Posted on: March 12, 2010 10:50 am
Good morning! You ready for some basketball?
Me too. Here are ten things to look out for today...
(1) Greivis Vasquez chasing the NCAA hair gel record. The ACC Player of the Year is closing in on the All-Time NCAA record for gallons of hair gel used in a single season. Vasquez, who prefers LA Looks - Level 10 Cement Hold, is just a few faux hawks away from breaking the record held by former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin. Maryland vs. Georgia Tech, 7:00 pm
(2) The Hummel-less Boilermakers. Purdue begins their Big Ten tournament title defense today without star player Robbie Hummel. The junior forward, who was averaging 16 per game, tore his ACL on February 24, leaving him sidelined for the remainder of the year. Purdue vs. Northwestern, 6:30 pm
(3) Kentucky begins their return to glory. It has been six years since the Wildcats won the SEC Tournament. Today marks the beginning of the end for the rest of the SEC. Kentucky vs. Alabama, 1:00 pm
(4) Marquette and Georgetown? Who let them in? The Golden Eagles and the Hoyas pulled off upsets yesterday over 'Nova and Syracuse to advance to the Big East semifinals. Which team will continue leaving the dream and move on to the finals? Only time will tell. My money is on Greg Monroe. Georgetown vs. Marquette, 7:00 pm
(5) Duke slapping floors all the way to a #1 seed. Duke controls their own NCAA seeding destiny as they enter the ACC tournament as the top team for the first time in four years. They play Virginia in a rematch of a game we saw on our Road Trip. If history repeats itself, Duke will win in a blowout and I will stare at the hot blonde two rows down in front of me. Duke vs. Virginia, 12:00 pm
(6) Are the banks still open in Madison Square Garden? West Virginia's Da'sean Butler banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer last night to beat Cincinnati's "Born Ready" in his hometown. Today, the Mountaineers face the Fighting Flat-tops of Notre Dame in the semis. Look out Dub-V, Harangody is back and he's hungry. West Virginia vs. Notre Dame, 7:00 pm
(7) UCLA vs. California. You don't actually need to watch this. It will probably break your heart if you do. UCLA is terrible. But, I had to show the Pac-10 some love. UCLA vs. Cal, 9:18 pm
(8) Wayne Chism's headband is almost off. Wayne Chism's headband is barely hanging on to his noggin as his 8-year career comes to a close. Will today be the day that it finally flies of the back of his head? Or will it continue to hang on for dear life as Chism jacks up ill-advised threes? Tennessee vs. Ole Miss, 3:15 pm
(9) Support the N.J.I.T. If you care about your most prized electronic possessions, you'll support the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Remember, they'll be your tech support when those porn windows keep popping up on your desktop. N.J.I.T. vs. Houston Baptist, 9:30 pm
(10) Jimmer Fredette is the real deal. BYU's Fredette has been demolishing records all season and he's trying to add Mountain West Conference champ to his resume. Today, his BYU Whatever-They-Are's face Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony's Running Rebels. Watch this one, because Grandmama says so. BYU vs. UNLV, 11:30 pm
Enjoy your day.
Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:16 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 1:17 am
After what already seems to be four to five weeks of conference tournaments in our rear view mirror, Selection Sunday is now coming up on the horizon and things are starting to sort themselves out a bit. On Thursday, some teams were relegated to the bubble and prayers (Memphis) while some teams continued their post-season hoops hopes (Notre Dame). With 27 games on the docket for Friday, including the Patriot League Championship, answers are certain to be headed the way of all college basketball fans. Before we get started, though, let's look back at what turned out to be a big-time Thursday in the world of college basktball.
Will the Onuaku injury affect seeding? - Perhaps the biggest story on Thursday (besides Syracuse's loss) was the injury suffered by Syracuse big man Arinze Onuaku which, depending on who you talk to, is either major or minor. Onuaku will have an MRI on Friday and the results will be available….probably after the seeding is announced. Especially if it’s serious. Regardless of what the injury turns out to be, you’d have to assume the Orange is fairly safe with their #1 seed. What they need to be more concerned about, however, is how a team that is now essentially only six-deep is going to respond in a two games in three days tournament setting.
