Friday, March 04, 2011

College Hoops Top 25: No Big Love for BYU

With the anniversary of my birth a mere 3 days away, that can only mean one thing.  That 'Championship Week' has already technically begun, and that it's bigger and much flashier brother, The NCAA Tournament, cannot be far behind.  Per usual, I'm about to jump out of my skin with excitement, but also per usual, I'll be sure to steady myself in an attempt to give you the most informed and well researched opinions on every team before they punch their dance card on Selection Sunday...

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Sure some of the smaller conferences have already begun their prep work for their latest attempt at producing a Cinderella (not to mention a Gus Johnson signature call), but with the Big Boys still playing out the string and this guy still more than 48 hours from the start of his 29th year (only turning 28, smarties), there's no need to rush things.  That's why, before I delve into the College Basketball Mensa meeting for 1 that is my weekly Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25, I'm going to take a minute to tackle some non roundball related topics that have been dominating the headlines.  Ya know, like "winning", for instance.  A substance, I too, have always found myself addicted too...

Carlito Estevez's Way: Fall From Power
In a minute, it's going to seem hypocritical that I commented on this story at all, but here's a quote I read recently on the actions of one Charlie Sheen, that I happen to be in total agreement with...

Bob Garfield, host of NPR's On the Media: "The question is, just because someone is a celebrity, are the media absolved of the responsibility not to exploit his illness for the sake of audience?  Rhetorical question there.The answer is, when someone is coming mentally unhinged, it is ethically abhorrent to egg him on."

Like I said, because I agree with that quote it would seem a tad hypocritical for me to even mention Sheen and his outrageous antics, but for me this type of situation comes with an acceptable caveat:  

When celebrities are the one's coming unhinged in front of our very eyes, we should help them instead of egg them on.  HOWEVER, when their meltdown is hilarious, AND part of it involves saying how much better they are than everyone else, then I say a grace period exists in which we as observers can enjoy the antics before ever starting to feel guilty about it...

So rock on, Chuck.  I don't happen to find your meltdown all that funny, but then again, outside of Hot Shots!, I've never really found any of your work all that funny.  OK, Chris Tucker carried you in Money Talks, and that was OK, but that's about it, man.  But if you are one of the people that happens to be enjoying this meltdown, and you're hanging on Charlie's every word across all forms of media, then you've got about one week of legitimate enjoyment left before you're simply labeled a huge Ted that gets their kicks out off watching other people fail.  Or, ya know, in lieu of a week, before he dies of a a drug overdose on the set of the alleged porno he's shooting, "MeatSpin City".  Whichever comes first...

...and yes, I'm the only source that I know of 'alleging' that he's in talks to make that movie.  But what a title, huh?  Pretty damn clever, if you ask me.  Oh, and that MeatSpin City hyperlink is exactly what you think it is...or is it? Muahahahaha...

In the NFL, labor talks seemed to be headed in much the same direction as Mr. Sheen's sanity, until an extension was granted yesterday that keeps the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in place until later tonight.  This is good news, as it seemingly means they're closer than most of us thought to reaching a long term agreement.  OR, at least a legitimate basis on which to start discussing a long term agreement.  If they were at a stalemate, they'd probably let the deadline pass, right?  That's at least the common sense approach I'm taking in this situation.  A dangerous approach, I know, but with so much money at stake, I'm of the opinion that these two sides will come to an agreement much sooner than many have predicted.  In other words, I no longer am of the belief that a lockout is inevitable...

Even the fact that Brady, Brees & Manning recently announced that they have agreed to serve as the head plaintiffs should the Player's Union dissolve and decide to sue the league makes me think a deal is coming soon.  Sounds a bit backwards, I know, but it's that type of big, threatening talk that, in my experience, usually signals the opposite of what's actually happening behind the scenes.  In other words, it's almost as if it's one final shot by the player's to gain a little more leverage before they finally strike a deal.  They're under impression a public trial with the All American's representing the "poor" players isn't something the league will want to engage in, and they're probably right.  So if you're asking me, I'd look for a deal sooner rather than later.  Or at the very least, another on of these extensions...

Hey, when rich guys fight over money, usually only the lawyers win.  Maybe this time, the fans will win, too, with their reward being a smooth transition into the 2011-2012 season.  Man, I hope I'm right...

Now, it's on to the main event.  Not the Mayne Event, mind you, as I'm not currently budgeted to make quirky videos with fringe celebrities, but a main event nonetheless.  And it is quirky, I guess, as far as poll's go, because, ya know, I tend to use a lot of common sense...

Getcha read on, my damies, and be sure to take note of the plummeting Mormons.  Damn honor code not lettin' peeps hit the skins! Whatever happened to multiple wives?!  And how you gonna land 2+ wives if you're not out playin' the Mormon field?!  What in the name of the Latter Day Saints is goin' on over there?!?

Crazy Mormons...

