Thursday, December 2, 2010
I think it's pretty obvious that going into this game, Duke was CLEARLY the better team. Their dismantling of a very good Kansas State team showed that they are clicking right now in a way that most other teams aren't. Michigan State on the other hand, was experiencing the standard doubt from people because they lost to Connecticut and struggled with Washington. They have the standard Spartan problems...turnovers, players returning from injuries, free throws (more on all those things later). And did I mention they were playing at Cameron?
Most articles have focused on how amazing Kyrie Irving played (and that is true, he did...the kid is GOOD) or how Duke is SOOO amazing (and again, they are a great team and deserved to win that game). But, I would like to focus on a few things about MSU's performance (I know, SHOCKING)..some good, some bad, some unsung.
Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman seemed addicted to the fact that Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas barely scored (this was mentioned sometime in the 4.3 minutes they actually bothered to talk about Michigan State--as they spent most of the 2 hour broadcast talking about how Duke is clearly the most masterful team that has ever played basketball in the history of the universe and don't worry...they talked about UNC too, just for good measure. Because, you know, they can't be biased). And to be fair, MSU needs their top 2 guys to deliver consistently in order to win a championship. There is no doubt about that. But I think there are a few key things being overlooked here:
1.) Kalin Lucas is just getting back to himself. He wasn't going to walk onto the court in November/December after not playing for 6 months and immediately return to fighting form. Combine that with the fact that defenses key in on him, there are clearly some adjustments that need to be made in terms of how he moves both with and without the ball.
2.) Durrell Summers is just now being talked about as a serious scoring threat. Last year, defenses focused mostly on Lucas and Morgan. Because of his awesome performance in the tournament last year, everyone has seen what Summers is capable of, so naturally they are making sure they know where he is at all times and tightening up on the defense. For him, that's an adjustment. It will require him to change his approach to every play and frankly, work harder to get open and get shots off.
3.) Despite those 2 struggling, they still hung with Duke the entire game and withstood a couple of big runs. That's huge! One of my favorite, favorite things about MSU that I don't feel many people talk about is the fact that at any time, other players can step up and produce. Last night, it was Lucious and Sherman. Roe has done it. Green has done it. Last season, it was Summers, occasionally Chris Allen, etc. The season before, it was Travis Walton, Goran Suton and Raymar Morgan. I think that's amazing! The more guys that can do that, the more threats they have, the harder it is for defenses to key on Lucas or Summers, thus opening up their games as well. It's a fabulous cycle.
I also loved the fact that MSU showed some really good composure. Duke had a couple runs and opened up a 10 point lead in the second half. On the road in a hostile environment, playing the #1 team in the country, the Spartans could have easily rolled over and given up or rushed and tried to force the ball....but that didn't happen. Of course, there were some bad passes and a couple of questionable shots that made me yell, "WHY DID YOU DO THAT!?!"...but for the most part, it felt like the team took a deep breath and said, let's just play. They calmed down, made some shots, drove agressively to the basket and tightened up their defense. And interestingly, it looked like Duke was a little shaken up by that--when they usually open up a lead like that, they put teams away. When it didn't happen, you could see the "oh crap" look in their eyes. Now, I'm not saying they were scared, because obviously, they held on to win the game, but it just seemed like it wasn't something they were expecting.
And now, on to the bad...
WHAT IS WITH THE TURNOVERS?!? I seriously cannot take it anymore. 20 turnovers per game?!! You've GOT to be kidding me. It has been a problem the last few years and it clearly isn't changing anytime soon. I read all these articles with players saying, "yes, we need to take care of the ball." "Yes, we know it is a problem." "Yes, we need to stop doing that." BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH....I see you talking...I see the words coming out of your mouth...but it's funny, because THE SAME THING KEEPS HAPPENING. For all the talking they are doing about how they're so concerned, I don't believe they actually believe that.
I mean, last night to a certain extent, Duke didn't beat MSU...MSU beat THEMSELVES by giving the ball away. For a team that is so smart, I just don't get it. Actions speak louder than words. Stop telling everyone you're going to do it better and just do it better! It's ridiculous and extremely irritating.
That said, I came away from that game feeling extremely positive about the future of the season. I know that State will improve a lot between now and March. They will learn from this game and if Duke appears again, I think it would be a different game. I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store...GO GREEN!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I hope everyone is feasting on Feast Week as much as I am! There is nothing better than food, family and excessive amounts of college basketball....Sigh. Bliss!
Unfortunately, a slightly less blissful part of my evening included MSU's loss to Connecticut. I know that techinically it counts as a "upset" because UConn is unranked and Michigan State was #2, but I'm not quite ready to say it was a total debacle. I refer you to the previous post, in which I said MSU would lose at least one game they shouldn't in the preseason that will make people question them...Well, they're over that hump. Pressure's off. ;)
I also think that UConn might also be slightly better than everyone gave them credit for...just a thought. Regardless of where they go from here, the Huskies played really well tonight and Kemba Walker has just been out of his mind...I think someone mentioned the kid has scored over 100 points in the last 3 games?!? Not surprising given he's a senior and has been a strong scoring threat his entire career at UConn.
As far as the Spartans go, I have mixed emotions. Obviously, it was a game they could have and should have won, so that's always disappointing. However, they didn't play "badly" so I can't say it was for lack of effort. HOWEVER, there were a few key issues--things that shouldn't happen given the level of experience on the team.
Missed free throws, not being able to grab rebounds (batting it around like a balloon is all fine and dandy and can often serve a useful purpose....but just grab the darn thing) and throwing the ball away down the stretch (Kalin Lucas, I'm talking to you) are things that won't get you a W in a late game situation. Annoying? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. But here's why I'm not freaking out:
1.) It's November. This kind of stuff happens early in the season and good teams remember and learn from it (and I do think Michigan State is a good team). I would MUCH rather see this now then in a tournament game. You can argue that Kalin's mistakes should be a concern, but at the same time, the kid also hasn't played in a game situation since the Sweet 16. I'm willing to cut him a little bit of slack as he gets back into it (but just a little).
2.) Tom Izzo is the head coach. There is no doubt in my mind that Izzo will make SURE they learn from what happened tonight.
3.) The vets of the team making some of those key mistakes (Lucas and Green) won't let themselves forget it. Not that I know them personally, but it seems like they're both too competitive to not use it as motivation to get better. And getting better is ALWAYS a good thing.
