It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume VPosted by jbaumgartner on December 19th, 2011
Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish on Mondays throughout the season. In this weekly piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.
Five Things I Loved This Week
I LOVED….that Xavier went down in flames against mighty Oral Roberts thanks to the multiple suspensions from the Cincinnati brawl – including Tu Holloway. Not that I ever want to wish ill upon others, but it seems so much more helpful when players really get to see the consequences of their actions. Perhaps an embarrassing loss like this will make the Musketeers think twice before entering any other on-court confrontations.
I LOVED….Billy Donovan signing on for five more years. I had so much respect for Donovan when he passed up the lucrative offer with the Orlando Magic to stay on with the Gators and continue building a legacy that will be one of the finer tenures in college basketball by the time it ends. I don’t think anyone questions whether the Donovans, Williams, Calhouns or Krzyzewskis of the world could coach at the NBA level, but it’s so nice to keep them in the college game.
I LOVED….Butler’s under-the-radar win against Purdue. Look, this isn’t a great Butler team. They’re 5-6, and they’re not reaching the NCAA Final again (I promise…). But it’s these normal, ho-hum wins against quality big-conference teams that continue to legitimize Brad Stevens’ squad as much as the crazy Cinderella wins in March. That’s how you keep stealing recruits from the big boys in the long run.
I LOVED….some alley-oop aerial acrobatics. For my money, there’s almost nothing more impressive than a player turning an alley into some sort of innovative slam. To intentionally twist your body while in the air and adjusting for a ball that is moving toward the hoop takes a combination of coordination and athleticism that most of us will never experience. This week we got a disgusting reverse alley from Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham (arguably the nation’s best leaper), and a 360 version from Terrence Ross of Washington (at the 6:13 mark).
I LOVED….this development from the Xavier-Cincinnati fight. There was plenty to hate about that whole fiasco, but kudos to Kenny Frease for showing a lot of class in the aftermath.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED….this week right before Christmas. Truth be told, I hate the week after this, too. With finals week and Christmas vacation, players and coaches get some much-deserved rest and a schedule full of gimme matchups (for the most part). Sure it’s smart scheduling before the conference season starts up, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it as a fan.
I HATED….another freshman transfer from a top program, this time Khem Birch from Pitt. Though I’m not judging this decision, and though transfers can happen for all sorts of reasons (many legitimate), I was reminded of this really interesting article by Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn from the past summer. The analysis comes out of an extensive study that examines players who decommit or transfer from schools, and the factors leading up to those developments. Give it a read if you have a sec.
I HATED….conference realignment. While the massive shuffle game has helped plenty of programs around the country in a variety of sports, here is a great example of how the development isn’t necessarily a great deal for everybody. San Diego State is on the rise right now, but check out that article for the risks the Aztecs are taking as they move into the Big West (since the football program moved to the Big East in search of BCS money/exposure). Who knew the BCS ridiculousness could screw up part of college basketball too…
I HATED….those guys who just will not graduate. Every year I run into these names, the ones that I swear entered college in 2000 and are pulling a Van Wilder on us. You know who I’m talking about –Tyler Hansbrough, Scottie Reynolds, Levance Fields, etc. Not only will these guys not leave college, but they keep killing your team year after year… it’s just not fair. This week it was Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez that came to mind. That ponytail has been bouncing the Bay Area for at least eight years now, and I’m sure Pac-12 coaches are tired of having him shut down their perimeter scorers.
I HATED….seeing how Houston might get hurt by this boneheaded move from its booster club investing in what was apparently a Ponzi scheme. I know everyone makes mistakes, but in today’s age of endless financial scams, it seems next to impossible for people to be this careless with something so important.