Wins at Pittsburgh and Marquette earn the Cardinals the Team of the Week award.
Breaking down the Big East Rookie of the Year contenders.. including Scottie Reynolds, Eugene Harvey, Edgar Sosa and more.
Oh Louisville.. what should we make of you? You have a big name and a hall of fame coach.. but I guess you're just not that good. Graduation losses and injuries have been too much to bare. There's no shame in losing to a 9-2 UMASS team, or an 8-1 Dayton team, or a 7-1 Arizona team either.. but ultimately you're running out of chances to prove your worth. You don't play a ranked team again until 10 games from now.. by then, perhaps with a loss to Kentucky this weekend or a loss to Notre Dame in a couple weeks.. you'll have blown your at-large chances. Sorry, David Padgett's not going to help you.. the fragile one is as reliable as my old 1980 Ford Fiesta. Juan Palacios is solid but not the star I'd thought he'd be. Derrick Caracter almost has more missed free throws than career points.. But perhaps our expectations are simply too high for you Louisville.. so many freshmen and sophomores is hard to deal with.. especially against more experienced teams like UMASS and Dayton. Perhaps you only need time.. but my patience is running thin.
The difference as usual for LSU in their win over #6 Texas A&M was that they had Glen Davis, while their opponent didn't. Lost in Florida's championship, Tyler Hansbrough's Player of the Year hype, and this year's stellar class, is that Davis just might be the country's best player. Big Baby had 24 points and 9 rebounds to key the win. And this isn't one of those 24 point efforts in an up and down game where both teams are scoring into the 80's or beyond. This is 24 points in a game featuring two tight defenses, limited possessions, and where Davis' 9 field goals were almost half of LSU's 20. A&M was led by Antanas Kavaliauskas who is quietly becoming a major offensive player for Billy Gillispie. The big Lithuanian added 18 points a game after setting a career high with 23 against Pacific.
I'll be honest.. I thought Butler had no shot against Gonzaga. I thought Gonzaga was a step up from Tennessee, and the interior presence of Heytvelt would be too much.. and I of course was wrong. Butler surprised again and is now 6-0 with wins over Notre Dame, Indiana, Tennessee, and Gonzaga. Still the question remains: Is this team for real? Or to put it another way, is this team good enough to make the Tournament as an at-large bid? It should be interesting.. the fact is a team that so heavily relies on the long ball can go sour at any point. You know there's a cold streak waiting at some point.. and the question is how will the committee deal with Butler's inevitable conference losses to teams like Loyola Chicago or Detroit. As good as their start has been, my guess is that wont look nearly as good two months from now. Notre Dame is a mediocre team that will probably end up in the 125-175 RPI range. Indiana would be lucky to end up in the RPI top 50 and will most likely end up with more than 10 losses. Tennesse, though ranked when Butler beat them may simply end up in the 40-50 range as well. Its conceivable that when all is said and done, the only Top 50 RPI wins that Butler has are against Gonzaga, and perhaps Purdue if they beat the Boilermakers in a couple of weeks. My guess is that Butler will lose 5-7 games the rest of the season. It will be interesting to see what happens if they dont win the Horizon League tournament.
While it’s certainly nice to have a player who can be counted on to score 20 or so points in any particular game, it is just as important to have someone who can hold a player averaging 20 ppg significantly below the individual’s average.