Off to watch the rest of K-State/Duke--PEACE!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Overall, I always maintain that the best teams are the ones with veteran talent combined with fresh, skilled underclassmen. That said, here's a few nuggets on who I expect to be tough this year...
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
I am HOPING they will be as good as expected, because that would mean they play for a national championship. Which, of course, would make me off-the-wall, over-the-top, head-to-toe happy--but it's a dangerous road to have such sky-high expectations. Too late.
There are a few HUGE question marks about this team that could hinder their process. And I'm sure they will lose a game or two early in the year that makes everyone question how good they will be and then in the middle of the Big Ten season they will lose a game they shouldn't lose and everyone will question them again. I don't care about that. It pretty much happens every year. What I DO care about is them being stronger, healthier and generally better in March than they are now.
It remains to be seen how well Kalin Lucas will respond after his Achilles surgery. Will he have the same agility and quickness? Izzo has mentioned Kalin's overall shot has improved which is fanstastic. If he gets back his old speed and quickness--watch out! But that's still an "if." There is no question he will be good--he has too much talent. The question is HOW good--and how his rehab over the summer will change his style of play. Additionally, it remains to be seen how all the new freshmen will contribute as well as how the team will adjust after losing Chris Allen. Allen came into his own toward the end of the year in terms of defense and 3 point shooting and I can't say his leaving wasn't a blow. Can Durrell Summers stay productive offensively ala the NCAA Tourney? Will Draymond Green continue to play a huge leadership role? Time will tell...
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
It pains me to say this, but as of now, this is the team to beat. They lost a lot of talent with the departure of Zoubek and Scheyer, but they also RETURN plenty and let's be real--this is DUKE. They aren't taking leftover recruits. Seth Curry finally gets to debut and with Kyle Singler back on the court, I think they'll be just fine.
Yes, Robbie Hummel went down (again! Poor kid!) but even still, I think Purdue can be a Sweet 16 team. E'twaun Moore is strong at the guard spot and JaJuan Johnson gives them plenty down low...so even just that inside-out combo is enough. Factor in fresh legs and the fact that Matt Painter always manages to get his teams to play hard no matter what and I'd say the Big Ten teams have plenty to worry about.
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
I know, this is very Big Ten heavy. But sorry...that's where some of the best teams are coming from! OSU has a few freshmen that are highly recruited, PLUS David Lighty is finally back. He provides quickness, skills and leadership to guide the likes of Craft and Sullinger while they get their feet wet. It kind of blows my mind that all these talented kids opt for OHIO STATE (which isn't traditionally a men's bball powerhouse--always good, but not up there with the UNCs or Dukes or Kentuckys of the world)...but for some reason they DO...and with that, Thad Matta is building a really consistent program. Strange but true.
Like I would leave them out. Please. They lost Wes Johnson, which is huge, but overall, they have some great guards coming back in Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine (which, as a sidenote, is my 2nd favorite basketball player name ever after Squeaky Johnson). Additionally, they have a kid named Mookie and a guy named Fab...great names, great coach, lots of talent--it's pretty much a win for everyone involved.
Other teams that will be good (mostly because they always are) that have a good mix of old/new: Villanova and Kansas. I was going to put Butler in here as well, but after last night's performance against Louisville, I'm not so sure. I know it's early and they will get a lot better, but I'm not sure they will meet the expectations everyone else set for them. If Matt Howard can't stay out of foul trouble, they are going to have a LOT of problems.
I'm still not sold on Kansas State. I know they will be good, but I somehow never manage to see enough of them to make a solid judgement. Better get on that one!
TEAMS THAT SHOULD BE GOOD...BUT HOW GOOD REMAINS TO BE SEEN:
Illinois, Florida, Pitt, Kentucky, Baylor, Missouri and Georgetown. They have the tools and look good on paper...
TEAMS THAT EVERYONE SAYS WILL BE GOOD BUT I WILL BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT:
Wait for it...drumroll....NORTH CAROLINA, this means YOU.
Listen, I don't doubt for ONE SECOND that UNC will not be good. They're UNC. I think last year was a fluke and I don't expect that to be a trend...but going from the season they had to being ranked as a top 10 team without even playing a game? Nope, not buying it.
Could they be a top 10 team in a month or two or whatever? Sure! But that kind of brings to light my huge problem with preseason rankings. Teams like Duke, MSU, Butler, etc have EARNED that spot. Based on what they did and who is returning, it makes sense to place them high because we know, to a certain extent, what they can do. With UNC?! Not so much. I would also place Texas in that category...again, I have no doubts they will be good, but I'm not sold on their status as a top 25.
That's all for now! Happy B-balling!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
When the news broke that the Cavs owner was interested in Izzo, I didn't pay much attention at first. This happens all the time. NBA teams and other schools show interest and it normally never leads to anything. Some reporter asks the coach what he is going to do and he always replies that he hasn't been contacted but is happy at Michigan State and still has work to do there...and then the whole thing goes away.
Only this time it didn't go away. As the days progressed, I found myself to be a woman obsessed with this story. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on--news articles, message boards, Twitter posts, the works. I spent a good deal of time scouring the internet for any little hint or sign that this was just another blip on the radar and Coach Izzo would NEVER take this job. Not now. Not with a strong recruiting class and a boatload of amazing veteran talent. Not with a potential national championship in sight.
Much to my dismay, it just got bigger. Rumors flew everywhere--first he was taking the job, then he wasn't. He was meeting with the team, then he wasn't. I started to become frustrated with the number of "sources" that threw in their two cents. Half said he was gone, half said he'd stay. I was in agony. The first week of consideration drove me nuts. I just wanted to know.
It felt like Izzo and the entire MSU community were going through a bad break-up. Like, Izzo is the boyfriend who needs to decide to get married or move on, so he takes a "break" from his significant other to figure it out. Along the way, he meets a hot young thing (in this case, LeBron James) who seems to have everything he would want or need. As part of the MSU community, I felt like the pathetic girlfriend, begging and pleading for him to stay, trying to show him what he would miss out on if he left. It was awful.
I want to be clear--Tom Izzo owes me nothing. Tom Izzo owes Michigan State nothing. The man gives and gives and gives. He attends dozens of functions, promotes the university, treats everyone he meets with respect and does everything the "right" way. In the world of college athletics, almost everyone is looking for the loophole or the way around the rules--except Izzo. He's done everything that's been asked of him--and more. Whatever success he has, he's earned.
