It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume IIPosted by jbaumgartner on November 14th, 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… a lottery pick play. They’re some of my favorite moments every year – the two seconds that make you go, “Ohh, OhhhhhhWOWWW!” as a talented underclassman goes to a level you weren’t sure he had – and one that definitely translates to the next level. I ventured down to Chapel Hill for Sunday’s UNC-Florida Atlantic game, and soph sensation James Michael McAdoo provided that moment in the second half when he drove baseline, took off from under the hoop and floated all the way to the other side before stretching back and stuffing it home. The season is young, but he definitely looks like a player ready for the next level after blooming during the final weeks of last season. And I can barely wait to see him go head-to-head with Indiana’s Cody Zeller on November 27.
I LOVED… Duke doing what they do in the early season – using superior coaching and discipline to beat a much more talented Kentucky squad. It seems like Coach K specializes in this – he uses the early-season schedule to prey on the highly-skilled but less highly-disciplined youth that comes into college basketball every November. They might not beat those Wildcats in March, but they certainly outplayed them on Tuesday night.
I LOVED… John Calipari saying what we all were thinking on a nationally-televised halftime interview: “They’re (Duke) floppin’ all over the place.” Preach the truth, Cal.
I LOVED… feeling like college basketball was back on November 13. Sometimes it seems like it takes a few weeks to get going, but as soon as Duke-UK heated up in the second half, the energy was there. We had a high level of play early in the year, Dickie V simultaneously trying (successfully) to jump on both bandwagons in the span of one telecast, Blue Devils flying through the air horizontally despite no contact…. ah yes. It’s back.
I LOVED…. watching Michigan State upset Kansas and knowing right away that, just like always, it literally doesn’t matter who is on the Spartans squad (and seriously, I can’t name one player) – they have Tom Izzo. For me, Izzo and Krzyzewski are the only two coaches this is true for; you feel like regardless of the personnel, they’re so successful at forcing their identity on their teams that they’ll always have a chance at making a run. I guess you can feel that way about other storied programs, too, but for whatever reason it’s the coaches that resonate with me for these two rather than the name on the jersey.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED… having to wait an hour to hear Coach K’s reaction to Calipari’s flopping coach. I also hated that Duke won for that same reason. Do you know what an epic rant we might have had if K got that question following a meltdown loss?
I HATED… the troubles with the Carrier Classic. This game quickly became one of my favorites last year, with its stunning views and unique backdrop. Players, coaches and even the President seemed to get a big kick out of it, and it’s a nice way to combine the excitement of college basketball with the celebration of our veterans. But there were some scary moments in last year’s UNC-Michigan State game with court condensation, and it seems like this will be a recurring issue in future games, too. Hopefully next year’s setup will address the issue and come up with a more permanent solution.
I HATED… trying to figure out how North Carolina still gets “wine-and-cheese” crowds, as Sam Cassell so lovingly put it while he was at Florida State. I was struck by it again Sunday – it’s just amazing that a school with so much tradition and talent can have such a sparse and subdued crowd. Does it happen every game? No. But it happens way too much for such a large fan base and student body – and way more than other schools of similar basketball pedigree.
I HATED… that it’s taken 50 years for the NCAA Tournament to get back to The Garden. How is that even possible? I guess I take it for granted that every NBA arena gets used as a Tourney site at some point, but it’s hard to believe that such a storied site has been neglected for so long in one of the nation’s best hoop cities. Definitely looking forward to March Madness in the Big Apple.
I HATED… the Pac-12’s start to the year. It feels like it’s been forever since that conference was producing first-rounders left and right, with a consistent Final Four powerhouse in UCLA and a lot of talent all over the map. But here we are again – Washington lost to Albany, UCLA barely beat Irvine…. it’s not looking pretty.