It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XPosted by jbaumgartner on February 19th, 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…. Minnesota coach Tubby Smith. Please watch this video, and tell me how anyone can not love Tubby as he breaks it down with moves that men his age should not be attempting. If he ever gets a miraculous title with the Golden Gophers, all will be right with the world.
I LOVED…. an unexpected dunk attempt. When North Carolina’s toothpick point guard Marcus Paige waltzed into the lane against Virginia on Saturday, an educated guess said he would be going for his normal finger roll. Instead, the freshman rose up with bad intentions and tried to throw down over the Cavaliers’ big men at the cup. Did he succeed? Of course not. He’s like 110 pounds and the ball went flying over the rim. But you have to like the kid who is willing to dream big.
I LOVED…. Mike Krzyzewski‘s succinct opinion on whether Duke will be scheduling an annual game with Maryland after the Terps flee the ACC for the Big Ten — in a word, nope. This is funny on a number of levels, but mainly because it brilliantly reinforces Duke’s opinion that Maryland is not a rival. This has driven Maryland fans nuts for years (much as NC State tries to paint UNC as its main rival, when the Duke rivalry is obviously much bigger). Coach K is nothing if not crafty, and he knew just how to throw a departing barb at the turtles as they plod out of the conference (though their win on Saturday will leave them with some fond memories, as well).
I LOVED…. Ben McLemore‘s nasty 360 dunk against Texas on Saturday. For a guy with a quiet, smooth demeanor on the court who thrives on sneakily dominating a game, this was a raw display of athleticism and power that we haven’t always seen. I always respect the 360 decision, because you’re willing to take the risk that you’ll be No. 1 on the “Not Top-10” list if anything goes wrong.I LOVED….Tom Izzo doing what he does just about every year – taking his Spartans and slyly moving up the rankings until his squad is suddenly in the running for a #1 seed. The man never fails to amaze.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED…. Duke’s fans attempting to rush the court after beating unranked UNC… AT HOME! I’ll give Coach K big props for instantly realizing how embarrassing it would be to have video highlights of students storming his floor, but the fact that he even had to step in is pathetic. Maybe those Crazies have just gotten too tired of watching other schools rush the court on them (see: Saturday, Maryland), but some things you just don’t do — and disgracing Coach K Court is one of them.
I HATED…. Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford‘s awful Cowboy orange blazer. Yes, you won, coach, but you put yourself right up alongside the immortal Sidney Lowe – who during his tenure at NC State not only allegedly failed to pay his taxes but had also consistently assaulted our eyes with his bright red blazer (in the process making the contrast with his underachieving Wolfpack just that much greater).
I HATED…. Nerlens Noel‘s awful injury to end the season. No, I don’t think that this Wildcats team was going to make any late-season push that could potentially end in another title. But you just hate to see a kid’s season end like this with an injury that could have any sort of impact on his long-term future. It will raise some much-needed questions about why high-school players should be required to spend one year in college at all, but as ESPN’s Dana O’Neil correctly points out, it’s also about Noel’s personal story and not just the broader ramifications.
I HATED…. and hated and hated and hated ESPN reporting on itself with this story about the Big East TV deal. It’s hard for me to believe that they don’t understand what a conflict of interest this is, or how dumb it makes them look. You can’t position yourself as a main source for objective sports news and then skip out on the rules that everyone else abides by. There’s a reason that ESPN is losing writers and credibility as other sites grow stronger.
I HATED…. that Gonzaga is somehow No. 3 in the country, and inexplicably getting first-place votes (really?). Am I missing something here? Have they not choked away two of their best opportunities of the year against Illinois (no longer ranked….) at home, and then on the road against a Butler team missing its best player? And one of the greatest last-second collapses ever to end the latter? Yes, they’re talented, but as always the Bulldogs play in the WCC and should not reap the benefits of an easier schedule if they don’t perform out of conference. Their wins against Oklahoma State and Kansas State are good, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t this good.