Some of you may have noticed that we at RTC have been pretty busy getting lately. For those of you who have been keeping up to date on everything happening at RTC we would like to thank you. For those slackers who like to procrastinate in getting ready for the season (and you know who you are), we have put together this not-so-brief but comprehensive guide to get you ready for the season.
The RTC Top 25: Hard to pick against Duke this year, as all five of our voters were in agreement that Coach K’s Blue Devils are the team to beat.
Tweeting the Preview: Those of you who follow us on Twitter (@rushthecourt) are familiar with this feature, but for the past two weeks we have been Tweeting our rankings counting down every single Division I team in reverse order.
Preseason Bracketology: In conjunction with our run-down of the top 345 teams in Division 1 we also bring you the first of many installments of RTC Bracketology. [Ed. Note: If the seed doesn’t correlate with rankings just remember that just because a team has a higher seed doesn’t mean that they are better just that they have a better resume.]
The Fanhouse 2010-11 All-America Team features Kyle Singler (Duke), Jacob Pullen (Kansas State), Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Marcus Morris (Kansas) and JaJuan Johnson (Purdue). To each their own, but we think it’s a mistake to leave off Harrison Barnes (UNC) given what we know about the talent of star freshmen these days (to be fair to Fanhouse, he was on their third team). Also, we know that Morris is a great player only scratching the surface of his potential, but is he the second-best forward in the country behind Singler? We just can’t get behind that one yet.
Right, Leonard Hamilton, because your research about a preseason poll taken in 1975 is equally valid to one taken in 2010, with the crush of media and year-round coverage of the sport, not to mention the ability to watch nearly every high-major game on television (or at least streaming video). Look, there are problems with some voters in preseason polls failing to do their homework — Lord knows that much is true — but if anything, the ACC traditionally gets too much credit based on the accomplishments of Duke and UNC in most years. The ACC has had a grand total of FIVE Sweet Sixteen teams in the last four NCAA Tournaments. Five (compare with… B12 = 9; BE = 14; B10 = 8; P10 = 8 ; SEC = 6). Wanna know how many of those teams were not named Duke or North Carolina? Zero. Once upon a time, the ACC was a lock to have a minimum of two Sweet Sixteen teams every single year; and often other schools such as Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, etc, were getting there. In fact, longtime ACC fans know that the league made its name in the 70s, 80s and 90s for having quality depth beyond Duke and UNC. Do you see a Sweet Sixteen team in this league other than Duke (or Carolina if you drink the kool-aid that they’re going to be significantly better)? The league is down; it’s been down for a while, and it remains down. Until some of the other ten schools start proving it in March, we don’t want to hear a peep from Hamilton and his coaching brethren in the ACC.
Louisville finally received some good news regarding a player’s eligibility when the NCAA cleared 6’10 center Gorgui Dieng yesterday. The freshman originally from Senegal with a 7’4 wingspan will provide some much-needed depth in the frontcourt for Pitino’s squad behind Terrence Jennings and Jared Swopshire. He was a top fifty recruit according to Rivals, and although very raw, he could eventually become an interior defensive force for Louisville in the same way that Samaki Walker once was.
Some comings and goings — you already know about Memphis’ Jelan Kendrick, who at this point may or may not ever suit up for the Memphis Tigers… but Michigan State’s NCAA Second Round hero Korie Lucious should be back in a Spartan uniform, only not at the start of the season. Tom Izzo still isn’t sure what Lucious’ exact punishment will be for his drunk driving arrest in August, but he said on Monday it would involve a suspension of between two to four games. Including exhibition contests, this could result in Lucious possibly missing games that count against Eastern Michigan and South Carolina at the Breslin Center — we think the Spartans will be ok. He would be back in any case to make the trip to the Maui Invitational during Thanksgiving week. Also, Duquesne’s starting point guard, Eric Evans, will miss at least two months with a broken right foot. This is a major blow to a Dukes program (returning A-10 POY candidate Damian Saunders) who had designs on making a run into the top five teams in the Atlantic 10 this year. It’s still possible, but Evans will have to hit the ground running just after the new year.
