Posted on: September 18, 2008 9:57 am
Edited on: September 18, 2008 11:00 am

Dear Gary (on recruiting classes)

Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: I was wondering if you could give us a list of what teams you think have the best 2009 recruiting class?

-- HP

Honestly, it's too early to tell because half of the top 30 prospects at Rivals.com are still uncommitted, including four of the top five. That means somebody's great class is yet to be made. So a lot will change between now and signing day. But if you're asking which school has assembled the best class as of today, I think the correct answer is -- surprise, surprise -- North Carolina.

The Tar Heels have five top 70 prospects committed, namely No. 6 John Henson, No. 17 Dexter Strickland, No. 55 Leslie McDonald, No.68 David Wear and No. 69 Travis Wear. Meanwhile, Villanova has three top 65 commitments (including No. 14 Mouphtaou Yarou), Arizona has three top 85 commitments (including No. 13 Abdul Gaddy), Georgia Tech has four top 130 commitments (including No. 36 Mfon Udofia) and Indiana has four top 110 commitments (including No. 34 Christian Watford).

That's five great recruiting classes for five great programs.

But again, there's still plenty of time for several schools to enhance their classes drastically considering guys like John Wall, Xavier Henry, Derrick Favors and Kenny Boynton remain on the board.  So don’t expect those five programs to finish with the five best recruiting classes, and let’s plan on taking a look at this again in a month to see how much things have changed.

Posted on: August 13, 2008 6:43 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2008 6:44 pm

The Jimmy V matchups are set and official

It's been out there for a while but is now finally official: The 14th annual Jimmy V Classic -- scheduled for Dec. 9 at New York's Madison Square Garden -- will be a doubleheader featuring Davidson vs. West Virginia and Villanova vs. Texas.

That's two teams (Villanova and Texas) ranked in the Ridiculously Early But Still Kind of Fun Preseason Top 25 (and one), and another two (Davidson and West Virginia) that were on the verge of making the cut. In other words, it's a solid field that will provide an opportunity to see several All-American caliber guards like Stephen Curry (Davidson), Scottie Reynolds (Villanova) and A.J. Abrams (Texas) plus one of the great incoming freshmen, namely Devin Ebanks (West Virginia).

And would you believe it's less than four months away?

And that the season is only three months away?

Posted on: June 3, 2008 11:19 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2008 12:42 am

Eight schools in play for Iowa State transfer

Iowa State standout Wesley Johnson has been granted a release to transfer to any one of eight schools.

On the list are Arkansas, Connecticut, Marquette, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia. Fine programs, all of them. But it was hard not to notice that Kentucky, Alabama and TCU were not included because those have been the three schools most connected to Johnson in recent weeks, so much so that sources have told CBSSports.com that the Iowa State staff privately felt behind-the-scenes tampering could've led to Johnson's initial decision to transfer.

Obviously, there is no proof. That's why everybody has mostly been quiet. But it appears ISU made it clear to Johnson that Kentucky, Alabama and TCU were not schools to which it would automatically release him. Otherwise, those institutions would've certainly made the list.
Posted on: March 13, 2008 3:55 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2008 4:04 pm

What to do with Villanova?

Villanova will be a tough call.

That's the best I can tell you right now.

I'll assess the situation at the end of the night, try to make sense of it then. But for now, here are the relevant numbers after Thursday's 82-63 loss to Georgetown ...

-- Villanova --

RPI: 51
Strength of schedule: 41
Record against Top 25: 2-6
Record against Top 50: 3-6
Record against Top 100: 7-9
Losses outside the Top 100: 3
Impressive victories: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, West Virginia
Embarrassing losses: at Cincinnati, at DePaul, at Rutgers
Record in last 12 games: 7-5

How does that stack up?

Honestly, it's difficult to say.

But is Villanova's body of work any worse than New Mexico's body of work?

I only ask because the Lobos are in everybody's field.

Here are their credentials ...
-- New Mexico --

Record: 24-7
RPI: 54
Strength of schedule: 151
Record against Top 25: 0-2
Record against Top 50: 1-4
Record against Top 100: 4-5
Losses outside the Top 100: 2
Impressive victories: UNLV
Embarrassing losses: at New Mexico State, at TCU
Record in last 12 games: 9-3

Like I said, Villanova will be a tough call.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Villanova
Posted on: March 12, 2008 3:21 am

Syracuse-Villanova is an elimination game

Here's what I know about Syracuse-Villanova: The loser has no shot at the NCAA tournament.

Does that mean the winner is in?

Not definitely.

That'll probably hinge on which team wins -- because I believe Syracuse (currently in my field) is in slightly better shape than Villanova (currently out of my field) heading into tip-off of Wednesday's first round game of the Big East Tournament -- and how that team then performs against Georgetown in Thursday's quarterfinals. Will a subsequent win over Georgetown be necessary to make the NCAA tournament? Not necessarily. But it wouldn't hurt. And a bad loss could be devastating. And seriously, what's better than this?

Two power programs from a power league are tipping-off at noon ET in what is essentially an elimination game for the NCAA tournament, and when it's over either Jim Boeheim or Jay Wright will make plans for the NIT. That's not a bad way to get the major conference tournaments started. So if you can take a long lunch break you might be wise to do it.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2008 10:28 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2008 10:36 pm

The referees hate Villanova

AUSTIN, Texas -- I'm here at the Kansas-Texas game so I just saw a replay of the Villanova-Georgetown finish.

Holy moly!

They've been playing basketball for many decades.

So I suppose there have been worse calls in the sport.

But I can tell you I have never seen a worse call that decided a game, and nobody here in the media room could remember one either. I mean, how do you call that type of foul in a tie game 70-feet from the basket with less than a second remaining? It wasn't only bad, it was inexcusable to the point where the official who made the call should have to issue a public apology to Villanova and college basketball fans in general just like Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther had to apologize to Indiana last week.

And if you're keeping count, that's twice this season that Villanova has lost a game in the final second because of a questionable call (the other was against North Carolina State) and twice this season that Georgetown has won a game in the final second because of a questionable call or no-call (the other was against West Virginia).

In other words, referees clearly hate Jay Wright and love John Thompson III.

There is no other explanation.
Category: NCAAB
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