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Monday, February 23, 2009

College Hoops Top 25 (2/23): I'd Like to Thank...Myself, of Course!


Ahh, the Academy Awards.

The night of all nights when it comes to all things cinematic. A night where legends are made, heroes are remembered, memorable performances are given, and where masters of their craft are recognized for doing spectacular work in the past calender year. Truly a fantastic night...

That is, if that's your thing. Which oddly enough, considering both the movie snob and nerd that I am, it is most certainly not. Sure, I'm interested in seeing the results, both truth be told I've barely seen any of the contending movies or performances this year. So therefore, even though there still many aspects to enjoy about the show, the results would be rather meaningless to me.

How could I agree or disagree with a certain selection if I have no basis for making that very same selection myself? I just can't, in good conscience, take any stock in an award, or any conclusion for that matter, if I myself have no idea where the selectors of the award are coming from...

And to be completely honest, while it's not the main catalyst for me not watching the awards shows, I must confess that the very responsibility I try to take it not judging what I don't know, is another factor in why I don't take much stock in a lot of these results. I mean, if asked to vote, I would only vote in categories in which I had seen and thoroughly digested. Something I would hope other voters would take care to do as well, but something I doubt is all that realistic. Just from working in sports broadcasting or a very brief time, I learned all too well the tainted process of the All-Star, Gold Glove and MVP voting system. How registered voters of the Baseball Writer's Association would hand off ballots to interns, or ask people on other beats how they should vote. Truly pathetic, rather unprofessional, and I just can't help but think a lot of the same things are goin' on with the awards in Hollywood...

Perhaps it's just a sad commentary on my own nerdish ways and my high moral standards, but I tend to disagree and see the positive. After all, if people were judging my merits, and giving me awards based on my performance, I'd want them to know what they were doing. Matter of fact, them not being fully prepared to accurately asses what they see in front of them would probably piss me off more than anything in the world...

Which brings me to my point. I know. Finally...

So I've been talking to a lot of people and reading a lot of scribblings about the current state of college hoops. After all, we are bearing down on March here, and everyone in the game is eager talk everything from "Who's #1" to "Who's #66"...

But it got me to thinkin'. Just like the Oscars, what I do here is hand out awards based on my personal opinion. There are no real solid facts involved here, right? Sure there are wins, losses, strength of schedule, RPI etc., but in the end it simply comes down to who I think is best...

That's where the coaches and the writers fail to live up to the standard I would hold for those voting and handing out awards. Case in point, Utah St.'s rise into the top 25. You really wanna sit here and tell me that the coaches and writers that voted on that poll have seen the Aggies play enough to know them that well? Even seen them play at all!?! Granted it's teams like Utah St. that come out of nowhere to win tourney games, but the only reason their garnering votes is due to their gaudy win total. The ignorant voters I referred to before are simply looking at the standings, being wowed by the vote total, and sliding the lowly Aggies neatly into the back end of their top 25. Hell, doing so even makes them feel extra smart...

Well that's not how things go down in this Nation, kids. I do my best to watch as many teams as I can, and then I do my best to report back to you how good they are. I don't front and pretend I know shit about obscure teams, I simply dissect what I see on TV and read online like the rest of the world, and from there try to draw what I deem the most logical conclusions. After all, the next time one of these beat small conference school's wins the Big Dance will be the first time in the modern era. And since the goal here is to ultimately take down the NCAA pool, then cute little things like having one of them in your top 25 will just serve as proof that you're not worthy of the prestigious position you currently hold...

Want some real, knowledge? Then you've come to the right place...

Get some, Academy Awards style...


Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25


1. Pittsburgh (25-2) 1

If I were handing out awards, I'd model the statue after myself, expect instead of gold, mine would be made of Reese's peanut butter so you could eat it. And I would give my best team in the country award to the Pittsburgh Panthers. Safe to say right now DeJuan Blair and Levance Fields would be taking chunks off my torso while Sam Young sucked on my shoulder...

Totally not gay, by the way. I'd eat their likeness too if it were made of delicious Reese's peanut butter. Anyone that says otherwise, is a lying homophobe. There I said it...

2. North Carolina (24-3) 2

When it takes a triple double from one of your main rivals, on their home court, to beat you in OT, you simply bow your head in respect, and move on. Perfect example of "one game" being exactly that...

3. UCONN (25-2) 3

The following is a weak attempt to keep my "Oscar" theme going...

If Hasheem Thabeet is a Best Actor nominee, then Jerome Dyson was definitely the winner of the this year's Best Supporting Actor award in a landslide. At least when it comes to the difference between UCONN winning it all and getting bounced in the Elite 8. With Dyson on the shelf, guys like AJ Price and Stanley Robinson are gonna have to prove once again that this team can remain a big time threat when and if Thabeet gets into foul trouble. Or if God forbid that contraption he's got holdin' his shoulder together gives out. What the Hell is goin' on there, anyway?

And and if they're coach happens to get arrested for beating the shit out of some snot nosed reporter. God I love this shit...



The classic match up. Old dudes in positions of power VS young punks just looking to get under people's skin. And boy is this particular young punk a rather big tard. Then again, if he was just looking to piss Calhoun off, then job well done...