Former Vanderbilt head coach Roy Skinner passed away yesterday in Nashville; he was 80 years old. Most people today probably don’t know anything about Skinner as he last coached in 1976, but the man partially responsible for turning Vandy’s Memorial Gymnasium into “Memorial Magic” (he won 82% of his home games during his career there) was also the first SEC basketball coach to break the color barrier. How has this story not gotten more play over the years? Skinner recruited Perry Wallace, the first black basketball player in the SEC, from across town in Nashville in 1966. Wallace went on to become an all-SEC player for the Commodores and later went to Columbia Law School and a law professor at American University. If that’s not a success story that Skinner should be lauded for, then we haven’t heard one. RIP, Roy.
Former Michigan State star and 1979 national champion Jay Vincent pleaded guilty to falsifying his tax return and mail fraud on Friday as part of an Internet scam that defrauded investors of over $2M from 2006-09. The ruse he and an associate pulled on people involved convincing their clients to become home inspectors, undoubtedly trying to cash in on people’s blind greed as a result of the national housing bubble during those years. For some reason, every time we hear one of these stories about former stars doing the wrong thing (and there are plenty of them), it makes us sad. It shouldn’t, but it still does.
Wouldn’t it be great if Butler’s Brad Stevens ultimately decided to stay in Indianapolis for the next thirty-odd years and built Butler into a national powerhouse who competed with the likes of Duke, Kentucky, UNC and Kansas for the top recruits and slots in the Final Four every year? To say Stevens will never leave Butler for another job at a high(er)-major is unlikely — after all, never is a long time for a 33-year old — but according to this article by Seth Davis, it certainly appears that the coaching wunderkind is awfully comfortable with his office in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and we’re rooting for him to be in the old barn for a very long time.
Blue Ribbon has announced its first-team All-Americans for the 2010-11 season, and the list is heavy with Big 12 players… Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn, Kansas’ Marcus Morris, Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen, Duke’s Kyle Singler and BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. You know what’s especially interesting about this list? Four seniors and one junior. Do you think that Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes might have something to say about that?
Ask any middle-aged Duke fan if they remember the name Todd Leary, and without question you’ll get a knowing glance. In the 1992 Final Four en route to Coach K’s back-to-back titles, Indiana’s Leary gave Blue Devil fans heart palpitations as he single-handedly brought Bob Knight’s Indiana team back from nine down in the final two minutes with three long-balls from all over the court. Well, from that illustrious moment to this one — Leary pleaded guilty to fraud relating to a mortgage company scheme late last week in Ft. Wayne, and he is on the hook for $300,000 in restitution as well as possible prison time. Nice.
Did you see Gary Parrish’s summer all-americans? With three Big 12 players on his first team, it’s going to be another fantastic season in the nation’s heartland.
This is an interesting post from Bylaw Blog (“the unofficial blog of NCAA compliance” — awesome!) that suggests that the NCAA Infractions folks may be reaching a critical mass of knowledge in both football and basketball (about how “the system” actually works) to begin focusing on and targeting the volume cheaters. We can only hope…
What do Rick Barnes (Big 12), Jeff Bzdelik (ACC), Fran McCaffery (Big Ten), Buzz Williams (Big East), Rick Stansbury (SEC) and Kevin O’Neill (Pac-10) have in common? These six coaches in the BCS leagues tend to play their starters more than any other coach in that league, according to statistics compiled by Dan Hanner over at YABB in his typically stellar analysis. (ed. note — Bzdelik’s and McCaffery’s numbers were of course from previous schools)
We’re a little past the halfway point of the 2009-10 season now, and we wanted to make sure that we had given the players who had performed at an elite level their due and propers with a little love from the crew here at RTC. Here is our 2009-10 Midseason All-America Team.
First Team (** unanimous)
John Wall** (G), Kentucky (17.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.8 APG, 2.1 SPG) – Wall has been the most electrifying and clutch player in America so far this season.
Wes Johnson** (F), Syracuse (17.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.8 BPG) – Johnson does it all for Jim Boeheim’s team, proving the cranky old man right.
Luke Harangody** (F), Notre Dame (24.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG) – the nation’s scoring leader isn’t just a bomber; he’s also in the top five in overall efficiency.
Damion James (F), Texas (17.3 PPG, 11.0 RPG) – James is the clear leader of a Texas roster brimming with talented players.
Evan Turner (F), Ohio State (18.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 5.5 APG) –Mr. Triple-Double (two this year) missed a month and still made it onto the first team.
Sherron Collins (G), Kansas (16.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.3 SPG) – Collins has proved his worth in late-game situations where he’s taken charge.
Cole Aldrich (C), Kansas (10.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 3.4 BPG) – Aldrich doesn’t get enough touches, but his impact on the game is invaluable to the Kansas attack.
