Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:16 am
Edited on: January 6, 2011 12:17 am
Posted by MATT JONES
Back in the olden days, when all blogs were local and Seth Davis was simply a "handsome CBS television personality" and not a "handsome CBS television personality with his own shown on the CBS College Sports Network", I used to do a nightly post in which I would attempt to wrap up all the important news in college basketball in one quick roundup. The point of course, was to make sure that those of you who are too busy to come home, sit by the television with your significant other and scan the cable networks for the latest news from the WAC, would have a way to understand what happened in the world of college basketball in one ridiculous summary. I have decided to move this concept over to the bright lights and big city atmosphere of CBSSports.com, and thus we have the first edition of the "Night in Review."
Every evening we will begin the Night in Review by giving a quick tip of the hat to someone in the news who is not focused solely on college basketball. Tonight we give a big "HOWDY!" to George Jones, aka "the Possum," who apparently had a heart scare in Nashville on Wednesday. Jones is best known for the country classic "He Stopped Loving Her Today", producing # 1 hits in four different decades and looking damn smooth in a white leisure suit. Thankfully for his fans, the heart scare turned out to be temporary and he is expected back home on Thursday. But in the mean time, check out some of the Possum's work if you aren't familiar. I know some of you sophisticated types with your highfalutin dinner parties, NPR tote bags and New Yorker cartoon book compilations might not be familiar with George's catalogue, so let me give you a few starters: "She Thinks I Still Care", "What a Good Year for the Roses" and "Choices." You folks can thank me later.
To the Wednesday notes worth knowing:
1. Its Jimmer Time in Vegas --- The Game of the Night in college basketball turned out to be a dud all because of the force of Jimmer. After falling behind 23-15 early, UNLV fell faster than the political stock of Sharron Angle in the second half as Jimmer Fredette took over, powering BYU to a 89-77 victory. The man whose name my girlfriend hates with the same passion she had previously reserved for the girl with fangs on "The Bachelor" (I actually like it...both the names and the fangs), Fredette put on an offensive show, scoring 39 points and hitting seven three-pointers to bring out the boo birds in the Thomas & Mack Center. With the win, BYU strikes the first blow in the battle with San Diego State for Mountain West Conference supremacy, while UNLV proves that the hints of problems suggested by the UC-Santa Barbara and Louisville losses should have been taken seriously.
2. Bruce Pearl gets a sendoff --- The only person who may have had a worse December that Bruce Pearl is Brett Favre, likely only because I refuse to open any text pictures I receive from Knoxville. Wednesday's Memphis game saw Pearl's Tennessee team having lost four of its last five and about to begin an eight-game SEC stretch where the coach would not be allowed on the sideline due to an SEC suspension. So the Vols responded as any group of kids about to watch Daddy head off to the NCAA gulag would, by absolutely annihilating its in-state rival, Memphis. The Vols dominated in a 104-84 shellacking that was not as close as the score indicated. What seemed to be a team reeling, instead found its groove and begin the SEC season with some positive momentum.
3. Boston College hates the Ivy League --- As anyone who has ever had a friend go to Boston College can attest, the school does have a serious case of Ivy League envy. Every BC student will try to convince you that "I could have gone to an Ivy League school but BC's academics are just as good as those Ivy schools and you know what, I wouldn't want to go to school with all those nerds anyway. Plus, we have great sports here, so take that you little Harvard/Yale/Dartmouth/Brown dork." While that self-rationalization is always fun to listen to, now it is even more incorrect than usual as Harvard beat Boston College 78-69 for its third straight win over the Eagles. Piled on top of the earlier loss to Yale, and it becomes clear that BC should be thankful ACC play is beginning and the nerds are going to go back to beating up on each other.
4. Fear Missouri --- Yeah I know Missouri's 98-58 victory tonight was only over North Alabama and no, I am not Gary Parrish so I couldn't tell you (a) what conference North Alabama is in or (b) if it is an actual university or just a set in a DJ Qualls movie. However, I am impressed with a team that has seven scorers in double figures against any team and goes into Big 12 play with just one loss and having played as well as anyone outside of the top five in the non-conference season. Plus Mike Anderson just seems like a guy you would want to hang out with...and his hair is not nearly as creepy as Quinn Snyder's. They have my attention.
5. Duke's Schedule is Putrid --- Have you noticed that for the #1 team in America, you don't hear a lot about Duke? Want to know why? Because Coach K somehow lost his manliness on the way to Bobby Knight's record and has stopped scheduling anyone of note in the non-conference. This year's slate saw only two Top 25 teams, one of which was mandated by the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, multiple games against bottom feeders and only one true road game...and it was at UNC-Greensboro of all places. Tonight they beat Mike Davis and UAB, which is sweet, but when will Duke go play games that matter? You are Duke! You matter in college basketball. Act like it.
6. Wake Forest won --- With fellow "worst teams in the BCS", Auburn and Oregon State, getting big wins this week over Florida State and Oregon State, Wake Forest had to do something to keep up. Beating High Point 79-63 might not seem like much, but lets remember that this is a school that got beat by Presbyterian and went into a road game at Richmond as a 16 point underdog...and DIDN'T COVER. So yeah it is High Point...but it is also Wake Forest.
7. Central Florida Keeps Rolling --- If you were on CBSSports.com today, you read about fifteen stories on Central Florida and so you know that they are a Conference USA team ready to make a national splash. Tonight they beat Marshall 65-58 and Marcus Jordan had his team come fly with him for 26 points. If you haven't paid attention yet to Central Florida, you really should, because if I am reading George O'Leary's resume correctly, his ability to coach both the football and basketball teams to such good seasons at the same time is quite impressive.
8. Rick Pitino Likes Kevin Willard --- The Louisville Cardinals got back on track tonight, beginning Big East play with a 73-54 victory over Seton Hall. The Hall has been part of what I like to call the "forgotten neighbors" of the Big East, often forgotten by commentators who trumpet the power at the top but ignore the train wrecks at the bottom of the 16 team league. After the game, Rick Pitino said that Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard would turn the program around and that he would be the "next Billy Donovan" in college basketball. High praise indeed, although to be fair, Rick's track record of prediction has never been the best, including comparing former Kentucky Wildcat Jared Prickett to Larry Bird and calling current Cardinal Mike Marra "the greatest high school shooter I have ever seen."
So there you have it, your night in review. Tomorrow is highlighted by the Xavier-Cincy battle, a decision by 2011 five-star recruit Deandre Daniels as to his college destination and more decimation of whatever comedy soul is left in "The Office." Stay tuned....