Friday, January 23, 2015

College Hoops Top 25 (1/23): Habitually Speaking...

You know what Tom Brady should have said when asked about DeflateGate? He should have said, "SAMSON SIMPSON, I STICK TO MY STORY!". Not because it would have prompted the best memes in the history of the Interwebz, and played off the fact that Chris Canty called Brady and the Patriots "habitual line-steppers". Not to mention a fantastic Chappelle tie-in. But because I believe him when he says he didn't screw with the balls, yo. And I don't know why, but I do...

OK, I do know why. And yes, I do believe both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady when they say they had no knowledge of how the Patriots' game balls became underinflated. Now, is that merely because I'm a Patriots' fan? Could be. And would I necessarily put that past them? I most certainly would not. They're competitive, and I know that they, and others like them, are consistently looking for even the smallest edge. But either way, my beliefs mostly stem from the fact that I pride myself on being able to tell when people are lying. And while both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady came off as rattled and/or confused during their respective press conferences, neither of them seemed came off as being deceptive or disingenuous. Combine that with the fact that the NFL has proven time and again that they can't be trusted to investigate even the most minor of instances (they still haven't interviewed Brady OR the Patriots' equipment people), and you'll see why I have no problem writing all of this off as a combination of sour grapes and procedural ineptitude...

But that's just me, and I'm a Patriots' fan. So my thoughts on the matter are of very little consequence. Which is why I won't bother to back them up with any sort of logic, and just present you with my gut feeling. I can tell you that, without question, this would be little more than a punchline for me even in the wake of New England losing to a bitter rival. But again, that commentary holds very little water considering the source. So I get it. But that won't stop me from believing that, as we sit here today, this whole situation stems more from improper or inconsistent procedure than it does any sort of competitive conspiracy...

So, yeah. Balls. Now let's take a look at the balls that the college kids are kickin' around. Yep, it's the season debut of my College Hoops Top 25. Enjoy...

College Hoops Top 25

1. Kentucky (18-0)

2. Virginia (18-0)

The only thing more obvious than Kentucky's overall superiority, is Virginia's defensive superiority. They lock you down, and have enough playmakers on the offensive end to make it stick. And perhaps most importantly, they may control tempo better than any team in the nation. You're going to play their style, and you're probably going to lose. Something I saw them do first hand last year in the ACC Tournament... #BragsHumbleman

3. Gonzaga (19-1)

4. Duke (16-2)

5. Notre Dame (18-2)

These aren't your uncle's Irish, with a bunch of big husky whities chuckin' up 3s between battles under the boards. Nope, they're athletic, and they'll beat you off the bounce just as soon as they'd batter you from deep. I know, it sucks in terms of pigeon-holing and semi-racial stereotyping. But it's definitely a plus in terms of entertainment value. Even if I can't watch them (namely that freak, Jerian Grant) without getting pissed at his brother Jerami for leaving Syracuse early for the D-League...

Oh, wait. Maybe that was Tyler Ennis. Whatever, we could really use those Teds right now...

6. Wisconsin (17-2)

7. Arizona (17-2)

8. North Carolina (15-4)

9. Villanova (18-2)

10. VCU (15-3)

Shaka Smart still doin' what it do. And it's still just as fun to watch. Also, you should be aware that I resisted the urge to tie Shaka's Rams into a long winded rip on Brad Stevens and his decision to leave Butler. So count your blessings, because it was definitely as long winded as it was a blatant stretch in the name of I-told-you-so-ness. And ain't no peeps got the space in their day for that...

11. Louisville (15-3)

12. Utah (15-3)

13. Iowa St. (13-3)

14. Texas (14-4)

I'd like to see a better FG% (.438, 163rd in nation) from a team that relies so heavily on it's size (4th in nation @ 42.8 rebounds per game). But this is still one of the 5 most talented teams in the country. And if they can put it all together, you're gonna want to go ahead and look the F out...

15. Wichita St. (16-2)

16. Kansas (15-3)

17. West Virginia (15-3)

18. Providence College (15-5)

Could this finally be the year that Ed Cooley's Friars finally start delivering on all of those flashy recruiting classes? It certainly could be if LaDontae Henton (21.2 ppg) and Kris Dunn (14.5) continue to fill it up on a nightly basis. And if talented junior Tyler Harris can continue to elevate his game, then the Friars could really take off and begin to separate themselves from the rest of the Big East...

19. Northern Iowa (17-2)

20. Indiana (15-4)

21. Maryland (17-3)

Local boy Jake Layman is making good, proving to be one of the nation's most versatile players. And Melo Trimble might be the best freshman PG in the country. I'm still not convinced they're necessarily ready for prime time, but their crisp ball movement and defensive energy are starting to win me over...

22. Oklahoma (12-6)

23. Baylor (14-4)

24. San Diego St. (15-4)

25. Stanford (13-5)

just missed: Dayton, Arkansas, Ohio St., Michigan St., SMU

What To Watch This Week
VCU @ St. Louis

Kansas @ Texas
Wisconsin @ Michigan
Oklahoma @ Baylor
Miami @ Syracuse
Oklahoma St. @ Kansas St.

Indiana @ Ohio St.
Duke @ St. John's
Seton Hall @ Butler
Louisville @ Pitt
Notre Dame @ NC State

Syracuse @ UNC
Texas @ Iowa St.

West Virginia @ Kansas St.
George Washington @ VCU
Baylor @ Oklahoma St.

Duke @ Notre Dame
Indiana @ Purdue

Maryland @ Ohio St.
Utah @ UCLA

And there you have it, friends. Hope you enjoyed, and I'll catch you again next week for another Top 25, and a Super Bowl prop betting bonanza!!!

Be good...



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