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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

College Hoops Top 25: The Goggles, They Do Nothing!!!


Ahhhh, March. Perhaps the greatest month of them all...

And what I month I have planned for myself. My curling league starts up, the NHL heads towards the playoffs and if I'm lucky, I'll win the contest I entered on the Wheaties box and get to sit on the ice and have my picture taken with America's All Time Olympic medal winner, Yoko Ono's bastard ice skating kid. He seems to have made a living out of sitting on the ice, so I figure if should make for a good photo op...

Ha! And if you believe any of that, I got a Fall Out Boy LIVE from Bucharest bootleg DVD I'd like to sell ya. That's a reference from when my friend, Keith, tried to accuse me, and likewise mock me, for quoting Fall Out Boy when I wrote "#1...with a bullet!", on my Facebook page. I, then had to inform him that the phrase "#1 with a bullet" was a Billboard charts reference and had nothing to do with a gay band named after a comic book character from The Simpsons, but was actually in reference to Syracuse's, at that time, predicted rise from #4 to #1 in both of the major college basketball polls...

Hey, what can I say? I'm here to teach. That, and there's really nothing I like more than having someone try to mock me, only for me to then be able to turn it on their heads and make them look the fool, all without coming off as defensive and too sensitive. Matter of fact, I've always considered that one of my strengths. I liken it to the skill that allowed me to properly predict which person inside Cumby's this morning was the moron triple parked in the full parking lot. Long story short, it was the old woman with the "#1 Grandson" key chain chatting it up at the counter while buying a pack of some Indian bootleg 100's. Sometimes they just make it far too easy...

Problem is, as I'm the only one willing to supply an argument, evidence for my argument, and counterpoints to what I assume will be my oppositions argument, people don't enjoy getting into those types of discussions with me. Hey, it doesn't bother me if you're lazy. In fact, your presumed apathy will be what helps me in proving that the NHL won't benefit from the Olympic momentum, and many others as we go on down the road, so for that I thank you. It's just that every once in a while, it would be nice if someone could adequately challenge me without leaving with the feeling that I had just made fun of or belittled them. It's not that I feel I'm infallible, not by any means, but there's nothing better than a good back and forth between two intelligent people, and for some reason I'm not able to promote those kinds of interaction with nearly the regularity that I would like. Damn you people and your sensitivity. Toss out the tissues, put your ego on the back burner for a second, and let's throw down!

But in lieu of an all out war of words, I'll instead get back to the topic at hand. What I really love about the month of March is 3-fold. March Madness, the start of baseball, and my birthday (March 7th, send money!). When I was a lad, having a March birthday kind of sucked because, well, because it wasn't in the Summer. Now? Well now I look at being born a week before Selection Sunday and think "Damn, my parents must have really been excited about the NCAA Tournament if they hurried to get conception out of the way before the Big Dance!" Uh huh. And if you're buying that, I have a supplement to that Fall Out Boy DVD in which Rainier Wolfcastle provides commentary about not only the concert being performed, but the Fall Out Boy movie that he starred in with an up'n'comer named, Milhouse VanHouten. Here's a sample...

"Remember when the deluge of acid was flowing over my body and I screamed 'My eyes! The goggles do NOTHING!'? Well yeah, those goggles didn't do anything, and now, thanks to the radiation, I'm left with only 3 working sperm, and a head full of transplanted nose and ass hair...and a lifetime supply of Duff Nuclear, courtesy of the good people at Duff Beer. Even in a time of crisis, you can never get enough of that wonderful Duff! Duff Beer, OH YEAH!"

So, yeah, there's that...

Now with Spring Training already picking up steam (predictions are soon to come), and conference tournaments about to kick off in just a matter of days, I can't help but be giddy. Maybe it's the fact that I was born in this month that's given me such an affinity for these two sports, I don't know, but for today's purposes, that's really not relevant. What is, is that my Syracuse Orange have ascended to #1 in virtually any poll you can find. But handicapping the rest of the field? Well that's where I come in...

It's the Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25. The best 25 teams in the country from the authority on all things college basketball...and the authority on a few other things that I'm not nearly as proud of. But again, that's another topic for another day...

For now, let's get down to bizness, and get you boy and girls ready for the wild month that's about to unfold...