Tom Izzo had (and still has) every right to consider any and all opportunities that cross his path. He deserves to advance his career and follow his dreams just like anyone else.
Admittedly, my reasons for wanting him to stay are purely selfish. I love Michigan State. My time there gave me many amazing memories and even more amazing people. I think it's a special place and want others to know just how much it means to me.
I love college basketball. I like it when my team wins. It's fun. I enjoy it. It makes me proud of my school--and having someone like Coach Izzo representing us increases that pride even more.
I love Coach Izzo because he's not only a great coach, he's a great man. He makes a difference not only because he wins, but because of the values he embodies--integrity, humility, strong work ethic, honesty, etc.--values that I aspire to live by.
Some reports accused him of taking his time because he "wanted the attention." Never, at any time, did I ever believe that was true. He took his time because this was a huge, life-changing decision for both him and his family.
My relief and joy were immeasurable when he finally took to the podium last night and announced that he is "a Spartan for life."
Yes you are, Coach. And we're awfully glad to have you.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
And no, it's not just because Michigan State is in it (though that of COURSE helps). And no, it's not because two of the teams I dislike most got knocked out and relieved me from watching a national championship game that I couldn't care less about because I want both teams to lose. It's because this tournament and these teams, to me, represent the true joy of sport.
They say that this year's teams don't have the "best" talent. There isn't an NBA draft choice among them. CBS and the NCAA will lose money because the casual fan has no interest in any combination of national championship match-ups they might see. And yes, all those things might be true. But as someone who loves March Madness, loves basketball and loves to believe in the impossible, this tournament almost can't get any better. Why?
Because this is what it's all about. As a child, you grow up in a world where we're told "anything is possible." We hear stories about David and Goalith, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella--the list goes on. The moral of those stories? If you're a good person, you work hard, you do the right things and believe in yourself, you can be successful, no matter how the odds are stacked against you. That attitude is ingrained in us from birth. Sports legend, especially the NCAA tournament, is filled with tales of realizing the impossible dream--Jimmy V and NC State, George Mason, '85 Villanova--you get the picture.
But over time, it seems those scenarios are dwindling. The Yankees paid millions of dollars to win the World Series, the Lakers still reign supreme, the UConn women's basketball team is steamrolling over everyone in their path--tales of the best of the best and their world domination are taking over our airwaves and jading our perspective. Sure, you CAN achieve the impossible....as long as you have the most money, best resources and top-notch talent.
(NOTE: I'm not trying to lessen the accomplishments of these dominating teams. I'm sure they all work extremely hard and sacrifice quite a bit in order to get to an elite level. I'm just saying that when you look at them from the outside, their dominance can be daunting.)
So pardon me for being refreshed by this "ragtag crew." Pardon me for the fact that I loved watching the so-called "more talented" teams get knocked out because someone else had the will, the heart, the toughness and most of all, the sheer AUDACITY to walk into an arena and think they could win. Pardon me for being inspired by players who reached deep inside themselves when it mattered most and made it happen in order to win. Pardon me for thinking that maybe this year was a wake-up call for all those teams who looked too far ahead because everyone else told them they should already be raising a banner.
I love this Final Four because it made me believe. It reminded us that having the most NBA draft picks or the tallest kid on the floor or the winningest history or the best mascot doesn't equate victory. It reminds us that what we were told and what we tell our children is really true--ANYTHING is possible. This Final Four represents everything about why we love sports--our joy, our pain, our hope.
Kansas or no Kansas, with John Wall or without, I will still be watching.
I hope you do too.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Needless to say, I am ECSTATIC that Michigan State is back to the Final Four. As they say, it's not how I would have drawn it up, but as they ALSO say, I'll take it!! What I liked most is the fact that the team seems to have taken it upon themselves to get it done--they've shown a determination and a team spirit that I knew they had, players stepped up (aka Durrell Summers, what?!?!), players played hurt (DELVON ROE ON A TORN MENISCUS) and Draymond Green ran the point. Whatever happens from here on out, I'm proud. THIS is the MSU team I know and love.
In other news, can everyone PLEASE stop referring to Butler as a "Cinderella"?!? I know they're from a "mid-major" conference, they don't have McDonald's All-Americas and blah blah blah....but really? This is a team that has won their conference quite a few times and has been a steady presence in the NCAA touranment. This is a team that returned EVERYONE from last year with tons of veteran leadership. This is a team that was ranked in the top 20 or so ALL SEASON. Look at their nonconference schedule: Davidson, Northwestern, Minnesota, Clemson, Georgetown, Ohio State, Xavier, Siena...They haven't lost since DECEMBER. They were a 5 seed, which as one of the PTI guys pointed out, means AT WORST the committee thought they were the #20 team in the country.
WHERE DO YOU SEE UNDERDOG!?!?! This is a tough team that can play...and has all season. What am I missing? Please advise.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I love Nova, so I wanted any reason to justify picking them. FAIL. NEXT TIME I AM GOING WITH MY GUT!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
In honor of the day, here is a real-time diary of my thoughts during the show as brackets were revealed. It may not be that interesting, but there you are.
5:00 pm: Reveal of #1 seeds. I called all four. No surprises there, especially as Kansas as overall.
Then a background of the way the bracket is set up--really?!!? Really.
Everyone is a buzz that Duke was seeded over Syracuse. Uh, why? Duke just won their conference tournament--Syracuse did not. End of story. Also, they are STILL A 1.
Midwest bracket--immediate reactions...
Kansas vs. Lehigh--poor Lehigh.
UNLV vs. UNI--TOUGH GAME. I like UNI.
THEY GAVE US A FIVE?!?!!? A FIVE!?!?
Oh great...New Mexico State.
Maryland is a four?!? I hate this bracket.
WE ARE IN THE SAME BRACKET AS OSU!?!? This is super tough.
Georgetown vs. Ohio...pretty sure the Bobcats don't have anyone who can handle Greg Monroe.
Tennessee vs. San Diego State....don't know much about SDSU, but that one could go either way.
Overall, I am NOT a fan of this bracket. It is tough, tough, tough. However, I have faith in my Spartans that however far they go, they will have to earn it. It will be a test to see what this team can really do.
