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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

College Hoops Top 25: I Am...Eldrick Woods


So do you believe in miracles?!?!

Yes?? Well I sure hope so. But if you're under the impression that one of those miracles would be yours truly devoting an entire column to provide a mea culpa in regards to my past comments about the Olympics, then I'm sorry to say you're in for a bigger disappointment than Woody Allen when he realized the person who ate all those hot dogs so fast wasn't actually a chick, and was actually a man in his 30s...

No, my dear friends, I'm here again to break down the ever evolving drama that is the race to cut down the nets. IT's the march towards March, if you will, and with the aforementioned month less than 7 days away, its' time to start guessing about teams, and time to really start formulating opinions. Granted the conference tournaments will help mold those opinions quite a bit, but simply relying on a week's worth of action to base your bracket picks on is usually a recipe for disaster...

Matter of fact, those of you that do choose to go all out during the upcoming conference tournament's in hopes to sound intelligent once the bracket's come out, will more than likely fall prey to a classic bracket busting stumbling block. I won't tell you what that is, because I'm here to help genuine fans, not wannabe frauds, but let me just say the most common mistake made using that fraudulent strategy usually ends up with you cursing a team that's name rhymes with the most popular synonym for "vomit". Seeing as their isn't a "Ralph University", I think we all know which lacrosse and stripper loving school I'm talking about. Although I suppose you could find schools that rhyme with "yak" and "spew", too, but seeing as my point has already been made I think I'm just gonna stop right there...

But before we get down to the deed, and I release the latest version of my Top 25, I do have some other news tidbits to get to. I have some thoughts on Tiger, the Red Sox, Patriots, some thoughts on the Olympics, and even a positive movie review to throw your way. So skip down the page, if you'd like, and check out the rankings, or hang around for a minute or two, and get your extra learn on.

First, we'll begin with Mr. Woods...


In my eyes, as long as he didn't come out and say "Tiger is dead. I am now....Eldrick Woods", then he was probably gonna be OK. It was a controlled environment, there weren't gonna be any questions asked, it was set up for him to look good. So when T-Money crushed his mock presser like a drive down the 18th fairway of any Major of your choosing, I wasn't surprised. He is the public relations master of the sporting world. Hell, of the world, period. Not only was he the perfect spokesperson for his ad men and the hero de jour of parents everywhere, but he was all this while covering up a snatch addiction that would make Wilt the Stilt look like Lance Bass. Now if that's not the definition of great public relations, then I'm not sure what is...

But to Tiger's credit, he did knock that thing out of the park. This wouldn't be the first time an athlete botched a media layup like this, so to his credit he did the damn thing. And to be honest, outside of when he came out like a deer in headlights and almost seemed to lose it mid first sentence, I thought he did a really good job. He seemed contrite, but somewhat vengeful, which I liked. He took just enough time to vilify the media and deny reports about roids, but made sure not to travel down those paths too far as to appear as though he was deflecting. And I liked that, because that seems like a "human response" from someone logically thinking "OK I know I fucked up, but these peeps are assholes, they've gone too far, too, and I'm gonna make sure they know it". I mean, I know he likely didn't write that speech, but whoever thought it was a good idea to toss that shit in there definitely gets a big thumbs up from this guy. And finally, in echoing something I'd like to think I'd do myself, he made it clear that his personal life is his business. He said he hated what he'd done to his wife and children, but that the status of those relationships was something that was none of the general public's business, and something that he and his family would discuss amongst themselves. Another good line...

And that's what we're left to wonder now, with Tiger, regardless of when he plays next and how he answers the waiting media. Because he was such a PR whiz, because he had apparently "spun" his way into our living rooms, how are we to ever again believe anything this guys says? Don't get me wrong, as a guy that's constantly telling his readers to separate the player and the person, I'm not going to stop rooting for Tiger to win, I'm just never again going to trust him when it comes to the all important decision of which razors to buy...

See? Se how silly that sounds? And that's pretty much what we're talking about here, isn't it? You know and I know we're both gonna root for him when he comes back, so what are we really talking about here? We're talking about, how does Tiger Woods go about getting his sponsors back? Answer: By saying all the right things, and doing all the right things...

Right up his alley, wouldn't you say?

We've seen the man behind the curtain, and he's humpin' Toto like there's no tomorrow. Fine, whatever. Let's just get him back on the course. Back to where he;s our, sexhound. We get you're sorry. You're sorry you got caught. Sure, happens to the best of us. But just get your shit in order and get back out there, Tiger. You've already ruined you're credibility and crushed a lot of little kids' dreams, so why don't you do the one thing that still makes us happy and makes you look good. Go out there and beat Phil's ass!

