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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Unchaining the College Hoops Top 25...


Well happy new year, you rat bastards. Another year is upon us...and that means absolutely nothing to yours truly.Yeah, sorry. But for this guy, it's just another day on the calendar and a chance to drink champagne...

January does signal the start of conference play in college basketball, though. Which means this week you'll get your first look the 2013 Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25. I know, you're chomping at the bit. I'll also have a review of the highly anticipated, Django Unchained, too. And a reminder that I may very well be one of the best NFL handicappers in the country...

So new year, old year. Whatever. All I care about is that it's a Wednesday that feels like a Monday. Which is somehow a good thing. Enjoy, my friends. And good luck in the year ahead...

Before I get to my Top 25, here's my review of Quentin Tarantino's latest, Django Unchained:


I read in several previews before seeing Django Unchained, that this was the first film Tarantino was making without his longtime trusted editor, who had passed away. Those same previews also raised the question as to whether that would mean Django Unchained would have a slightly different feel than the legendary filmmakers' previous works. And you know what? It did. IT felt under edited and a tad bit long. But, by no means did that make it any less of a film...

If I were to grade it against a Tarantino based scale, with Jackie Brown being an A, then Django Unchained probably comes in right around a B-. In the same general area as Kill Bill Part 1, but slightly behind Kill Bill Part 2. "Good", but not "great". If you will. With my main issues being that it felt a little long, and that Jonah Hill's shady role unnerved me a little bit. I also didn't feel Jamie Foxx OR Kerry Washington brought anything special to either of their roles. They were merely adequate, as opposed to some of their supporting players, who should be expecting to collect some honorary hardware in the months to come...

Yep, Leonardo Dicaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz all give commanding performances. They took to Tarentino's lengthy bits of dialogue like fish to water, and helped give the move that authentic feel that Quentin is always so good at creating. And that's this movies' strength. The interaction between any combination of the characters played by those 3 actors. Probably why it feels so slow getting in (you don't meet Leo/Sam until a ways into the film). Again, nothing really against Jamie Foxx, but without those 3, this movie could have very well fallen flat on it's face...

But it didn't, and while my critical review may not seem like I actually enjoyed the film. I most certainly did. All the classic Tarentino bits were there; from the aforementioned dialogue to the gratuitous violence. And in the end, an enjoyable story was told. Am I recommending you run out and see this in the theater right now? No, I am not. But I will say it's worth your time, and a must if you intend to talk intelligently about Tarentino or Dicaprio going forward. I know, that's probably only important to a nerd like me. But it's worth noting...

Now, as the post of the title suggest. Let's unchain the year's first Top 25. You know, because puns are sooo in this year...

College Hoops Top 25

1. Duke (12-0)

It pains me to say so, but the Blue Devils are the best team in the country and the front runners for the National Championship. They're obviously talented and well coached, and their ideal blend of experience and youth should serve them well all season long...

2. Michigan (13-0)


3. Louisville (12-1)

Guard Russ Smith is probably the most entertaining player in the college game today. I say he plays like "a ferret on crystal Meth", and you'll do the same when you sit down and watch him yourself. Or maybe you'll come up with a different combination of a quick animal and a speedy drug. A Jackrabbit on angel dust, perhaps...


4. Indiana (13-1)

The preseason #1, the Hoosiers are still among the most talented and complete teams in the country. I may not buy into all the hype surrounding Cody Zeller as player of the year, but this squad should still be one of the last one's standing come March due to that aforementioned talent and the coaching ability of Tom Crean...

5. Arizona (12-0)

6. Kansas (11-1)


7. Gonzaga (13-1)

The Zags only loss on the season is to a then unheralded Illinois squad. They're big (leading scorer is a 7 footer), they're experienced, and we all know they're well coached. They'll disappear for a while with all of their west coast start times, but Gonzaga should again prove to be a force to be reckoned with once the post season is under way...


8. NC State (11-2)

The Wolfpack are this year's example of pollsters not actually watching games. Because if they did, they wouldn't have NC State barely making it into the Top 25. This team sports 3 of the most versatile and talented big bodies in the country in CJ Leslie, TJ Warren and Richard Howell. All 6'8" or bigger with the ability to bang down low and get to the rim at will. That's an underrated quality come March, and they have it in spades. I don't merely have them so high because of potential, though. This is a team whose two losses on are on a neutral site to OK St. and on the road to Michigan. Sure, it would have been nice for them to win one of those, but going 0-2 shouldn't relegate them to the back of the pack, either...

9. Florida (9-2)

10. Ohio St. (10-2)

11. Missouri (10-2)


12. Syracuse (12-1)

If I'm higher on NC State than most, then it's safe to say I'm lower on Syracuse. The Orange have a deep team, and Michael Carter Williams is making all the scouts drool. But those factors alone does not a title contender make. This team isn't nearly as good in transition as years past, and the lack of development from their young post players (Christmas, Coleman, Grant, Keita) is starting to become a legitimate concern...

13. Illinois (13-1)

14. Minnesota (13-1)


15. Butler (10-2)

Much like with NC State, I don't understand why the polls don't seem to like Butler. A win over then #1 Indiana and losses to only Illinois and Xavier? Eh, whatever. Their lack of understanding should prove to help my bracket chances come March. The Bulldogs are tough, well coached, and they have a plethora of guys that can do a lot of different things well. Lots of "stat stuffers" means lots of stats. And lots of stats usually lead to a lot of wins...

15. Creighton (12-1)

17. New Mexico (13-2)

18. Cincinnati (13-1)


19. UNLV (11-2)

FreshMAN Anthony Bennett is fun to watch. He's big and explosive, like Shawn Kemp. Now let's just hope he doesn't choose to impregnate half the free world and eat his way into oblivion...like Shawn Kemp...

20. Georgetown (10-1)


21. VCU (10-3)

Armed with arguably the most tenacious and efficient defense in the country, in will only be a matter of time before the rest of the pollsters wise up and get this perennial Cinderella ranked...

22. Oklahoma St. (10-2)

23. Notre Dame (12-1)

24. Michigan St. (11-3)

25. Kentucky (8-4)


just missed: Pittsburgh; Kansas St.; San Diego St.; Maryland; St. Louis; Temple; Marquette; UNC



Hope you enjoyed that, as I'm guessing you did. But there's no need to guess as to whether or not you've been enjoying the reward of following my football betting advice over the past few weeks. Backed up my 12-4 Christmas weekend with a 13-3 last week, helping to end what had otherwise been a mediocre season at nearly 59%. A percentage very similar to those "professional" bettors that shell out advice for a monthly fee. Only difference being, they pick 5-10 games per week (with the majority being more towards 5), and I pick the entire slate. Whatever, I'm probably just really lucky, and have been for the majority of the last 5 years. And if you believe that, I've got a basement apartment for you to look at in my parent's house...

NFL Picks

Last Week: 13-3-0

Overall: 162-112-9 (.588)

Twitter Picks: 29-11-2 (.714)


Hope you enjoyed, friends. And I'll catch you Friday. Where I'll probably go 0-4 after that arrogant rant. But whatever. At least you'll still know which side to bet...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

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