There isn't much here about the Gophers so if that's what you're looking for go look somewhere else (although I do bitch about Rodney Williams later). Losing to a mediocre Badger team at Kohl Center doesn't really tell me much, other than reconfirming once again that this Gopher team isn't "elite", but this loss does nothing for me in terms of if this team is "pretty good" or "frustratingly mediocre as usual." And nothing good can possibly happen next week (home games vs. Nebraska and Iowa) only disastrously bad things can happen outside of expected results, so we won't really know anything until the go to East Lansing and then have Illinois at home the following week. It's a frustrating time to be a fan. But what would life as a Gopher fan be without the frustration? We're all such idiots.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Miami Hurricanes. Hey bromigos, there have been some great wins by teams this year but it's going to be tough for anybody to top Miami beating #1 Duke by 27 (and yes I know Duke didn't have Ryan Kelly because everyone keeps pointing out how Duke didn't have Ryan Kelly but can everyone just calm down about that for a minute because we're talking about Ryan freaking Kelly here). I mean they just killed them. At the ten minute mark of the first half Duke was up 14-13, which means Miami beat them 77-59 over the final 30 minutes. This wasn't a fluke (don't forget Miami beat Michigan State earlier this year too) and Miami is now 6-0 in the conference and looking like a good bet to win the ACC for what I assume is the first time ever. Best part of that game was Seth Curry shooting 0-10 from the floor, because I still can't shake my irrational hatred of Stephen Curry so naturally that carries over to Seth because you know, brothers and stuff.
2. Kobe Bryant. I think I mentioned this last week but I recently traded for Kobe in my fantasy league which of course means I no longer hate him and kind of like him now, so I fee like it's worth noting that in his last two games he's had 14 assists. Not total, although frankly that would be kind of impressive for this black hole, but in each of the last two he's had 14 in each. I mean, say what you want but 14 assists in a game is a freaking lot, and he's now done it two games in a row. You know many players have ever had at least 14 assists in back-to-back games? I don't know either, probably kind of a lot, actually, but for a me first glory boy hero ball gunslinging chucker like Kobe to do it must have been very difficult for him mentally. And, the Lakers, are 2-0 in those games, which just goes to show you that when you have two maybe three other Hall of Famers on your team it does wonders for your squad's chances if you actually let them touch the ball and shoot and stuff. Like I've always said.
3. Baylor Bears. There's a reason why Baylor was highly ranked by many including myself this year, and that's because even with Perry Jones, Quincy Acy, and Quincy Miller off to the NBA the machine Scott Drew has put in place still meant they were going to be immensely talented. Sometimes they can put a game together like Monday against Oklahoma State, and even if the final margin was only 10 the game was never really in doubt. Their back court (Pierre Jackson, Brady Heslip, A.J. Walton) is both experienced and talented, while the front court (Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson) is probably the most athletic in the country with Jefferson the total freak and Austin the unstoppable freshman who can dominate inside or hit the three and already has a turnaround fadeway jumper which truly a thing to behold from a 7-1 dude with a wingspan beyond that (kind of like KG but slightly more awkward). Then on the bench you have Gary Franklin, Deuce Bello, and Rico Gathers who would all start for most teams. That's why they handled Oklahoma State, won at Rupp against Kentucky, and stomped BYU this year. Of course they're also a dumb team, so they've lost at Northwestern and dropped one at home to Charleston. I'm telling you right now, bros - Baylor is ripe for a first round upset this year in the tournament.
4. UCLA Bruins. There is a reason I ranked UCLA the 6th best team in the NCAA going into this season and they were ranked 13th in the preseason polls - there is a lot of freaking talent here. Early season struggles (one point home OT win over UC-Irvine, home loss to Cal Poly) dropped them out of the rankings and out of everyone's hearts and minds, but as things have come together they reeled off 10 straight wins before dropping a game last week to a good Oregon team, and now went into Tucson and knocked off 6th rated Arizona. The early season issues shouldn't have been a surprise since the team is mostly made up of freshmen (Shabazz Muhammed, Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson) and transfers (the Wear twins, Larry Drew), but now everything is looking good (they smoked Arizona) and Muhammed is starting to look like he could do the Carmelo Anthony thing and carry this team in March. Of course, being a Ben Howland coached team they then went out an invalidated everything I just wrote by losing at Arizona State on Saturday, but I stand by this team anyway. Kinda sorta.