It's like the flaming dog poo in the paper bag all over again. Glorious, just hysterically glorious...

4. Marquette (23-4) 8

5. Arizona St. (21-5) 5


6. Oklahoma (25-2) 4

Here's a head scratcher...

Oklahoma, minus a healthy Blake Griffin, almost beats Texas on their home floor. That means...

A) Oklahoma is so good, they almost beat a good Texas team even without Blake Griffin

B) The BIG XII is so down this year, that an upper tier Texas team could barely beat Oklahoma in Austin, without their best player

C) 75% A, 20% B, and 5% Eduardo Najera's nose hair

The correct answer, is naturally C. The Sooners still rule the Big XII, and the rest of those squads are just buyin' time till the next harvest...

7. Villanova (22-5) 11

8. Duke (22-5) 10

9. Michigan St. (21-5) 9

10. Louisville (21-5) 6

11. UCLA (20-7) 7

It's funny. Now that the Boston Bruins are relevant again, people seem to want to talk about the more in general conversation. And naturally, me being the sports guy, they think I'm the perfect person to strike up some quality puck talk with. Problem is, I'm a wise ass. That's why the conversation inevitably goes like this...

Ted: "Wow, the Bruins have been scufflin' lately, huh?"

Me: "Yeah. Who would have thought they would have got swept by the 2 Arizona teams?"

Ted (now giving me the one-eyed sideways look, like I just told him my 2 pair beat his 3 of a kind): "Yeah...Wait, what?"

Even sadder, is the truth behind my little Oscar worthy dialogue. Not only have Ben Howland's Bruins dumped 2 of their last 3, but Claude's (pronounced CLODE. Yes, it rhymes with CHODE, and yes that's how I remember it) Bruins just finished a 5 game road trip that saw them only capture 1 win.

Ahh what a sad state of affairs for Bruins fans everywhere. Only difference? UCLA fans are sitting the the warm sun, and know their team will buckle down and win 'em when they matter. Boston fans are stuck scrapin' ice off their cah, and know their team is gonna get the #1 seed, only to watch Montreal slide into the #8 seed and knock their ass out in the first round...

You know it. I know it. And those French, round bacon eating "le Teds" up in Montreal know it...

12. Memphis (24-3) 12

13. Xavier (22-5) 13

14. LSU (23-4) 14

15. Purdue (21-6) 18

16. Kansas (22-5) 17


17. Gonzaga (21-5) 21

The Zags are who we thought they were!

Gonzaga has won their last 4 by an average of 20 a game. If you wanna do the research yourself, you'll find that to be a very flawed stat. But you won't, which is cool...

Either way, Mark Few's "good men" are rounding into form these days and are gonna make for a scary out come tourney time...

That's the truth, can you handle it? Or rather are you dreaming of poking out my eyes and urinating in my skull?

Hey there Code RED!!

See what I did there? Did you see what I did?...

18. Washington (20-7) 16

19. Illinois (22-6) 19


20. Clemson (22-4) NR

Well it nearly took til March, but allow me to officially welcome the Clemson Tiger's to the Rooch Nation Top 25. I'm still not all over their sack like most pollsters I know, but I figure between Trevor Booker's monster year, and their relentless press, they gotta be better than most of the chump squads out there...

Can you say, backhanded compliment?

21. Wake Forest (20-5) 15

22. Missouri (23-4) 23

Again, things I am subjected to...

My buddy from back in the day, Todd Rixon, was chatting me up this weekend about college hoops. He being a Missouri Tiger, naturally the conversation started with him asking me how I thought his squad was. "Eh, they're OK", I said. "10 in the country, man", he responds. "Whoa, really? That sounds about 10-15 spots too high, man".

Then, he goes to good ole reliable, and lets me know exactly what he really wanted to say when he struck up this conversation in the first place...

"Well they're a Hell of a lot better than Syracuse!"...

Touche, Mr Rixon. You got me!

Expect that I too had Mizzou ranked higher than Cuse last week, and would never venture to say that my D-less Orange had a great chance to make this year's Elite 8...which were the next words out of his mouth in regards to his Tigers...

Oh and he thinks Marquette is beat too...

And I'm the one that was attacked for being biased...

23. Kentucky (19-8) 20

24. Butler (23-4) 22

25. West Virginia (19-8) NR

I figure if I'm gonna get ripped for having man-love for the Big East, I might as well take advantage of it. Orange slide out, Huggins Hoodlums slide in...

Easy Peasy, Japaneasy...


just missed: Creighton; Florida; Utah; Syracuse; Miami; Texas; Siena; South Carolina; Tennessee; Utah St.; Florida St.; Dayton; UNLV; Notre Dame; Troy; St. Mary's

dropped: (24) Syracuse; (25) Miami


Now here's where some crucial insight that will help you in the NCAA tourney can really be gained. For the next few weeks, I'm gonna give you a heads up on some of the mid major teams whose names will definitely be appearing in your bracket. These aren't "Bubble teams" or anything like that, just teams you haven' seen play, or in some instances heard of that have the serious potential of making or breaking your bracket. In essence, while you will still probably need the right champion to win your pool, knowing about the teams that I'm going to feature can be the difference between coming in 1st and coming in 3rd. Now that's some serious cakes...

