Good Lord, there were a lot of important basketball games today. We are getting close enough to the NCAA Tournament time that we really have to start looking at the various badasses in the smaller leagues. But before we do that, we'll highlight the ranked teams.
First of all, the game I cared most about, and didn't have any TV access to:
#22 Georgetown defeats #11 Marquette, 76-58 --The Hoyas handled the #11 team in the country. Let's be clear, though. Marquette isn't really the #11 team in the country. The Hoyas are better than Marquette in about 4 out of the 5 starting positions. Dominic James for Marquette is one of the best point guards in the country, and the Hoyas don't have anyone who can counter him. But Marquette (and few teams) have an answer for Georgetown center Roy Hibbert, or for forward Jeff Green. Those two combined for 47 points, and given the way Georgetown plays defense, they needed only a few more points from other players to win this game.
I'm an unabashed Georgetown fan, but all the same--watch out for this team come March. They will get the kind of seed that puts them in the way of #1 or #2 seed in the 2nd round or 3rd round, and they could take that team. Georgetown, on a good night, could even beat Florida.
Hey, Speaking of Florida:
They beat Kentucky in Rupp Arena. And Kentucky is nationally ranked, so this is a big win. Except that it isn't. Florida beats Kentucky 64-61. Three of the Top 4 teams are in a similar situation as Florida. Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio State are all dominating conferences that are traditionally strong, but currently weak conferences. But the reflected glory of Florida seems to be getting a bit ridiculous, at least to me. There have been, at any given time 5 SEC teams ranked in the top 25, and aside from Florida, I don't know that any of them deserve it--Kentucky? They'll get to 20 wins, thanks to a really weak non-conference schedule. Vanderbilt? Tennessee? Alabama, #1 in the West half of the SEC, with a 5-5 record in conference? My prediction is that the SEC gets 4-6 teams into the NCAA tournament, and they all get seeds of 12 or better, and only one makes it to the Sweet 16.
#7 Pitt defeated the Friars of Providence, 74-68 on the back of Aaron Gray. Pitt will be in trouble against any team that can suck Gray out of the middle or get him and gangsta Whitey Kendall in foul trouble. Florida and Wisconsin both make that criteria. I don't know if Georgetown and Pitt play each other again prior to the Big East Tournament, but if they do, it will be a hell of a game. Hibbert vs. Gray? Delicious.
#8 Memphis continues to beat up on shitty teams in C-USA. Way to crush Tulane? Memphis may be good; they may suck. It's hard to evaluate a team that has steadfastly refused to compete all year long. They are in Conference USA, which was a hell of a conference 3 years ago, and is now something of a joke. Calipari is a great coach, and a hell of a recruiter. Does he have a new version of UMass assembled? Who can tell? Depending on the match-up, I'd pencil this team for a first round loss. Look out, for example, for a savvy senior backcourt.
#10 Butler lost to completely unranked Wright State. Does this mean Butler is overranked, or that Wright State is underrated? I'd lean to the latter. Wright State took the lead in the Horizon League with the win, so it is clear they've been beating all the teams Butler did in the conference. The diffference between the two is that Butler played some Big Time Schools, and Wright State didn't. Both of these teams will be in the NCAA's, and they will cause serious match-up problems.
#15 Air Force won't be #15 for long, but they did win tonight. And don't discount them as being small confrence tokens. They are in the Top 25, if not the top 15.
#17 OK State needed two overtimes to knock off Texas Tech. Mario Boggan of OK State is the kind of player who could bring this team past round one on his own. However, OK State needs JamesOn Curry or someone else to start stepping up and soon, if they want to be a real threat in the tournie.
#21 SIU Salukis are criminally underrated. They return great players from last year's team. They compete in the uber competitive Missouri Valley Conference, and beat Creighton tonight, 72-68. Between Falker and Tatum, they have the protoypical inside/outside game that will give other teams massive headaches. I think the Salukis are a Sweet 16 team, no matter what bracket they are in, and make no mistake, being the best team in the MVC should be worthy of at least a 3 seed (which they will almost certainly not get).
If BYU isn't ranked on Monday, then Joseph Smith was right about the Gentiles disrespecting the Angel Moroni, and his Gold Tablets. This group of Mormons are dangerous, and not just to the powers of Logic, but to other basketball teams. (Seriously, though, Mormonism makes Catholicism seem like Boolean Logic).
The ACC Clusterfuck can not be stopped. VA Tech dispatched UVA, leaving 4 teams within 1 game or closer of first place. The beautiful thing is, not one of those teams is fucking Duke! It should be noted that the Hokies did this without a substantial contribution from super-cool named, great guard Zabian Dowdell.
You watch out for the Winthrop Eagles! They will be a first round nightmare for some pretty good major conference team.