I'd like to start by telling you my two favorite things about college basketball.
1. No cauldrons.
2. No pot holes.
Now let's do the Monday Look Back ...
Best game of the weekend: The Big East provided a rare Friday night treat in the form of West Virginia-Pittsburgh -- otherwise known as the game that wouldn't end despite an appearance of being over. "They couldn't have won without a lot of help from us," said WVU coach Bob Huggins, whose Mountaineers blew a seven-point lead with less than 50 seconds left in regulation before losing 98-95 in triple overtime. It was after midnight in Pittsburgh before the game went final. And yet, when I flipped channels, the stupid Olympic cauldron still wasn't lit in Vancouver.
|Alexis Wangmene and the Longhorns control the game vs. the Cornhuskers. (AP)|
Win to brag about: How Rick Pitino went from getting blown out at St. John's to winning at Syracuse is beyond me, but it happened, and the Cards sure did need it. Louisville was way on the wrong side of the bubble before Sunday's 66-60 win at the Carrier Dome, but now the Cards are ... still on the wrong side of the bubble, probably. But this helps.
Loss to hide from: Cornell's quest to position itself for an at-large bid ended Friday night when the Big Red laid a big dud and lost 79-64 at Penn. For those who don't follow the Ivy League, you must understand that Cornell entered with a perfect league record and an average margin of victory within the league of 25 points, and that Penn is so bad the school fired its coach after an 0-10 start. In other words, this was a massive upset -- one that'll almost certainly cost Cornell a decent seed in the NCAA tournament, provided the Big Red actually make the NCAA tournament.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Ekpe Udoh got a tip-in with 1.3 seconds remaining Saturday to lift Baylor to a 64-62 win over Missouri. Then he delivered again, this time in the press conference. "I had a chance to tip it, and it was Kobe time," Udoh said. "Thank God, because if we had lost we would have been sad." I love the second part of that quote, by the way. In fact, I wish each time a player was asked about a big win he would explain the significance by stating "if we had lost we would have been sad." Doesn't that just summarize things perfectly?
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Chris Wright was held to single digits for the fourth time in six games Sunday, and Georgetown lost for the third time in six games Sunday. There is a connection. Would you believe the Hoyas are 16-0 when Wright scores in double-figures and 2-6 when he does not? Well, you better believe it, because it's true. When Wright doesn't score, the Hoyas don't (usually) win. A good example is the 71-68 loss at Rutgers in which Wright was held to six points, but it's merely the latest example.
Why I'm smarter than you think: I don't want to beat a dead Barbaro, but do you remember how I ended my Jan. 23 column from West Virginia after watching the Mountaineers beat Ohio State? If not, lucky for you I know how to cut and paste.
"So yes, Saturday produced a loss here at West Virginia. And yes, Monday could have OSU dropping from one or both polls. But if you're smart, you'll ignore all that. The wins are coming, trust me, and they might not stop until late March ... or maybe even April."
Serious question: Am I a genius or am I a super genius? Ohio State has won six straight -- including Sunday's 72-53 blowout of Illinois -- since those prophetic words were typed, and I bet the clown that calls himself uradufuss on the message boards here at CBSSports.com feels kind of stupid now, don't you?
|College basketball links|
Parrish: Top 25 (and one)
Why I'm dumber than I think: I spent the past two weeks on the radio explaining to Memphis fans that Angel Garcia would not be a factor in his return this season because he A) hadn't played organized basketball in nearly two years; and B) was less than five months removed from ACL surgery. Naturally, Garcia scored 16 points in his third game back and helped the Tigers to a 93-86 win Saturday at Tulsa. From now on, I'll just stick to talking about Ohio State.
Three things you should know before you go
1. Alcorn State won a game! The Braves beat Mississippi Valley State 55-54 on Saturday to move to 1-24. It was a development that left Bryant University as the nation's lone winless team. The Bulldogs are 0-26 after Saturday's 52-42 loss to Robert Morris.
2. The Northern Iowa Panthers lost for the first time in six outings Saturday when they fell 68-59 at Bradley, then they lost their center, Jordan Eglseder, to a three-game suspension because he was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Eglseder is averaging 12.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He's scheduled to return to the lineup for the regular-season finale against Illinois State.
3. Randy Culpepper scored a career-high (and weekend-best) 45 points in UTEP's 100-76 win over East Carolina on Saturday. Culpepper was 14 of 18 from the field, 9 of 12 from the 3-point line, and 8 of 12 from the free throw line. He's now averaging 17.6 points for the Miners, who are alone atop the C-USA standings and finally in the Top 25 (and one).
On tap: On Monday night, Kansas is at Texas A&M. On Tuesday night, North Carolina is at Georgia Tech. On Wednesday night, Purdue is at Ohio State. On Thursday night, Syracuse is at Georgetown.
Final thought: I've received a lot of e-mails -- I mean a lot of e-mails -- about my John Calipari/Mike Krzyzewski/New Jersey Nets column from the weekend, most of which have asked whether I really believe Kentucky will lose its coach after one season. Thus, I'm compelled to remind you that I never wrote Kentucky would lose its coach after one season. I only wrote about how Calipari's remarks were incredibly similar to the remarks he used to make about the Memphis job, and that those remarks are empty and meaningless.
While Krzyzewski essentially killed the Nets rumors, Calipari kept them alive.
Because that's what he does.
Always and forever.
But let me be clear in stating that if I were betting man (which I am), I would bet LeBron James remains in Cleveland and that the Nets look somewhere other than Rupp Arena for their next coach. Yes, it's possible the Nets could get the No. 1 pick, draft John Wall, sign James and lure Calipari to the New York market, but I don't actually believe things will go down that way. I only laid them out that way to show Kentucky fans they're crazy if they think the UK job is a superior job to coaching James in a new arena for a billionaire owner who seems determined to buy his way to the top of the NBA.
So to recap ...
Q: Do I think James will leave Cleveland?
Q: Do I think the Nets will offer Calipari?
But if the Nets do lure James from Cleveland and give Calipari the opportunity to coach him, I absolutely believe Calipari would accept the offer because it would be an invitation to win NBA championships and escape the cloud of suspicion that will forever follow him in the college game, fairly or unfairly. I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to coach the player I believe will ultimately be viewed as the best to ever play the game, and I don't think Calipari would either. But either way, I'm not predicting Calipari will be the next coach of the Nets; I'm only predicting that if he gets the chance to coach James he will leave Kentucky to coach James, and he would be wise to do so.
And with that, UK fans, I would encourage you to get back to enjoying your 24-1 season.
You have the best guard and big man in the country.
Dickie V and I both like them a lot.