YOU ARE TIGER WOODS. For better, and for worse...


Transitioning to the Olympics, I really only have two brief things to say...


1) Anton Apollo Creed's record 7 Winter Olympic medals might be the most fraudulent record this side of Barroid's cranium. Now I don't wanna take away from how hard he works, or how talented he is, mostly because I don't know enough, but I've seen that fool win at least 3 of those medals because at least 2 guys in front of him were involved in violent collisions mere meters before the finish line. I get that's part of the sport, but come on! That's like winning the dunk contest because everybody else missed their dunks, and you only did a standard windmill or some whack Dee Brown impression. I guess I can chalk it up to another sketchy happening at a sketchy set of events, but I had to say something about it or I just wouldn't be able to live with myself...


2) For the many of you that texted me before, during and after the USA/Canada hockey game telling me how great it was and how stupid I am for hating on hockey, I'd just like to thank you for proving my point. I've contended all along, goin' on a solid 10 years now, that while I do hate the NHL, I DO NOT HATE International hockey. The reason I hate the NHL, is that the talent pool is far too diluted because there are too many teams, and the ice is too small. International hockey? Bigger ice, and fewer, more talented teams. And that's why the moment captured above will still be one of my all time favorite sports memories, and why I won't watch the NHL again until they get with the program, and fix their game...

So yeah, suck it.

PS - I didn't' watch the game. I only watch medal rounds...and I was in my car for most of it...


And finally, before I get to this week's Top 25, I'd like to pass along a positive recommendation of Frost/Nixon. I'd wanted to see it for a long time, and thanks to the good people at the Home Box Office and Comcast, I was able to do so at my leisure this past Sunday morning. This movie's probably not for everyone, but if you're down for good acting and historical drama's, then this film could very well scratch you right where you itch. Great performances from Frank Langella, Michael "No Relation" Sheen, and my main mens 'm them, Sam Rockwell, not to mention a sultry British chick who should be topless at some point, but never is...

If you're worried about not knowing about the background of the Frost/Nixon interviews or thought that Frost/Nixon was Otis Nixon reading Robert Frost poems, don't worry, they do a great job explaining all the historical elements of the events to make sure everyone is up to speed...

I gave it an 8 on IMDB, and I gave The Usual Suspects, Shawshank, Godfather I+II, and Back to the Future II 10's. So you got that as a frame of reference. I think I gave 8's to Joe Dirt and Pootie Tang though, so you might wanna keep that in mind too...

Oh and be prepared to laugh pretty hard when Nixon asks Frost a certain "Tiger-esque" question right before one of their interview sessions. Lord knows I nearly lost it...

But enough jibba jabba, movie talk, and jokes about Otis Nixon and Woody Allen (Dakotis will become a funny name to say later on this column). It's time to do what we came here to do. It's time to size up the field as we head down the stretch. I know I said I'd chat about the Sox and Pats, but I've just flat out run out of time. Besides, there's plenty of time to chat about that stuff. The important thing, is what's right in front of us. The conference tournaments will be starting sooner than you think, and it'll seem like only days until I'm tweeting LIVE from the Big East tournament @ Madison Square Garden...or at least getting my drink on a few blocks away...and likely still tweeting...

We've still got a lot to figure out between now and then, and the best games of the season still to watch. But for now, let's take a look at where I think the country's best teams have positioned themselves going into the most pivotal part of the season. Bids are won, bids are lost. It's a glorious thing. And I for one am having trouble waiting any longer...

So let's get to it...


Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25

1. Kansas (26-1) 1

It's almost fraudulent that I have the Jayhawks here, because no matter what they do this week they won't be #1 if Syracuse beats Villanova. For the record, though, were I handed a bracket right now, it would be tough for me not to chalk the Jayhawks all the way through to their 2nd National Title in recent memory. Then again, I've pretty much picked them every year except for the year they won it, so that might be something of a sign in itself...

2. Syracuse (25-2) 2

I'm all for Kris Joseph bailing out the Orange late in that game against Georgetown, Hell, I've been saying if he steps up it can really put Cuse over the top, but I'm also slightly alarmed that Wes Johnson couldn't be counted on in that situation. Is his hand really still bothering him? Well that's what Erin Andrews reported, clothed or not, I'm inclined to believe her. Granted she said it while reporting underneath the basket where Johnson had just picked up his 5th blocked shot of the half, but it's still worth noting when he was nowhere to be found when G'Town was mounting their epic comeback...

