Daily Dribble: 12/12

December 12th, 2006

Not much going on in college basketball until next Saturday thanks to finals. There were some games of note on Monday.. but mostly I can take today's Dribble to discuss whatever nonsense I please.

The Games. New Top 25 member Oregon improved to 8-0 by blowing out Bethune- Cookman by 28. The big margin gave little used freshman Joevan (a potential All-first name pick) Catron a chance to shine. Catron, who had scored 9 points all season, poured in 15 on 6 of 6 shooting.

New Mexico State's won 5 in a row after a bad 1-3 start. The Aggies were supposed to be an NCAA Tournament contender, but they've still yet to win a game on the road. Senior Elijah Ingram has been hampered with achilles issues all year and has been coming off the bench. The point guard only played 11 minutes in Monday's easy win over UAPB. Transfer Fred Peete, who was supposed to be a major scoring force, has only been mediocre. Peete averaged 13 per game two years ago with Kansas State, but is only averaging 10 so far on a weak 38% from the floor. To make things worse, the shooting guard is just 15 of 27 from the line.

Freshman Barry Stewart continued his solid play by scoring 22 in Misssippi State's road win at Miami. MSU picked up their first road win of the season while the Hurricanes dropped to 6-4 overall. Jamont Gordon added 17 points, 7 boards, and 8 assists in the win. Gordon is one of the country's only player that excels in all three of those categories. He's now averaging about 15 points, 9 boards, and 5 assists on the season.

There's only 12 games today, and nothing particularly exciting. The best games are out west as Saint Louis heads to Pacific, while Saint Mary's faces Nevada.

3-2 Campbell also faces San Diego State. Campbell features one of the country's most productive freshmen, Jonathan Rodriguez. Rodriguez is averaging 18 points and 8 boards so far, including a monster 25 and 15 effort against Radford. Rodriguez played on a stacked Miami Tropics AAU team and was on of Florida's better prep teams as well, but apparently the 6-5 forward was overlooked by the big boys. You have to understand that Campbell is a program that won just 2 game in the 2004-05 season.. so to have a player making such a big impact is a big deal.

Even though there's no big marquee matchups this week.. I suggest you join CHN's weekly pick'em game. Each week, 12 games are assigned for you to pick, and the stats are tallied throughout the season. To sign up, simply register for the message board and see the thread on there about this week's games.

We'll be releasing our next CHN Top 100 players ranking soon. It will be interesting to see who is #1. Noah was #1 in the preseason, with Hansbrough, Davis, and Oden coming in at 2,3,4. Kevin Durant was 7th in preseason, but he has to be in consideration with those other 4 for the top spot. Given another few weeks, Oden might emerge as the clear #1, but as of now, its still hard to say he deserves it over those other top stars. The lack of clear consensus #1 player as well as consenus #1 team is one reason why this season should feature lots of twists and turns all the way through the final four.

Top 25 Poll's always lead to interesting debate. Fans always complain (like they do about CHN's own Top 50 power ranking) about the worth of these rankings, but yet they're just so extremely popular as discussion points. One of the big reasons for the intrigue is the lack of consensus about what the polls are really saying. One way to look at the Ap Top 25 is to think, okay, if the season ended today, these 25 teams have DONE the best. Another way though, is to say, these 25 teams ARE the best regardless of how they've done. Take UCONN.. ranked 8th in the coaches poll. UCONN hasn't beaten a team that the average fan out there even knows exists. Based on results, there's no basis for saying UCONN deserves to be in the Top 40.. or at least better than other unbeaten teams like Oklahoma St, Oregon, Clemson, etc. But since the season is not over today, I understand the desire of voters to express their opinion that UCONN is still better than those teams. Granted, I think the voters are wrong, but that's not the point. The poll's are better understood at this point as a balancing between the voter's views of who has done the best, and who they think is best. In a perfect world.. UCONN would play Oklahoma State on a neutral floor so that we'd always find out whether the voters opinion is right or wrong. But of course we don't, and it is precisely because we don't that the polls are always the ideal fodder for fan discussion.

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