Jon Scheyer (G), Duke (19.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.8 APG, 4.0 A:TO ratio) – Scheyer has proven he can handle Duke’s point guard duties exceptionally well.
Scottie Reynolds (G), Villanova (18.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.5 SPG) – Big Shot continues to improve, leading Villanova to 17-1.
Al-Farouq Aminu (F), Wake Forest (17.3 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.3 BPG) – the Leap that we all expected from Aminu in year two has happened.
Da’Sean Butler (F), West Virginia (15.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.4 APG) – Butler’s superb numbers get crowded out by the other talented forwards in the Big East.
Quincy Pondexter (F), Washington (20.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.4 SPG) – it’s been a disappointing first half for UW, but not because of Pondexter.
Jarvis Varnado (F), Mississippi State (14.1 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 5.3 BPG) – the nation’s most feared interior presence continues to erase possessions for the opponent.
Patrick Patterson (F), Kentucky (16.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG on 63% FG) – Patterson is not as hyped as Wall or fellow big man DeMarcus Cousins, but he’s more efficient than both.
Jimmer Fredette (G), BYU (19.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.6 SPG) – Fredette’s elevated production has helped BYU get off to a fantastic 19-1 start.
It’s probably not a good sign for the long-term success of Bill Self’s Kansas team when players such as Tyshawn Taylor are stating on the record that he’s unsure about his role on the team this year, and suggests that “a lot of guys” feel the same way. We would think an experienced team like Kansas would have that stuff figured out already.
Jay Bilas gives us his midseason All-Americans, and there are no huge surprises, but c’mon Jay, a month of Evan Turner is still better than Damion James, right?
It appears that suspended Vols Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goinsmight be coming back at some point soon — both players reportedly passed drug tests immediately following the rental car incident on New Year’s Day, and Gary Parrish reports that the school has cleared those two from any wrongdoing. The situation with Brian Williams is a little more dicey, as he has allegedly copped to the possession charge, but he may also be back on the team sooner rather than later.
Jason King at Yahoo gives his midseason all-americans, and it’s a strong list. Surprising inclusion – Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh. Surprising exclusions – Ohio State’s Evan Turner (despite the injury), and Wake Forest’s Al-Farouq Aminu.
We know that the RPI as an objective measurement of the relative strength of teams is (mostly) worthless, but the NCAA Selection Committee still uses it, among other things, so we like to keep an eye on it from time to time. What’s interesting about this is that the A10 is so high (4th), while the Big Ten is comically below the Pac-10 (7th).
After vouching for the input of all four of our RTC scribes, here’s our official preseason All-American top four teams:
G- Kalin Lucas (Michigan State)
G- Sherron Collins (Kansas)
F- Luke Harangody (Notre Dame)
F- Patrick Patterson (Kentucky)
C- Cole Aldrich (Kansas)
No real surprises for our first team. Kalin Lucas is the anchor of a Michigan State team with Final Four aspirations yet again (would be Tom Izzo’s sixth), while Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich form a tandem that’s reason #1 why Kansas sits atop all preseason rankings. The final two forwards — Luke Harangody and Patrick Patterson — are double-double machines inside that are both looking to send their teams back to the Dance after a year in NIT purgatory. Patterson’s team happens to be a Final Four possibility.
G- John Wall (Kentucky)
G- Willie Warren (Oklahoma)
F- Evan Turner (Ohio State)
F- Craig Brackins (Iowa State)
C- Greg Monroe (Georgetown)
It takes a special player to make any preseason all-second team list before ever playing a minute at the collegiate level. All we’ve heard this offseason from Kentucky practice viewers and his coach John Calipari suggests we could find Wall replacing Collins or Lucas on the first team by season’s end. Willie Warren has a chance to lead all BCS conference players in scoring as the Oklahoma sophomore can flat out shoot the basketball. Evan Turner will play everything from the 1 to the 4 position for an Ohio State team returning nearly every key cog. The most unknown superstar in the land might be Craig Brackins, while Greg Monroe looks to turn around a sinking Georgetown ship.