Get some...

Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25

1. Syracuse (27-2) 2

LOCK IT DOWN, baby! LOCK...IT...DOWN!

It was the slogan many of the 34,000+ wore when they watched the Cuse/Nova game at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night, and it's what the Orange did to the #1 ranking, and possibly the #1 overall seed in the tournament, when they dismantled Villanova in what many, including yours truly, had dubbed the biggest game of the year. And wow, were they efficient in doing so...

Granted it was a home game, and one with perhaps the greatest home court advantage in recent memory, but what Syracuse did in destroying the Big East's #2, was announce their National Title contention with authority. Sure I knew they were contenders, and you knew they were contenders, but now, judging not just by their ranking, I'd say nearly everyone in the country is on board with that though process as well. Not that I'd label them the runaway favorite, or anything like that, but if for whatever reason you're still not buying into the fact that this team has more than enough of what it takes to go all the way, then I'm afraid to tell you that not only have you missed the boat, but you weren't even at the right shipyard to begin with...

Wesley Johnson's injured hand still remains a stumbling block for Jimmy B. and the Boys, but with Rick Jackson, Andy Rautins and Kris Joesph continuing to pick up the offensive slack at nearly every turn, it seems they've at least bought Johnson a window to get himself back close to 100%. On defense, injured hand or not, Wesley and the Orange have yet to miss a beat...

Don't get it twisted, though. Wesley's health isn't enough to keep the Orange from the Elite 8, but if the man they call "Wes" isn't back to playing more like the player from earlier in the year, it could prevent Syracuse from being really elite. As in, National Champs...

For now, I'll revel in the fact that the pollsters have finally come around to my way of thinking, and count the days 'til I'll be in NYC, hopefully sitting in Madison Square Garden watching my boys romp to yet another Big East Tournament title...

2. Ohio St. (23-7) 5

3. Kentucky (27-2) 3


4. Kansas (26-2) 1

I guess you could apply what I'm about to say to any conference, including the Big East, but anyone doing that simply hasn't watched enough games...

Just because a conference is deemed a "good conference", like the Big XII has been all year, doesn't mean that just because teams in that conference beat each other up they should be worthy of an NCAA bid. In this instance, though I'm writing about Kansas, I'm talking about the team that just beat the Jayhawks, the Oklahoma St. Cowboys...

Now before their 8 point win this weekend at home against Kansas, the Cowboys were 19-8, 3-4 in their last 7, and 6-6 over their last 12. Their only other "good win" in my eyes came at Kansas St. in late January, and they have bad losses on their schedule on a neutral court to URI, 21 point loss @ Tulsa, OT loss to 13-16 Oklahoma, a 7 point loss at 16-12 Texas Tech, and a near loss (71-70) @ a 13-16 Stanford squad. Oh, and their non conference slate? It's a "who's who of who's that?!" with the likes of Seattle, Providence, Southern, Texas San Antonio, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, and Coppin St. accounting for nearly 1/3 of the Cowboys' wins...

But yet they get one win against Kansas, and they're labeled a "LOCK". Right...

Hey, I'm obviously in the minority when it comes to judging the strength of the Big XII this year,and I accept that. But the fact that I'm usually a strong supporter of that league, and are now questioning the resumes of it's various teams, should be a warning sign to steer clear of these teams come tourney time if you can help it...

Will the Cowboys make the Big Dance? Sure. Should they? Probably. But to hand them a bid after their best win of the season, especially when it's basically the ONLY big time win on their resume, just doesn't sit right with me...


5. New Mexico (27-3) 6

Did you see my man, Steve Alford, mixin' it up with the boys from BYU? Well if you didn't, here it is. And if after viewing this you're still not sure why I'm so high on the Lobos, then you're definitely not feelin' my flow...and YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE!

Oh and in case you're not familiar with Alford, here's a look at his legendary mentor. Might give you a good idea of where he's comin' from...



One or two steps above prostitution, huh? Hahahaaaaaa, I like it!

6. Michigan St. (22-7) 9

7. Villanova (23-5) 7

8. Kansas St. (24-4) 11

9. Duke (25-4) 12

Back to the resume argument for a minute as we turn to perennial Rooch Nation punching bag, the Duke Blue Devils...

