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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

College Hoops Top 25: The Banana With the Dope Inside


Greetings, my good people...

You'll be happy to hear that thanks to the speedy delivery of some shady, aftermarket battery provider, my laptop has been back up and running since early Friday morning, and my Al Gore station is now back to a state of full functionality. Matter of fact, I had it in time that I probably could have made an effort to get a post out on Friday, but seeing as it's the sports' "dead zone" 'n all, I figured I'd use it as an opportunity to grab myself some much needed journalistic R'n'R. Sure, maybe I just invented that term, but that doesn't mean I didn't deserve and/or take advantage of a weekend free of football and whatever other frivolous NBA, Phil Cheaterson, or Australian Open related crap I might otherwise have had to deal with...

Matter of fact, that time off got me to thinking, and I decided in my thinking that it was time to go on my annual, "The NCAA regular season is better than the NBA regular season", rant. So briefly, here it is...

This year more than ever, I'm having trouble understanding how any real basketball fan can find the NBA regular season more entertaining than that of the NCAA. Trust me, I get that the NBA has the more talented pool of players, but that alone doesn't make their game any more fun to watch. IT's the eye test, people, and unless your some sort of NBA expert with intimate knowledge of how offenses + defenses are run, I have trouble believing that the NCAA doesn't provide you with more entertaining basketball on a nightly basis. Hey I get it, most people don't have their own D1 school to follow, and the sheer # of games every week can tend to be overwhelming, but again, that doesn't make what I say any less truthful. If you really like basketball, I mean really like it and not just kinda like it when your local team is good, then college hoops is the far superior product. It's just more fun to watch, and I don't get what could be easier to understand than that...

But hey, I could go on about this all day and it would do virtually nothing to change how the average fan views the 2 leagues. Especially in the Boston area. And I think that's part of the problem. Between Boston, LA, NY and Chicago, there isn't a truly great college sports fan base to be found. Conversely, those 4 cities are also home to the NBA's 4 most heralded franchises. Coincidence? I think not...



But enough of that. I may have a fresh battery, but that doesn't mean I have all day. I have work to get to, Streak games to pick, and DVR'd programs to watch. Then again, I don't know if I'll even get to my DVR today...

Right now Congo is on, and I must say I'm rather enjoying it. Not like I haven't seen it 15 times already, but hearing "Yes, I gave her the banana with the dope inside", makes each each viewing better than the one before. Seeing pre Nip/Tuck Dylan Walsh is pretty funny too, and the only thing the movie is really missing is some sort of topless seen between Walsh and Laura Linney. I don't know what it is about Linney exactly, but ever since I saw her nude in some random movie that was on recently, I just can't get enough...

There's just somethin' about her. Like, there are hotter chicks, but she would totally drink beer in bed with you, and would probably have a pre-rolled J ready for a little post coital snack. I don't know, maybe it's because she so often plays a cold-hearted, bitch, that I think of her with just the right amount of dude-like qualities to make a really cool chick. Then again, even suggesting that a woman I'd like to see naked has "dude-like qualities" has got me thinking I should stop going down this path all together...

So yea. Laura Linney. Not naked in Congo, but it would be damn cool if she were. I would totally give her the banana with the dope inside, if you know what I mean. And by now you must know what I mean, so I'm just gonna leave it at that, and get right on down to business...

Rooch Nation. Top 25. Get some...


Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25

1. Syracuse (21-1) 1

I didn't really get to explain myself last week when I installed my Orange as the #1 team in the land, and if you've watched Syracuse at all this season you probably don't need me to justify my pick. But I will anyway.

On defense, Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone is being run to perfection thanks to his plethora of lanky defenders, and you can only expect that thing to get better as the season drags on. The more comfortable the players are with a scheme like that, the better, and there hasn't been a group this well schooled in the 2-3 in upstate New York since 2003. And I think we all remember what happened in 2003...

It's another trait that this team shares with the boys from '03 that has me liking their chances, too, and that's the presence of a true star. Carmelo Anthony? Meet Wesley Johnson. Sure Wes is no Melo, but he's close, and all signs point to Mr. Johnson having the better supporting cast. Yeah, I love me some Gerry McNamara and Josh Pace as much as the next guy, but between Jackson, Triche, Rautins, Jardine, Joesph, and Onuaku, this year's squad might actually be better prepared for a deep March run than their '03 counterparts. And we all know how it ended up for that crew, Billy Edelin's rape charges and alleged drug dealing not withstanding...

Granted there's still a long way to go, and many a Big East game yet to play, but between the stifling D, the star power, the coach, and the supporting cast, there shouldn't be a single argument about title contenders without the Orange being a main topic of discussion...

At this point, I don't think you could go wrong picking one of a handful of teams as #1 in the country, and combined that with my loyalty and vigor for the Orange, and it only makes sense that I install them as front runners. I'm not crowing their asses, despite what the picture and the ranking may suggest, my the Rooch Nation Top 25 is all about "if the tourney started today". And today, without seeing a draw, I'd have to install the Syracuse Orange as my favorite to win it all...

