College Basketball: 20 Random Thoughts & Observations

December 17th, 2008
20 Random Rants, Thoughts, and Observations from the Week in College Basketball by Editor Shawn Siegel:

1 - Most college basketball teams are guard oriented, but Leonard Hamilton didn't get the memo. Outside of Toney Douglas, FSU has virtually no one of much worth in the backcourt. Douglas is an underrated player, but there's too much pressure on him.

2 - How about Oregon State knocking off Nebraska the other day. A home win over the Huskers isn't a big deal to most teams, but the Beavers haven't beaten a BCS squad in non-conference play since December of 2005.. (and Feb of 07 if you include conference play.)

3 - Ohio State shouldn't have any problem with Jacksonville tonight, but if you get ESPNU or are a Buckeyes fan, keep an eye on Dolphins guard Ben Smith. The 5-9 speedster is one of the most fun to watch players out there.

4 - Josh Mayo didn't make CHN's Mid-Major All-American team in the preseason, but he's making us look foolish (yes, it happens). UIC's senior leader is averaging 20.5 ppg on 50% shooting from the floor and behind the arc. The Flames have already knocked off Vandy and Georgia Tech, and are primed to challenge for the Horizon League title.

6 - Interesting quote recently from Bruce Pearl about how JP Prince might be his second best player. Like Kansas, Tennessee was supposed to get a major bump from newcomers like Maze and Hopson. But its been the usuals, like Smith, Chism, and Prince who are still the program's top players.

7 - Cedric Jackson's game winning shot over Syracuse was awesome. Its all the more amazing considering Jackson is one of the worst shooters in the country, hitting on only 30% of field goals and 14.7% of threes.

8 - There's no reason Jonny Flynn should ever take less than 10 FG's in a game.

9 - The entire SWAC conference has 5 wins so far.. and 69 losses.

10 - While Blake Griffin's numbers have been great, did you know that one player averaging more points per 40 minutes than Griffin is Pitt's Sam Young. Young also tops big names like James Harden and Luke Harangody in that category. (Teammate DeJuan Blair actually leads the nation in boards per 40 minutes, topping Griffin who is #2)

11 - Not only has the SEC gotten off to an embarrasingly bad start, but they've done it against the weakest competition of any BCS league. The've played the 21st hardest schedule in the country.

12 - Dereck Whittenburg's tenure at Fordham started with a lot of promise, and he looked to be on the verge of bigger and better things.. but the 1-7 Rams are one of the worst teams in the country, losing home games left and right so far. Will this be his final year in the Bronx?

13 - Texas struggled to put away Texas State and Texas Southern in the past week. Top 10 teams are supposed to destroy opponents like that at home. Something to worry about as UT's competition picks up from here on out.

14 - Dexter Pittman may have lost a lot of weight, but he is one big boy..

15 - Despite losing to Arizona, Gonzaga still has the #1 RPI thanks to playing a brutally tough non-conference schedule.

16 - Santa Clara is retiring Kurt Rambis's number in a couple weeks. You have to admit you were a fan.

17 - Cincy's Yancy Gates is one of the few big-name freshmen living up to the hype. His 10 ppg and 6 rpg averages might not sound amazing, but consider he's putting up those numbers in just 19.4 mpg. His per 40 scoring average is one of the Top 20 in the loaded Big East.

18 - The WCC has a lot of talent in Gonzaga and Saint Mary's, but it also features two of the worst teams in the country. Pepperdine, ruined last year by player departures and coaching changes, is 0-9 against D1 teams while Loyola Marymount is 0-10. LMU is being outscored by 15 ppg, while the Waves only 13 ppg.

19 - #1 and #2 in the country in steals right now belongs to a pair of brothers.. Travis & Chavis Holmes down at VMI. Both are also scoring over 20 ppg for the up-tempo Keydets.

20 - I can't wait for Saturday.. one of the best days of college basketball action you'll ever see.

I'm busy setting up our new UGroups section. If you're interested in managing a blog/group about your favorite team or conference, email me ASAP.

Disagree with my comments? Lets hear it: