We are exactly one week away from the start of college basketball season, with the Coaches vs. Cancer regionals (Memphis, Kentucky, UCONN, and Oklahoma) and I couldn't be more ready. Baseball is over (F the Red Sox), Football is starting to get boring - although if AP continues to get 25 or so carries it might be more interesting. Also, F the Patriots too. I hate that team as well. The whole Boston area is a wasteland of idiocy - although I actually love the city - the sports fans up there are basically the exact kind of fans who give sports fans a bad name. I really hope Manning and the Colts beat them next week, but I'm not counting on it.
My good buddy The Sidler is preparing a nice write up on the game, and on why the Patriots and Belichick are the devil. He's very qualified, as he's a big Colts fan who grew up in Indy and went to school at Wabash College. He's such a big Colts fan, that he named his son James Edgerrin and his daughter Peyton Manning, and his best friend in high school was Courtney James. So we should all listen to what he has to say.
Unfortunately, I'm heading to Utah later this week and will miss both of the Gopher basketball exhibition games. I'm going to assume that Dan Coleman isn't tough enough, Spencer Tollackson is slightly uncoordinated and fouls too much, Lawrence McKenzie takes a lot of ill-advised shots but makes a lot of them, Abu-Shamala can't play defense or create, and Kevin Payton can't score.
The good news is, I'll be taking in a Utah State (I'll look for Bryce) vs. Laval University exhibition and a Weber State vs. Fort Lewis College exhibition. I'll be sure to report on Jaycee Carroll, who I'm actually pretty excited to see. One of the best players in the WAC over the past few years. Weber State could be interesting as well, considering they are the favorite to win the Big Sky this year. Are they better than the Gophers? I'll try to figure it out.
Anyway, the ESPN/USA Today Coach's Poll is out, and it's not perfect. Such as,
#4 KANSAS - Yeah, save the whole "they have a ton of talent back and now they'll have Cole Aldrich to give them somebody else down low" stuff. It's Kansas. It doesn't matter how talented they are, they'll choke.
#5 GEORGETOWN - Losing your best player and keeping a poor man's Dikembe Mutombo (with less offensive game) does not make you the #5 team in the country. The Hoyas do have two awesome freshmen coming in, but they're both up-tempo style guards, which doesn't work with a big guy who takes three minutes to run the length of the court.
#10 WASHINGTON STATE - Huh? They play the world's most boring style of basketball and it manages to put teams to sleep during the regular season, but as soon as they play a half-way athletic team they lose. And this year the Pac-10 is all revamped and awesome. They'll be out of the top 25 by mid-January (not before, because their non-conf schedule is something you'd expect to see from Monson's Gophers).
#20 PITTSBURGH - What? This team hasn't been very good in years, is always rated highly, and I'd like to know why. They lost three starters, and are going to be relying for most of their offense from three guards who can't shoot.
#21 STANFORD - Worst ranking ever. They barely got into the tournament last year, where they were thoroughly embarrassed, and they added nothing. The halfway decent twin is suspended because he won't go to class, and most of the rest of the team can't take care of the ball. Horrible.
#25 VILLANOVA - You can't be good when you lose three starters from a mediocre team, don't add much, and your point guard shoots constantly. Scottie Reynolds took as many shots as Lawrence McKenzie last year, and more than twice as many three pointers. Wow.
MISSING: Clemson, Syracuse, and Kansas State are all in the "others receiving votes" section, but should be top 25. Syracuse is a top ten team this year, even with Rautins out for the year, Devendorf is quality, Paul Harris is amazing, and freshmen Johnny Flynn and Donte Greene could be all conference types right away. K-State has not only possible top freshman Michael Beasley, but Bill Walker and David Hoskins as well. As long as somebody can play point, they'll be tough. Clemson started 17-0 last year before crashing - then recovered and made it to the NIT championship game. The only starter they're losing is their point guard, and last season's Mr. Basketball in North Carolina is there to step in.
And F the Red Sox.