Sunday, January 17, 2010
They lost to Indiana? How does that even happen? Especially after forcing overtime with a semi-miraculous comeback? I suppose I can see just falling asleep. I mean Admiral Ackbar even warned that it was a trap, so I can't forgive, but I can understand getting submarined like that. But to come back and force overtime and then choke it away? Once you get to OT your superior talent is supposed to win out. What's that? You don't think they have superior talent? I think you might be right. More on that later. For now my rage is such that I can't even get upset that Mike Redmond is gone. Let's just move right along. [NOTE: most of this was written before the Gopher loss. You'll be able to tell which parts were written after.]
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Sid Rice/Brett Favre. I saved this spot just for a Vikings win and now we have one. But the Gophers' lost, and now I can barely bring myself to care. Woopity doo, now you can go get destroyed by the Saints and the bottom 50% of IQs in the state will all kill themselves. Good for Favre for not going negative gunslinger and throwing three or four picks, good for Sid for becoming "equivalent to Larry Ftiz" according to Snacks, and good for the Vikings for winning. Sorry, but I just can't care after that pathetic Gopher performance.
2. Ohio State. Evan Turner comes back, and suddenly the Buckeyes are what I thought they were and proved it in a big way this week, winning at Purdue and then following it up by beating the Badgers in Columbus. Turner carried them over the Boilers, putting up 32 points and 9 boards, but the win over Wisconsin might have been more impressive because although Turner played ok, Lighty and Buford really carried the team. Those three, along with the shooting of Jon Diebler, are about as good as it gets anywhere in the country. Maybe they don't have a good enough big man or a true point guard and that might hurt them in March, but I still say these guys are legit final four contenders.
3. Syracuse. I'll be honest, I've kind of been waiting for the Cuse to drop off because I just don't think this year's team is nearly as talented as they have been in year's past - and even last year. Who would have thought losing Eric Devendorf, Paul Harris, and Jonny Flynn would make a team better? From what I'm reading this year's version is really buying into the "team" concept and really play well together, something that has been an issue with Boeheim's teams in the past (I'm looking at you, Donte Greene). Whatever the reason is, it's definitely working, and going into Morgantown and beating a really freaking good West Virginia team is really impressive and is the step that finally convinced me that this is a legit National Contending team. They're very balanced (seven guys score 8.6+ points per game and five grab at least three boards), they have nice inside/outside flow, penetrating guards, and good outside shooters, and have a legit star in Wes Johnson. Look out for the Orange.
4. Pitt. I really, really dislike doing this because I think Pitt is my third most hated college program after Wisconsin and Iowa, but the Panthers are for real and are almost certainly going to make the NCAA Tournament to be boring for yet another year. They had two monster wins this week, beating UCONN in Storrs in what might have been the most impressive win of the season thus far, and following it up with a big comeback and then win in overtime against Louisville. They are now 5-0 in Big East play (including road wins against UCONN, Cincinnati, and Syracuse) and Ashton Gibbs has turned into a super star. At least he's not as annoying as Brandin Knight or Carl Krauser or LeVance Fields. Although that's not saying much.
5. Jarvis Varnado. When I drew the first pick in my Fantasy College Basketball League, my heart said to take Varnado, the F/C from Mississippi State who blocks shots the way Dawger tosses out stupid opinions, but my head got in the way and said take Harangody - the safe pick. He was the leading returning scorer from last year and was guaranteed the be the focal point of the offense. Well, I should have taken Varnado. This guy is incredible. He notched his second triple-double of the season (and 3rd or 4th of his career, I'm too lazy to look it up) on Thursday in a win over Arkansas with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks, and then followed that up on Saturday with a 14-14-6 performance against Georgia. He is currently leading the nation in blocked shots (this would make the third straight year), and increased his rebounding this year to 11 per game (from 9) and his scoring to 14 (from 13), all while increasing his shooting percentage from 55 to 62 percent. Such as stud. NBADraft.net right now projects him as the 29th overall pick this year - that's a steal.
