Once again, in my highly educated opinion, the Gopher hoops team didn't do enough to get into the Who was Awesome bucket, but also certainly didn't suck, so they won't be making an appearance in this Weekend Review. For all my thoughts on the win at Colorado State, see the post below this one.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Michigan Hoops. The Big Ten basketball pecking order was pretty well set, with Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State in one tier, and everyone else in the other. Who would step up and take that fifth spot, and likely put themselves in the bubble conversation come season’s end? I had hoped it would be the Gophers, but after this week Michigan took a big step in the right direction with their 55-52 upset win over UCLA in the Coaches vs. Cancer semifinals. They ended up losing by 15 to Duke in the final, but that win will loom large if they end up on the bubble in March, not to mention it may serve as notice that the Wolverines are back to being a legitimate team.
2. Utah Football. I had mentioned BYU in this space before as a team that had a chance to come from outside the Big Six conferences to grab a BCS bowl bid, but they’re old news now, with Utah smoking them 48-24 to finish the season 12-0, winning the Mountain West and giving them a spot in one of the BCS bowls. Utah is no joke, as they have the most wins against Big Six teams for a team outside those conferences since the BCS began with 16, and are 10-3 against those teams since 2004, with wins over Michigan and possible Pac-10 champ Oregon State this season. They are going to give some BCS team a hell of a game this bowl season.
3. Michael Turner. The Burner rushed for 4 Touchdowns and 117 yards, kicking division leading Carolina right in their stupid faces and bring Atlanta to 7-4, just one game back. I've spent a lot of time writing about the Falcons here, and rightly so as it's a hell of a story. They are likely a playoff team and a dark horse super bowl contender, all with a rookie quarterback and a pretty much revamped offense. I'm sure Bogart's guy Mike Vick is having a great time in prison though, so that's good. His team will probably win the prison bowl, so that's a ring right there.
4. Xavier. The Musketeers won the Puerto Rico Tip Off Challenge after beating Missouri, Virginia Tech, and #13 Memphis in the final. An impressive run, particularly for a team I thought had lost too much from the excellent teams of the last few years to be anything other than an Atlantic 10 contender. Just like the last few years, they are doing it with a balanced attack; they have three guys averaging double figure scoring, and six who are at 7.8 ppg or better. The big key to this team is freshman point guard Terrell Holloway, who has stepped in for Drew Lavender and is keeping the team going. He doesn't put up great numbers and isn't particularly flashy, but he runs the offense well and keeps the game in his control in the final minutes, and his 96% free throw shooting helps immensely down the stretch. Two things about Memphis: it is impossible to keep Robert Dozier and Shawn Taggert off the boards, and free throws are still going to be a problem. Oh, and Tyreke Evans is really good, and perfect for that system.
5. Down with Goldy. I know what you're thinking, "DWG is always awesome, you don't need to put it in this list to tell us that, we all know." And it's true, DWG is always awesome, but we recently received some nice praise that I want to tell you about. A site called Learning XL, which gives tips, tools, and resources for lifelong learners, has included us in the Top 100 College Sports Blogs. We here at DWG are flattered, humbled, and bewildered by our inclusion. A big thanks to LearningXL and their parent, UniXL.com
1. Gopher Football. Embarrassing. Anyone who calls this season a success should be stabbed in the face.
2. Pac 10 Hoops. Remember last year, when the Pac was arguably the best conference in the country? Yeah, that’s not happening this year. UCLA lost to Michigan. USC lost to Seton Hall and Missouri. Washington lost to Portland. Arizona lost to UAB. Oregon lost to Oakland. Oregon State lost to Howard. Essentially, the Pac 10 has lost every significant test they’ve had this season, other than UCLA’s win over Southern Illinois. There were arguments last season that the conference could have had 8 teams in the tournament; this year it looks like four would be lucky.
3. SEC Hoops. Not quite an embarrassment to the level of the Pac 10 this year, but SEC teams aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire right now either. Kentucky has that big loss to VMI and was embarrassed pretty good by North Carolina. Georgia lost to a horrible Loyola of Chicago team, Vandy lost to Illinois, Alabama and Auburn both lost at home to Mercer, Arkansas lost to Missouri State, and Ole Miss lost their only test against Utah. They aren’t quite down to the level of the Pac 10, and Tennessee and Florida should both be fine, but the conference has not impressed thus far.
4. Philadelphia Eagles. Stick a fork in the Eagles and Donovan McNabb, they suck - as I predicted. In what may have been the ugliest game by a team this year other than the Gophers, the Eagles got rolled by Baltimore 36-7, after turning the ball over five times including a 108 yard interception return for a TD by Ed Reed. McNabb was benched after putting up a 13.4 rating for the game, replaced by Kevin Kolb who was much better with a 15.3. Even worse, the 7 points they managed to score didn't even come from the offense, and was on a kick return by Quinton Demps, who I'm going to assume is the brother of Will. According to an article on yahoo what that I can't find the link to now, McNabb is likely on his way out of Philly. Welcome to Minnesota, Donovan. The good news here is that Baltimore was my defense in one of my fantasy leagues yesterday.