Thursday, December 07, 2006

NCAA Hoops Round Up!

It was a pretty quiet night for NCAA hoops, but there are a couple of scores to relate.

Notre Dame 99, (4) Alabama 85

So, the Number Four Team in the Country gets is fucking dog walked by Mike Brey's bunch of helter-skelter gym rats. Make no mistake, Notre Dame has a chance to be a quality team. But not really good enough to bounce the #4 team in the country. The thing is, Alabama isn't the the fourth best team in the country. I'm not a big believer in history, but I do believe there is a reason that Alabama hasn't done squat in the past 20 years, despite being ranked highly at various times throughout those 20 years. The reason is that a combination of factors, but one is that is particularly current is that SEC teams are being overrated.

I said earlier that Alabama didn't deserve a Top 10 ranking, and that the SEC is sliding below the Missouri Valley Conference in terms of top-down quality. I think Notre Dame proved it tonight.

Here's a prediction for Alabama that would be accurate for almost any year over the last 15 years. They will start strong, then struggle in December and January, and then make a great run towards the end of the season, jumping up the rankings in February, only to get bounced early in the tournament. At some point this year, people will be talking up the Crimson Tide. Ignore them. As bad as Kansas has been as crashing and burning, I remember them winning a National Title. Do you remember Alabama ever coming close? If so, you are a very, very old man, or lady.

Tennessee 76, (16) Memphis 58

Speaking of ranked teams getting worked over like Jack Bauer in China. Memphis got worked by one of the better teams in the rather moribund SEC. I'm torn here, as I kind of liked the old Memphis team, but I really like watching Calipari lose. Shockingly, the Cross-Tennessee rivalry didn't grab me. Tennesseen' is Tennebelieven was in the Top 25 until the NIT Pre-Season Tourney, where they lost to Butler, which was embarassing, until Butler kept winning. We'll see if this is enough to knock Memphis out, or move Tennessee up. Bruce Pearl is certainly a coach to watch (and watch sweat) and Tennessee has a player in Chris Lofton, who scored 34 in this game.

(2) Pitt 73, Duquesne, 56

Some might say that the shocking part of Pitt being in the #2 spot is that they did it without Carl Krauser. Not me, as I said before, Karl was overrated, and a bit of loose cannon at the point. Some might question why a #2 team is still playing cupcakes like Duquesne. Others may be be puzzling as to how that school's name is pronounced "Du-KANE". Me, I was shocked to learn that Duquesne is in Pittsburgh. Huh? Really? Despite playing intracity cupcakes, Pitt is the real deal. Many casual college basketball fans may be saying Carl Krauser, who? Pitt and NCAA fans are asking the same question, but because they know who Mike Cook is. And they are enamored with relatively skilled seven footer Aaron Gray.

Somehow defying all laws on Physics and Time, Mike Nardi and Curtis Sumpter still play for Villanova! I remember when I was a baby, watching Mike Nardi and Curtis Sumpter play for Villanova. What the fuck? Seriously, Curtis Sumpter was playing for Villanova 7 years ago, wasn't he? How is he still there? I mean, they made Gerry MacNamara leave Syracuse, eventually, didn't they?

(15) Butler 65, Ball State 41
This score isn't significant, really. You would expect the #15 team in the land to beat Letterman's alma mater, wouldn't you? But keep in mind, Ball State is a giant killer, historically, and historically, Butler ain't no Giant. This is the revolution in College Basketball we've all been waiting for. Great mid-major teams are getting their due. Gonzaga, Butler, Wichita State all ranked, in fucking December? Crazy. Of course, the new freshman rule for the NBA may change all that, as high profile 18 year olds opt for big time colleges (Greg Oden, Ohio State; Ohio State, Greg Oden). But this year at least, the rule hasn't changed the growing feeling that there are enough talented players for any team to be in the Top 20. I'm rooting for Butler, unless they become a perennial top 15 team. If that happens, I'll hate them. But for now, they and The Shockers and the Other Bulldogs are fun to have in the Top 25.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't link to Seth Davis' most recent column, where he talks about the crazy amount of early season goodness, defends the Batshit crazy Dick Vitale (much as Barnyard did to me in a phone conversation--the argument boils down to: sure, he's fucking crazy, and annoying as a splinter in the eye, but he knows college hoops); predicts a Bama loss, and counterracts the ESPN handjobbery of Tyler Hansborough by asking, "When will he learn to knock down a 15 footer?" We love you Seth, you nerdy bastard!

Ooh, and one more thing that Seth mentions, that I have to as well. Watch out for Louisville center Denny Caracter. He's the fucking bomb, baby.

1 comment:

Newspaper Hack said...

Alabama reached the Elite 8 in 2004. Therefore, you have to have a very selective memory to not know the last time Bama made a solid title run.

UAB beat Kentucky that year in the tourney, as well. You might remember it, as both teams were on the cover of the NY Times and SI in the same week.

Just sayin'.