See that number two up there? Yeah, the second month of the year… folks, it’s February. Although a short month in terms of days, it’s not short on importance. In fact, it’s without a doubt the most important month of the regular season, as a majority of teams will make or break their case for the Big Dance over the next twenty-eight days (Selection Sunday is seven weeks from yesterday). Right now there’s a pool of roughly 75 teams in contention for the 34 at-large NCAA berths, and as each week goes by, that number will continue to shrink. Buckle in and enjoy, because it’s time to separate the pretenders from the contenders.
The New York Times takes a look at the domino effect that would likely occur if or when the Big Ten makes a decision to expand by one or more schools. The best part of this piece is Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon throwing the Big 12 under the bus by comparing quality of academics at certain [not unnamed] institutions.
John Wall, on his game and coach, John Calipari after beating Vandy on Saturday: “I didn’t think I played that bad. I don’t know what to expect. [Calipari]‘s probably going to say I played bad today too so. I don’t know. I just try not to listen to him and go out and play basketball and try and help my team win.” Is the presumptive #1 pick in this June’s NBA Draft hitting the proverbial wall? His five least efficient games of the season came in January (Georgia, Vandy, South Carolina, Louisville, Auburn), and he’s only shooting 39.5% from the field and committing 4.2 turnovers/game in SEC play. Are teams figuring out how to handle Wall, or is he losing some of his focus?
We’re still trying to track down a photo of this, but the WVU student section came up with a creative response to the AD’s criticism that they were not acting appropriately during last week’s game against Ohio State (a few F-bomb chants were thrown around). They printed up white t-shirts that looked like tuxedos with the slogan “Keeping it Classy Since 1863″ written across the back. In the spirit of benevolence, they then proceeded to chant Rick Pitino paramour Karen Sypher’s name throughout the game.
You’ve probably already heard that President Obama was at Saturday’s Duke-Georgetown game in DC. If you haven’t heard his segment as a commentator with Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg, you can check it out below. But in one of the great all-time examples of why political writers should never write about sports (and vice versa), check out this pool report from the NY Post’s Charles Hurt. Hurt couldn’t have misunderstood, well, just about everything, any worse than he did in his piece. Taking shots at liberal elitism? Talking about the “kick-off” and the “playoffs?” Completely missing the tongue-in-cheek back-and-forth between Obama and the CBS team about “going left?” Good grief. Clearly Hurt has never witnessed a basketball game in his life.
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Dick Vitale is perhaps ESPN’s most easily-recognized personality ever on the college basketball scene. Watch some fellow ESPNers do their best Vitale in celebration of his 35th year with the network.