Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday 01/20 A.M. Quickie:
CBB Shockers: UNC, UCLA, A&M, Pitt!

College Hoops Mania! With college football a few weeks behind us and the NFL about to wind down, this was the first Saturday where I really spent it obsessing entirely over college hoops. And it was a good one to do it...

Maryland shocks No. 1 UNC in Chapel Hill: Let's start with this. This ends any argument that UNC was the best team in the country – the best of the so-called "Big Three" of previously unbeaten teams. This stat about Maryland's success against No. 1-ranked teams is incredible.

USC shocks UCLA at Pauley Pavilion: Now this was a true head-scratcher. As most of you know, UCLA was my preseason pick to win the national title, and nothing this season has changed my mind about that. (Even this result.)

I still think Kevin Love is the best player in the country – not the best freshman, the best player... period. I think this loss will offer more teaching lessons and motivation than any single win might have between now and the NCAA Tournament. (Losing to the cocky young crosstown rival at home? Definitely.)

But credit the Trojans – an extremely young and extremely talented team. They had a right to be cocky – it was the only way to go into Pauley and gut out this game in the face of UCLA's superior everything. Everyone talks about OJ Mayo; Jefferson is the real freshman revelation of that team (though it begs the question how much more effective Jefferson is because opposing defenses have to key on Mayo).

Kansas State throttles Texas A&M by 21: Were the Aggies really a Top 10 team? I guess not. Either that, or K-State has proven itself as an unranked team with the talent (Beasley and Walker, who combined for 40) and potential to knock off anyone -- anyone -- on any given night.

Cincinnati stuns Pittsburgh: I don't get Pitt. One week they beat Duke. The very next game, they lose by 25 to Dayton. Then they beat Georgetown. The very next game, they lose to Cincinnati. It's that kind of inconsistency that will keep me from taking them beyond the Sweet 16 (at best) in my NCAA Tournament bracket.

Kansas holds off Missouri's upset bid: Again, you would like to argue that THIS is the No. 1 team? I am going to say Memphis, despite their woeful conference strength-of-schedule -- what they have done out of conference more than makes up for it.

Tennessee beats Ohio State: Remember the brutal chokery that the Vols suffered against the Buckeyes last March? This win might not make up for it, but perhaps it exorcises enough of the memory to provide a symbolic stop en route to the Vols making the Final Four this season, as I predicted they would before the season started.

Florida fends off Kentucky in OT: It wasn't pretty, but it WAS on ESPN. Nick Calathes joins the short-list of Top 10 impact freshman with 24 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds in a national breakout game. (I'm telling you: If you gave me my pick of the Top 10 freshman as my team, I would give you the rest of the country to find your 10, and I would decimate your team.)

Name to Know: Dre Smith, who hit an NCAA-record 10-of-10 3-pointers to lead George Mason over James Madison.


NBA Studs: McGrady returns to the Rockets, they beat the Spurs: Coincidence? Hmm... (As long as we're not talking about the playoffs, right?)

NBA Duds: The Heat lost their 13th straight – the worst such streak of Pat Riley's career. Adding insult to insult, they lost to the Knicks. The Knicks!

Uber-recruit Terrelle Pryor visits Michigan: Given that the presumption is that new coach Rich Rodriguez has offered Pryor the keys to the kingdom (focus of the offense, start as a freshman, etc), it would be the ultimate backslide if Pryor were to turn Michigan down. The fans did their part, with the obligatory "We want Pryor" chant for the recruit at a basketball game he was attending.

Roy Jones Jr. beat Felix Trinidad in a "Wait: This Still Matters?" match...

Must-Read: Wilbon on the Golfweek/Tilghman controversy. Makes a lot of great points.

-- D.S.


Ronnie Fitzpatrick said...

I would argue Kansas, on the road (AT MISSOURI!!!), with Rush struggling throughout the night, never looked like they did not have the game in hand. I think its not as big of a strike against them as Memphis's schedule is against Memphis.

Tortfeasor said...

"(I'm telling you: If you gave me my pick of the Top 10 freshman as my team, I would give you the rest of the country to find your 10, and I would decimate your team.)"

Really? A little cocky, aren't we? Wanna bet?

Unknown said...

If Dan gets to decide who the top 10 freshman are, I'll bet my mortgage on it. I'll take half the guards in the country over this Calathes kid he's slurping.
Tortfeasor, you obviously haven't been reading Dan very much. His schtick is the cocky, uninformed homer fan.