The Big Names are Done - It was really only a matter of time until they all bid adieu to this year’s college basketball season, but a trio of big name programs finally had the final nail placed in their post-season coffin on Thursday. North Carolina jumped out to a double-digit lead against Georgia Tech and then came out in the second half looking all North Carolina-like and gave the game away. Tom Crean’s Indiana Revival, still sputtering along in year two, took a thumping at the hands of mighty Northwestern while Arizona’s run of 25 straight NCAA tourney appearances came to an end (after two years of undeserved bids) against another traditional power on life support, UCLA. They say things are going to get better. I say at least they didn’t give up like UConn. I am worried about Sean Miller, though. The losses seem to be taking their toll and he’s gone from looking like a sober Billy Gillispie to Texas A&M Billy Gillispie. That’s not a good trend.
If a tree falls in the Staples Center, does it make a sound? - The national media wrote the Pac-10 off a long, long time ago. Surprisingly, the Pac-10 fans apparently have done the same. Outside of the Salt Lake City's Megaplex 12 during the premiere of I Got the Hookup, it’s possible that no venue has ever been so empty for such a fan-friendly event. I watched Oregon and Washington’s overtime affair Wednesday night (a great game) while feeding my son and the Staples Center appeared to have about only 7-8 people more than my couch. When UCLA plays in their home city and can’t get fans, you know it’s bad. However, the Pac-10 tournament did introduce me to Rebecca Haarlow, so it can’t be all bad, right?
Coaching redemption in C-USA - With John Calipari gone from Memphis, the national spotlight has dimmed significantly on the only official conference of the United States. UTEP seized the opportunity and grabbed the regular season title with a 15-1 record, but it’s a couple of underdog coaches that are making the most of their chances. Seventh-seeded Houston coach Tom Penders is being reported as a dead man walking whose employment only lasts as long as his team’s season. After an upset of second-seeded Memphis, it lasts another day. His semifinal opponent, Southern Miss, is coached by another recognizable name trying to make the most of his situation. Larry Eustachy, the disgraced former Iowa State coach, has made steady improvements in his sixth season in Hattiesberg and brought home his 20th win in an upset of UAB (and their former big name coach Mike Davis). By Friday evening, one of these two maligned coaches will be one win away from going dancing.
Jimmer! - Obviously wanting to prove that Montana's Anthony Johnson isn't the only guy out west who can fill it up, BYU junior Jimmer Fredette poured in a Mountain West tournament record 45 points in a win over TCU. Fredette, who had been battling strep throat, mono, a stomach virus, typhoid fever, the mumps, pink eye, an ingrown toenail and Osgood Schlatter's disease, returned to the lineup with a bang, though I feel his 45 points are cheapened a bit by 23 made free throws. Anthony Johnson wouldn't do that. But, I do respect The Jimmer for his honesty displayed in this interview, perhaps the most honest in college basketball history (fast forward to 3:45).
The Almosts - Oh, how close they came. Air Force and LSU, winners of a combined three conference games, pushed a pair of highly ranked teams to the brink. LSU gave Bruce Pearl and Tennessee all they could handle before fading down the stretch and Air Force lost a heartbreaker to New Mexico, 75-69. I wish we could say some inspiring things to both teams but there’s nothing left to say. Except maybe to just clean out their lockers. You don’t want this season lingering any longer than it has to.
The other #1 seeds take the floor Friday - On Thursday, Syracuse fell to Georgetown and Kansas got a good little push from Texas Tech. On Friday, the presumed other two top seeds, Kentucky and Duke, take the floor and try to get used to their dancing shoes. Duke will square off with Virginia, a team that once lead the conference and snapped a nine-game losing streak Thursday, in a game where they’ll be heavily favored. With West Virginia still in contention for a Big East title, the Dukies might have to win the ACC tournament to keep their top seed. Meanwhile, John Calipari will lead his troops against Alabama in his first ever SEC tournament game. The Cats beat the Tide on February 9 and shouldn’t encounter much trouble. However, they then will likely face Tennessee and Vanderbilt in loseable games. Their #1 footing is more solid than Duke’s, but it's important that the young Cats get comfortable in the post-season tournament setting before embarking on the what is shaping up to be a journey full of very high expectations.
Illinois vs. Wisconsin 2:00 pm
* denotes championship game