2. Villanova (19-1) 3

3. Kentucky (20-1) 2

4. Michigan St. (19-3) 4


5. Kansas (20-1) 5

A lot's been made of my underestimation of the Jayhawks this season, but trust me, I think their a very good team. My only problem with them, and it seems to be a problem with virtually every Bill Self team, is that I don't know for sure who's going to be taking the big shots for them down the stretch. I mean, I like Sherron Collins 'n everything, but I just don't see him as a real go-to guy coming down the stretch in a tournament game. They certainly have an abundance of talented players, and that alone should get them deep into yet another tourney, but it's that lack of killer instinct, I guess, that's keeping them just at the edge of my Top 5...

6. Purdue (18-3) 6

7. West Virginia (17-3) 8

8. Georgetown (16-4) 14

The Hoyas did the Big East proud with their drubbing of Duke, but more importantly, they got their own season back on track. At 6-3, their right in the think of the Big East race, and unlike the Jayhawks above, this team is truly built for tournament success. They may not be as deep or as offensively talented as Kansas, but Austin Freeman, Greg Monroe and Chris Wright form a 3-some that would make even Hugh Hefner blush. Their just big time performers that you can count on coming up big in big time games. Not to mention you know that JT3 is gonna have those boys playing tough, in your shorts, defense from here until the final whistle...

9. Texas (18-3) 7

10. Kansas St. (17-4) 12

11. Ohio St. (16-6) 16

Having one of the best players in the country, in Evan Turner, is usually enough to make your team a tourney threat, but this Buckeye team packs a lot more punch. They have 4 guys averaging more than 12 points a game, and in the Big 10, that's downright absurd. Like the #1 Orange, they combine good coaching, good defense, depth, and a true superstar to make them probably the 3rd best team in the Big 10, and one tough customer for whoever they meet down the road...

12. Duke (17-4) 9

If their match up with G'Town was any indication of conference strength, than the ACC might just wanna pack up and go home right now. Or at least go and ask the Duke lacrosse team where they can get some good "entertainment" to celebrate when they're the only team in the conference that makes the field of 65. Unlikely, sure, but whenever I can sneak in a good hooker reference it's tough to pass up...

13. BYU (21-2) 10


14. Pittsburgh (16-5) 11

Bad loss for the Panthers this week @ South Florida, and if they don't watch it, they could be joining UCONN in the Big East free fall department. We all know the Big East is tough, and that young teams like this will go through their peaks and valleys, but losing to Seton Hall and South Florida in the same week, road games or not, is not a positive sign for the only team to take down the Cuse in the '09-'10 season. I have faith that "Crazy" Jamie Dixon will right the ship, which is why they haven't dropped further, and I full expect the Panthers to be in the hunt right up through the Big East tournament...

...And I just gave him that nickname because he looks like a straight up vampire or warlock in that picture. Or maybe more like a dude that was just turned into a cat by a witch, and was no trying to attack said witch. Yeah, definitely that one...

15. Wisconsin (16-5) 19

The Badgers are another one of those well rounded teams from the Big 10 that would scare the beJesus out of me in a one-and-done scenario. I put them a solid notch below Michigan St., Purdue and Ohio St., but with those 3 teams firmly ensconced in the top 11, that's hardly anything to be ashamed of...

16. Butler (18-4) 15

17. New Mexico (20-3) 21

Here's a team you probably haven't heard a lot about, but then again, that's why you have me!

The Lobos ran their winning streak to 6 this week, and with a 4 point home win against BYU, firmly put themselves on the National radar. And if you haven't heard of New Mexico, there's little chance you've heard of their star, Darington Hobson. At more than 15 points, 8 boards and 4 dimes a game, the 6'7" Junior from Vegas is a versatile force and will prove a tough cover for even the best the BCS conference's have to offer...

It's also worth noting, that with UNLV at 25, that gives the Mountain West 3 teams in the Top 25, and could very well give the league 3 bids in this year's tourney. Even more remarkable, is that with 3 MWC teams in my Top 25, I don't have a single PAC 10 team in my top 30. Shady business, to say the least...

18. Georgia Tech (16-5) NR

19. Vanderbilt (16-4) 24

20. Cornell (18-3) 20

21. Temple (18-4) 17

With PC perpetually in the shitter, all I ever hear about at work is how good URI is. Well I got a news flash for ya, Rhody lovers. You play in a second rate conference that's 6-23 this year against the Top 25, and the only team I deem worthy of a tourney bid from that scrap heap right now is the Temple Owls. OK and the Xavier Musketeers, too. But certainly not the Rams!

Listen, I respect head coach Jim Baron and I respect local college hoops fans looking for a team to cheer for, but all the respect in the world isn't going to make the conference any better, or their chances for the Big Dance any better. Especially when your marquee win to date is over a 12-10 Boston College team...

