College Basketball By the Tweets: Feast Week Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 28th, 2012

Nick Fasulo is an RTC correspondent who writes the column College Basketball By the Tweets, a look at the world of college hoops through the prism of everyone’s favorite social media platform. You can find him on Twitter @nickfasuloSBN.

I’ve always felt that the overall excitement level of college basketball is, more than any other sport, contingent on how relevant its bluebloods are. Even if you love to hate them, if Duke were to disappear from the Top 25 for a season, it would stink. With the renaissance of Indiana now almost fully developed, I think we can all rest easy that one of the game’s great programs is back where it belongs, and it’s for the betterment of the sport.

#108Shots | #0Assists

In a week that is designed to allow fans to sit back and start to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of their favorite Division I teams, it was a puny sophomore guard playing for Division III Grinnell College garnering the most attention And sides were taken as polarizing as our country’s two primary political parties.

First, naturally, as the news trickled, the response was positive shock and awe.

But then the story went mainstream, as Taylor was talking with morning TV shows and being praised for his record-breaking feat. Meanwhile, true sports fans grumbled, pointing out the gimmicky style of Grinnell and how there was obvious disregard for real basketball being played in an effort for Taylor to hurl up enough shots to get his name into the record books.

The next chapter in this story? The rest of Jack Taylor‘s life. Surely, he’s aware that a dark cloud will follow him and devalue his accomplishment. It was a hot button topic that faded as soon as that delicious plate of turkey was placed in front of America’s feasters, but Taylor will forever be tagged as a sham when his name comes up in conversation. Go easy on the guy.

Maryland & Rutgers to Big Ten

As a result of the latest conference reshuffling, the Big Ten got stronger and more red and Big East more likely to erode into oblivion.

As for the ACC, well they’re likely to pull in another school from a major conference meaning their identity will continue to shift heading into this decade. Rivalries don’t matter, and money talks.

And of course, a now “former rival” had to chime in with a jab following the move. Well played, Andre.

Shabazz Muhammad’s Underwhelming Debut

Feast week began with great anticipation of the debut of super freshman Shabazz Muhammad. But the initial responses when Muhammad checked in against Georgetown was more about fashion.

But while his box scores were impressive, UCLA is nowhere near what we anticipated from them entering the season. In two games at the Legends Classic, they looked lost on offense, clueless on defense, and also like a group of players Ben Howland normally wouldn’t go after on the recruiting trail.

Clearly, this team has a ways to go, and could be heading down a path of a season of underachievement.

Memphis Meltdown

I have to say that Memphis basketball fans don’t get enough credit for their passion of the game. They pay attention and are clued into what’s going on, and their starting to get a bit louder about their feelings for Josh Pastner, whose Tigers team was bounced in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis by VCU.

What ensued were plenty of fans confident they were qualified to replace Pastner as the Tigers’ head coach.

Duke Battles 4, Wins Atlantis

Duke continued its winning ways in early season tournaments, hoisting a conch shell trophy after defeating Louisville in the finals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. The finals pitted the two coaches who participated in perhaps the greatest college basketball game of all time, meaning UK fans had, if not a rooting interest, an interest to watch this game.

The tournament, despite having the deepest field of any early season tournament, was a stage for The Russ Frieken Smith, who provided his fair share of theatrics.

But in the end it was Duke’s surprisingly tough guard play that propelled the Blue Devils to victory. Duke needed a solid point guard to emerge, and they have it in Quinn Cook, who weathered VCU’s “havoc” and Louisville full-court press on consecutive nights.

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