College Basketball: 20 Random Thoughts & Observations

December 3rd, 2008
20 Random Rants, Thoughts, and Observations from the Week in College Basketball by Editor Shawn Siegel:

1 - This has unexpectedly become a weekly thing, so except 20 more random rants every Tuesday from now on.

2 - There's another Curry on the lose. Steph's brother Seth is quietly emerging as the star of an upstart Liberty squad that is 5-1. The Flames already have a win over Virginia, and just won an OT game against a quality George Mason side. Curry is already averaging 22 ppg.. as a freshman.

3 - Perhaps after tonight's drubbing, Purdue fans can take a step back from their "How dare you suggest we're not a Top 10 team" nonsense and return to reality. The Boilers are still (and have been for a year now) a fringe top 25 team.. nothing more, nothing less.

4 - Along with Tom Pritchard, Colton Iverson is another Big Ten rookie big who has impressed so far. Those two have put BJ Mullens to shame so far, as the highly-touted OSU center has yet to score double-digits.

5 - Another young Big Ten big to watch is Kyle Rowley.. a 7-footer on Northwestern. Don't get me wrong, Rowley is not an All-American talent, but as far as Northwestern recruits go.. he has the potential to be a major contributor with more experience.

6 - Who knew AD Vassallo could simply carry a team on his back like he did against Wisconsin Monday night. The Hokies ended up losing a well-fought thriller against Wisconsin, but it was a joy to watch Vassallo light it up from deep.

7 - One of the biggest league games of the year is about to happen tomorrow night. Cleveland State (5-2) hosts Butler (5-0) in an early-season battle between Horizon League contenders. I expect the Vikings to pick up the win and begin their quest for the league title.

7 - Mark down another quality win for Savannah State, who knocked off Bowling Green and are now 5-2. The fightin' Tigers lead all independent squads with a solid 125 RPI right now.

8 - I miss Thanksgiving basketball already.

9 - Remember when Siena was a trendy mid-major sleeper pick in all the preseason magazines?.. the Old Spice Classic sure killed all that talk.

10 - Last year, I gave Jon Diebler a lot of slack for hovering around college basketball's Mendoza Line (30 fg%), but it's nice to see he's off to a much better start this season and finding his long-range stroke.

11 - The emergence of Mike Davis has helped Illinois remain competitive despite a lack of big-time talent. The sophomore, who only played 10 mpg last year, is averaging over 15 ppg this year and poured in 28 against Clemson. The Illini lost by 2, but should pile up more wins in coming weeks as they continue to avoid the road. They'll end up playing only 1 true non-conference road game all season.. something to keep in mind when judging the team in March. Missouri on November 23rd (in St Louis) is their only remaining challenge before Big Ten play begins.

12 - Illinois' schedule looks treacherous compared to LSU's joke calendar. They start the season with 8 home games against teams that will all almost certainly finish in the bottom 150 of the RPI. It's almost like they're 0-0 so far.

13 - If Leo Lyons played 35 mpg like most big time players, you'd hear his name all the time. His 19 ppg and 7 rpg already look good enough, but are amazing considering he plays 24 mpg.  He basically averages 30 points and 11 boards per 40 minutes.

14 - I don't watch enough Colorado State basketball (or his old NDSU teams) to know exactly how good a coach Tim Miles is, but he sure gives a good interview. This guy has a future.

15 - If not for Jack McClinton getting tossed from Miami's loss to OSU, the ACC might have finished 9-2 against the Big Ten. As it is, an 8-3 or 7-4 win is likely.

16 - IF UNC's bench (including Green & Davis when Ginyard & Hansbrough return) played as a separate team, I wonder how far they'd go in the NCAA Tournament?

17 - It will be unfortunate when UNC rips MSU apart on prime time TV tomorrow night. The Spartans were one of my teams heading into the season, but I dont see them coming close tomorrow. I've been wrong before though.

18 - Lowly NJIT had a chance over the weekend to finally win a game for the first time in almost two years, but blew a half-time lead against Monmouth. In two home games, they've lost by over 20 each time, but St. Peter's on November 10th could be the day the streak ends. For their sake, I hope it happens.

19 - I mentioned this on the message board, but Charlotte's had some rough luck so far. They've lost a game in double-OT, OT, by 1 point due to a late three, and another game by 1 point. All those losses add up to a disappointing 1-6 start for coach Lutz.

20 - There was an actual Zane Johnson sighting Tuesday night. The Arizona soph averaged a whopping 1 ppg in his 18 game career before blowing up for 18 against LMU. This was a consensus Top 150 product.

- Think I'm an idiot? Then prove your stuff in CHN's new Weekly Pickem Game.