It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume VIIIPosted by jbaumgartner on February 4th, 2013
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…. remembering just how bad of an announcer Bill Walton is during the Washington-Arizona game on ESPN, and coming to the incredible conclusion that he might be even worse at college than he was with the NBA. In a two-hour span Bill managed to explain what a disgrace UCLA basketball is, mention Reggie Miller Night at Pauley Pavilion 10 (10!!) times, called a Seattle high school coach in attendance one of the great human rights leaders (no qualifications needed!) and declared one 20-second stretch “the worst possession in the history of Washington basketball.” Other comments may or may not have included forays into the Grateful Dead and Google Earth, but it was hard to catch it all. God bless crazy old legends who can still go on TV and say whatever crosses their mind.
I LOVED…. a prime time top-5 Big Ten match-up that didn’t disappoint. Be honest – if I told you two premier Big 10 teams were facing off, you’d predict a final score of 53-50 (OK fine, 59-56). The point is, in past years these games have tended to earn a 9.5 on the snoozer scale and reinforced the conference’s slow, methodical, offensively-challenged reputation. Thus, an 81-73 Indiana win was a refreshing foray into the 21st Century and a boost of confidence that one of these teams will be in my Final Four bracket come March.
I LOVED…. Miami backing up its Duke win with very legit road win against an N.C. State team that refuses to conform to society’s expectations and beat teams that it actually should. For Miami, they definitely keep their current label as a dangerous, well-coached team that could be a sleeper pick in March. For State? Well, at some point you might just have to stop convincing yourself that they’re going to change.
I LOVED…. the completely-terrible-idea-should-have-just-dribbled-out-the-clock-but-got-excited-and-gave-the-losing-team-motivation-for-revenge dunk by Indiana’s Victor Oladipo. Also, if you’re looking for this year’s most ridiculous athlete, he might just be it. Check out this almost alley-oop that would have gone down as one of the year’s best slams.
I LOVED….five mid-majors in this week’s Top 25 rankings, which got me wondering what the most in a given week is – anyone? Among this year’s crop, I’ll still stick by Gonzaga even though their big-game performance has been suspect at best thus far. But both the Zags and Butler could again make runs this postseason, and I’ll never count out Steve Fisher’s San Diego State Aztecs, either.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED…. trying to figure out how I missed Virginia Tech’s Erick Green all season. Given that I follow the ACC regularly every year, it’s beyond me how Green escaped my scope for his entire career up to this point. After watching him against North Carolina on Saturday, there’s not much question why this kid is the nation’s leading scorer. On a team with VERY limited talent, he can stop and pop from anywhere on the floor and feather in nasty pull-ups off the dribble.
I HATED…. irrational home-court advantages like the one Pitt has. Against a Syracuse squad that looked tough, tough, tough against Louisville just a few weeks ago, the Panthers improved to 13-1 against top 10 teams in the last decade. Smooth, aesthetically pleasing basketball doesn’t matter for Pitt – this team just plain hates to lose at home.
I HATED…. that I feel like Florida is flying under the radar. This Gators team is legitimately talented and balanced with Kenny Boynton leading the way, and in my mind that means a deep Tournament run. Billy Donovan is already an expert at reaching Elite Eights with questionable rosters, so a group that can really play should be on everybody’s mind at this point. Don’t sleep on UF.
I HATED…. trying to figure out how on earth McNeese State (or anyone else for that matter) could SCHEDULE A GAME DURING THE SUPER BOWL??!! These guys are in college for goodness sake – you think they don’t want to sit down with chips and dip and watch Joe Flacco as much as their dorm buddies? New rule – no college basketball during Super Bowl viewing hours. No exceptions.
I HATED…. this report that the ACC Tournament might be coming to New York. Conference alignment be darned, in the words of Roy Williams, the ACC revolves around UNC, Duke and the South. It should be the newbies evolving to the conference’s identity, and not the other way around…