If I have beef with OK. St. moving to lock status, then you can only imagine my displeasure with the Dukies being mentioned as a possible #1. Quality wins? Bueller?...Bueller?...No? Yeah, I couldn't find one either. Matter of fact, combing through their schedule, the closest thing I could find was their neutral court wins over Gonzaga and UCONN, both of which occurred before Santa even came to town...

Granted at 25-4, they can't be ignored and must be ranked among the Nation's top 10-15 teams, but with the ACC having such a down year, how can they really be considered a #1? I don't care what their RPI says, because what I see is a team that's a notch, maybe a notch and a half above a team like the Butler Bulldogs. What? Butler runs the show in their beat conference, right? They don't have many quality wins to speak of, right?

Whatever. I suppose there has be be some #1 or #2 seed that falls in the second round to a 7, 8, 9, or 10, right?..


10. West Virginia (23-6) 14

I said it before and I'll say it again. The Mountaineers are by far and away the most confusing team in Division 1 college basketball right now. When they decide to let their offense revolve around the dribble drive, their one of the best teams going. When they fall in love with the 3? Well, then they're about as beatable as the Washington Generals...

And for the life of me, I can't figure it out. Is it that Bog Huggins wants them to continue to hoist up the 3's, OR that he can't or refuses to try and get them to conform? Whatever it is, if the long, lanky, aggressive team that currently sits 4th in the country in offensive rebounding doesn't show up, and the Craig Hodges traveling road show does, then it could be a quick one and done for Huggie Bear and his talented crew...

Hopefully the Big East Tournament will give us a better idea of which team we're going to see come the Big Dance...


11. Purdue (24-4) 4

That's 2 years in a row that a tourney favorite of mine has lost a key player to injury a mere weeks before the tourney. Last year it was Dominic James and Marquette, this year it's Robbie Hummel and Purdue. The Boilers lost Hummel for the rest of the season this week, probably due in most part because I penned him the "Larry Bird of the Bracket" in my last post, and with it goes any hope of reaching the Final Four...

E'Twaun Moore and JuJuan Johnosn are good, but they're not that good. Time for this guy to regroup, and find another team that's gonna go out and make some noise....although if last year is any indication, I'll still pick Purdue to go a round too far...

12. Pittsburgh (22-7) 10

13. Butler (26-4) 13

14. Wisconsin (21-7) 15

15. Gonzaga (24-5) 17

16. BYU (26-4) 16

17. Georgetown (19-9) 8

Without leading scorer, Austin Freeman, the Hoyas were without any offensive punch against West Virginia, and should he remain out, JT III and friends could be in trouble...

What's more troubling, is this team's consistency, and it's what's gonna make them a tough nut to crack when you're filling out your bracket. I make the argument every year, and this time Georgetown fits the mold. With a team like this, you can't pick them to win just one game. Either they're gonna show up, in which case they make the Sweet 16 at the very least, or they won't show up, in which case they lose in the first round and Greg Monroe bolts for the NBA...

Not exactly great analysis, I know, but anyone who knows tournament tendencies knows what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, unlike WVU, we probably won't ever learn much more about this enigmatic Hoya squad, and will be left to guess when it comes to filling out your bracket...

Hey, it's teams like this that make this thing so much fun, anyway. Right? So I'm all for it, as long as I guess right, and the Hoyas don't screw up my chance for bracket glory...

18. Texas (23-7) 19

19. Vanderbilt (22-6) 21

20. Richmond (22-7) 20

I'm having a tough time believing that anyone who watched that Xavier/Richmond actually voted in this week's Top 25 polls...

Going into the game, which was played @ Xavier, the teams were 21-6 and 21-7 respectively, and sat a mere 5-8 spots away from each other in the rankings. Then, Xavier holds serve at home by beating Richmond by 2 in OT, and the Spiders slip from the rankings while the Musketeers are welcomed as a new arrival. By that logic, had Syracuse beaten Villanova in OT @ The Carrier Dome, the Wildcats would have dropped 5-8 spots in the polls. Now does that make sense? Of course it doesn't, which is probably why 'Nova only dropped from 8 to 9. It's also why you have to assume that most people voting didn't see a single second of this Richmond/Xavier game, yet obviously watched most if not all of the Cuse/Nova tilt. Excusable if they were both on at the same time, but this time that's not gonna fly...

