Tuesday, February 11, 2014

College Hoops Top 25 (2/11)

OK. A few thoughts before the Top 25...

First, the Olympics. It's well documented, my dislike for the games. But I think I've finally put my finger on why I'm no longer even mildly interested. And that's because there isn't any real political tension behind what are otherwise unpopular sports that couldn't garner a decent prime time rating if sandwiched between The Sopranos and Breaking Bad. In the good ole days, beating the Russians or the Germans felt like you were actually beating them on the battlefield. Now? Well, now we know we're the world's foremost superpower (at least among countries that care about such things), and no hockey or figure skating result is going to change how we feel. And seeing as it would take another world war for that type of political tension to again become a factor, I think it's safe to say I won't ever be actively watching the Olympics again. You know. Because I'd probably die in that same nuke fest that would have renewed my interest...

Second, we have Michael Sam. Who became the first openly gay player to declare for the NFL Draft, and will most likely become the league's first openly gay player. This shouldn't be news, obviously. But it is. And I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of people that are commending Sam for his bravery, while wishing him the best on what will probably be a rather arduous journey. A journey that will begin with both Sam and we the public being bombarded with a lot of articles and features making crude generalizations about both homosexuals and the average athlete. Pieces that will almost certainly come from both Rick Reilly and Jason Whitlock. Not to mention all the Nancy Grace's and whatnot that will undoubtedly stir the pot by referring to Sam as something along the lines of an "Auntie Tom". That's actually pretty good. You know, as far as racially insensitive and homophobic slurs go. Maybe I should have my own show on a cable news network! Have the red necks and the lib labs up in arms with my incendiary commentary. Yeah! That's a great idea! Or not. Moving on...

Thirdly, this happened...

And so did this...

Yeah. Immediately two of my favorite videos of all time. Even if they did throw an E on the end of Gary Clark's last name...

And finally, you need to be watching True Detective. There's a 7+ minute continuous shot at the end of this last episode that is truly a thing to behold. For nerds like me, at least. And there's a lot of non-nerdy goodness, too. Like meth, and coke, and gang wars between the bikers and the gang bangers. Just good stuff. So get on board, lest you officially be labeled a lesser being. AKA: A Ted...

OK, so there's all that. Now, it's onto the hoops. Enjoy...

College Hoops Top 25

1. Syracuse (23-0) 1

I've almost finished finalizing my plans to attend the ACC Tournament. Nearly guaranteeing that my Syracuse Orange will lose the round before I'm set to see them play (semifinals). But first, they'll probably lose to Pitt on Wednesday night at the Oakland Zoo. It's not a shot at how they've been playing, they're the hottest team in the country. But they just don't fare very well there OR against Pitt, and nobody goes undefeated. So there's that...

2. Florida (21-2) 2

3. Duke (19-5) 3

4. Arizona (23-1) 4

5. Wichita St. (25-0) 5

Adreian Payne AKA The #40YearOldSpartan
6. Michigan St. (20-4) 4

Sparty isn't going to beat anyone of note with Gary Harris shooting 3-20 from the field. As evidenced by their loss to Wisconsin. But that's just an unusually bad game for one of the country's most talented players. The key for Michigan St. remains getting healthy. Payne is back, and seems poised to dominate. And Dawson's return should be sooner rather than later. Until then, getting guys like Matt Costello to step up should only help the team's depth come tourney time. Though make no mistake, they will need their full compliment of players in order to be considered a major threat...

7. Creighton (19-4) 7

Losing to St. John's was bad, but this is still one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country. All 4 of their losses have come on the road or at neutral sites, though. So there's always that to consider come tourney time...

8. St. Louis (22-2) 10

9. Kansas (18-6) 8

10. Iowa (18-6) 15

11. Louisville (19-4) 17

12. Villanova (21-2) 16

Iowa, 'Nova, and Louisville are all in Ken Pomeroy's top 7. And while I'm not blindly pumping them higher in my rankings based on that fact alone, it certainly isn't hurting their cause. These are all similarly dangerously efficient teams that are built to outscore people come March. Which is why they're high on Ken's list. A list which, by the way, basically expresses how well teams do with each possession on both offense and defense. That's not a catch all way of explaining it, but that should help should actually happen to stumble on that incredibly useful tool before filling out your brackets...

13. Michigan (17-6) 11

14. San Diego St. (21-1) 15

15. Pittsburgh (20-4) 14

16. Kentucky (18-5) 13

Virginia star sophomore Malcolm Brogdon (12/6/2).

17. Virginia (20-5) NR

The Cavs are 11-1 in the ACC, and I just saw them play for the first time last night. That should say a little bit about who they've beaten. Which is to say that it's been pretty much everyone except Syracuse and Duke. Nothing wrong with that, per say. But I'd like to see how they do against the upper echelon before I completely buy in that they're for real. They're win at Pittsburgh was certainly a start, but I'm a stickler Meseeks. So I'm gonna need more...

18. Ohio St. (19-5) 22

19. Wisconsin (19-5) 25

Keep an eye on OSU and 'Sconsin. They're exactly the type of teams that fall in the rankings, only to return to prominence and leave everyone wondering why they didn't have them in at least the Elite 8. They'll both need to find some more scoring to get there, though. Especially the Badgers, who struggled to score against a Michigan St. team that was basically begging them to do so...

20. Cincinnati (22-3) 12

21. Texas (18-5) 20

22. SMU (21-3) NR

And finally, we have the Fighting Larry Browns. And to be honest, I'm only putting them here so I can talk about them, as I've yet to see them play. Larry's the man, though. And will forever be my go-to-guy when it comes to proving that coaching actually matters at the collegiate level, as opposed to the NBA. You know, where all you need is a fake medical degree and 3 Hall of Famers. Do you, Larry. You crazy bastard...

23. VCU  (19-5) 23

24. Iowa St. (18-5) 18

25. UCONN (18-5) NR

just missed: UCLA; Gonzaga; Memphis; Oklahoma; New Mexico; George Washington; Kansas St.

dropped: (19) Gonzaga; (21) Oklahoma; (24) Oklahoma St.

What To Watch This Week
Florida @ Tennessee
Michigan @ Ohio St.
Oklahoma St. @ Clemson

Syracuse @ Pittsburgh
Duke @ UNC

Minnesota @ Wisconsin
Colorado @ UCLA

Arizona @ Arizona St.

Florida @ Kentucky
NC St. @ Syracuse
VCU @ St. Louis
Virginia @ Clemson
Memphis @ UCONN
Pittsburgh @ UNC
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma St.
Indiana @ Purdue
Kansas St. @ Baylor

Villanova @ Creighton
Wisconsin @ Michigan

Oklahoma St. @ Baylor



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