1. Rodney Williams. No, I'm not the idiot who is going to call Williams out for missing the tying free throw because the odds of him hitting two free throws in any situation are pretty long any way and even as a senior he's a kid who isn't a good shooter and who has been in very few high leverage situations like it - it was basically a given he wasn't going to make them both, particularly on the road. No, I'm going to call out Williams because who in the baby jesus of the earth convinced him he's a jump shooter? He's not a jump shooter. He's a freak athlete who needs to get his ass in the paint because his jump shot resembles that of a high school wrestler. I don't even want him taking open jumpers, let alone the nearly constant shit he's been jacking up the last two games which consists of him stopping the ball, making a jab step or two that doesn't really move the defender, and then rising up and clanging a jumper off some slight part of the rim like he plays for the god damn Illini. Just because you have the ability to get your shot off whenever you want doesn't mean you should. To paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm, "You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could, you didn't stop to think if you should." Actually we should probably have Rodney sit down and watch Jurassic Park - the whole thing is a metaphor for his jump shot. Or something like that.
2. Kentucky Wildcats. Like when I wrote about the Lakers last week I'm not exactly breaking news here that Kentucky is struggling, but after watching them lose at Alabama it really reminded me that John Calipari is really not a good game coach, despite winning the title last year. The talent Kentucky has this year is nearly as good as anything else Calipari has had in his career, but when your offensive game plan generally consists of just rolling the ball out every game, that talent also has to be smart - you need coach on the floor types to keep things moving in the right direction. His best teams at Memphis had guys like Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose, last year's champions had Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and even back in the UMass days he had an incredible guard tandem in Carmelo Travieso and Edgar Padilla (I can't believe I didn't have to look those names up). Without a "smart" player to direct the team, a coach who is an A+ recruiter and a D+ game coach, and a small talent dip from last year this Kentucky team is going nowhere this year. Of course, next year they're probably going undefeated, so enjoy this now.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs have a solid core and should be a good team again this year, but they've taken the "get rid of the guys the manager doesn't like" philosophy the Twins like so much to a whole different extreme. Earlier this offseason they unloaded super prospect Trevor Bauer because he wouldn't adapt the workout schedule he's done his entire life to match what the D-Backs wanted and received a prospect in return whose upside is "great glove, no hit" and now they've shipped off Justin Upton because he and manager Kirk Gibson apparently don't get along. Before trading Upton, however, they managed to kill all their leverage by making it clear they wanted him gone. Actually first they got a pretty good haul from Seattle, but Upton has a limited no-trade clause and killed that so, desperate to have him gone, they sent him off to Atlanta for one year of a so-so third baseman (Martin Prado) who wants in the neighborhood of $12 million a year starting next season, a likely fifth starter someday (Randall Delgado), and three other minor leaguers of little consequence. All that for a 25-year old who in four full seasons has had two monster years and two lesser years, which were both above average, by the way. Just a silly way to do business. We're actually lucky to have Gardy. Ha ha just kidding. Throw in the D-Backs trade of Chris Young to Oakland for another no hit/good field shortstop in Cliff Pennington and this offseason has just been bizarre for Arizona.
4. Virginia Commonwealth Rams. What incredible timing for the Rams to implode considering I just pimped them last week as a Final Four sleeper. All they've done this week is have a seven point lead with 42 seconds left vs. Richmond and blow the game and then lose at home to LaSalle. Now, neither Richmond or especially LaSalle are bad losses, but this isn't the way to prove me right and stuff. I still think they're a sleeper Final Four team what with their style of play since most teams don't ever go up against something like that, but both blowing a big lead against a mediocre opponent and losing a home game to another mediocre opponent kind of hurt the confidence level. Actually, maybe this helps since they'll end up with a worse seed and then I will be the only one to pick them to the Final Four and all that sweet sweet NCAA Tournament Pool money will be mine all mine! I'm a genius.
Lastly, the team in college basketball who hands down had the best week was Villanova. They beat both Louisville and Syracuse, giving wins over two top-5 teams in the same week which is pretty much like holy shit. The reasons I didn't list them in the "WHO WAS AWESOME" section are two-fold: 1) I hate them and 2) who gives a crap? Those are two great wins and yeah their RPI is creeping into the mid-50s so it's possible they could play themselves into an at-large, but they already have seven losses and even if most of them are excusable losing to Providence and especially Columbia is not. Also I don't even know if I can name a single player for Nova (is Jayvaughn Pinkston still there?) and I don't really feel like learning another team. So sorry.
Plus I heard Scottie Reynolds has an armpit fetish and cries when he watches Lion King.