G- Jerome Randle (California)
G- Manny Harris (Michigan)
F- Kyle Singler (Duke)
F- Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest)
C- Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State)
Can Cal finally win a Pac-10 title? With Jerome Randle and his 46% 3pt at the helm, it’s entirely possible. Manny Harris returns as the #1 scoring option for a Michigan team looking to contend in the all-of-a-sudden feared Big Ten. The biggest surprise may be Kyle Singler, the Duke swingman voted Preseason All-American and yet finds himself on the third team here at RTC (let the accusations of anti-Duke bias begin). Al-Farouq Aminu is the man in Winston-Salem and could take off as a potential lottery pick, while Jarvis Varnado is this year’s Hasheem Thabeet down low making a super impact defensively.
G- Greivis Vasquez (Maryland)
G- Devan Downey (South Carolina)
F- Robbie Hummel (Purdue)
F- Trevor Booker (Clemson)
C- Ed Davis (North Carolina)
The biggest decision in April may have been Greivis Vasquez electing to return to College Park and lead the Terps back to the NCAA Tournament. He’s a tremendous scorer and improving floor leader. Speaking of scoring, South Carolina’s Devan Downey can make any shot on the floor and could total 20 PPG this season. We all know what a healthy Robbie Hummel and Trevor Booker provide Purdue and Clemson, respectively, with scoring, rebounding and defense. Ed Davis look to make The Leap we all expect out of the UNC big man.
Also receiving votes: Scottie Reynolds (Villanova), James Anderson (Oklahoma State), Kemba Walker (Connecticut), Nic Wise (Arizona), Damion James (Texas), Lazar Hayward (Marquette), Devin Ebanks (West Virginia), Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech), A.J. Ogilvy (Vanderbilt), Jerome Jordan (Tulsa), Larry Sanders (VCU).
The regular season is flying by. Believe it or not, we’re only nine weeks away from having an official NCAA Tournament Bracket to review and obsess over. We also happen to be nine weeks removed from opening night, so yesterday marked the official midpoint – 63 days on each side – of the regular season. Which means, of course, for all you folks who have been busy with the holidays, busy with the bowl games, busy with the NFL Playoffs… let’s get you caught up.
From now until the first tip in Dayton March 17th on the Road to the F4 in Detroit (ugh), roughly 150 or so teams are realistically jostling for position to be selected as one of the Chosen 65. As we nestle into the familiarity of conference play (only the Ivies have yet to begin) and America once again wakes up to our game, weaknesses will be exposed, experienced teams will try to avoid complacency and young teams will start to figure it all out. Come Selection Sunday, many of these prospective bracketeers will have fallen by the wayside, but there will be 50 or so at-large teams holding NCAA-caliber resumes, even though only 34 will be taken. Before we jump in with both feet into the fun that the next two months will bring, let’s take a look back at the first two months to see what we’ve learned.
Carolina is Not Unbeatable, but Are the Heels Still the Favorite? A mere month ago we wrote that North Carolina was playing like a team with plans to lose no more than a couple of games (if that many) all season. Then the last eight days happened. First, UNC lost at home to an underwhelming BC team, followed by a road loss at Wake Forest last night to start 0-2 in the ACC. So what’s going on – how can this juggernaut of a team with nearly everyone returning look so… mortal? It’s easy, really. So far, UNC’s defense hasn’t been up to snuff. It’s more efficient as a whole than last year’s version, but their statistical profile is elevated on the defensive end by forcing turnovers which in turn fuels their lethal fast break. In a halfcourt set, as Wake and BC repeatedly and effectively showed, UNC can be penetrated and exposed. The key to playing with the Heels is limiting those TOs that Ty Lawson turns into the quick strikes that overwhelm teams. Is it a fatal flaw? It could be (how’s that for a hedge?). Teams that can’t consistently make stops don’t win championships, but we really don’t see why UNC’s defense shouldn’t be able to make the commitment to improve over the next two months. The 2005 title team only became legit once Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants and Sean May got serious about stopping people in addition to outscoring them. Can the 2009 Heels – specifically, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Deon Thompson – do the same? Stay tuned.