1. Gopher basketball. WTF? I just don't get it. I'm just glad I missed most of this game. I have a feeling if I had watched this whole game I'd probably have to kill myself. Serious question: are we allowed to question Tubby now? I know we weren't allowed to before, but we have to get to now, right? And how does Verdell Jones get to the line 19 times? And how does a team get out-rebounded 40-29 and give up 17 offensive rebounds? Does any of this make a lick of sense? Oh wait, sure does when you realize this team belongs no where near the NCAA Tournament. I'm pretty sure I'm going to just stop watching games. This is going to become nothing but a "bad movie live blog" blog. I hope you'll stop by anyway. I'm just so sick of being a Gopher basketball fan. Not sure I can do it anymore. Colton Iverson is terrible. Tubby Smith is getting outcoached in damn near every game. Just as Ralph is maybe coming into his own a bit, everybody else takes a step backward. Westbrook disappeared again, and this time he took Nolen with him. Does anybody else think it's time for Tubby to pick his 8 guys and just go with it? Depth is great, but when it comes at the expense of developing players, chemistry, and familiarity with each it's no longer an asset, but a detriment. I think we're at that point.
2. Purdue. Time to start worrying? Probably not quite just yet, but this was a terrible week for the Boilers who are suddenly a second-division Big Ten team. Final Four teams don't usually have weeks where they go 0-2, particularly when their two games are a home game and a roadie against a lower division conference foe, but that's just what Purdue did. They lost a barnburner at home to Ohio State, which is acceptable since the Buckeyes are also a final four caliber squad, but followed it up with a loss to Northwestern which raises some questions. Are the Wildcats really that good? Are the Boilers really not that good? Was this just a fluke? Why have the Boilers suddenly lost three in a row after starting out 14-0? The answer to all these questions is that they are ignoring JaJuan Johnson, which is the worst decision since sliced bread. Johnson hasn't gotten more than seven shots in a game during this losing streak, while Moore and Hummel continue to chuck it up. Refusing to get the ball inside? Does Tubby coach Purdue now too?
3. North Carolina. Well there's really no way around it anymore, the Tar Heels are effed up this year and have now fallen to 1-2 in the conference after losses at Clemson and at home against Georgia Tech this week. Neither of those losses are bad if you are a "normal" team, but for UNC alarm bells should be dinging like a Gaydar around Steve Esselink - there are some major problems. Larry Drew might not be a big time point guard and freshman Dexter Strickland isn't ready to take over yet. Ed Davis and John Henson are seemingly lacking some sort of motivation/mental toughness. Deon Thompson is a really, really dumb player, and Marcus Ginyard and Tyler Zellar are both battling injuries. The Ginyard thing might be the biggest deal, since he could be the senior leader that the team really needs. In any case, the Heels now have some serious work to do if they are going to make the tournament.
4. Wichita State. I know the Shockers were starting to eye up an at-large bid at 13-2 with a win over Texas Tech on the resume and no bad losses, but they can't afford to drop games like they did on Saturday at Creighton. This isn't the Creighton program you remember, this is the Creighton program that is now just 10-9 this year and has lost to teams like Indiana State and Iona already - in other words, this is a bad loss. The MVC isn't strong enough this year to send more than Northern Iowa + 1 team max to the dance, and that +1 is either going to be the Shockers or Illinois State if either of them can rip through conference play (assuming no major upset winner of the conference tournament). The games against mediocre road teams are a good tester between a tournament team and an NIT team, and Wichita failed this test.
5. Penn State. You lost to Iowa, dude. Remember in Eurotrip, how the twin brother and sister accidentally end up making out because they have too much absinthe, and then after that it doesn't matter what the brother said because Cooper alwasy just says, "YOU MADE OUT WITH YOUR SISTER!" That's what this is like. Only far more embarrassing. Talor Battle must be just seconds away from going postal at all times. His teammates shot just 38% while he shot fifty. Ugh. This is just terrible. I know they're good for football and that their is talk of expansion, but has anybody thought about booting PSU back out and returning the Big Ten to ten teams? I'm serious. [NOTE: I wrote this entry before the Gophers decided to lose to Indiana. That is far more embarrassing. It's not close.]
I also want to put you on notice regarding Avery Bradley, the freshman point guard for Texas. I wasn't able to put him in the awesome section if though I wanted to because he put up a pretty big stinker on Saturday against Texas A&M, but I got to watch him on Wednesday against Iowa State and he is awesome - if it wasn't for John Wall he would be the best freshman I've seen play this year. Check him out.
Also I can't wait to check out the Gopher Hole. I can't wait to see how people spin this.