Monday, February 09, 2009

College Hoops Top 25 (2/9): UCONN Being UCONN?

Why hello again, my misguided friends. Hope you all had a fantastic weekend...

Me? Well thanks for asking. My weekend was great as well, aside from the fact that I spent most of Saturday fending off a stomach demon with mass amounts of Gatorade and Tylenol. Short version of the story is that I beat that virus' ass, and it won't be bothering me again. While the long version entails me, bent over a trash can, with my body in a constant state of John Daly-like shaking. And the worst part is, I didn't even have Fuzzy Zoeller there to tell me everything was gonna be OK, and steer me towards the fullest bottle of Jack Daniels and the best table Hooters has to offer...

But enough about me and how me insides became my outsides. I'm sure there are a lot of other topics you'd love to hit on....

Like how Manny is romping around Pensacola, leaving bad tips and being mistaken for a Jamaican...which rhymes by the way, and don't think I didn't notice...

Or maybe you wanna talk about how again, Tiger Woods beat Neal Donahue to the punch and had himself another kid....Charles Axel Woods, to be exact. He's still got nothin' on my man Aaron "the Papelbon of Sperm" Danho. But then again, who does? Maybe Shawn Kemp and that's it...

Perhaps you wanna discuss how the Lakers are now the odds on favorites to win it all, even without Andrew Bynum. And what the Hell happened to Lamar Odom? Is it possible that this guy just realized, after 10 seasons in the NBA, how to actually utilize his amazing God given gifts? Maybe it's that URI education, or lack there of, finally kicking into gear...

And maybe, just maybe, your interested in this whole Alex Rodriguez steroid thing. Should we call him A-Fraud, A-Roid, A-Ted, or maybe the grossly racist, Purple Lipstick Border Jumper. All viable options, but deciding on which one to choose can really be a head scratcher...

But no. Those topics will all have to wait until Friday. Because if it's Monday in the Nation, it's time for College Hoops. And with the season truly kicking into high gear this week with a myriad of big time matchups, that's far from what anyone would dare refer to as a "bad thing"...

So saddle up to the buffet that is my brain, good citizens. And dine on the finest Top 25 cuisine you're gonna find for the week of February 9th, 2009...

I'm like the Kobe, while the rest are just ground chuck. And not the rapist Kobe that has no friends, I'm talking about the delicious Japanese cows that live a life better than that of most West Virginians...

Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25

1. Pittsburgh (20-2) 1

When the week began, I was convinced that the winner of the UCONN/Louisville game would hold the #1 spot in this week's poll. Alas, despite UCONN's thumping of Rick Pitino's Cardinals, my hard on for the Panthers remains, and Jamie Dixon's boys still occupy the Nation's top spot.

Fact of the matter is, with their plethora of offensive weapons, presence in both the front and back courts, and all around stellar defense, it's gonna take some sort of huge beatdown for me to even consider sliding the Panthers back off of their #1 perch...

2. UCONN (22-1) 2

Games like the one against Michigan are the reason I'm still on the fence when it comes to the uber-talented Huskies. Questions like, "What the Hell is Calhoun doing with Stanley Robinson?", and "Can AJ Price really control a crucial game in the closing minutes?" keep bugging me, and never seem to get answered...

And let's not even talk about how bad this team becomes when Thabeet gets in foul trouble or when the Huskies are forced into making jump shots...

It's weird. Most of the players on the roster would be tagged as "versatile athletes", yet the team itself lacks any real versatility at all. In short. If you can get this team in the half court, they might be rather easy to beat...

It's just forcing that tempo which could be mighty tough...

3. North Carolina (21-2) 3

4. UCLA (19-4) 6

5. Louisville (17-4) 4

Just when you think you have a team figured out, they go out and get stomped out at home. Never a good thing for your frame of reference...

Never fear, though. Anyone watching the UCONN/Louisville game could tell that, for one reason or another, the Cards just didn't have their "A" game. Maybe it was that UCONN took them out of their comfort zone, but I'm not so easily convinced that's the case. Instead, I have a gut feeling we might be pointing to this loss a month or so from now as the turning point in Louisville's season. Ya know, the "good" loss that made them look in the mirror and get back to doing what had made them so successful in the first place...

Just a thought...