Maybe Boeheim was sour on how Wesley handled the end of the Louisville game, with that horrendous drive to the baseline on their last real possession, and that's why Joseph had the ball. I don't know. What I do know, is that if Wesley isn't ready to go Saturday against Nova, Syracuse could be in for their 3rd Big East home loss of the season. I don't think that'll be the case, but I would like to see him assert himself in crunch time before we enter the terrordome of the one-and-done. I'm sure the 34,000+ expected to attend the Syracuse/Nova game wouldn't mind seeing some of that, either...



3. Kentucky (26-1) 3

I met a Kentucky fan this week, a kid born and raised in Lexington, and we immediately agreed on 3 things...

1) We both love college basketball

2) The biggest threat to Kentucky right now, is Syracuse and their zone defense

3) The Cats might be just a hair too young and immature to be ready to take down the tournament...

Speaking about the last part, I also threw in a "all you need is for Cousins to go Sheed on someone and that could be it in the Sweet 16 or the Elite 8". The kid from Kentucky laughed, I laughed. A bond was formed. A coincidence that Sheed was involved? I would think not...

4. Purdue (23-3) 5

Purdue vs Ohio St. last week? That's just good basketball right there. The Boiler's are so dangerous when their offense is right, and right now E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson are playing their best basketball. Not to mention white man extraordinaire, Robbie Hummel. I mean we all know how crucial those white guys can be come tourney time. And that's some racism we can all appreciate...

5. Ohio St. (21-7) 6

6. New Mexico (25-3) 10

Yup, I'm not stopping with this "New Mexico thing". That was a term coined by a friend of mine, and 'Nache frequenter, who to his credit has actually seen the Lobos play and just thinks I'm full of shit. Fair enough, my friend, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But riddle me this, Bat-Ted. What do you call a 25-3 team, riding an 11 game winning streak, from an underrated conference, with a 15/8/5 guy that nobody this side of the Mighty Mississip has ever even heard of? That, my friend, is what you call a bracket buster...

Here endith the lesson...

7. Villanova (22-4) 4

8. Georgetown (18-7) 8

9. Michigan St. (21-7) 7

The Boiler's and Buckeye's have clearly separated themselves atop the Big 10, but with Izzo at the helm of a team that we all think still has top 5 talent, it'll be a warm and prosperous day in Detroit before anyone with any chops goes writing this team off...

Did somebody say they're havin' squirrel kabob's at the next flaming trashcan? Apparently Thanksgiving does come twice a year...

10. Pittsburgh (21-6) 14

If I wanted to, I could dig into my archives a few weeks back and tell you how it was only a matter of time before the voters came back around on Pittsburgh and Ohio St. But I know you'll just take my word for it. Mostly because you know I'm right, but mostly because I know you're cool like that...

Jamie D's got his boys playin' well, though, and it's never a bad thing come tourney time when specializing in winning close games is your forte...

11. Kansas St. (22-4) 11

12. Duke (23-4) 9


13. Butler (25-4) 15

The Bulldogs have been holding their own both in and out of conference, but I just don't know what to make of them. And beating a less than tourney ready Siena team in the friendly confines of their own gym is hardly something that's going to help me make up my mind...

Somethin' just tells me that despite this team's talent and experience, foul trouble is gonna cost them in the tournament. Whenever I see them play, they always have key guys in foul trouble. How else do you think I got this photo of versatile big guy, Matt Howard? I know that doesn't hold a ton of water when you look at their 25-4 record, but they won't be play Horizon League teams in the NCAA Tournament. Lose a key guy in the Sweet 16, and you'll wish you were picking your nose on the bench, instead of picking which team you want to play for in the Turkish Semi Pro League...

I hope you like lamb, Mr. Howard. And I hope you like it unrefrigerated...


14. West Virginia (21-5) 12

Flat out don't trust these guys either. Huggins has officially turned West Virginia into Cincinnati II, and now has a team full of lanky guys that are as good as they are streaky, both on offense and defense. Not to mention the fact that RI native, Joe Mazzula, is still logging major minutes despite the fact that he is physically unable to take any sort of legitimate outside shot. The guy is shooting free throws left handed, for crying out loud!..

Between Butler, Ebanks and the rest, the Mountaineers have the talent to be a title contender, but like Huggins' teams of yore, they just might not have enough goin' on upstairs to help guide them through the tournament gauntlet...

Kenyon Martin, Da'Sean Butler, Rueben Patterson, Kenny Satterfield. Myron Rolle. Which name doesn't fit? Oh and the Pats are gonna draft Myron Rolle, by the way. He's gonna be the team doctor, and start at corner and return kicks. OH and if you don't know who Myron Rolle is, then Google his ass. Don't leave the Nation, just open a new tab, and come back when you're done. I'll wait for ya...

