It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XPosted by jbaumgartner on February 7th, 2011
Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC contributor. In this weekly piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball. This week, Jesse goes nuts (as did most people) on the whole Larry Drew II situation and claims Brandon Knight isn’t a real point guard (God help us), and then takes his place in the long line of Wild Bill fans.
The Five Things I Loved This Week
I LOVED…..“Wild Bill” from the Utah State student section. Apparently I missed this guy last year, but you sure can’t miss him when you’re an opposing player at the free throw line. You get a couple options, too, when you’re playing the Aggies. Wild Bill could choose to expose his rather robust cleavage, or he might switch things up and don an elephant costume – like he did this last week against Nevada. Of course there’s also the Winnie the Pooh outfit, too. Personally I’m waiting for the first free-throw line victim that just starts cracking up. You know they want to, so I’d just let it loose for a few seconds so you could concentrate on the freebie.
I LOVED…..three things that came out of Larry Drew II’s decision to quit on UNC (don’t worry, I rant about it in the HATE section, too). First off, UNC looked dynamite without him on Sunday against Florida State and showed again that the team is bigger than the decisions of one disgruntled player. Then there was Roy Williams, who said in the wake of Drew’s decision that “Z (7-footer Tyler Zeller) thinks that he can” be a factor at the point. And finally, check out Tar Heel swing man Dexter Strickland’s hilarious Tweet after realizing he’ll be the back-up point guard: “I gotta get on my Deron Williams swag for Sunday…lol @KButter5 (PG Kendall Marshall) I got u son!”
I LOVED…..some innovative expression from the Pac-10. This time it was Arizona point guard Lamont “MoMo” Jones, who went off for 27 points and hit multiple clutch shots in a dramatic 3OT-road win against Cal. “I’ve played like this my whole life,” said Jones. “To other people it might be something new, but to me it’s just another day in the life of MoMo Jones.” Players take note. If you want to be quoted, nothing does it faster than referring to yourself in the third person. Gets ‘em every time.
I LOVED…..that for all the talk of a weak SEC and a strong, dynamic Kentucky, the Wildcats are now 4-4 in conference play after taking a spill against Florida this weekend. Once again, that which we take for granted in college basketball comes back to bite us in the…whatever you call it. I stand by a statement I made after watching UK in Maui at the start of the season – Brandon Knight must become an actual point guard. Point guards don’t have assist-turnover ratios of 83-75. This UK team can make a run, but they need Knight to perhaps limit his scoring a bit (which is tough, since he’s a stud in that department) and get his teammates better looks on a consistent basis.
I LOVED…..some non-conference matchups during conference play. This week it was Gonzaga-Memphis that caught my eye on Saturday night, but there have been others in recent weeks; Duke/St. John’s and UConn/Tennessee come to mind right away. These games are fun because there aren’t a ton of them, but they grab your attention and provide a nice little break from the same schools going head-to-head for the better part of three months.
The Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED…..Larry Drew II quitting on North Carolina. I could go on about this one for a while, because I despise everything about it, but let’s address just three main points. One, you don’t quit on your team (which is playing extremely well) in the middle of the year – especially right after you were rightfully benched and were playing BETTER in a substitute role. Two, you grow a pair of cojones and tell both your teammates and coach, rather than having your NBA coach daddy do it for you. And three, it’s incredibly dumb and short-sighted to leave midway through the second semester. Good luck finding schools looking for a senior point guard who won’t play for 1.5 years who bailed on his squad.
I HATED…..Oregon’s new gym floor. It’s hideous. It’s confusing. And I don’t even think it’s legal. I know Nike loves to make the Ducks their guinea pig for testing out new, cutting edge styles, but that floor is just bizarre. Trees all over the place, and just in case you didn’t get it there’s lettering on the floor that says “DEEP IN THE WOODS.” No, that’s not an Oregon slogan or something. It’s just there, perhaps in case you need to know what the heck you’re looking at – which you do. And finally, there is no center line. You can’t see one trace of a center line. Put another way, basketball courts have a center line on them, except for this one. USC coach Kevin O’Neill already complained, and I don’t understand how UO is getting away with it. I guess it would mess up the…um…artwork?
I HATED…..Michigan State. Hate, have hated, am hating, however many tenses you can use. I’m finally giving up. The Spartans are somehow immeasurably worse than last season despite having virtually the same make-up. Actually, scratch that. We can measure it – they’re 5-6 in Big 10 play and have lost five of their last six (two this week on the road at Iowa and Wisconsin). Plus they still have games at No. 1 Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan. Consider me officially off the bandwagon. Which of course means that now they’ll get back on track and make the Final Four again.
I HATED…..more BS from Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney. Check out this blog from ESPN’s Andy Katz (observation No. 1). I think you’ll probably draw the same conclusion Katz does from this recent Ravern Johnson/Sidney incident on Twitter (and at least he used his keyboard this time, rather than his fists). That conclusion is that this program continues to treat him differently and make excuses. If I was another player on that team, or perhaps even a parent of another player, I’d be about done with this ridiculousness.
I HATED…..the poor use of vocabulary coming from LA. USC forward Nikola Vucevic managed to offend, oh, half the population by saying that his Trojans “played like women.” Then there was his coach’s inability to take the high ground. Kevin O’Neill responded to criticism from former Arizona player Jamelle Horne with this little dig: “I’m waiting for the NBA career to take off.” Give it a rest, Kevin. You got another Pac-10 job (albeit a worse one). So consider not stooping to the level of a 21-year-old, as tough as that may be.