These Guys Have to Commit to Better Halfcourt Defense
The Big East Should Have Its Own Region. Seriously, let’s just rename the E. Rutherford Region this year and invite every Big East team. Or at least the top 12. Of course, if we did that, it would prohibit the possibility of the conference placing four teams in the Final Four this year – a plausible scenario. Tell us that you couldn’t envision a situation where four of the following teams – Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse – would reach Detroit in April. Throw in Villanova, Marquette and West Virginia and you might just have nine of the Sweet Sixteen. The top half of this conference is really that good. So who is the best of the best? It depends on when you ask the question. Two weeks ago it was UConn. A week ago Georgetown. Now it’s Pittsburgh. Next week… probably Syracuse. The point is nobody knows. UConn has the most raw talent, but they’ve exhibited problems putting it together consistently. Georgetown, haven’t you heard, has rebounding issues. Pittsburgh isn’t reliable from behind the arc. Syracuse has a tendency to lose to teams like Cleveland St. on miracle shots. Louisville spends much of its time looking for its ass with both hands. Notre Dame has a maddening tendency to play defense with its hands. Marquette and Villanova are too guard heavy. West Virginia has Bob Huggins. And on and on. All we can say for certain is that the quality of play in the seemingly-nightly matchups between Top 25 teams is top-shelf, and it makes up for all those other nights where we’re stuck watching Auburn-Ole Miss.
The Big Ten Doesn’t Suck This Year.Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that our friendly midwestern conference is on par with the Big East, or even the ACC, but it’s a lot stronger in the middle of the pack than it has been in recent years. Not much was expected out of Minnesota (15-1), Illinois (14-2) or Michigan (13-3) this year, but each of them are playing excellent ball and have marquee wins over the likes of Louisville, Missouri, Duke and UCLA in their pockets. Combine their success with the standard good seasons expected from Michigan St. (13-2), Purdue (12-4), Ohio St. (11-3) and Wisconsin (12-4), and you have a competitive six-bid conference. Even traditional cellar dweller Penn St. (13-4) has shown signs of life this year. Heck, they even made the ACC/Big Ten Challenge competitive (losing 6-5) this year!
Our Midwestern Friends Have Been Practicing
They’re Putting It Together. Now that Tom Izzo once again has a full complement of players with Goran Suton back in the fold, Michigan St. has looked much better since their abysmal performance in the ACC/B10 Challenge against UNC. They’ve run off nine in a row with wins at Texas, at Minnesota and Ohio St. – everyone wrote this team off after that UNC game, but they’ll be heard from in March. UCLA is also quietly going about its business, also reeling off nine in a row (including a 3-0 start in road games in the Pac-10) since their loss to Texas in mid-December. Ben Howland is getting production from eleven players, and if anyone really thought the Bruins were going to have a ‘rebuilding’ season, they need to have their head checked. This team will win close to 30 games again. It’s amazing how a series of close games that go your way can make or break a team’s confidence. After Louisville had dropped tight ones to Minnesota and UNLV in late December, everyone was ready to write off the Cards. Now that they’ve won three of their lost four on the last possession, they sit at 3-0 in the Big East (with two road wins) and appear to be in relatively good shape compared to some of the other Big East contenders (UConn, ND, and Georgetown in particular). We’ll see just how good they can be when #1 Pittsburgh visits on Saturday.
Pleasant Surprises. Obviously, Wake Forest is a pretty big surprise – we expected them to be pretty good, but nobody saw a top five team coming from Dino Gaudio this year. What about Syracuse? – at 16-1 and the lone loss to Cleveland St. from 75 feet, Jim Boeheim’s crew has as much talent as just about anybody in the country. Clemson is pulling its annual ridiculous start, but there are signs that this Tiger team is legit – they have a balanced attack, they’re strong at both ends of the court, and they have good road wins at Illinois, South Carolina and Miami (FL) so far. Butler is a HUGE surprise, although we shouldn’t ever be surprised with that program. The Bulldogs sit at 14-1 and two of their top three players are freshmen, yet they once again appear to be the class of the Horizon and a top mid-major. Tubby Smith has Minnesota playing great ball, and the Gophers are on a fast track to the NCAA Tournament at least a year ahead of schedule. Coaching matters – Mike Montgomery also has California playing hard for the first time in a decade. The Bears look like a top three team in the Pac-10 at this point.
Syracuse Has the Look of a Team Built for March
Disappointments. Since the Q1 update, Gonzaga has done nothing but crap itself, losing games to Arizona, UConn, Portland St., and Utah. They did get a key OT win at Tennessee last week, and their defense is still stronger than in recent years, but for some reason or another, the Zags are having trouble putting it all together. USC is destined to become this year’s NC State (a preseason ranked team that won’t make the NCAA Tourney). The SEC – Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky – have all been various shades of disappointing. Between the cream of the SEC East, there’s what, three quality wins? On the other side of that conference, only Arkansas has even been mildly interesting, with big home wins over Oklahoma and Texas. At the mid-major level, Southern Illinois (6-8 ) and Wright St. (9-8 ) have a long way to go before they’ll turn their seasons around.
