As a member of the CBB Blogpoll, we’ve been asked to join the weekly roundtable, where we’ll be answering a series of questions about the state of the season. A Sea of Blue is this week’s host – be sure to stop by over there to see some of the other blogs’ answers (ed. note: we tried and failed to keep our eyes on our own paper).
Who really looks like the best team in college basketball this season?
On “look” alone, it has to be Pittsburgh. The Panthers have only sustained two losses, and in both of those losses (@ Louisville and @ Villanova), the manchild known as DeJuan Blair was in foul trouble. But will that translate in March this time around? Remember, the Panthers have never played past the Sweet 16 in the history of the program. Why is this year any different? For one, Pitt’s offensive efficiency is the best it’s ever been (currently #3 nationally). For another, they have a scoring option from each of the key positions on the court (point/wing/post) in Levance Fields, Sam Young and Blair. We hesitate to think Pitt will win it all this year, but we have to believe that this is a Final Four team.
Is Blake Griffin the Player of the Year already, or can somebody catch him?
Over. Blake Griffin is your 2008-09 POY, and it’s not even close. The only player that could have caught him in the last month was Stephen Curry, but his recent injury plus some media backlash (ahem) about his play in “big” games this year has rendered that point moot. We all know how sick Griffin’s numbers are (23/14/3 assts), but Oklahoma has had only one slip-up despite several close games they could have dropped.
What currently ranked team is the biggest disappointment so far this year?
Michigan State. We’re tired of hearing excuses about this team. They were top 5 to begin the year, and they’re still top 10 in most polls, but they have a bigger tendency to completely quit than any other team near the top of the rankings. Witness the shellacking at Ford Field by UNC in December or the recent rape at the hands of Purdue just this week. Maryland of all teams also destroyed them earlier this year. The pieces are supposedly there, with Kalin Lucas, Goran Suton, Durrell Summers, Raymar Morgan and so forth… but from our view it appears that there are no great players here, just a collection of very good ones.
Predict the next team to beat Oklahoma.
The easy choice is at Texas or at Missouri in the next couple of weeks, so we’ll be a little contrarian and predict a home loss to Kansas on Big Monday next week. KU is playing much better than anticipated this season, and Bill Self’s defense is good enough to shut down everyone except Blake Griffin in that game. We like the Jayhawks to do it, especially if OU is elevated to #1 in next week’s polls.