College Hoops Top 25
1. Pittsburgh (26-4) 1

The Panthers continue to sputter a bit atop my poll (no homo), but I still find it hard to say that I wouldn't pick them as the favorite if the NCAA Tournament started today.  Maybe that will be to my peril, who knows.  It certainly has been in years past, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna let that deter me.  They're still tough, well coached, and have great guards.  Not to mention their one of the most efficient offensive and defensive teams in the country.  These are all character traits of a Champion, and as of right now, they're the only team in the NCAA that I can comfortably say that about.  Hence, why they're still at #1 despite another 1-1 week...

Robbie Who-mmel?
2. Purdue (25-5) 5

Hot on Pitt's heels, however, we now find the white hot Boilermakers of Purdue.  And they're doing it all without their white star, Robbie Hummel.  Huh? See what I did there?  Yeah, you saw it...

Fact is, is that while Pittsburgh may still provide the best combination of 'how they're playing now' + 'how much talent they have', if I were to just do a poll of 'how they're playing now', the Boilers would find themselves at #1 with a freakin' bullet.  And while JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore are stars you should know from last year, it's Junior G Lewis Jackson that really helps this squad push the tempo, and a player that could serve as a big time catalyst come tourney time.  It also doesn't hurt that while Hummel might be out, they've got a few other tall white guys that have been makin' it rain from outside anyway...

Freakin whities.  They all look alike, don't they?  And they can all shoot 3's, which is lucky for them, or they'd have no place in the sport!...

3. Ohio St. (27-2) 3

4. Duke (27-3) 2

I'm officially confused when it comes to the Blue Devils, and I'm withholding any further comment until the return of G Kyrie Irving is official.  Without him, this squad has done nothing but prove to me that they're a bad shooting night away from a 2nd round exit.  Then again, I still have them at #4 and last week had them as high as #2.  So maybe I'm all talk.  Eh, probably a good thing I withhold judgement for a while, wouldn't you say?...

5. Notre Dame (24-5) 8

6. Kansas (28-2) 6

7. North Carolina (23-6) 10

The Heels would be right behind the Boilers in terms of how well their playing right now, and that's bad news for pretty much everyone else with post season aspirations.  I still think they're a touch young and raw to ultimately get the job done, but this UNC team is a prime example of a squad that just very well may benefit from not having to have played in a physical conference like the Big East all season.  We Big East fans constantly brag about the high level of competition, but it must be nice to be relatively more fresh when tournament play rolls around.  I'm not knocking the ACC, even though it's having a down year, I'm just saying it's not nearly as physical a conference, and in this case, I think that might end up serving to a team like UNC's advantage...

8. Syracuse (24-6) 9

Here's my weekly take on the State of the Orange:

They've won 4 straight, which is great, but there have been far too many 'bad-shots-gone-right' during that stretch for it to inspire too much confidence.  Basically, they're still making way too many mistakes, it's just that for these 4 games, they've managed to work around them.  One would think that can only last so long, and I my friends, am that ONE.  They're still too poor a free throw shooting team (66%) to be considered a Final Four squad, and much the inverse of UNC, they could very well be a team that starts to look tired down the stretch.  I obviously hope that's not the case, but despite the recent surge, the Orange hardly seem like a team that's peaking right now...

Still, on talent and resume alone, they deserve to be this high.  If for no other reason that come Selection Sunday, they'll be viewed as one of the top 10 teams with "what it takes" to win a National Championship...

9. Wisconsin (23-6) 7

Colonel Sanders DID walk through that door...
10. Louisville (23-7) 15

I talk about Purdue having lost Robbie Hummel, but imagine Louisville with 6'8" Junior big man, Jared Swopshire?  He'd add that level of toughness the Cardinals could definitely use come tourney time...

That being said, Ricky Whitesuit has got his boys playing possessed right now, and much like Lewis Jackson, there's a potential that this March could make explosive G Peyton Siva a household name...

11. Texas (24-6) 4

They're in the A-10, right? Right???
12. Xavier (23-6) 14

I've got the Musketeers ranked about 20 spots higher than most of the pundits, but that doesn't bother me.  Just like it didn't bother me when we passed an Xavier building in New Orleans, and I was adamantly told that the building we were looking at belonged to the very same Xavier that was based in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Same school, huh?  You don't say?  Ha! If this were Twitter, I'd be slapping a #getLEARNED hashtag on that and blasting it out to the masses!  But alas, it's not.  Moral of the story is, I've seen Xaiver (the one in OHIO) play a bunch this year, and they're the real deal.  Unlike that bootleg school on the outskirts of NOLA...

13. Kentucky (21-8) 19

14. Vanderbilt (21-8) 18

Patchy beards = March success. As if you didn't know...
15. George Mason (24-5) 20

Sometimes, it's best to let those who know more than you do, do the talkin'.  This, my friends, is one of those instances.  Ladies and Teds, here's a snippet from one of my favorite bloggers/columnists, Mr. Chad Millman...

