College Basketball: 20 Random Thoughts & Observations

    
January 25th, 2009

As usual, a randomly timed installment of 20 random thoughts & observations about the day in college basketball:

1.Okay, a lot of talk in Tiger-land about Coach Cal dropping an f-bomb in Tyreke Evans' direction. But, the real issue is still why did he have Evans miss the final FT? Look at the two options.. A) He hits it, Tigers go up three, and Tennessee gets to run the baseline and inbounds the ball. B) He misses it, and Tennessee gets to inbounds the ball with a chance to win.. is running the baseline really worth the chance to lose the game? Just because Tennessee missed the shot doesn't mean it was a good decision. The shot ended up being a pretty darn good look considering the situation. Am I missing something?

2. Funny, before the season, Tennessee fans had the nerve to respond to a CHN article that Bruce Pearl is the top coach in the SEC.. ahead of Billy Donovan with two National Titles under his belt.

3. Craig Brackins was literally a one man team for Iowa State yesterday. His 42 point, 14 rebound effort was for naught as the Cyclones got rocked by Kansas. Brackins though had 63% of ISU's points, 52% of their rebounds, 74% of their FT's, and 58% of their FG's.. one of the most lopsided performances you'll ever see.

4. Your new Pac-10 leader is.. Washington. Talk about a team going under the radar, the Huskies are 15-4, 6-1 in league play, and only received 12 votes last week. Should be interesting to see how much love they get from the pollsters this week.

5. UCLA meanwhile hasn't beaten a half-decent team all season and has no business being in the Top 25 at this point. Their best RPI win: Miami of Ohio.

6. You can pretty much mark down Siena as the MAAC Champs already. The Saints are 9-0 in league play, with only two real challenges left: at Niagara, and at Rider. Even if they lose and drop another random game, they'd still win the league regardless of what anyone else does.

7. Amazing that following the wins over Texas and Oklahoma, Arkansas hasn't even come close to winning an SEC game, losing all four attempts by at least 9 points.

8. was Maryland's 44 point thrasing the beginning of the end for Gary Williams? And

9. I've mentioned in some article I put together recently, but the team that has prove me consisently wrong this season is Illinois. I still can't see them doing any damage in the NCAA Tournament.. yet here they are, 17-3 and 5-2 in league play.. and right in the mix in the wide open Big Ten. I honestly saw this team finishing in the bottom half of the league, and Bruce Weber's job being in serious jeapordy. Oops.

10. Perhaps no team had as big a week as UNLV. The Rebels, Top 25 hopefuls before the season, lost two straight at TCU and Colorado State.. and suddenly it was the NCAA Tournament that was in question let alone the polls. But a monstrous win at BYU and then vs. Utah, puts them at 4-2 in the MWC and suddenly in the driver seat once again.

11. As much as UK fans are happy with their team's rebirth, and as good as Jodie Meeks is doing.. you have to figure Patrick Patterson is a little pissed about the whole thing. There's a lot of money on the line for him, and in the last four games, Patterson is averaging a pedestrian 12 & 8 per game.

12. The CAA is shaping up to be one of the more entertaining league races, as George Mason, VCU, and Northeastern duke it out at the top. VCU knocked off GMU 76-71 yesterday, and then goes for the knockout punch against N'Eastern this Wednesday. Eric Maynor quietly is having an MVP type season. Besides scoring 22 ppg, he's fixed the turnover problems that plagued his early season. He now has 21 assists to just 1 turnover in his last 3 games.

13. Arizona almost lost a home game to Houston yesterday, barely winning in OT. The Wildcats will miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1984.

14. How bout those Oregon State Beavers?? It was nice earlier in the year when they beat USC in OT to end their horrendous league losing streak.. but going to the Bay Area and knocking off Cal & Stanford in the same week?? Shocking. Now with a home games over 0-8 Oregon & 2-5 Arizona coming up, the Beavers could potentially be 5-5 in two weeks. The savior is sophomore Calvin Haynes.

15. Looking down the line, it will be interesting to see how long Pat Knight is given a chance to be Texas Tech's head coach. And if anybody bothers offering him a job afterwards.

16. A lot of talk about Duke making a push for #1 after crushing Maryland, but how bout UCONN? The Huskies are 18-1, with the lone loss coming against Georgetown. That blemish looks a lot better than Duke's loss to Michigan. Plus the Huskies growing resmue now includes victories over Notre Dame, villanova, West Virginia, Gonzaga, Miami, and Wisconsin.

17. Wright State continues to make opposition offenses look silly bad. UIC only managed 31 points on 26% shooting, while Loyola shot 29% the game before.

18. Tulsa seems to improve every week. Their lone CUSA losses are by 1 point at Memphis and 1 point at Tulane. With the exception of the guaranteed loss at Memphis on Feb. 11th, the Golden Hurricane have a shot to run off a lot wins in the coming weeks.

19. The Horizon League isn't known for high-octane offense, but how bout Ryan Tillema putting up 36 last night in UWGB's win over Valpo. The senior hit 9 of 11 from three. Green Bay hosts Butler in a little over a week, perhaps a rare chance for the Bulldogs to lose a league game?

20. Lastly, and this has been discussed other places many times, but jeez, AJ Abrams has gone to crap recently.. His latest dud was 3-10 against A&M yesterday, which included an 0fer from three. He's now gone 8 games in a row without shooting 40%.. and that's not 40% from three, but 40% from the floor.