Friday, November 14, 2008

College Hoops Just Starting to Get Good

The early part of the college hoops season tends to be a series of warm-up games for top-notch teams, playing patsies and suckers as they fine tune themselves for some of the early season tournaments, and with an eye towards the conference play later on in the season.

However, sometimes those patsies and suckers don't always simply lay down and die.  For example, #4 in the nation UCLA faced some stiff competition from Wally Szczerbiak's alma mater of Miami of Ohio, before edging them out 64-59.

And sometimes, due to quirks in the schedule, or because coaches just decide to go a different route, you can some real intriguing match-ups in November.  And this weekend sees a couple of them.  UNLV and San Diego may night be on the tips of anyone's tongues as great teams, but they are dangerous teams that both made the Tournament last year.  And UNLV features Pre-Season All-Name Team Wink Adams.  Game is has the breakdown here.

But another game to check-out is tonight's matchup, which has the feel of a First Round March Madness game--with Oklahoma and American going at it.  Again, two teams that made the Tourney last year--obviously one is from a power conference, the other--not so much.  But as Rivals points out--the teams have different strengths, and could lead to some match-up issues going both ways.  Oklahoma will feature Blake Griffin, who Sporting News analyst Mike DeCourcy calls the #1 Power Forward in the Country.  DeCourcy is effusive in his praise, to say the least:  The first time you see Griffin play on television, he looks like he couldn’t be any taller than 6-5 or 6-6. Because nobody who runs like that, jumps like that, moves like that possibly could be carrying 250 pounds on a 6-10 frame. It defies logic. It seems to defy physics. Griffin is so powerfully explosive there’s almost no one who has played this game who offers a proper comparison.  

I concur on that point--he was a man-beast last year.  Caveat though:  DeCourcy ranked Kyle Singler of Duke over Earl Clark of Louisville, Robert Dozier of Memphis, and Tyler Smith of Tennessee.  That's Crazy Talk.*

American brings a bunch of speedy guards who jack the three and more importantly, hit them.  It should be a fun game.  Quality college hoops has started, ladies and gentlemen.  Start thinking about your bracket now.

*Caveat on the caveat:  I'm an avowed Duke Hater, and Singler brings out the worst in me.  He's easy to dislike, even for a Blue Devil.  And that, my friends, is saying something.

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