Syracuse--YAY!! I love them and want them to do well.
Kansas State as a 2 seed seems a little high to me. I haven't been super impressed with them, but who knows?!? I think they will at least get out of the first round.
A little surprised to see Florida...I didn't see too much of them or what they've done and didn't think they really did anything to deserve getting in.
Glad for Minnesota, they really played hard and have a lot of talented kids. But I think that means Illinois will be on the outside this year, which is a little disappointing. My Big Ten bias wanted them to make it.
Texas is announced as a #8. Everyone seems shocked. Why!? Texas has been crashing for the last month and a half. I vote Wake Forest takes them out.
Temple vs. Cornell....Cornell is a pretty tough draw...how funny would it be if THIS was the 5/12 "upset?"
WISCOSIN GOT A FOUR AND WE ARE A FIVE!?! HOW DOES THAT WORK?!?! ABSOLUTE CRAP. WE WON OUR CONFERENCE. THEY DID NOT. We BOTH lost in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten...so how do THEY get seeded over US!?!?
West Virginia--#2 seed is fair.
Clemson vs. Missouri...2 mediocre teams going at it. That should be exciting...
New Mexico a #3...wow....
Marquette gets revealed with a 6...my dad has a thought about this...
Dad: See, that's blue collar. They're at a bar. That's my kind of team!
All the announcers are talking about how Kentucky has such a tough road.. Oh, cry about it. No offense to Texas, but I don't really think they are a "challenge." Sorry.
Duke gets the play-in game...I still don't get how they figure that one out. Anyone know?
Cal vs. Lousiville....I am going Louisville there.
Purdue as a 4 seed....that is fair.
Siena as a 13 vs. Purdue...that is a TOUGH draw for Purdue. I could see that one going either way.
This region doesn't illiicit a super-strong reaction for me. BUT overall, I am FIRED UP...I think there are some great match-ups here...HAPPY MARCH MADNESS!!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The "Wow, I was REALLY Wrong About That Team" Award
Tie between Michigan and UConn. I remember in my season preview I thought UConn with its guard play and veteran postplayers would lead the Huskies to the top of the Big East....FAIL. Perhaps part of the implosion was from missing Coach Jim Calhoun, who took a medical leave of absence midseason. They showed some resurgence upon his return, but it's safe to say this season is one they'd rather forget. Good thing their women's team is unbelievably awesome. Michigan was in my category for teams that would improve this season and it looks like they've done the opposite. It's strange that Belein had the same group of players and a worse record...I don't really understand how that works but something didn't quite click for the Wolverines this year. Ouch.
The "No One Saw Them Coming" Award
The Syracuse Orangemen!! Who else?!?! A team that began the season unranked yet won the outright Big East title, spent some time as #1 and now is being talked about as a championship favorite...of course, with my inexplicable love for Syracuse, this makes me happy. A group of unselfish guys that play hard--a mix of veteran leadership and young talent with a breakout star in Wesley Johnson--definitely a formula for success! Somewhere, Jonny Flynn is smiling.
The "Sucks to be You" Award
Robbie Hummel of Purdue. The poor kid has battled through injuries his first two years, is having a strong, healthy season, the media's loving his team, people are talking Final Four and then he goes down at the end of February with a torn ACL. **Insert the dreams of Purdue fans everywhere crashing down here** A serious bummer. Luckily, he still has another (and hopefully injury-free) year.
The "Congratulations, Your Success is Completely Irrelevant" Award
Cal and/or whoever wins the Pac-10 tournament. Normally there are a lot of comments about the West Coast not getting enough attention, teams from the region surprising everyone...and this year held true to that, but it was mostly because everyone was surprised at how bad they were. Normally, winning your conference is cause for celebration. Not this year. A perfect example as to why the NBA and the NCAA need to figure out a better solution to the one-and-done rule.
The "Biggest Crash and Burn" Award
Texas Longhorns...you might be asking why I didn't put North Carolina here. Don't worry. We'll get there. But the difference is that no one was really talking about UNC winning another title. Texas was something of a golden child this year. They started out so strong, cruised to a #1 ranking and had the tournament been played in December and early January, they probably could have taken home some hardware. But it's not--and for whatever reason, Texas fizzled while everyone else got better. To go from Final Four hopes to hoping to make the tournament is never a good time.
The "Nobody Feels Sorry for You" Award
North Carolina, I'm talking to you!! Has anybody noticed that in almost every game this year, Roy Williams looks like he's going to cry? "Wah, my team is struggling, WAAAAH" "WAH, Duke kicked our tail" "WAHH it's so hard...just like the earthquake in Haiti" And understandably, fans are upset too. They had a national championship and now probably won't make the tournament. If that was my team, I'm sure I would be disappointed. But guess what?!?! You've had 3 Final Fours and 2 national championships in 5 years. SUCK IT UP. Quit whining. You're a perennial powerhouse and you're having a down year--it happens to everybody. Deal with it.
The "6th Man of the Year" Award
My man, Draymond Green!!! I'm sure you could argue that there are other players who mean more to their teams, but I disagree. Green has stepped up for MSU all year, being a co-captain as a sophomore, scoring when he needs to, crashing the boards, being a vocal cheerleader, coming up with bonding ideas (i.e. the sleepover at Breslin) and winning the hearts of fans because of his effort. He went from playing just 11 minutes a game last year to over 25 this year, grabbing almost eight rebounds a game (third in the Big Ten) and scoring 10 points. He also did enough to garner conference 6th Man of the Year honors, so I feel there's some support to my statements. Also, the fact that a 6'6, 235 pound guy is nicknamed "Day Day" just makes me love him even more.
And now....drum-roll please.....the unveiling of the...
2009-2010 ALL WIGS TEAM
Last year I had a lot of big guys, these year was all about the guards. Again, these aren't "the best players" in the NCAA, just my personal favorites.
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Quick, clutch, composed. Reynolds is currently chasing the all-time leading scorer record at Nova and here's hoping he gets it. Reynolds has grown up so much in his time under Jay Wright, becoming a team leader and an all-around better player. He's tough, he's competitive--in short, everything you want in a guard. Me = Big fan.