Where better to start, than a Midwestern squad that's made a habit of busting brackets over the last 5-10 years. Both for the good, and for the bad...

Mid Major Watch

Creighton Blue Jays (23-6, 12-4)

Seven out of the last 9 years have seen Creighton in the NCAA Tournament, and while they've only managed 2 wins in that time, they should still be considered dangerous. Why? Because they have a Korver...

Younger brother of star Blue Jay and current NBAer Kyle, sophomore Kaleb Korver is hoping this year's version of the squad can be every bit as good as when his big bro was the big man on campus. Kaleb may just be a role player, but his 47% shooting from behind the arc does well to describe a team that shoots 40% from back there as a whole, and thrives on crisp, inside-outside ball movement...

Might not be on the best teams to emerge from the Missouri Valley in recent memory, but with the way they are capable of shooting, and the quality competition they've dealt with all year long, they aren't a team that someone like Syracuse, Kentucky or Butler will want to see in their first round match up...


Just a side note: Kyle Korver, Kaleb Korver and Klayton Korver, who plays at Drake. K-K-K. I bet they were just glue to the 24 hours of Tyler Perry's House of Payne! Nah I'm sure there's a Kris, Karl and Kody to debunk that theory. Freakin' hicks. I can only imagine what they eat for breakfast and snort up their noses...

FYI. The answer to both, is Special K...Oh!

Now for this week's games. That is, when you're not watching and rewatching this week's episode of LOST. I am soooooo addicted!

If you missed that sarcasm, then please leave. If not, then please peruse this week's games and plan your viewing schedule accordingly...


This Week's Slate

2/23
Louisville @ Georgetown (ESPN 7 pm)
Kansas @ Oklahoma (ESPN 9 pm)

2/24
Pittsburgh @ Providence
Penn St. @ Ohio St. (ESPN 7 pm)
Florida St. @ Boston College
Florida @ LSU (ESPN 9 pm)
BYU @ San Diego St.

2/25
UCONN @ Marquette (ESPN 7 pm)
Dayton @ URI
Kentucky @ South Carolina
Virginia Tech @ Clemson (ESPN 2 7:30 pm)
Houston @ Tulsa
Duke @ Maryland (ESPN 9 pm)
Mississippi St. @ Tennessee
Kansas St. @ Missouri
UNLV @ Utah

2/26
Minnesota @ Illinois
West Virginia @ Cincinnati (ESPN 7 pm)
Xavier @ St. Joesph's (ESPN 2 7 pm)
North Carolina St. @ Wake Forest
Memphis @ UAB (ESPN 2 9 pm)
Arizona @ Washington St.
Arizona St. @ Washington
USC @ California

2/27
Siena @ Niagara
Brown @ Princeton

2/28
Georgetown @ Villanova (ESPN 12 pm)
Cleveland St. @ Butler
Notre Dame @ UCONN (CBS 2 pm)
Clemson @ Florida St.
Illinois St. @ Creighton (ESPN 2 2 pm)
Arizona @ Washinton
Duke @ Virginia Tech (ABC 3:30 pm)
LSU @ Kentucky (CBS 4 pm)
Temple @ Dayton
Ohio St. @ Purdue (ESPN 4 pm)
Utah @ BYU
Arizona St. @ Washington St.
UCLA @ California (ESPN 9 pm)
Utah St. @ Nevada

3/1
Marquette @ Louisville (CBS 12 pm)
Cincinnati @ Syracuse
Tennessee @ Florida (CBS 2 pm)
Michigan St. @ Illinois (CBS TBD)
Missouri @ Kansas (CBS 2 pm)
Maryland @ North Carolina St.


Player of the Week

Gervis Vasquez, Maryland

I mentioned his performance earlier as more of a defense for the Tar Heels, but props must be given where props are deserved. After all, triple double's in college aren't exactly easy to come by. 35 points, 11 boards, 10 assists. Not only that, but he scored the Terps first 16 points of the game, and scored 5 of their 12 points in overtime to help seal the win...

Maryland's first triple double in 22 years and a big boost to Maryland's post season resume. Job well done, Gervis. If only your parents were as prolific at picking out names for their kids. Let's just hope they didn't take the same tactic as the Korvers. That could get really ugly, not to mention really racist on my part...


And there you have it, kids. I can hear the music playing under me, so while I'd love to thank you all for coming and point out how much I adore my PR people, there just aren't enough minutes in the day. Hopefully, much like the Oscars', I've done enough to give you food for thought, as well as given you plenty to argue. Just remember, I'm the on watching all these movies, while you're the one picking the French cartoon for best animated short simply because it has a funny French title...

So enjoy the action, and I'll catch you for next week's top 25. I'll be the one that actually watched these games and knows what he's talking about. You'll still be the one with the crazy notion that anything but luck will lead you to win your NCAA pool that's just a mere month away...

Get your knowledge on, and the deserved reward will follow. Just a little advice from yours truly...

100...

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