It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume VPosted by jbaumgartner on December 11th, 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… another strong week from Michigan. I’ve always gotten a kick out of subtly rooting for the Wolverines, but have never quite been able to put my finger on why. I guess that while most people enjoy stirring up images of tradition and excellence when programs like Indiana get back on track, with Michigan it’s more about stirring up those memories of just how stinking COOL the program was in the early 90s with the Fab Five. This is a fun team to watch, and it doesn’t hurt that they have two sons of former NBA stars leading the way, either.
I LOVED… Illinois putting up one of the true statement wins of the young season and perhaps emptying out the Gonzaga bandwagon already. What an incredible start for John Groce, and what a performance from Brandon Paul. That’s probably as encouraging as anything for the Illini, that they had a closer to ride down the stretch of a tight game. That’ll bode well for a Big Ten that is sure to have plenty of nailbiters all year long.
I LOVED…. laughing at this show of solidarity from the ACC presidents about no more schools leaving the conference. I’d say it’s safe to say at this point that potentially 80 percent of all major conference schools are at least entertaining hypothetical scenarios or potential TV deals at the moment. With switches happening almost every other week, it’s fairly comical to deny it.
I LOVED… and by loved, I mean lovvvvvvvvvved App State center Brian Okam’s hysterical blooper-reel free throw, as his charity toss slipped off his hands and literally went 10 feet vertically and maybe three feet horizontally (and that’s generous). But I also loved that Okam could see the humor and took the time to give a statement about the shot. Just remember big man – the next one is always going in.
I LOVED… the hilarious image of an empty Reliant Stadium. I guess this was bound to happen eventually, but you had to feel a little sorry for the UCLA and Texas squads after the attendance was probably as entertaining as the game (especially since both squads have underperformed this season). It’ll be interesting to see if this changes how games are scheduled in the crazy big stadiums and if promoters become a little pickier about their teams. Of course you can’t guarantee that teams will still be highly ranked by the time the game hits, but maybe that makes a stronger case for getting these on the calendar in November instead of December.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED… waiting for the conference season. I know, I know – programs can’t have marquee match-ups every week of the non-conference schedule, kids have classes, holiday break starts. What can I say? I’m selfish. These two weeks of cupcake match-ups make me itchy every year, but they do provide some time to reevaluate what we’ve seen during the first few weeks. My thoughts? Duke looks pretty tough in a year that doesn’t seem to have a ton of star power.
I HATED… the news that Mike Moser’s dislocated elbow could end up being a big problem for a Runnin’ Rebels team that has had a decent start to the season and currently sits at No. 20 in the polls (though you have to love the passion on the bench, sling be damned). This was a fun team to watch last season, and you’d love to see them battling it out with San Diego State this year if Moser is able to come back. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be awfully difficult to replace his 12.3 PPG and 9.2 RPG.
I HATED… being able to tell you already that this Georgetown team is losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Are they talented? Absolutely. Well-coached? Yes. Able to break 100 against a high school? Mmmm, well…. maybe. In this era of faster-paced basketball, it’s just hard to see a team with so many offensive struggles advancing anywhere come March. Of course it’s too early to make definitive statements like this one, but with the Hoyas putting up point totals of 61, 37 and 46 points already, I’m feeling OK about it.
I HATED… reading Jim Calhoun’s interview with Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis (no link, will have to pick up the magazine for yourself) and finding myself thinking that maybe, just maybe, I was a little hard on the old curmudgeon as he walked out the door. Something about the back-and-forth in that article brought out all of the endearing tough love that we associated with Calhoun during his incredible run. And yet, even after wavering back towards that feeling that we should let bygones be bygones, I couldn’t forget the way he left the program or the taste it left in my mouth. He’s a legend, to be sure, but there’s still just a little something that doesn’t sit right.
I HATED… trying to figure out how someone decided that Seth Davis and Doug Gottlieb on the same show was a good idea. I wasn’t aware that two egos of that size could co-exist in one studio.