John Wall, Kentucky
My fasination with him has been well-documented. He has had a few freshman moments this year--arguing with his coach, thinking he knows better, pouting because he hasn't played well--but overall, he's remained unselfish, always looking up the floor, sharing the ball and using his incredible quickness and explosive energy. Watching him play is always fun. It will be interesting to see how his youth and the youth of his team plays out in the tournament...but hopefully we have a lot to look forward to from him.
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Of COURSE I was going to include someone from Michigan State. If you had asked me a month or so ago, I might not have picked Kalin. But watching him respond after being injured won me over. I think sitting on the bench watching his team without him really ignited a fire and a passion in him to be the leader Izzo needed him to be. The lightbulb is on and he has the talent to really go far. I love watching him slash through the lane and I love that he's the one that wants to hit the big shots. You can tell the effort is always there now and he wants it bad.
Evan Turner, Ohio State
The kid broke his back and now might be Player of the Year. Need I say more? I have so much respect for his talent, I'm not sure I can really put it into words. The kid just gets it done.
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
I think I'm going to let his numbers speak for themselves on this one...
Johnson was named Big East Player of the Year this week, surprising a lot of people who assumed it would be Scottie Reynolds. But Johnson "has started all 31 games this year after transferring from Iowa State. The junior leads Syracuse in scoring (15.7 ppg), rebounding (8.5) and minutes played 34.5). He has scored in double-digits in 28 of 31 games and posted 11 double-doubles."
That's the list...Happy MArch Madness!! :)
Monday, March 1, 2010
It wasn't the losses per se, but the way the Spartans looked during said losses. They would get down and fight like hell to come back (which was awesome) but then Purdue and Ohio State hit a couple shots and it felt like they just sort of went, "Ok. I guess we're done then." On the positive side, I have been a big fan of the way Lucas, Summers and Allen have been playing recently. The trouble is, MSU needs EVERYONE contributing and playing hard in order to be successful.
After yesterday's big win AT PURDUE (which frankly, I never expected), I feel better. Looking back, at this point in the season we are exactly where I thought we would be--split with Purdue, split with Illinois, split with Wisconsin...and the loss to Ohio State stinks, but given the fact that Evan Turner is currently playing out of his mind and the team seems to be peaking at the right time, it wasn't like they lost to a crap team.
Some thoughts about the Purdue game....
It was a bit of a weird game. Sloppy, physical, all in all, pretty ugly. I don't think Purdue is "bad" without Hummel, but they are certainly a different team without him. I think State definitely had something of an advantage in that they caught the Boilers in their first game sans Hummel and they were in a bit of disarray--much like the Spartans in their first game without Lucas. There is definitely an adjustment period there. I also think Michigan State might have had a little more confidence going into knowing Hummel wouldn't be on the floor--they had a whole week to prepare for Purdue KNOWING he couldn't play. This was an open-door for MSU to grab a little on that Big Ten title and I'm guessing the mental state of both teams affected the outcome.
Purdue was clearly off their game and part of it was on them, but part of that credit goes to the Spartans as well. They played good defense, crashed the boards HARD (but a lot of the time there were only green jerseys around the glass, as Purdue ran back to stop the run), and kept going inside, despite not getting fouls called or turning it over. Of course, turnovers were ridiculous, but frankly, I disagreed with a lot of the calls. Sorry, but Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan were not traveling EVERY TIME they tried to pivot. The thing that made me the happiest though, was seeing MSU play with composure the entire time. No matter what the call or the play before, it was like they just said, "Ok, that play is over. Next." Amazing. No matter where Purdue ranks or who is on the court, they always play hard and Mackey is a TOUGH arena. That crowd gets fired up--trust me, I've seen it in person. Hummel or no Hummel, it was a big win for State. Maybe not in the eyes of a committee or whatever, but for THEM I think it meant a lot. It made me proud. :)
Unintentional comedy for the day? Derrick Nix hanging on the rim after missing a dunk and tipping the ball in. Good effort, but....you can't ACTUALLY do that. In other news, Kalin Lucas has stolen my heart. That kid is just bringing it. I think his injury really sparked something in him that brought him to a new level of leadership--I love it. I am also a big fan of Summers and Allen right now....LOVE the way they are playing, though if Summers wanted to dunk more, I would be okay with that too.
~Despite what anyone may think, I actually feel really badly for Robbie Hummel. I don't think anyone wants a kid to get hurt, especially at this point in the season. For a kid like Hummel, who's battled injuries and worked so hard, it must just be devastating. Thankfully, he has another year still. Despite the fact that he's the bane of my exisitence because he's so good, he is a good kid who does the right things. I only hope the best for him.
~Evan Turner is playing out of his mind right now. It's not a shock that he's good--I KNEW that. But watching him play these last few weeks has given me a new level of respect for him. Wow.
~I wish I had this in writing, but I totally called Kentucky losing to Tennessee at Tennessee. Bruce Pearl is one of the few coaches that really seems to have Calipari's number. He has less talent than Kentucky, yet prepares his kids and gets them to respond in a way that is really impressive. Now that they've beaten Kansas and Kentucky, I would hate to face these guys in the tournament. Yikes.
~Is it kind of weird to anyone else that Notre Dame is actually playing really well WITHOUT their best player (Luke Harangody)...I mean, ever since he went down the Irish have gone from being a irrelevant team to a bubble team...really?!? It's so strange to me. Also, I think Tim Abromitis gets the nod for "most unfortunate last name" this year. It sounds like a disease..."And he gets hit by Abromitis..." "And Abromitis takes him down..."
~I still love Syracuse and Villanova. It was tough to watch them play each other, because I think both teams are just outstanding, but Syracuse REALLY stepped up. I would love to see both teams make the Final Four and I really believe they have the talent to do it. Here's hoping!
Monday, February 8, 2010
VILLANOVA @ GEORGETOWN
I was really excited to watch this game, mostly because I haven't gotten a chance to see too much of Nova or Georgetown and really like both teams. I figured it would be a good one, with Villanova holding an undefeated Big East record and Georgetown fired up after an unexpected loss to South Florida. I didn't quite expect what the actual game entailed.
Georgetown came out swinging the first half and seemed to be clicking on all cylinders. They were hitting 3's left and right, their big guys made beautiful cuts down the lane for layups, their passes were crisp and they hit almost every free throw. They jumped out to an early 17 to 20 point lead and although Nova would make a run every once in awhile, it never got much below 14 or 15 points.
