Lots of good stuff happened in College Basketball today, or bad stuff, depending on your team affiliation.
Quick Note: I do hope to follow up on Badcock's request for a rundown on what is going on in the NCAA Hoops racket, as those of you who have been obsessed with the NFL are just now turning your eyes to the Best Sport America has to offer. Badcock asked for an explanation of the top 25, which I think is doable, but also widely available. I'm more interested in the 26-40; couple that with some results this week that throw the Top 25 is rather mass confusion, I think it would almost be easier to talk about Southern Illiniois than North Carolina. But I digress. Right now, we are talking about what happened today (or more accurately, yesterday). Let's get to it.
Let's first make a quick note of the our #1 and #2 teams, who did what they were supposed to do today. Florida dispatched Tennessee, without much of a problem, especially since Tennessee was again without Chris Lofton, their best player. Corey Brewer, one of the few players on Florida that I actually like, tweaked his knee, but he is apparently going to be OK. Make no mistake, Florida is a good team, with lots of good players, all of whom played on the National Champion team last year. They deserve their #1 status. They will get the #1 seed in the NCAA tournament come March. I'll be shocked if they make to the Elite 8. It's just too hard to repeat, and beating up on supposed SEC rivals doesn't count for much. As noted earlier, if Vanderbilt is the 2nd best team in this conference, it ain't a very good conference. Wisconsin is still #2 until Monday (they did lose to Indiana at Assembly Hall earlier this week) but today they dispatched Northwestern, as well they should, 69-52. I didn't get to watch the game, and I'm confused by the copy I'm reading that describes it. According to the article I linked to, Wisconsin survived a a "deliberate first half" in which Wisconsin ended up leading by 14. In the second half, Wisconsin went scoreless for more than 6 minutes, but never led by less than double digits, and won the game by 17 points. Why is CBS Sportsline making it sound like this was a close game? It wasn't. It was a fucking blowout. Just weird writing from those guys, is all I'm saying.
All the same, Wisconsin lost to Indiana earlier in the week, so North Carolina at #3 was in prime position to move up the ladder. Just beat a middle of the ACC pack team in North Carolina State, coupled with extolled freshman, and ESPN handjobbed Tyler Hansborough, and a very young UNC team could hit #2, maybe even sneak into #1. But they could not beat NC State, coached by former NC State player, and former Minnesota Timberwolves Coach Sidney Lowe. Unlike the supposed comeback Northwestern had against Wisconsin, North Carolina was down double digits in the second half, and got the game close. Final result 83-79. The Wolfpack won this with a balanced attack. They beat Virginia Tech, also a ranked team, earlier in the week. Does this mean that the ACC is full of great teams? nope. NC is young, Duke is young, and the conference isn't as good as it was even last year. The Conference is basking in its reputation as being a great conference. But really, the ACC is a clusterfuck.
"Hey, Big Blue Monkey, you can't take one good from NC State and say that the ACC is an overrated clusterfuck!"
Fair enough, fictional commenter--how about these apples--UNC wasn't the only nationally ranked team in the ACC to lose to an unranked ACC team. Boston College destroyed #16 Virginia Tech. Best part of the article covering that loss is the caption of the photo of VT Coach Greenberg, reacting, as the caption says to a loss to "hapless" NC State. Of course, NC State looks a good deal less hapless ever smacking the #2 team in the country around. Boston College was once nationally ranked. They beat a nationally ranked team that had also lost to a team that beat the #2 team in the country. It is sentences like that that make the ACC a total clusterfuck, and possibly, not that good of a conference. In some polls, Clemson, which was team that went undefeated the longest, is still clinging to a Top 25 spot. No longer, after they got their dog walked by the Wrambling Wreck of Georgia Tech. Javaris Crittendon was the biggest factor of GA Tech working Clemson by 18. Clemson was undefeated and ranked in Top 20 not too long ago.
With #2 and #3 losing high profile games this week, the door was open for Ohio State. They were playing what I think to be maybe the only other team in the Big 10 aside from OSU and Wisconsin to deserve a bid to the Dance (yeah, Indiana is ranked, but is it deserved?) in Michigan State. And Greg Oden and his friends who hang out on the perimeter handled MSU just fine, 63-54. So is OSU now the second best team in the country? I don't think so. But they will probably be ranked #2. I don't think they are even the best team in the Big 10. Wisconsin would never get thier dog walked by Florida--they match up too well.
Now, just because I like you people who actually read this blog, I think I should mention the fact that the Shockers of Wichita State were ranked nationally at one point, and Butler is, and Air Force still is, there's a team that maybe you have heard of, but haven't heard much about. And I'm telling you right now that you put the Salukis of Southern Illinois into your Sweet Sixteen. It doesn't matter who they face. They'll lock down and win 52-48, or some such thing.
Look, I could on and on about what a shocking upset it was for #8 Texas A&M to beat #6 Kansas, but really, it wasn't. Right now, Southern Illinois isn't ranked, despite being in the top 15 in RPI rankings. They've beaten good teams. They beat Wichita State (who in turn, beat some very, very good teams). The Missouri Valley Conference is going to have 3-5 teams in the tournament, and the Salukis may be the least heralded team, and they may be the best overall team from the MVC. Folker of SIU may be the best non-major center in the country after Nick Fazekas, and Nevada is ranked in the top 20.