Posted on: January 15, 2010 11:58 am

Dear Gary (on Brandon Knight and Josh Selby)

Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Time for a recruiting update and what your crystal ball is telling you about some of the top recruits. I remember last year when you did your projections on where some of the top recruits would be going. It kills me to say, on most accounts, you were spot on. Xavier Henry, John Wall, etc. Yeah I gave you credit for Henry to Memphis (even though he ended up at Kansas when John Calipari left for Kentucky). Let's get an update, please? Your opinion is always valued, regardless of what the no life trolls on the boards have to say.

-- Jake

For now, let's just focus on the two best prospects still on the board -- Brandon Knight and Josh Selby.

My prediction?

One will go to Kentucky, the other to Kansas.

It could go either way.

But with Tyler Smith's gun to my head, I'd say the most likely scenario is Knight to Kentucky, Selby to Kansas.
Posted on: January 10, 2010 2:11 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2010 2:46 pm

Will UT extend its man-to-man to halfcourt?

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- I've had a couple of people send a video that seems incredible, if real.

And I think it's real.

But I'm not 100 percent certain.

I'm in the lobby of the Knoxville Marriott right now, and when Cole Aldrich walks down to leave for Thompson-Boling Arena I'll make sure to ask for confirmation. Anyway, the video shows Aldrich and three others -- can't really tell who -- draining halfcourt shots ... back to back to back to back. Click this link to check it out. And if Aldrich steps away from the basket this afternoon, don't be surprised if Sherron Collins goes to him in anticipation of the underhanded toss.

(UPDATE: It's real)


As promised, I just talked to Cole.

His answer: "It's real."

Turns out, the whole thing went down last week before practice. Cole said they take halfcourt shots all the time, and that they make them all the time. But he said they'd never made four straight until the other day.

"We've made two in a row a bunch of times," Aldrich said. "But never four."
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 9, 2010 6:51 pm

And then there were three

There's no shame in losing at Wisconsin.

Almost everybody does it.

And the loss doesn't mean Purdue stinks.

Purdue is very good.

But the nice thing about the Boilermakers' 73-66 loss at Wisconsin is that it will, at least momentarily, end the debate about whether Purdue belongs in the top tier with Kansas, Texas and Kentucky, i.e., the other schools that entered this weekend with undefeated records. Now that Purdue is no longer among the undefeated teams, folks won't try to group Purdue with the other undefeated teams, and then I won't have to argue that Purdue doesn't belong with the other undefeated teams, and everybody's life gets simpler.

As I type, three undefeated teams remain.

Kansas, Texas and Kentucky.

That's perfect because I've insisted for a while that those are college basketball's top three teams, and that they belong on a tier above all others, Purdue included. Purdue fans took offense to that opinion, explained how their team was undefeated, too, and then asked why I thought Purdue was terrible. Obviously, I never thought Purdue was terrible, and I still don't. In fact, I think Purdue is good enough to win the Big Ten and make the Final Four. It's just that I'm a big believer in the theory that it takes three NBA players to win the NCAA tournament, and I don't think Purdue has three.

Kansas does.

(Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry)

Texas does.

(Dexter Pittman, Damion James, Jordan Hamilton, Avery Bradley)

Kentucky does.

(John Wall, Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe)

But Purdue doesn't.

And that's the only reason I've never grouped Purdue with Kansas, Texas and Kentucky. I simply don't believe Matt Painter has the roster to compete with those rosters for the national title. Could I be wrong? Sure, I guess. But understand that 40 of the past 41 NCAA tournament champions have had at least three players who were either A) selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, B) selected in the second round of the NBA Draft or, C) not selected in the first or second round but still went on to play in the NBA.

The only exception is the Syracuse team in 2003.

So though history suggests you can get to the Sweet 16 with anything and make a Final Four with close to anything, it also tells us that you'd better have three NBA players or Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick if you want to win it all. Short of that, you're falling short. And I think Purdue is slightly short of that, which makes the Boilermakers a very good team that just isn't equipped to be elite.

Now that Purdue has one loss, that's how Purdue will be perceived by the common fan.

