It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume VIIPosted by jbaumgartner on January 9th, 2012
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….a coach getting into the action. Not that we like to see anyone getting hurt, but who doesn’t love a clipboard-toting coach taking his turn in the layup line like Xavier’s Chris Mack? Unfortunately for him, his second uncontested drive to the hoop somehow ended up in knee surgery. We love the spirit, coach, but you’ve gotta remember – two steps, jump, and come down soft.
I LOVED….that a sharp-shooting Kentucky freshman got his $10K prize after all. Count on a big-chain food store to consider not doling out the prize because the participant’s foot was not completely behind the half-court line (Really, Kroger? Really?). Luckily they came to their senses, and the swish just made that freshman a very popular man on campus.
I LOVED….Duke taking one on the chin against Temple. And no, not because I’m a Carolina grad (though yes, I took pleasure in that capacity as well). Anyone who follows Duke knows that Coach K doesn’t go out of his way to schedule true non-conference road games. He greatly prefers neutral sites (where his team might play during the NCAA tournament) or home games against top competition. Now, Duke didn’t actually play at Temple, but still, a game against the Owls in Philly qualifies in my book. Though Krzyzewski is the one with four titles, I just find it hard to believe that the Blue Devils can’t use 2-3 of these games during the non-conference schedule to toughen them up for the latter part of the season. It’s hard to imagine that this loss won’t be a helpful building block down the road for a young team.
I LOVED….the home-court magic coming out in full force on Saturday. We all know that the secret to a top-15 team imploding is simply taking a fish out of water and making them play in a hostile atmosphere. Sure enough, bam-bam-bam-bam, down went UConn, Georgetown, Florida, and Missouri on Saturday while venturing out on the road (the first loss of the year for the Tigers). The advantage of home cooking in college hoops never ceases to amaze me.
I LOVED….trying to decide if this Shake-and-Bake-of-the-Year candidate from MSU’s Keith Appling was even legal. Take your shot at it. I went to stop-and-start for about two minutes and still can’t decide if it’s an outrageous carry (and by outrageous, I mean above and beyond the ridiculous level of carrying that is allowed in today’s game), or just an incredible sleight-of-hand by a guard with big enough hands to control the ball that well. Any thoughts?
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED….a solid Big Ten matchup between Michigan and Wisconsin reminding us instead why it’s hard to watch this conference night in and night out. I’ve seen both of these teams, and they’re solid – athletic at different positions, ability to score and play D, etc. But you just can’t have the #19 team in the country putting up 41 points in 40 minutes. Maybe we need a little preseason conference for the Big Ten to go over the modern style of play. Any takers?
I HATED….more midseason attrition. Is it just me, or does it seem like we have an abnormal amount of transfers and dismissals this early in the season? I mean seriously, it’s every week. This time Arizona State said goodbye to starting point guard and leading scorer Keala King for detrimental conduct, Ole Miss parted with Dundrecous Nelson after his arrest, and Michael Jordan’s kid left Central Florida. Kudos to the coaches who made the tough decisions, but what a drag.
I HATED….that Western Kentucky gets ripped off a game because the refs can’t figure out that six Louisiana-Lafayette players were on the floor when the winning basket was scored. I’m usually on the refs’ side since they have one of the toughest jobs out there, but I draw the line when it comes to a task that most second graders could successfully complete. Come on, fellas.
I HATED….the dumb idea posed by the Xavier school administration to try and discipline fans in the student section who were at the Xavier/Cincinnati matchup that ended in a brawl. Obviously all students weren’t part of that atmosphere, and all of them should not have to take part in any sort of discussion session. Much like its struggling basketball team, even the adults at Xavier couldn’t get things right after the ugly incident.
I HATED….the start of conference season. OK, not really; in most cases I love it. But I enjoy the non-conference schedule immensely every year, mainly for the matchup of historic programs, in-state rivalries who play in different conferences, and above all because I get a chance to see mid-majors tackle some big-conference foes. With conference play starting, we really won’t get a quality look at those smaller schools until the first round of NCAAs in March, as they get to tear through a weaker schedule for the next three months.