The fouls were very unbalanced--Nova got called for multiple offensive fouls and didn't even get to the free throw line until 6:25 left in the half. Jay Wright worked the refs the entire time and his hot temper eventually led to a techincal with about 8 minutes left in the first half. What's interesting about that technical though, was that it seemed sort of calculated. He got warned a couple of times and just kept going and going....he was pretty animated about it, more so than usual...then he got the T and his team suddenly played with a little more intensity, a little more aggression and the refs started calling a few more fouls on Georgetown. Even Doris Burke mentioned that it seemed like Wright was asking for it and hoping it would get his team fired up...I've often heard rumblings that coaches sometimes get T's on purpose for whatever reason, but this was the first time I've seen it so blatant. And maybe it wasn't, who knows....but either way, it definitely seemed to serve a purpose.
Nova struggled a bit in the half and despite shooting 50% from the field found themselves down by 21. Turnovers were a big problem and the Wildcats normally spectacular guards (Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes) had a pretty quiet showing. Reynolds alone only had 5 points. There were a few shining moments from Dominique Cheek on the defensive side of the ball, snagging two key steals that turned into Nova baskets. Beyond that, Nova's game wasn't on par with their usual production.
On the other side, Georgetown reserve Jason Clark had a career game, hitting 4 three-pointers in the that half alone. Incredible.
The second half got a little better for the Cats, but the lead was too large and Georgetown, to their credit, never let up. Nova banged the boards, got a few more offensive rebounds, tightened up defensively and cut the lead down, but the Hoyas had fantastic ball movement, unselfish play and an all-around team effort that was actually pretty cool to see. As a fan of the team it's happening to, watching your opponent mop the floor with your guys is pretty painful (trust me, I can relate), but as a neutral fan....it's awesome.
And frankly, I'm sure the emotional aspect played a role as well. Georgetown, it seemed, had more of a sense of urgency regarding this game. They were most likely frustrated and embarassed over losing to South Florida, sitting in the middle of the Big East conference, given a chance to redeem themselves by taking out a big opponent...and of course, while no team WANTS to lose or TRIES to lose, Georgetown needed and wanted this one just a little bit more. Villanova had one off game against a great team--they'll regroup and be just fine.
MICHIGAN STATE vs. ILLINOIS
I think Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman are bad luck for MSU. No, really. They are. I'm not getting personal here, they are both very nice men and do a great job...but the odds are NOT in their favor. Think about it. The last FOUR BIG GAMES they've called, MSU has lost.
MSU vs. UNC in 2008....MSU loss.
MSU vs. UNC in 2009....MSU loss.
MSU vs. Purdue last season....MSU loss.
MSU vs. Illinois on Saturday night....MSU loss.
Yes, yes, I get it. MSU is in control of their own destiny and how they play. So true. I totally agree. But you are also talking to a girl who stops wearing a shirt/sweatshirt she was wearing after a loss....I am a little superstitious. So can we please eliminate anything that makes it harder to win? Please and thank you.
That said, I have mixed emotions about that game. I am obviously bummed they lost (especially since they totally could have won), but I would rather lose at the buzzer as opposed to the way we did at Wisconsin. Also, may I please point out what I wrote the other day? That if the Spartans couldn't close out opponents, their "squeaking out a win because the other team missed the game-winning shot" luck would run out?!!? Consider the well dry kids.
However, there were a lot of good things there. First off, Illinois played pretty much the best game of their entire season, so kudos to them. Secondly, MSU constantly fought back, right until the end. No matter what the score, they played hard and hit some really big shots. The big men produced REALLY well, especially Draymond Green. There were a lot of rebounds, strong moves inside and hustle. Awesome. Kalin Lucas showed some fantastic leadership from the bench...even MORE awesome. But really, I just can't take the turnovers. I mean, seriously. That and missed free throws are driving me CRAZY. There's another big one against Purdue on Tuesday night. Kalin or no Kalin, these guys need this one. Let's get it.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Both Coach Bob Huggins and the president of the university have taken steps to help solve the problem, including pleading, scolding, and threatening to prosecute offending parties. It is great to see them taking a stand and addressing the problem, but really, you would think the students would take it upon themselves to figure it out and shut their mouths.
Listen--I get it. I was a proud member of the Izzone for 4 years. I screamed, yelled, chanted, got rowdy, rushed the court, the whole nine yards. I made fun of players' haircuts, warm-ups, etc. etc. I once screamed at Tom Coverdale (who played for Indiana) during a silent free throw that "even my mom hates him." (Which was actually true...my mom was NOT a Coverdale fan, mostly just because he was so good.) There is no question that I was one of the loudest fans there during my four years. But one of the things I was most proud of was the fact that I, along with hundreds of Izzone members, found classier and/or more humorous ways of heckling the other team.
Did I ever sit on my couch and let loose strings of 4-letter words? Sure! Do I still do it now? Of course! Do I get a little carried away while sitting in an MSU bar and let a few choice phrases fly every now and then? You bet!
In the privacy of my own home or in the loud confusion of a home-team bar, you can get away with those things. But when you are a member (or one of many members) of a student section, the rules change a bit. You're in public. You are representing your school. Everyone gets riled up and ticked off at what they thing is a bad call or a dirty play--God knows if you can lip-read some of the things coaches say when that happens, you know they aren't complimenting anyone's shoes. But the students need to remember that actions affect others--their behavior reflects postively or negatively on a LARGE contingent of people.
I would like to think that ANY student section prides themselves on being way more creative then chanting swears or making low personal blows on coaches and players. It's one thing to call Drew Neitzel "Britney Spears" after she shaved her head--it's quite another to make a comment about someone's mother or wife. And frankly, who thinks it is EVER okay to throw things at people?!?!?
WVU certainly isn't the only group to cross the line or chant swear words and unfortunately, they probably won't be the last. But the bigger point here is that these students understand exactly what they're there to do and how lucky they are.
Students sections exist to bring spirit and energy to their teams and other fans. They exist to give students an opportunity to have an amazing view of college basketball that they may never have again. It's all about fun and enjoying the unique and incredible atmosphere of this amazing sport. Maybe this is something you don't appreciate until you leave it behind, but trust me--the ability to go to every game and sit courtside is a true privilege. So enjoy it. Drink it in. Appreciate what it is. Represent with dignity. Be loud, be proud, be creative.