That'll leave Kansas, Texas and Kentucky alone at the top, which is the way it should've been all along.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 7, 2010 11:53 am

Dear Gary (on the Kansas Sherrons)

Dear Gary: Sherron Collins definitively answered the "which of the Kansas trio do I make first team all american?" question [with a 33-point performance against Cornell]. Sherron Collins is a god. Sherron Collins is unstoppable. Cole Aldrich is good because Sherron Collins taught him how to be 7-feet tall. Xavier Henry is good because Sherron Collins decided he wanted a protege. Just call up Bill Self, head coach of the Kansas Sherrons, and he'll let you know who needs to be on your list.
-- Ryan

On a morning like this, after a night like last night, it's hard to argue, Ryan.

Sherron was great against Cornell.

Can't wait to see him Sunday at Tennessee.
Posted on: December 23, 2009 11:54 am

My five-games-in-four-days road trip is ending

AUSTIN, Texas -- Over the past four days I've been in Arlington for Texas' win over North Carolina, in Waco for Baylor's win over UT-Arlington, in Oklahoma City for UTEP's win over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State's win over La Salle, and in Austin for Texas' win over Michigan State.

It's been a long trip.

I'm glad to be heading home now.

And among the things I'll think about over Christmas is whether to break my personal rule of allowing top-ranked teams to remain No. 1 until they lose, no matter what. I've now seen seven of the nation's top 11 teams in person -- including No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Kentucky -- and I cannot deny that the Longhorns have been the most impressive of the bunch. If I was breaking it down, I'd say Kansas is still the safest pick to win the national title, but that Texas is probably the smartest pick while Kentucky has the highest ceiling of any team because John Wall is the best player in the country, and DeMarcus Cousins might be the second most talented. It's just that you can't rely on Cousins, which is why UK might be less reliable. But either way, I'd put Kansas, Texas and UK in the top tier of teams, then put West Virginia, Purdue, Syracuse, Duke, Villanova, North Carolina and Michigan State in that second tier.

Will I keep Kansas No. 1?

Yes, probably.

Again, I don't like to drop teams for winning.

But I'm at least considering it.

And that should tell you how impressed I am with Texas.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 13, 2009 3:10 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2009 3:11 pm

Dear Gary (on Harrison Barnes' decision)

Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Gee what a shock. YOU picking against Duke . A true rarity.

-- Jeff

I didn't predict/guess that Harrison Barnes will announce for North Carolina because of anything that has to do with Duke. I have my reasons, and one of those reasons is because one of the coaches involved in the recruitment (not a UNC coach, by the way) told me he thinks it'll be the Tar Heels. I also have another reason, and I'll share that one with you later, if I'm correct.

In the meantime, here's a text I just got from a coach involved in the recruitment:

"I honestly have no idea."

Pretty suspenseful, huh?
Posted on: November 13, 2009 8:07 am
Edited on: November 13, 2009 8:09 am

Final prediction/guess: Barnes to UNC

Harrison Barnes will announce his college decision Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

At this moment, nobody seems to know where he's headed.

Officially, the nation's top recruit is considering Duke, Iowa State, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and UCLA, but most believe -- and I've forever reported -- the choice will be Duke or UNC. For the longest time, I've thought Barnes would pick Duke, team with Kyrie Irving and help Mike Krzyzewski get back to the Final Four. And he still might. But my final prediction is that Barnes will sign with North Carolina and become the next great Tar Heel.

To be clear, that's my prediction/guess, nothing more.

If I'm right, I'll explain why I switched to UNC later today.

If I'm wrong, we'll forget all about this and just remember that I predicted Duke a long time ago.

Either way, it's happening at 4 p.m. ET.

Far as recruiting announcements go, it doesn't get bigger.
Posted on: November 9, 2009 5:17 pm

Because I know some of you gamble ...

Bodog.com likes Kansas and Kentucky just as much as I like Kansas and Kentucky .

I visited the gambling site not because I'm a gambler, but because I wanted see the championship odds for certain schools. What I found is that Kansas (4-to-1) is the favorite followed by Kentucky (5-to-1). North Carolina (15-to-2) is third. Then it's Duke (10-to-1), Michigan State (12-to-1), Louisville (12-to-1), Texas (12-to-1), and Villanova (12-to-1).

Click this link (and scroll down) to check it out.
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