before the B10 title game is finished. But again: Seedings are irrelevant, except for the dreaded 5-seed. But that doesn't mean we can't use the game to make final evaluations about OSU or Wisco's FF-worthiness.)
The much bigger news was UNC losing at
(Update: As Commenters are pointing out, Maryland was hardly unranked where it matters: The RPI, where they were 17th. I admit to my own laziness in going with the AP poll, which is useless. Give me the RPI or Pomeroy's rankings anyday. UNC remains a lock of a No. 1 seed, and -- yes -- it looks like Florida is a 2, unless they streak their way to an SEC tourney title.)
But again: The most important question is what does UNC's loss at
Your SEC MVP? Derrick Byars. Vandy continues surprising run by beating
Women's CBB: Congrats to Duke on becoming the first women's team ever to go unbeaten in the ACC. (Of course, it doesn't mean anything if they go out and lose to, say,
NBA: Is Amare the Comeback Player of the Year in the NBA? I have 43 reasons (a season-high) to argue he is, but the real proof will come when the Suns win the NBA Finals behind Amare, the Finals MVP.
Meanwhile, Chris Webber is making a late-career surge for respectability. He's been a sparkplug for the Pistons since the trade, and his role yesterday was critical to
Dwight Howard's "Kiss the Rim" Dunk is officially the dunk of the year. Yes, even better than his Slap-Sticker-On-The-Backboard dunk from the All-Star Dunk Contest. Certainly better than anything done by Gerald Green. Here is your People's Dunk Champ: Dwight Howard.
NFL Combine 40 "Talk":
Wisco OT Joe Thomas: 4.93
GA Tech WR Calvin Johnson: 4.35
Drew Stanton > Brady Quinn
(All stats/gossip via ProFootballTalk.)
Watch the Name: Amobi Okoye, the 19-year-old Louisville DT who could be the surprise riser of the draft. PFT was "Talking" him up over the weekend, and I opened my New York Times this morning to a very positive profile. The academic story is wild: Played for L'ville as a true freshman at 16 (16!) and even graduated early. Oh, and he's 6-foot-2, 300 pounds -- and still growing.
NFL '07 Schedule: Will it be Cards-Steelers in Arizona in the league's Sunday night season-opener?
MLB: Who had "handful of days" in the "Carl Pavano Injury Pool?" And who had "early" in the "Manny Reports to Camp Pool?"
UPDATE (5 p.m.): Anything that mocks Curt Schilling is OK by me. Here's the link (via Sports By Brooks)
OSCARS: Congrats to Scorsese. Long overdue. And congrats to Forest Whitaker, who might be the greatest actor of our generation. (Beyond "Last King of Scotland," for his work on "The Shield.") Funniest moment: Ferrell, Black and Reilly serenading about the lost cause of comedians at the Oscars. Worst moment: Anything with the full-body shadow hand-puppets. Meanwhile, the Red Carpet show on E! is one of the few times all year I get to update my "List of 5" (celebrities I could hook up with, without punishment from my wife). When I nominated Reese Witherspoon, my wife -- a huge Reese fan -- said OK, as long as you invite her over for dinner afterward so we can hang out. Done and done!
UPDATE: Got a great dispatch from Free Darko's Bethlehem Shoals about Amare. Wanted to share it:
Once he learns the game, it's over with.—Stephon Marbury.
"Back in December of 2002, when Marbury mattered and Garnett still had hope, the Suns and T-Wolves played a game of basketball. Amare exploded for 38, by far his career high, and Stephon took advantage of a chance to belittle KG. This has gone down in history as Marbury at his most desperate, but it was also the first time we saw what a remotely consistent, stable Amare Stoudemire could do.
Last night against the Hawks was another one of those days. I'm still not convinced he's back to his full athletic capacity; even his legend won't accomodate that kind of superhuman recovery. It's high time, though, that we recognize Amare's a basketball player, not some poster-generating armament paid by the kilohert. In the past, it was hard to see this, but the current Stoudemire practically screams personal growth and development.
And in that sense, maybe Marbury wasn't so wrong or desperate after all. He was just a little too proud."