'There's no disputing that the George Mason Patriots -- owners of a 15-game win streak, Ryan Pearson's wicked, scraggly, patchy beard (above) and, as of this week, a Top 25 ranking -- are swelling with pride. The Patriots are not only likely locks for the NCAA tourney (potentially a No. 7 seed if they win the CAA), but they have been killing it against the spread. In this week's Sweat Barometer, which I work up with Sal Selvaggio from, George Mason is No. 2 in the country, with an SB number of 4.21 against an average spread of minus-7.04 (that means it is beating the spread by an average of 4.21 points per game). The Patriots also have an amazing 21-7 record ATS -- that, my degenerate friends, is a gaudy, sick, crazy number.'

Anyone who uses the term "my degenerate friends" is OK by me, and I think if you check out his work, you'll like him too.  Not to mention the fact that he's helping to back up my claims that George Mason is a team to be feared come March... 

16. UCONN (22-8) 16

Not that their season needs "saving", but the inconsistent Huskies have a great chance to salvage their post season stock when they headline an insane Saturday of action when they play host to the red hot Fighting Irish on Senior Night...

...and OK, maybe Duke/UNC is the headliner at 8 pm later that night, but this is still a pretty big freakin' game...

17. Georgetown (21-8) 17

18. Villanova (21-9) 12

LOOK OUT BELOW.  Jay Wright's Cats are 5-8 after starting 16-1, and are fresh off a 21 beat down at the hands of the Irish, in which Notre Dame torched them for a school record 20 3-pointers!  Not a great sign, to say the least.  Lucky for Wright, he's still got that great March resume to rely on.  Which he may need to call on seeing as his boys are playing themselves into double digit seed territory...

Wow, trying to score @ BYU is tough stuff...
19. BYU (27-3) 13

So here we are.  The story you've heard about all week, and the one my headline so cleverly refers to.  A story apparently SO BIG, that the same radio jocks I blasted for not talking college hoops spent about 2 hours on it the other day.  They still didn't talk a word of college basketball, mind you, and they spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out if the Mountain West had it's Championship game on a Sunday (BYU doesn't play on obviously the MWC wouldn't have it's NCAA auto qualifying game on a Sunday. DUH!), but I guess I should take solace in the fact that they at least touched on the sport that they constantly ignore.  Or not...

What's good for the goose...?
But here's my take on the whole situation.  The kid broke the rule, so he should face the consequences.  Plain and simple.  Just rule, stupid rule, whatever.  IT was a rule he was aware of, he broke it, that's that.  What I've gotten out of all of this though, is a sense of amazement that, with those strict rules in place, BYU has still been able to maintain a relatively strong presence in Division 1 sports.  Which is to say, I'm shocked we haven't heard a lot more of this!

That being said, I still think the rule is dumb, mostly because it's going to cost this team a chance to show what it could really do this season.  I happened to be of the opinion that what they were gonna do wasn't gonna be all that impressive anyway, but better for them to prove wrong on the court than for me to basically win by default...

I pegged the Cougars (yes hetero) as overrated before Davies was ousted, so his dismissal only caused me to drop them even lower.  They're not as bad as they're 22 point loss to New Mexico might snap judge you to think, but they're no #1 or #2 seed, either...

Sick Beard Alert in the background!
20. St. John's (20-9) 21

Seton Hall has proven time and time again this year that when they feel like playin', they can play with any team in the conference.  That's all that was last night.  If anything, it's a nice little wake up call for the Johnnies before they head to MSG to play host to the Big East tournament.  And what a ride that could turn into...

Oh, and I'd also like to say that I'm in complete agreement with all of you saying that Johhnie alum, Chis Mullin, should never be allowed near a microphone again.  He's just flat out bad as an analyst, and at times it's tough to even understand what he's talking about.  I say it's time they ditch Mullin, and give Miles Simon the call up to the big chair.  Simon says "Nobody likes Mullin, it's Simon time!"...

21. Cincinnati (23-7) 22

22. Kansas St. (21-9) 25

23. San Diego St. (28-2) 11

Sorry, SDSU, but so goes BYU, and so goes my opinion of your chances.  Let's face it, you may have a big guy that appears to wearing pajamas on the court (watch, and you'll see what I mean), but Marshall Faulk is not walkin' through that door.  And if he is....nah, he's not...but he is old and fat, now...

24. Temple (23-6) 24

25. Florida (23-6) 23

just missed: West Virginia; Old Dominion; Cleveland St.; Missouri; Missouri St.; Utah St.; Arizona; Florida St.

dropped: NONE

There you have it, friends.  A little of this, a little of that, and all the college basketball you need to get you primed for, not only the crazy weekend to come, but the crazy few weeks ahead that are sure to capture the Nation's attention...

Have a great weekend, friends, and a great week.  And here's to hoping that the next time we speak, we'll know that theres a full NFL season in our future...

Teddy Williams...



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