15. Wisconsin (20-7) 13

16. BYU (25-3) 17

17. Gonzaga (22-5) 16

18. Texas A&M (19-7) 18

19. Texas (21-6) 19

20. Richmond (22-6) 22

I was trying to think of a clever Charlotte's Web reference that I could weave in here because they are the Richmond "Spiders", but I couldn't really think of one. The Spider's are hot right now though, and while most "experts" still have them behind Temple, I think they're far and away the best team in the A-10...

But anyway, in lieu of a C's Web reference (not to be confused with a C-Webb reference), here' a picture of Steve Buscemi and Dakota Fanning, who starred in a recent remake of the movie. Oh and in case you didn't know, Chuck Norris' man meat is what happened to Dakota Fanning's teeth. Or so I read on the Internet. I'm not so sure what Buscemi's excuse is, though, and due to the fact I like him as an actor I sure hoep it's the same as Dakota's. That would be as gross as all of this was relevant...

21. Vanderbilt (20-6) 20

22. UTEP (20-5) 25



23. Utah St. (22-6) NR

True to form, if you're new to the rankings, you're guaranteed to get a little write up. Northern Iowa at 24 below has already got one this season, so I won't bother with them again, but newcomer Utah St. is going to red the red carpet treatment. Well, at least the red, shag doormat treatement...

From the conference that usually appropraitely describes the winner's credibility, WAC frontrunners Utah St. might not have the computer numbers to satisfy the selctions committee, butheir doing their best to make sure they take that decision into their own hands. At 22-6 and winners of their last 12, the Aggies are primed ot play spoiler come tourney time and are ready to fianlly capitalize on their recent run of success. Last year they got a tough draw in round 1 as an 11 against an underrated #6, Marquette, but again look for them to use that to their advantage...

It's as balanced and unselfish a team as you'll find in the country, another strength that should help them down the stretch, but look for them to really make some noise if Junior forward, Tai Wesley, starts to play up to the ability that many scouts think he has...

And if you're still not a fan, they start a guy named Pooh Williams who averages 9 a game and shoots 41% from 3. That's right. Pooh. As in Winnie The. So yeah. Get on board...

24. Northern Iowa (24-3) NR

25. Cornell (22-4) 24


just missed: Tennessee; Temple; Baylor; Xavier; Virginia Tech; UCONN; whoever wins the PAC 10

dropped: (21) UNLV; (23) Baylor

While I won't be attending my 4th ever Syracuse/PC game at the Funkin' Gonuts Center this evening, I will still be there in spirit. What has become essentially an NIT rite of passage the past few years for the Friars has, as usual, "trap" written all over it for the Orange, a pitfall they will hopefully be able to avoid...

As for the rest of the week? Well for me it's all about the spectacle that will be Cuse/Nova, but I'm sure you can find something else to watch if you're so inclined...


This Week's Slate

2/23
Syracuse @ Providence (ESPNU 7 pm)
Georgetown @ Louisville (ESPN2 7 pm)
Illinois @ Michigan (ESPN 7 pm)
Virginia @ Miami
Tennessee @ Florida (ESPN 9 pm)

2/24
Dayton @ Temple
Pittsburgh @ Notre Dame (ESPN 7 pm)
Purdue @ Minnesota
South Florida @ Villanova
Oklahoma St. @ Texas (ESPN2 9 pm)
Texas A&M @ Baylor
Xavier @ St. Louis
San Diego St. @ BYU

2/25
Tulsa @ Duke (ESPN2 7 pm)
South Carolina @ Kentucky (ESPN2 9 pm)

2/26
Brown @ Harvard (AM 790 @ 645 pm Listen LIVE @ www.790business.com)

2/27
Kentucky @ Tennessee (CBS 12 pm)
Notre Dame @ Georgetown (CBS 12 pm)
Texas @ Texas A&M (ESPN 2 pm)
Cincinnati @ West Virginia
Kansas @ Oklahoma St. (CBS 4 pm)
New Mexico @ BYU
Missouri @ Kansas St.
Mississippi St. @ South Carolina (ESPN 6 pm)
Illinois St. @ Northern Iowa
Villanova @ Syracuse (ESPN 9 pm)

2/28
Richmond @ Xavier (ESPN2 1 pm)
Louisville @ UCONN (CBS 2 pm)
Michigan St. @ Purdue
Clemson @ Florida St. (FSN 530 pm)
Duke @ Virginia (FSN 745 pm)

3/1
Georgetown @ West Virgnia (ESPN 7 pm)


There you have it, kids. Another one in the books...

Go Cuse, and here's to hoping to all have a great week...and that Chuck Norris stays away from your mouth...

Teddy Williams...
WJ4P...
100...
#$>...

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