6. Oklahoma (23-1) 7

Dear Oklahoma,

Play and beat someone decent, and then maybe I'll consider giving you the credit all the National pundits seem content on just spoon feeding you.

Hubert Pubis & The Dudes

PS - We loved Blake Griffin's dunks so much against Colorado we had to make sure everyone got a look. And by "we", I mean The Dudes. Hubert Pubis wasn't all that impressed. He's stubborn like that. Although he claims he has a new drug that won't make you sick, and also may have some ideas on how to fix your flux capacitor...

7. Marquette (20-3) 5

8. Arizona St. (17-5) 10

9. Michigan St. (19-4) 11

10. Duke (20-3) 8

11. Villanova (18-4) 14

Again, this is not your average poll, so don't think that average logic still applies...

Villanova hasn't simply risen based on the fact they've been winning, butrather because of how impressive their wins have been, and how consistent they have proven to be...

Example: Since the start of '09, Jay Wright's Wildcats only losses have come @ Marquette by 7, against L'ville by 1 and @ UCONN by 6. Combine that with their 5-2 road mark, and their 5 game winning streak, and that's how you go from outside the top 25 to #11 in just a matter of weeks...

12. Wake Forest (17-4) 9

13. Xavier (20-3) 12

14. Memphis (20-3) 24

Coach Cal's Tiger's get the high riser award this week thanks to a convincing win in Spokane against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Now, not only are they 8-0 in Conference USA, but they are one of the few teams out there with two convincing out of conference wins since league play began (@ Tenn)...

Like I always say, nothing impresses a pollster like an out of conference win during conference play. We're all lemmings like that...

15. Kansas (19-4) 21

16. LSU (18-4) 23

Thanks to a few losses by Kentucky, Trent Johnson and his LSU Tigers have taken over as my #1 team in the SEC. And yes, I have been purposely saying a lot of coaches names this week in reference to their teams. Why? Because I'm here to inform, people! And what good are you to me in an argument if you're not freaking informed!...

17. Purdue (18-5) 22

18. Kentucky (16-7) 15

19. Washington (16-6) 18

20. Davidson (20-4) 19

Make no mistake. Davidson did NOT drop a spot in the rankings because they suffered a 1 point loss to the College of Charleston. It's just a little reshuffling, that's all...

21. Butler (21-2) 17

22. Gonzaga (17-5) 13

23. Miami (FL) (15-8) NR

I knew the Canes had it in 'em! Finally, I can slide a 3rd ACC team into my top 25, and it's NOT named the Clemson Tigers...

Although, to be completely honest, just to stay in the top 25 Miami is probably going to have to put up a great fight this week against UNC. Ya know, because they have recently lost to Maryland, NC State, and Virginia Tech. And they did lose to UNC by 17 just a few weeks ago...

Good thing it's all about how you're playin' right now!...

24. Syracuse (18-6) 20

25. Texas (15-7) 16

Texas + Syracuse = LOOK OUT BELOW!!!!!!

The Orange need to get healthy, and fast. While the Longhorns need to...well I have no idea, but they better start doing it quick. They've lost their last 3, 5 of their last 10, and sit at just 6th in the Big XII at 4-4...

just missed: Florida; West Virginia; California; Ohio St.; Utah St.; Illinois; Creighton; South Carolina; Clemson; Tennessee

dropped: (25) St. Mary's

AP + ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Rankings:

Not much movement in the power rankings this week, but the Big 10's performance of late has encouraged me to slide them ahead of the SEC into the #4 spot. Sure everyone from 4 on down is a great distance from the top 3, but the recent play of Ohio St., and the though of what Purdue could be with a healthy Robbie Hummel really have me intrigued at what this league could do in the post season. After all, they do get prized recruits, and they do have great coaches, right? So why count them out just because their teams constantly struggle to score 50+ points?

Ugly does not equal bad, kids. (that would have been so much more effective if I knew how to make the "not equals" sign on my computer, but I hope I still got the point across)...

Conference Power Rankings
1. Big East 1

2. Pac 10 2

3. ACC 3

4. Big 10 5

5. SEC 4

6. Big XII 6

7. Mountain West 7

8. WAC 10

9. Atlantic 10 8

10. Conference USA NR

dropped: (9) West Coast Conference

Here's your free college hoops gut check. If you look at the list of games below, and don't immediately get some version of wood, then you're not really a true college basketball fan...

