It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XPosted by jbaumgartner on February 7th, 2012
Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this 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 moment where everyone watching a game knows exactly who is getting the ball, and that there’s no way the guy is missing. For me it was Terrence Ross of Washington against UCLA on ESPN this past Thursday. The talented swingman had 10 of the Huskies’ last 12 to complete a frantic comeback, and you just knew a splash was coming every time he lifted up for his absurdly high jumper. UW head coach Lorenzo Romar might not love that NBA scouts were undoubtedly watching, as well, but talents like Ross are tough to hide.
I LOVED….the Missouri/Baylor/Kansas trifecta in the Top 10. Not that having three teams from the same conference in those spots is unheard of – especially with the Big East – but man does it make for a flurry of big-time matchups during conference play. We had the Mizzou/KU thriller on Saturday, then Kansas/Baylor this Wednesday, and the Tigers/Bears rematch next Saturday. Boy do I love my couch.
I LOVED….remembering how hard it is to play on the road. I was fortunate enough to swing through College Park, Maryland, this weekend and snag a rather excellent seat in the very last row of the Comcast Center for UNC/UM. There isn’t much about that Terps team that should keep them in a game with Carolina’s talent, but a sellout crowd kept the place rocking and nearly carried Maryland to the upset. It just reminds me how impressive decisive road wins are in today’s game.
I LOVED….a big-time matchup being everything we wanted on Saturday – collapse, comeback, mistakes, heroics, a last-minute takeover by a star… what theater. Missouri and Kansas put on quite a show in Columbia, and Marcus Denmon has to take a big leap in POY consideration. He absolutely willed his Tigers to the finish line with cold-blooded three after cold-blooded three, and Missouri is all alone in first place after taking out Oklahoma on Monday.
I LOVED….finding out that my eyes aren’t so bad after all. I was eating with a friend at a restaurant Saturday evening, and I happened to catch a glimpse of the TV at the bar across the room. Squinting, I swore that the tiny score display said: Kentucky 73, South Carolina 33. That’s not possible, I thought, and I turned back to my burger thinking that maybe my optical exam should get pushed up a few months because no high-major college team gets down by that score. Sadly for the Gamecocks, it turned out that I still have my eagle eyes.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED….watching that same Washington game and realizing how good these Huskies could be. I mean, check out this mock NBA draft for next year – Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten are both in the top 16. Add in their seven-footer down low and some additional outside shooting, and this could be a squad no one wants to mess with come March. They are 9-2 in an extremely weak Pac-12, but watching them yields a general feeling of unused potential. Keep an eye on how UW finishes out the season, because among everything else, they’re definitely tough to match up with at the guard position.
I HATED….the ending to the Duke game (despite the fact that the UNC grad in me loved it). For those who tuned in, somehow the refs missed Mike Krzyzewski calling a timeout after his Blue Devils rebounded a miss by Austin Rivers with four or five seconds still on the clock. But he didn’t get it, and instead Ryan Kelly got trapped in the corner and tossed up an air ball as time expired. Sometimes you wonder if refs don’t get caught up in the moment a bit, too. There just has to be at least one official keeping half an eye on the coach in those situations, because they’re infinitely more likely to have the presence of mind to call for the timeout.
I HATED….UConn slowly but surely becoming last year’s Michigan State. They have to bring it together, you think, they just HAVE to. There’s too much talent, too much experience from last year’s run, and too good of a coach on the sideline. That’s a lot of toos, but they add up to five losses in the last six games – including a Louisville rout last night. Could this team miss the tourney?
I HATED….to see Tony Mitchell get the thumb – at least for now – in Tuscaloosa. I watched this Bama team some at the start of the year, and with Mitchell out there they can pose some matchup problems with their athleticism – a good formula in the postseason when rebounding can make a big difference. Hopefully he’s back soon.
I HATED….thinking exactly how good this Kentucky team might be. Seriously, the Cats have shooting, they control the ball, clean the boards, erase shots on defense and have Mr. Versatility in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. A great point was made in this ESPN post – if Indiana’s buzzer-beater three doesn’t swish, UK is undefeated and looking more unbeatable by the day. You have to think it will take a team with comparable bigs down low – UNC, Kansas, etc. – to knock this juggernaut off during the tourney.