It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XIIPosted by jbaumgartner on February 28th, 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….Kansas and Missouri making a play for Game of the Year. I still think you can’t top the North Carolina/Duke game, but for momentum swings and quality, Saturday’s game in Lawrence was right up there. I don’t know if I’m more impressed with how well Missouri played in a ridiculously hostile environment, or that Kansas found a way to win after getting down big. Either way, I think I like both teams’ Final Four prospects better after that one.
I LOVED….Pat Knight’s rant. No, it probably wasn’t the best choice of words or the most thought-out statement. But you have to love when coaches just say what’s on their mind and don’t give the usual coach-speak BS. Fans love getting an unfiltered view, and Pat did his dad proud with that sound-off.
I LOVED….trying to figure out what UConn can even do to make the NCAA Tournament. They’re 17-11 and 7-9 in the Big East, with games against Providence and Pittsburgh left. They’ve beaten Florida State, Harvard, St. John’s and Notre Dame as far as OK wins go. Outside of winning the Big East Tourney, obviously (which started last season’s title run), I’d say Jim Calhoun’s underachieving group has to win out and win two games in MSG – maybe three. Any guesses?
I LOVED….wondering if Georgetown has found its happy place. I seriously haven’t thought about the Hoyas for more than five seconds all year, and it usually consists of – “Is it February yet? OK, they’re finished.” But here they are with just six losses and in the Top 10 as we get set to enter into March. Perhaps GU has lowered our late-season expectations so much that they’ve finally stopped pressing?
I LOVED….the off-hand dunk. In today’s game it seems like the off-hand is often forgotten, but we had a rarity on Saturday when UNC’s twin towers – Tyler Zeller and John Henson – threw down two thunderous left-handers in a win against Virginia. You be the judge. Do you prefer Henson’s one-handed catch on the alley-oop combined with a posterization of the late-arriving defender (and how was that not an ESPN Top 10….)? Or the guard-esque pump fake, dribble and stretch dunk from the seven-foot Zeller? With these two, Jared Sullinger, Anthony Davis, etc., we should really soak up the great post play and highlights that we’ve gotten this year.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED….the final foul call that put Tyshawn Taylor on the line for the winning points. Maybe I’m wrong here, but was it a foul? Sorry, correction. We’re in the final 10 seconds of a game – is it a foul? I probably need another replay, but I thought there was fairly minimal contact and that much of the result was because of just how fast Taylor was going at the rim. Obviously Missouri still had time, but my gut reaction was to let it go.
I HATED….the lack of urgency by Mizzou. And yes, this game gets three entries because it was the best TV of the weekend. When you have eight seconds left on the clock, there is no excuse for anything but a full-on sprint to get the ball into the frontcourt, and the Tiger ballhandler jogged it up like there was 20 seconds left and time to set up an offensive set. I was yelling “Go!” in the bar from the moment I saw his initial pace (while the people around me thought I was crazy), and wasn’t surprised in the slightest that the clock ran out on the Tigers.
I HATED….that this Ohio State team isn’t playing like an experienced group. I figured they would drop a few games, and the Big 10 is tough – still, this team shouldn’t have six losses at this point. More alarming for me is that two of their recent ones have come at home, where the nation’s elite should be cleaning up. I had the Buckeyes as a one-seed for a long time, but now I’m starting to wonder how much of an upset pick they might be in a few weeks.
I HATED….having to look at the number “34” next to Nebraska in their Michigan State embarrassment on Saturday. I actually can’t understand how a team of Division I athletes can’t manage more than 17 points a half over an entire 40 minutes. Seriously, if they just came down and took 25-foot threes the whole game, you have to think they’d hit at least 12 and score a few more points along the way. The Cornhuskers are new to this conference, but their opposition to offense will fit right in with the Big Ten.
I HATED….a venue too big for a college team. I might change my mind on this eventually, but I’ve now seen Georgetown play in the Comcast Center and St. John’s in MSG (against Notre Dame this weekend). Though the backdrop is pretty cool, especially with the Knicks/Rangers jerseys in the rafters, you just feel like the kids are missing out on that college atmosphere you get with a smaller arena. It got really loud just once at the end of Saturday’s game, and the vibe you get is just so much more laid back. It’s hard to complain against playing on basketball’s most hallowed hardwood, but I wonder what the players would say.