There, I said it...

This Week's Slate

West Virginia @ Pittsburgh (ESPN 7 pm)
Kansas @ Missouri (ESPN 9 pm)

Michigan St. @ Michigan (ESPN 7 pm)
Marquette @ Villanova (ESPN 2 7:30 pm)
Oklahoma St. @ Texas
Florida @ Kentucky (ESPN 9 pm)
Clemson @ Boston College

Syracuse @ UCONN (ESPN 7 pm)
North Carolina @ Duke (ESPN 9 pm)
Penn St. @ Purdue
Wake Forest @ NC State
Xavier @ Dayton (ESPN 2 7 pm)
Tulsa @ Memphis
LSU @ Mississippi St.
Oklahoma @ Baylor (ESPN 2 9 pm)

UCLA @ Arizona St. (ESPN 9 pm)
Louisville @ Notre Dame
Temple @ St. Joseph's
USC @ Arizona
Gonzaga @ St. Mary's (ESPN 2 11 pm)
Oregon St. @ Washington

Penn @ Brown
Villanova @ West Virginia (ESPN 9 pm)

Finally a decent Friday night game to help me get through work, and it doesn't start until I'm about to leave! Can I catch a break here, or what?...

Georgetown @ Syracuse (ESPN 12 pm)
UCLA @ Arizona (CBS 1 pm)
Minnesota @ Penn St.
South Carolina @ Alabama
Vanderbilt @ Tennessee
Kansas @ Kansas St. (ABC 3:30 pm)
Florida St. @ Wake Forest
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (ESPN 4 pm)
Creighton @ Southern Illinois (ESPN 2 5:05 pm)
Mississippi @ LSU
Western Kentucky @ Troy
Portland @ St. Mary's

Duke @ Boston College
North Carolina @ Miami (FL)
USC @ Arizona St.

Again, if you're not frothing at the mouth after looking at that lineup, then you might wanna take a gander in your pantalones and check to see if you actually do still have balls. They should be those two round things right below the thing you pee with and waive in traffic when you've had a few too many Smirnoff Ice's...

Player of the Week

Jack McClinton, Miami (FL)

When I put Miami in my top 25 to start the season, McClinton was the main reason. Coming off of years when he averaged 16.7 and 17.7 points, I figured this would be the year where J-Mac (not the retarted kid from SportsCenter) took his place as one of the elite guards in the ACC...

Well he hadn't really done that, until now. Two games this week, against Wake Forest and Duke, and McClinton totaled a gaudy 66 points, 11 3-pointers, and went 23 of 37 from the field (62%). Not too shabby, eh?

Now the problem, as it has been all season long, is to get J-Mac some help to perhaps lighten the load. He averages almost 20 a game, while his closest teammate, and the only other Cane in double figures, barely gets 11 a contest. Not really the balance you're lookin' for when it comes tournament time...

And just like that, it's time to call it a day. I know! I thought we were just getting started too! But what can you do? Only so many hours in a day, right? Even for a prodigious and diligent sports pimp such as myself...

Check back on Friday as I'll hit on all the topics I mentioned above, unless of course the news cycle deems them irrelevant by then, in which case I'll be talking about other stuff!

And one more thing. And by that I mean 2...

1) If you're still having trouble posting comments due to the fact that Frosco has premenatnly screwed my shit up, feel free to leave me some love on my Facebook Networked Blogs page. They actually have a comment section that works, leading me to believe the small Italian man they have running things actually might know what he's doing...

AND 2) You should all be watching The Flight of the Conchords every Sunday night @ 10 pm on the Home Box Office. It took a little time for the show to grow on me, but now I'm a full fledged man. I figure if you like what I do here, then it's not that big of a stretch to think you might find their stuff humorous as well. I mean, one of the guys is named Bret after all. And just because he left that all important second "T" off the end of his name, doesn't make him a bad dude...

And that's all he wrote. Not "she", because I am most decidedly a dude. And now I'm wondering why it is referred to as all "she" wrote anyway, when we all know that men are most definitely better writers than women. I mean, if the saying was "that's all she cleaned", then maybe it would be a little more realistic...

Enjoy your week...



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