Thoughts, thoughts, and more thoughts: UNC owned Clemson from the opening tip. Thankfully Clemson can block shots, otherwise the Heels would have won by 40. Even decent basketball fans have probably never heard of anybody on Clemson. The same can be said for Air Force, but every other team has a name player or a guy whose gotten some pub during the season (like Aj Graves on Butler.) This isn't necessarily a bad thing though. Good stories about how hard UNC's practice was after losing to Va Tech. That practice was probably better than just about any game you'll ever see.
Tyler Hansbrough's still putting up good numbers, but I get the sense his draft stock is dropping just about every week. Every time he shoots the ball from his waist, you can see a scout cringing.
Tough night for ranked road teams.. Bama, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech all lost. Alabama's loss was probably the biggest. The loss drops them to 1-2 in conference and certainly out of the Top 10. I was high on this team before the season.. but really besides last week's home win over LSU, what have they done? LSU didn't look to sharp in beating Ole Miss at home. Big Baby only had 11 points on 4-9 shooting. Last game, he also only had 11 when LSU barely beat Auburn at home. If LSU can barely beat Auburn and Ole Miss at home, it doesn't bode well for their road games.
Warren Carter has to be strongly considered for any Most Improved Player award. The Illinois forward had 17 and 11 in an easy win at Minnesota last night. Carter's averaging 14 and 7 per game as a senior, after never scoring over 5 ppg in his first three years. The win was much needed for Illinois who had lost 3 of 4. Purdue gave Wisconsin a major challenge in Madison last night. I've been touting Purdue all season.. but at 13-6, the Boilers still don't have a marquee win. Unfortunately, Purdue doesn't get to host Wisconsin this year, as that is a game they'd have a good chance to win. They do host Ohio State in two weeks, but that match up doesn't favor Purdue.
SLU was considered a potential tourney team heading into the season, but at 12-6 their chances are slipping away. The Bills lost at Temple last night despite 28 points from Tommie Liddell. Liddell's been on a scoring tear, having scored 20+ in all five of their conference games. Ian Vouyoukas, considered a possible 2nd round pick, has been disappointing though. His numbers are down from last year, from 14 ppg to 11 ppg and his fg% is substantially down as well. Even worse, in his last four games, he's averaging just 8 and 4.
Another A10 player that's down, at least according to the numbers, is Bryant Dunston. The Fordham junior was on a lot of top mid-major player lists before the season after averaging 16 ppg last year. But he's down to 13 ppg, and his fg% is down to 47 from 53.
SLU's struggled a little, but Houston's the mid-major team thats disappointed the most. The Cougars were also considered a fringe at-large team.. but they're now 6-9 overall. Injuries have been a problem (particularly to Lanny Smith), but you figured Lafayatte and McKiver would have been able to hold their own.
Big loss out west for New Mexico State, losing in overtime at Louisiana Tech. La Tech finished non-conference play just 2-10, in part because they're not good, but also because the played a brutal road schedule. Suddenly though, they're 3-2 in the WAC, with all the wins coming at home. Assuming Nevada wins the WAC, 14-4 NMSU needs every win possible to try and sneak into the tournament. The Aggies had won 13 straight.. so I guess they're allowed to lose ocassionaly. But with Nevada up next, this 1 loss could easily turn into a losing streak. (Nevada by the way should get Nick Fazekas back tonight to face Fresno).
Finally, its good to see BC dismiss Sean Williams. Not that you like to see anybody get in trouble.. but its good to see BC take a strong stance against one of their best players. Williams had been suspended twice before, and three times is enough. For a guy that's an NBA prospect, you wonder how this kind of thing can happen? There's just so much on the line, forgetting even your dignity and respect, but simply from a financial standpoint. You hope this helps teach him a lesson.. but who knows.