RTC Midseason All-Americans. We’ll take some heat for not putting defending NPOY Tyler Hansbrough on our first team, but his numbers, particularly his rebounding average, are off from last season. Granted, he’s still probably recovering from a stress reaction injury, so he’ll have time to recover his (rightful?) place on the 1st team, but for now, we like Griffin (obvious choice) and Harangody in our frontcourt. Curry and Harden are also easy choices in the backcourt, but we’re making a leap of faith choosing Teague – his last two games against BYU and UNC were very impressive performances (he averaged 32/5/4 assts on 59%) and we’re riding on the Wake bandwagon right now.
Jeff Teague, G – Wake Forest(21/4/4 assts on 54%/54% 3fg shooting)
Stephen Curry, G – Davidson (29/4/7 assts/3 stls on 45%/37% 3fg shooting)
James Harden, G – Arizona St. (23/6/5 assts on 56%/42% 3fg shooting)
Blake Griffin, F – Oklahoma (23/14/3 assts on 65% shooting)
Luke Harangody, F – Notre Dame (25/13 on 51% shooting)
Knocking on the Door (2d Team).
Tyler Hansbrough, F – North Carolina (22/8 on 54% shooting)
Patrick Patterson, F – Kentucky (19/9/3 assts on 71% shooting)
Dejuan Blair, F – Pittsburgh (15/13 on 61% shooting)
Manny Harris, G – Michigan (19/8/5 assts on 44%/31% 3fg shooting)
Ty Lawson, G – North Carolina (15/3/6 assts on 53%/42% 3fg shooting)
All-Freshman Team. Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest), Jrue Holiday (UCLA) and Gordon Hayward (Butler) were tough to leave off this list.
Greg Monroe, C – Georgetown (14/6/3 assts on 57% shooting)
Sylven Landesberg, G – Virginia (19/6/3 assts on 49%/30% 3fg shooting)
Tyreke Evans, G – Memphis (16/6/4 assts/3 stls on 45% shooting)
Seth Curry, G – Liberty (20/4 on 45%/40% 3fg shooting)
Paul George, F – Fresno St. (16/7 on 54%/46% 3fg shooting)
Big Games (Q3). Here are the top 10 games of the next month.
Syracuse @ Georgetown – 01.14.09
Pittsburgh @ Louisville – 01.17.09
Georgetown @ Duke – 01.17.09
Wake Forest @ Clemson – 01.17.09
Texas @ Baylor – 01.27.09
Duke @ Wake Forest – 01.28.09
California @ UCLA – 01.29.09
Connecticut @ Louisville – 02.02.09
Duke @ Clemson – 02.04.09
Michigan St. @ Minnesota – 02.04.09
Notre Dame @ UCLA – 02.07.09
Extremes. This won’t last much longer, as we fully expect all three of the unbeatens to have a loss by this time next week, if not sooner. That’s what conference play does to you. NC Central will get a win against a D2 squad soon, but poor little NJIT has no relief in sight. They’re sitting on 49 in a row and, according to KenPom’s projections, 60+ in a row is within reach. Memo to NJIT coach Jim Engles – take a page from the NC Central playbook and schedule some JVHigh School D2 teams.
Unbeaten (next possible loss)
Pittsburgh (Big East):15-0 (@ Louisville 1/17)
Wake Forest (ACC): 14-0 (@ BC 1/14)
Clemson (ACC):16-0 (v. Wake Forest 1/17)
Winless (next possible win)
NJIT (Ind): 0-16 (Bryant 1/21)
North Carolina Central (Ind): 0-18 (D2 Central St 1/16)
Georgia Tech’s D’Andre Bell will miss the season after getting diagnosed with spinal stenosis (the same injury TJ Ford had a while back) – he averaged 7 ppg last year and is considered one of the Jackets’ top defenders.
This will be a fantastic story if Santa Clara forward John Bryant has a great year after being stabbed in an altercation last month.
Don’t know how we missed this one, but UCLA great John Wooden turned 98 last week, and subsequently had his car taken away from him by his family. Ouch.
Basketball Interview Challenge does a great job interviewing hoops personalities. For example, we had no idea that former Michigan great Cazzie Russell was coaching for an art school in Savannah, GA. Keep it coming, JZ.