Rob Carpentier's "Seven Day Stretch" is a whirlwind tour around every corner of college basketball nation:
Seven Day Savior
The Oklahoma Sooners have started the season 6-0 and
although four of those wins have been against inferior competition, two of the
wins have come against a very good Davidson team and a Purdue squad that will
be one of the favorites to win the Big 10 (despite the Duke loss). Star forward Blake Griffin is averaging 19.2…REBOUNDS per
game. That’s astonishing regardless of
whom the Sooners have played. Oh, by the
way, he’s scoring at a 25.7 per game clip.
Against Purdue, Griffin
“only” scored 18 points, but he hauled in 21 boards. It’s not just Griffin, though. Blake’s brother Taylor and super-frosh Willie Warren are both
scoring in double figures. It’s early,
but Jeff Capel is starting to look like the most successful Coach K protégé out
there. The Sooners have a couple of
tough contests this week, with USC coming to town for the Big 12/Pac 10 Harwood
Series and then having to travel to take on a tough Tulsa squad.
Win those two games and the Sooners will probably be a top five team.
Seven Day Savior
(Player): David Holston
Senior David Holston, Chicago State
Cougars. CSU hasn’t shocked anyone, but
they did play Marquette tough and beat Central Michigan.
This is big for a school that has no winning tradition whatsoever. The Cougars sit at 3-3 and although they
won’t get an NCAA bid, (they’re an independent after spending years in the Mid
Continent Conference), they are much better than in the past. The biggest reason why is the 5’8” Holston. He is second in Division 1 scoring at 25.7 PPG,
and even that doesn’t tell the whole story.
He has scored in the 30’s four times, including a 33 point effort at Marquette, and has
already attempted 70 three point shots.
The fact that he’s hitting on 4% of those shots helps, but he is also an
unselfish player, averaging almost 6 assists per game. He’ll have a couple more shots at getting on
the highlight shows this season as the Cougars still play at Illinois
and at Kansas State.
Game of the Week (The
one you DON’T know about): ASU vs Nebraska
Since there are no “big” mid-major conference games this
week, let’s look at one of the intersectional games between two BCS
State is supposed to be one of the
teams that should give UCLA a serious run for the Pac 10 crown, while Nebraska has started the
year at 5-0 including a big win against Creighton this past weekend. Both schools should be in the mix for a bid
to the Big Dance in March and winning this game will go a long way to getting
one of those programs to go “dancing”.
It will be an interesting match-up as Nebraska has relied very much on
its defense to start the season, (no team has scored more than 57 on the
Huskers this year), while ASU has one of the best individual offensive players
in the country in sophomore James Harden.
Both teams like to slow it down a bit and run very structured
offenses. While games like UNC/MSU may
get the bulk of the media coverage, its games like this that are often more
intriguing and more entertaining.
Seven Days Under the
VMI defeated Kentucky in Lexington and Western Kentucky beat Louisville,
(but was crushed earlier by Murray State), but the team that really should be raising
eyebrows if you’ve been paying attention has been the College Of Charleston. They’ve started the year 5-1 and the one loss
was a squeaker at Temple, (who should be pretty
good this year), and they just defeated South
Carolina. With all due respect to Davidson head coach
Bob McKillop, the only current Southern Conference coach to get to a Final Four
Bobby Cremins. Granted, that was with
Georgia Tech, but Cremins knows what he is doing. The Cougars play the same pressure defense
that Cremins made famous during his days in Atlanta, and they rebound very well, (they
essentially played the Gamecocks to a draw on the boards). It’s a young team, (only two seniors), but
they play with a lot of confidence.
Sophomore guard Andrew Goudelock is the go-to guy for the Cougars. But he isn’t it; Charleston has five players at least 6’7”
tall, which is a lot for a mid-major program, and they are very athletic. Junior guard Tony White, Jr. is a defensive
wiz, utilizing his quickness to harass opposing guards. Perhaps most importantly, Charleston takes care of the ball. As a team, they average only 11.7 turnovers
per game. That means that Charleston doesn’t give
up big runs to opponents. Circle
December 29; Davidson comes to Charleston
in what may be the first of three meetings this season. If Charleston
wins, they won’t be under the radar anymore.
Seven Days on the Hot
Seat: Billy Gillispie
Billy Gillispie is in trouble. His Kentucky
team has rattled off five straight wins, including wins over Kansas State
and West Virginia. Those wins were just in time, too. That’s because the Wildcats lost at home to
VMI, (much like last season’s home loss to Gardner-Webb), and then got hammered
at North Carolina 77-58, a score line that was in now way indicative of how
thorough the beating was that Kentucky
took. The natives are restless in Lexington and Gillispie
will need a big season from here on out to defuse the perception that he is
vastly underachieving. Gillispie’s
offense has been suspect and he has yet to fully get his players to completely
buy into his defensive concepts. The
Cats still get Miami (Fla.), and Louisville out of conference so
the sour taste of the VMI loss still can be purged, but Heaven forbid that
Kentucky losses to Indiana…then Gillispie’s backside will really get warm.
Seven Days of Head
Scratching: Kelvin Sampson
The NCAA finally came down with its ruling in the
investigation of Kelvin Sampson and Indiana.
Sampson, by all accounts, was justifiably hammered. He essentially won’t be able to coach in the
college ranks for the next 5 years as he has been placed on a show-cause
restriction, meaning that any college that wants to hire him has to show cause
as to why. Okay, I think most people
feel that’s a justified penalty, (one of the harshest that the NCAA can levy
against an individual), as Sampson, basically, was stupid. I want even get into the “slime” factor. The head scratcher, though, is the fact that Indiana got off with
three years of probation. No post-season ban, no loss of television. Normally this would be fine as Sampson was
the real culprit here, as well as members of his staff. But it was shown that Indiana had some knowledge of his wrongdoing
and didn’t jump to correct it. That’s an
oversight issue and schools have been trashed by the NCAA for doing that. In short, the NCAA, once again, has shown no
consistency in determining penalties for institutions. The fact that colleges and universities haven’t
moved to form their own governing body is a head scratcher as most schools know
that the NCA A is one of the most arbitrary bodies in existence.