Personally, as someone who watched that thing from start to finish, I walked away from that game impressed with both teams, and convinced that at least one of them is poised to make a deep run into March. They're quick, efficient, aggressive, and they both surprisngly have enough scoring punch of get it done against even the Nation's big boys. They may not be big, but considering the up and down manner in which most tournament games are played, and the fact that it's usually the team with the best guards that wins, I give both of these teams more than a fighting chance to be players on the big stage...

See, someone who watched the game came away impressed, and determined a 2 point OT win represented the fact that the away team would probably be just a hair better in a neutral court atmosphere. Those who didn't? Well they felt that OT home win by 2 was enough to move Xavier up 6 spots in the polls, while moving Richmond down an average of 8. Right, because that makes all the sense in the world...

On the plus side, it appears as though, in the voters, I've found a market for those FallOutBoy DVD's. So I got that goin' for me, which is nice...

21. Xavier (21-7) NR

22. Texas A&M (20-8) 18

23. UTEP (22-5) 22

24. Baylor (22-6) NR

25. Marquette (19-9) NR


just missed: Cornell; Temple; Maryland; Mississippi St.; Northern Iowa; Tennessee; Oklahoma St.; Florida; UNLV

dropped: (24) Northern Iowa; (25) Cornell


Decent selection of games headed our way this week, but with the conference tourney's peeking their heads around the corner, it's tough to focus on anything other than the arrival of Selection Sunday. Then again, maybe that's because my team is #1 in the land, and I'm no longer searching for a horse in this epic derby run...

For the rest of ya, for those who still haven't found their #1 with a bullet, here's a few games you might wanna check out in order to help you adequately form your opinion. Ya know, that is if you're not too busy watching the NHL...


This Week's Slate

3/2
St. John's @ Syracuse (ESPNU 7 pm)
Villanova @ Cincinnati (ESPN2 7 pm)
UTEP @ Marshall
Georgia Tech @ Clemson
Illinois @ Ohio St.
Louisville @ Marquette

3/3
UCONN @ Notre Dame (ESPN 7 pm)
Wake Forest @ Florida St. (ESPN2 7 pm)
Kansas St. @ Kansas
Duke @ Maryland (ESPN 9 pm)
Temple @ St. Louis
BYU @ Utah

3/4
Dayton @ Richmond
Providence @ Pittsburgh (ESPN 9 pm)

3/5
Kent St. @ Akron (ESPN2 8 pm)

3/6
West Virginia @ Villanova (CBS 12 pm)
Syracuse @ Louisville (ESPN 2 pm)
Kansas @ Missouri (CBS 2 pm)
Richmond @ Charlotte
UCONN @ South Florida
Notre Dame @ Marquette
Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech
Tennessee @ Mississippi St. (ESPN 6 pm)
UNC @ Duke (ESPN 9 pm)
UAB @ UTEP

3/7
Florida @ Kentucky (CBS 12 pm)
Wisconsin @ Illinois
Michigan @ Michigan St.

3/8
NONE

So there you have it kids, another weekly edition of my thoughts and comments about all things college hoops. Straight from my brain, to your eyes...with, of course, a little assistance from my main man, Al Gore...

Keep your eyes peeled for new Rooch Nation posts coming fast and furious come tourney time, and maybe even a LIVE update or two from the Big Apple. For even more Roochy goodness, make sure you follow along with me on Twitter (@RoochNation) where there are sure to be constant updates about all things Big East, and eventually all things Big Dance...

Have a good week, friends, and let me leave you with this sage piece of advice...

What LOCKS DOWN, must go UP!

Goodbye, everybody!

...and yes, I too went to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College...


Teddy Williams...
WJ4P...
100...

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is Imann, i just don't want to fill out info for the options other than anonymous...

I respect the call, but I think you should have explained the Ohio State at #2...Hitting stride at right time, Healthy Turner = success, fewer flaws than Duke or Kentucky...

PS: I was at the Nova game - 11 rows back - and it was amazing....second best seats I've had in the dome for a big game next to that Maryland vs. UCONN with my buddy Rooch...

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