Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday’s College Basketball Musings

Exactly like the title indicates, these thoughts are unsystematic …

Kansas is awfully good. I still think they’re still a player thin in the frontcourt, but having Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun as your only bigs is a major positive. Mario Chalmers may be the nation's best defensive player. PERIOD.

Butler is doing everything to legitimize the 4-seed I gave them in the pre-season projections. We all knew the backcourt tandem of Green and Graves (yes, in that order) would be dominant, but freshman Matt Howard has made some forget about the losses of Brandon Crone and Brian Ligon.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Oregon has done nothing but disappoint. Mark January 5 as a possible turning point. Though Arizona was without do-everything guard Jerryd Bayless, the Ducks were unstoppable from behind the arc (10 for 22). Consider this a step back for the Wildcats who have shown marked improvement on the defensive end with Kevin O’Neill at the helm.

Despite improving to 10-3, NC State has driven me nuts. Sure, you lost your point guard for the year to a brutal injury. To have Presbyterian (1-18) sniffing at your heels for about 39 minutes is insulting to a program that has NCAA tournament aspirations. This can’t be too encouraging with the ACC schedule right around the corner.

If Vanderbilt continues to play with this level of fervor and resolve all season, you can just give National Coach of the Year honors to Kevin Stallings. After losing SEC Player of the Year Derrick Byars (17.0 ppg) and Dan Cage (11.2 ppg), they were an afterthought. Someone forgot to send that memo to Stallings and company.

Kentucky sucks. No analysis needed. Youth or not, these results are unacceptable given the talent in place. Imagine if Tubby was 6-7. It would have never gotten that far.

Here’s a scary statistic: the SEC is the 8th-rated conference according to the RPI. Entering today’s play, only five SEC teams are rated in the top 100. Does this mean that the SEC, if this ranking holds, will have no more than three representatives dancing in March? If the ranking holds and justice is served, then that answer will be an emphatic “YES!”

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