22. Tennessee (16-4) 18

23. Baylor (16-4) NR

24. Gonzaga (17-4) 13

25. UNLV (17-4) NR


just missed: Xavier; UAB; Mississippi; Northern Iowa; Wichita St.; Clemson; Wake Forest; Siena; Mississippi St.; St. Mary's

dropped: (22) Wake Forest; (23) UCONN; (25) Mississippi



So there you have it, Teds and Speds (I kid, because I love). Hot off the presses, and straight to your brain. The Top 25 is really starting to take shape, isn't she? Ahhhh, she surrrre is. And lemme tell ya, there isn't a better feeling in the world than having put together a well rounded, well researched and well received, College Basketball Poll. Unless of course I were to convince Laura Linney to let me give her the banana with the dope inside. That would probably be a more satisfying feeling. OR at least equal it, depending on whether she really had the post-coital J wrapped up, crisped and ready to go...What? I obviously now have some sort of weird cougar type love for Laura Linney. Get over it...

And speaking of getting over it and getting "ready to go", but not Laura Linney or cougars in general, here's this week's slate of games to help get you primed and ready for the Bracket Battle in March. And if you think you can get these babies in with enough time left to watch some other programs, then scroll on down for a few "must see" recommendations...

Oh and take a look @ Big Monday's lineup. Those games should do internally for the Big East and Big XII, what the G'Town/Duke game did in comparing the Big East and the ACC. In short, wins by Nova or Kansas in tough road environs, will go a long way towards cementing those teams as #1 seeds come tourney time...

...and I'd watch any Kansas St. just so I could see those "Fear the Beard" signs. Too bad none of their games made the cut this week. I wonder if Laura Linney likes a man with a beard?...

This Week's Slate

2/2
Mississippi @ Kentucky (ESPN 7 pm)
Providence @ Syracuse
Michigan St. @ Wisconsin (ESPN 9 pm)

2/3
Pittsburgh @ West Virginia
South Florida @ Georgetown
Mississippi St. @ Vanderbilt
Wichita St. @ Northern Iowa
Texas A&M @ Missouri

2/4
Georgia Tech @ Duke (ESPN2 7 pm)
Purdue @ Indiana (ESPN 7 pm)
Florida @ Alabama
Maryland @ Florida St.
Cincinnati @ Notre Dame (ESPN 9 pm)
Portland @ Gonzaga (ESPN2 11 pm)

2/5
NONE

2/6
Villanova @ Georgetown (ESPN 12 pm)
Duke @ Boston College (ESPN 2 pm)
Temple @ Richmond
Wisconsin @ Michigan (CBS 4 pm)
Gonzaga @ Memphis (ESPN2 4 pm)
BYU @ UNLV
Clemson @ Virginia Tech
South Carolina @ Tennessee (ESPN 6 pm)
Michigan St. @ Illinois (ESPN 9 pm)

2/7
South Florida @ Notre Dame
Syracuse @ Cincinnati (ESPN360 2 pm)

2/8
Villanova @ West Virginia (ESPN 7 pm)
Kansas @ Texas (ESPN 9 pm)


So like I said, if you have time to watch other stuff in between these games and the multitude of Family Guy reruns, then here are 3 shows you gotta check out:



No Reservations (Travel Channel Monday @ 10pm): You've heard me pump this show before, but too many of you still aren't watching it. Trust me, there really isn't anything here not to like as long as you have even a remote interest in travel, food, and learning about the worlds' many cultures. Chef Anthony Bourdain is the narrator and host, and as I've said many times before, you'd be tough not to be enamored with him before your first episode is through. Just an all around great watch...

High Stakes Poker (Game Show Network Sunday @ 10 pm): The new season starts up the 14th, and there are already rumors of a $1.2 million pot between Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey. For those that don't know, High Stakes Poker is the world's biggest cash game, played by the world's best No Limit Hold 'em poker players and some of the world's most affluent amateurs. IT's nothing like watching tournament poker, and if you have any interest in "game theory" or just the psychology of poker being played at a ridiculously high level, then you're absolutely gonna love it.

Archer (FX Thursday @ 10 pm): Probably the sharpest animated show to date, Archer is quickly turning into one of my favorites. It's clever, it's sharp, it's crude and it's got this Pam Greer lookin' chick that is always wearing those revealing sweater skirts. There really isn't anything not to love. And listen, I know that chick is a cartoon, but after my Laura Linney rant earlier, the fact that I dig cartoons in that way can hardly be surprising...

And while this might not be on TV, it is Groundhog Day, and in the spirit of that shadow-seeing, bastard, I figured I'd pass it along. Besides, everyone likes midgets, right?

Apparently it's some sort of Super Bowl ad preview or something, so don't be shocked if I need to change my domain name in the near future. You hear that, Frosco? Be at the ready, my brotha. I'm thinkin' LinneysACoug.com, or somethin' along those lines. But I'm sure you'll come up with somethin'...



And there you have it. Another week, another poll, and another slew of random rants that will actually determine whether or not you think I'm legit. AKA - Par for the course...

I wish you all a good week, and I invite you back again on Friday when I'll have you're guide to successfully betting the Super Bowl. From points to props, and everything in between...although I'm pretty sure that little piece of alliteration pretty much covered it...

I told my guy Leo at the liquor store that I haven't had a losing Bowl since I started betting on them in 2001, and I plan on showing him I truly know how to handle my bidness...man!

Until then, I bid you farewell with the hope that for you, every banana will have the dope inside...


Laura Linney. Laura Linney.
Teddy Williams...
100...