College Hoop Scoop — midseason Q’s

Going into this weekend, most college hoops team are about halfway through their conference schedules. Various sites are beginning to post early drafts of the NCAA tournament brackets, which of course will be changing on a weekly basis. Most hoops fanatics really begin digging in their heels right now as games become more important, especially for teams that haven’t performed as expected and others that may be slumping lately … both are fearful of being on the wrong side of the proverbial bubble. So as Wally takes a look at the hoops landscape, there are questions that need answers … or at least speculative answers from those of you on our panel of experts:
1) Is Wisconsin a legitimate contender for a #1 seed? How do they do it? I know they’ve got Tucker, but they also got 4 ____ ________. And why are they ranked behind Ohio St, who they’ve beaten?

2) Is the hype surrounding Ohio St a bit overblown? Sure they’ve got a GREAT freshman class with Oden, etc, but they were beaten handily by No. Carolina and Florida. Just don’t see them as a #1 seed yet, but let’s see how they do in their next game vs the Badgers.

3) At least Duke’s Womens team is really good. Thank God they beat UNC the day after the Duke Men lost to UNC, or else the Dukies would all be visiting shrinks right now. Seriously, are the Duke Blue Devils merely going through a slump with 3 L’s in a row, or are they just an average team this year?

4) It appears we have the makings of a real “Hoosiers” cinderella story again this year. Can the Butler Bulldogs make it all the way to the Elite 8 or better? Why or why not?

5) Has anyone seen Air Force play? Are they legit? I think it’s simply amazing that they are in the Top 15.

6) Any reason why Florida won’t win it all again this year? Which team is most capable of unseating them?

7) Which of the conferences appears strongest so far this season? Seems the Pac 10 has the most depth.

8) Why can’t Notre Dame be at least as consistently good as Marquette is? Is it coaching or talent? Both? Another frustrating close loss by the Irish to DePaul last night. Won’t be surprised if ND bubbles themselves out of the tournament again. 6 losses and counting … they have not been a very good homestretch team.

9) Who’s your surprise team that will appear in the Final 4 this year … ala George Mason?

10) Who’s gonna win the Naismith Player of the Year award?

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6 Responses

  1. Oh wise one – you have given us so many things to ponder.

    Yes – Wisconsin is a #1 seed CONTENDER. This does not assure them achieving this goal. The swing offense is simultaneously free-flowing and deliberate. Free flowing in that it offers the players the opportunity to play the game, but deliberate enough for them to get into a rhythm. This helps on the offensive glass as the players have a better understanding when to expect a shot and therefore attack the glass. And the Badgers rebound like Aniston and Pitt after the break-up.

    Ohio State? The game versus Wisconsin will answer some questions. I am leaning toward hype. It doesn’t take John Wooden to recognize Oden’s talent/potential. The key thing is potential which he probably won’t reach until after his one year stint in the NCAA.

    Duke – Rarely do I question Kroojawooski, buuuuuut this insistence that his players carry a high level of emotion is backfiring. Duke ran out of gas against UNC. The Tar Heels weren’t any better than Duke, just a whole lot more persistent. Duke got a case of wobbly legs in the last ten minutes. Probably because they expended all their energy and emotions.
    Watching that game on TV did UNC’s transistion offense no justice. How many times did the Tar Heels get a rebound, outlet it, and advance it to the opposite foul line extended before K could yell “get back”? I always enjoyed watching Roy Williams’ Jayhawk teams. They did a great job in transistion. He didn’t have the athletes nor the depth at Kansas that he has now. Could be scary- Williams could be more successful in Chapel Hill than Dean Smith.

    Butler – What they did last night was amazing: 60 of their 92 points came from behind the arc. Unfortunately, those who live by the sword, also die by the sword. They also did that against Cleveland St. Butler probably would not get as many open looks when playing the likes of UNC, Virginia Tech, Mich. St. etc. I like Butler, but their road to the final four depends upon their bracket and who they match up with. If they catch Oregon early…forget it.

    I have not seen Air Force, but for any service academy to have a team (without someone named Robinson or Staubach) in the top twenty is nothing short of special. I can imagine that these guys all carry a ‘lunch pail’, roll up their sleeves, and play as one unit undivided. I will see the Air Force hockey team play tomorrow night.

    Take your pick with the teams that could unseat the Gators. Of course Brewer and Noah could get hot. Let’s face it – last year’s final four was probably the worst chan’ship ever. The UCLA/LSU game ranks as one of the worst games in NCAA history. Florida won the chan’ship, but that doesn’t mean much this year. I would love to see someone like the upstart AGGIES from Texas A&M take the Gators down.

    PAC 10 is particulary strong especially when Washington might not get out alive. I enjoy watching Ernie Kent’s Ducks-lightning quick guards that make you defend all game long. And Tim Floyd at USC gives the Trojans instant hoops credibility. If he knows what’s good, Floyd’ll keep Reggie Bush away from any recruiting situations. Do not forget the ACC. Duke is .500 because they play quality teams every night. Virginia might have the best backcourt this year. Singletary is all that. I can’t say enough about UNC. Virginia Tech is a bunch of thugs, but they are a bunch of thugs who can win games. The Wolfpack’s victory over UNC was not a fluke.

    The Irish are quite the conundrum. Some big victories. Of course one was over Alabama- my personal favorite for joke of the year in the top twenty. They have five losses – all double digits. Three losses by more than 20. Back to ND-they are one of four Big East teams in the top 25. There are no cupcakes in the conference. UConn is getting a beat down-that’s saying something.

    Are there suprise teams anymore? The George Masons will become more regular. This one year rule is a farce, but the big teams are going for it. The Thad Mottas of the world should heed the advice of John Turturro: “DO NOT SEEK THE TREASURE! IT’S A BUSHWHACK!” Chan’ships are won with defense, chemistry,rebounding, and leadership. Those ingredients will allow your team’s talent to come through. A team cannot achieve that when players only stay for one year. I like Hofstra to make a run to the Sweet Sixteen.

    Player of the Year – Kevin Durant – sick-nasty!!!!!!!

  2. Great reply, Paul. After reading your comment about Air Force hockey, it reminded me to ask you this … quick … who’s currently ranked #1 in NCAA hockey???

    Wally

    It’s the Irish! Yes, that’s right … the school with MEGA resources that can’t win a damn bowl game and hasn’t been to the Final 4 in like 30 years has the #1 hockey team in the land (at the moment). Do you know they removed varsity status from ND hockey when we were there in mid- 80’s (club sport) and reinstated somewhere in mid 90’s? Awesome resurrection.

  3. Yeah – and did I hear right that ND plans on building a new hockey arena? RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) is now Division I hockey. $8 for a ticket. Don’t pay for parking. I love college hockey – skating, passing, checking and shooting. The RIT arena holds less than 2,000 with standing room – very cozy.

  4. We’ve had UAA hockey season tickets now for 5 years. They play in probably the best conference (WCHA) with Minnesota, Wisconsin, No. Dakota, Denver, etc. I go to about 8 games a year with free food, beer and parking for about $23/game. Our seats are on the glass right behind one of the goals. Stadium seats about 6,000. Fantastic.

    Yes, ND is building a new arena … I think hoops is involved too.

  5. $23 for food, parking, brewskies, and Minnesota, Wisconsin, The Fighting Sioux? Ok – you got me on that one. Wait we have two rounds of the NCAA tournament this year.

  6. Ncaa Womens 2007 Basketball Tournament

    I don’t agree with you in 100%, but you covered some good points regarding this topic

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