And of course, stay classy kids. Stay classy.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The Spartan effort against the Badgers last night was nothing short of, well--lame. I spoke with a LOT of friends and fans before the game and everyone (including me) seemed to feel the same way--that the odds of MSU going undefeated in the Big Ten were slim, especially given that they never seem to play well at the Kohl Center or Mackey Arena and other venues, like Assembly Hall in Champaign, are always tough places to play. The vibe I got was that if a loss was going to happen, it was coming soon. And so it did.
As I said before, I'm cool with losing every once in awhile. I don't like it, but in a weird way it kind of takes the pressure off and can be a big wake-up call. What I don't like is losing the way they did--no energy, poor shot selection, what appeared to be a basic lack of effort. It didn't help that Wisconsin shot the lights out of the gym, but it was clear they wanted it more. Period. And it gets worse.
Reading some quotes from the game today, Korie Lucious (who my mother refers to as "a little fireball") talked about how the team "felt a loss coming." See below...
"I think we all did," guard Korie Lucious said. "In practice, we just haven't been bringing it like we should have and Coach has been telling us that for the last couple of days."
2 points for honesty, but...really!??! You are telling me that as a player, as a team, you walked into the Kohl Center thinking, "Well, we are probably going to lose anyway." ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? I mean, as FANS we were trying to prepare for the worst to manage our own expectations, but not ONE SINGLE FAN I talked to said, "Oh they will lose." They said, "Oh they MIGHT lose, but they are good enough to win and they CAN win." Of COURSE you won't win with that attitude!!!!! How about saying, "Who cares what anyone thinks, we are winning this game." How about "We are going to focus on executing like we know we can." I am so disappointed by that attitude. That line of thinking doesn't get you to a Final Four. Did you say that last year when all the pundits picked you to lose to USC? Or Kansas? Or Louisville? Or UConn?? Something tells me that had they walked into those games with that attitude, they wouldn't have made it as far as they did.
It's bad enough that Kalin Lucas went down with a sprained ankle and we don't know how long he'll be down, but that mental mindset does not bode well. Here's hoping they can shake it off for Illinois.
And P.S.--For Steve Lavin (who I think is an awesome analyst), Brent Musberger and all the other media people out there...We get it. MSU never plays well at the Kohl Center. Bo Ryan owns Tom Izzo on his home court. We know. Trust us...we are WELL AWARE we haven't won there since 2001. It is not something we forget. You do not need to constantly remind us. Nor do you need to continue to pound it into our brain as MSU gets their tails handed to them. The memories come flooding back every time it happens. Thanks.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
What an amazing day of basketball!! I am so drained from so many games, I almost don't know where to start. Marquette upsets UConn, Syracuse NARROWLY escapes DePaul, Illinois over Indiana at the buzzer, West Virginia comes back to beat Lousiville, Georgetown DESTROYING Duke, Texas loses to Baylor in OT...I'm out of breath just making that list. So here are some thoughts, observations and general comments from the day that was...
KENTUCKY vs. VANDERBILT
It was pretty much a given that Kentucky was going to play out of their minds today after the loss to South Carolina on Tuesday. That said, it remained to be seen whether it would be out of their minds in a good way or a bad way...well, I THINK they answered that question with some authority.
The key really for the Wildcats was HUSTLE, especially from DeMarcus Cousins. UK ran the floor, dove for the ball, crashed the boards and basically took Vandy out of any kind of game they hoped to have. Cousins was a complete beast inside, using his size and strength to its fullest and really taking it strong to the hoop down low. He was surely a difference-maker in this game and his presence absolutely shook up Aussie star A.J. Ogilvey, who got into foul trouble and didn't even score his first points until he went to the FT line with a few minutes remaining in the first half. With Cousins dominating inside, Patrick Patterson decided to assert himself from the 3 point line and hit some key shots, especially in the first half and John Wall (still love him) set a Kentucky freshman assist record.*
*Sidenote: One of the reasons I LOVE John Wall...he can clearly score early and often, yet he's really unselfish with the ball and ALWAYS looks up the floor. Apparently he hasn't been playing as well in games lately, but when you consider a "bad game" to be 12 points and 9 assists (and ok, 7 turnovers, not so good), I think he'll be fine. Plus, it's the old standby--teams are keying on him more and more, so he'll just have to adjust.
Kentucky got in foul trouble early (at one point, Bledsoe, Wall and Cousins were all sharing the bench for a significant period of time in the first half) and I'm not sure if it was that or Kentucky relaxing a bit with the large lead that allowed Vanderbilt to fight back a little in the second half--but all I want to know is this from Commodore Jeffrey Taylor: When you are down 12 on the road and have a chance to cut the lead to 10, why, why, WHY do you decide to showboat and completely MISS a reverse dunk that leads to a Kentucky score and a lead of 15?!?!?! Vandy just looked completely out of their element. I haven't really watched them at all this year, so I can't really comment on this or that, but I was really surprised at how poorly they played.
MICHIGAN STATE vs. NORTHWESTERN
Now HERE are the Spartans I know and love. The score is a bit deceiving, because it makes it look like the game was a lot closer than it was, but once the second half started, the Spartans were in control and never looked back. Northwestern actually played well--they hit amazing shots in the first half to keep it so close and hit some big 3s toward the end to make it appear they had a chance. The thing I really noticed about the Wildcats was their confidence. I have never seen a Northwestern team look like that--they didn't seem intimidated or flustered no matter what the score. Everyone wrote them off after Coble got injured and it gets mentioned a lot that NO ONE expected them to be this competitive without him. I hope they do well....just not against MSU...ha!
But back to the Spartans. All the analysts have talked about Kalin Lucas and how AMAZING he's been in the last two games (Minnesota and Michigan)...while I do think he's great, I've personally felt like he hasn't really shown up until late in the game (and thank goodness he DID, but it would have been nice to have him the whole time) and FINALLY tonight I saw the old Kalin the entire game. Sharp passes, slashing to the basket, hitting FTs, all of it! The team as well looked pretty sharp. They crashed the boards HARD, took care of the ball really well, always looked to make the extra pass, were strong inside...it was great! Durrell Summers was ridiculous and even Chris Allen had some spectacular dunks that I don't think I've ever seen before. Raymar Morgan didn't have a stellar game, but he still played pretty well and I think some of the fouls that took him out of it were a bit silly. The other thing that I loved was that the Spartans were calm and poised even after NW hit shots and closed the gap. They hit (most) of their free throws down the stretch as well....although Draymond Green needs to spend a BIT more time at the line (still adore him though).
