The Curse of Duke Blue Devils begins--3 out of the 4 ranked teams that were playing lost, and more accurately, got pretty well whomped by who they were playing. The only team to avoid the curse were the Georgetown Hoyas, who proved last year that they are impervious to The Powerful Evil Magicks of The Cerulean Satans and their deluded followers.
There is talk now that Duke has lost 4 in a row and has dropped out of the AP poll for the first in about 200+ weeks that may not make it into the NCAA Tournament. I am not falling for this. It would be just like Coach K to try to rally his troops, and perhaps gain the sympathy of the legions of people who hate them (like me) to play possum. I don't truly believe they are losing games on purpose, of course. I just get worried when people start feeling sorry for Duke, or say "Duke sucks" not because they are evil, but because they are playing poorly. Luckily, as I grew up in what was at the time the northern part of the ACC, I can very easily transfer my fear & loathing a few miles over to UNC, who only became more despicable when they won Roy Williams an NCAA Championship in 2005--something the poor man had tried his entire career to avoid doing. Regardless, all the talk is pretty premature--any top 25 team is going to be in, and Duke is about 3 points out of the Top 25--if they win a couple of games this week, they'll be fine, and ripe to be truly hated again. YAY!
Back to the matter at hand--taking quick peeks at games from today. And I think, whenever I can, I'm going to go with the AP polls--I just don't trust that damn coaches poll. Regardless of the poll, Pittsburgh was the best ranked team in action tonight, and while I said they might be in trouble at some point, I'm pretty damn sure I didn't mean that they would got their dog walked by the likes of Louisville. Just for that, I'm going to start calling them Pitt again, even though they don't like that.
#7 Pitt 53, Louisville 66 - The game wasn't even as close as the score suggests. Louisville jumped all over Pitt in the first, in Pittsburgh, holding the Panthers to 19 first half points. 15 turnovers in a half well to that to you. Being held to 20 points in your own gym is embarassing, no matter who you. I would not have predicted this win, even if I had realized that highly touted freshman Derrick Caracter was back for Louisville (which I didn't know--I hope I don't draw the ire of Rick Pitino, who has been operating under the theory that wins on the road against DePaul and South Florida should have been enough for people to start talking about Louisville:
"We think that when we go to DePaul and South Florida and win in the fashion we win they're great wins, but nobody else does. As I watched TV, I realized I shouldn't coach or play anymore because we don't even get mentioned. The writers don't even mention us for the NCAAs."
Uh, Coach Pitino? Those teams are a combined 8-14 in conference play. You crazy, well-dressed bastard, you! With this win, Louisville will be back in the consciousness of the AP voters, I'm sure.
Things don't get any easier for Pitt this week, as they have to travel crosscountry to play Washington. This loss also tightened up the top of the Big East, because...
#14 Georgetown 71- #23 West Virginia 53 If I were handing out nicknames for the Hoya players, I'd nickname Roy Hibbert "L. Roy Hibbert" because he's making people believers everywhere he goes. And then Tom Cruise would make it his life's work to ruin me. And it really shouldn't take a lifetime to ruin me--one good afternoon of work would do it, Cruise. Lazy fuck. Anyway--"L." Roy Hibbert put up 20 points (the big man hits free throws, going 12-13 from the line) and Jeff Green, one of the best small forwards that no one is talking about, had another great all-around game--15 points, 6 boards, 5 assists. I didn't get to see this game, but I've seen the Hoyas recently, and if you haven't, be prepared to have some fun--they run the Princeton offense, but with a lot more talent. They run the back-cut like no one's business.
(read the article I linked to see which coach referenced Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler", and which referenced Hillary Clinton's "It Takes A Village".)
The final top 25 to run afoul of the Periwinkle Beelzebubs' curse was Oklahoma State, who may have actually been cursed by their grueling double-overtime game against Texas Tech Saturday. At the time I said that OK State needed some other players (beside the mindbogglin' Mario Boggan) to step up or they were going to be in trouble. Trouble came tonight in the form of Texas. #18 OK State shits the bed against Texas (in Austin) 83-54. I say it every week, but if you haven't seen Kevin Durant play yet, you probably need to change the priorities in your life. He was impressive again tonight win 21 points, 12 boards and 3 assists. But when you actually see from all the different places on the court this kid scores from--it gets that much more impressive. He's in the paint, he's shooting for NBA 3 point range, he breaks guys down off the dribble. Just the complete offensive package. This Texas team is still really, really young (along with Durant, 3 more of the starters are freshman) and I would normally like OK State to win this game. Again, I do think the battle against Texas Tech may have something to do with the lopsided nature of this loss.