As we get closer to March the games that take precedence are those with NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, and there will be no shortage of such contests on Saturday. Connecticut kicks things off in what's essentially an elimination game between the Huskies, who welcome back head coach Jim Calhoun, and Cincinnati at the XL Center. A pair of Lance Stephenson free throws decided the first meeting but neither he nor Deonta Vaughn has played well of late.
Top 10 Players of the Decade
It was a decade of change in college basketball, as the one-and-done stud became the norm and the four-year player became increasingly rare. Both categories though, the vets & the one-and-dones, made a large impact on the game, as players like Hansbrough & Williams piled up awards at the same clip as Anthony & Durant. Here's my take on the Top 10, post your list in the comments section.
This much became painfully obvious in Maryland's 69-57 loss to Cincinnati in the Maui Invitational on Tuesday: Greivis Vasquez needs another consistent offensive option to step up. The senior guard from Venezuela is still going to take the majority of the shots and he should. But for no other player to score more than nine points when Vasquez finished with nineteen won't get it done against the level of competition the Terps will have to beat to make a second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Betting odds are a great guide to college basketball entertainment. Unlike fans, who often ride the wave of media predictions, betting lines tend to be a bit more focused and can give you an objective picture of how teams matchup (though lines too can get caught up in the wave of human emotion).
Tuesday will offer some intriguing matchups with the marquee game likely being Maryland taking on Cincinnati in a Maui Invitational semifinal. The Bearcats were able to use their quickness to disrupt Vanderbilt on Monday, winning 67-58 thanks to sixteen points from Yancy Gates and a defensive effort that held the Commodores to 27.5% from the field. Deonta Vaughn played just fifteen minutes in the win but they're going to need more from him and the other guards (Cashmere Wright was 2-for-13 from the field) if they're to take care of Greivis Vasquez and company.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?