KANSAS vs. KANSAS STATE
I am not going to into super-analysis on this one, because I was watching MSU most of the time, but CRAP!! WHAT A GAME!! K-State came out of nowhere for me, so I really know nothing about them, but the last few minutes and especially the overtime were really exciting. I loved the energy of the crowd as well...they were so loud and excited the entire time, their hearts must be crushed right about now. One thing that was interesting was watching Kansas be a little flustered and make some crucial mistakes that (almost) cost them the game--like missing free throws, almost throwing the ball away on the last possession of regulation and Collins then tripping on his drive that led to OT. HOWEVER, Collins did step up big time and hit a HUGE tough shot to seal the win...regardless of anything else, K-State couldn't seal the deal and Kansas did. It will be interesting to see how the Big 12 plays out...a lot of great teams in that conference.
~It seemed like the refs were calling a LOT of fouls today. I don't know if they have been told to tighten up or with all the close games they wanted to keep control...but the whistles were going left, right and center. It actually got a little annoying, because it interrupts the flow of the game, but regardless, it just seemed like more than usual. Who knows.
~DeMarcus Cousins contributes in a lot of positive ways to Kentucky basketball, but he needs to shut his mouth. Cousins does a lot of jawing and has thrown a few questionable elbows, especially today. It disappoints me to see a kid behave that way, especially when his play can do the talking. Shut your mouth and play kids. Thanks.
~Hopefully now that MSU beat Northwestern at the Breslin, we can stop talking about how Kevin Coble single-handedly destroyed the Spartans last year. We get it, he was amazing and hit 3 pointers backwards, upside down, off his left pinkie toe. We ALL remember. No need to keep re-living it. Thanks.
P.S.--Props to the K-State crowd. Incredible. I haven't heard a game that loud in a loooong time. I also love that they refer to the arena as "the Octagon of Doom." Awesome.
Friday, January 29, 2010
It's been a little tough getting back into the fray after 3 weeks of nothing but scores and highlights at my fingertips. It's bad news when you have a college basketball blog, leave the country and return with the need to play extreme catch-up. It might not be such a bad thing though--I won't be jaded with past performance or records, but rather where teams are at NOW and how they progress as we head into the meat of the season.
Rest-assured that I will have plenty to say about the fact that the Spartans gave me not one, but TWO heart attacks this week, eeking out wins over Minnesota and Michigan.
I watched South Carolina overtake Kentucky, watched Kansas dominate Mizzou (which was so sad, I thought Mizzou would have given them a better game), and can't WAIT to regale you with tales of games that will happen this weekend.
The Kentucky-SC game was interesting...I've never been a huge Kentucky fan, but they are quite fun to watch and I admit wholeheartedly that I've bought into the John Wall hype--I LOVE him. I HATE getting emotionally attached to players who will only be around for one year. I still say what I've said before and that is that Kentucky's youth in close games can and will get the better of them come tournament time. That's not to say they'll go out early, but they've now shown, just like all the other top teams, that they are vulnerable and not just when playing the big boys.
Also, SC getting fined for court-storming?!?! Not a fan of that rule. Yes, I understand WHY it exists--it is purely for safety and I would rather they have it now then after someone gets seriously hurt, but it puts such a damper on the joys of being a rowdy student fan...not that those rowdy student fans seemed to be dampened after that win. ;) *sigh* I miss those days.
It will be interesting to see who's #1 after the weekend as well..tons of big games and tons of opportunity for someone (*cough* NOVA) to sneak in and steal that spot. And in case you are wondering, no, I won't have a problem if Kansas does well this weekend and gets back to #1. At this point in the season, they are EARNING it by playing well and beating quality opponents. Make sense?
And in case you are wondering, NO, I don't think MSU should be #1. I love them, but they aren't there yet. They can be #410 right now for all I care, just as long as they are #1 come April (ok, maybe not THAT far down, but you get my point).
Speaking of MSU...8-0 in the Big Ten, best start in school history? I'll take it. I don't know how long it can last given their schedule and if they can't put teams away, this "we got the W because our opponent missed their last-second shot" luck is going to run out quickly. I have mixed emotions about the idea of my favorite teams going undefeated--on one hand, I LOVE IT. On the other hand, I think it gets into dangerous territory and possibly lulls them into a false sense of security. While I never WANT the team I cheer for to lose, I think an occasional loss can be a wake-up call and keep a team hungry and on their toes. That said, MSU still has a LOT of tough games coming up--at Wisconsin, at Illinois, vs. Ohio State and 2 games with Purdue. Yikes. I have full faith that they CAN run the table, but whether or not they will remains to be seen. It's a tough task for anyone, particularly when they are already at the top of the conference with a target on their back. With each win, that target gets bigger and every team wants to be the ones to take them down just a little bit more. Hopefully, the Spartans remember to just play well, play as a team and take it one game at a time. I have no doubt Izzo reminds them of that daily. :)
However, I think the Michigan game was evidence that the Spartans aren't quite playing their best basketball yet. The turnovers are driving me CRAZY and it's something that they've struggled with for the past couple of seasons. When they take care of the ball and make sharp passes, hard drives and strong moves to the basket, they can make anything happen. CONTROL IT PLEASE.
I AM very pleased with the response from Raymar Morgan. He has this fire in his eye that just says, "Get out of the way, 'cause we aren't leaving here until we win." LOVE IT! I've seen that look in all the Spartans in the past and I hope Ray can inspire the rest of them with his passion.
Big games this weekend kids....enjoy!!!
P.S. Props to anyone tuning in after my long hiatus...thanks for reading! :)
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Despite this, I refer you to my previous comments regarding Kansas. What happens the first time they play a non-cupcake (i.e....Tennessee)? THEY LOST. Granted, I didn't see the game, so really I shouldn't even be talking, but I just felt compelled to point that out.
Again, Kansas is a very good team, there are no doubts about that and they will be excellent come tournament time. HOWEVER, my point was merely that when a team plays cupcakes the whole non-conference schedule, they don't deserve to be raved about and they don't deserve to be #1. Congrats to Texas and Kentucky...you guys are PROVING you belong at the top.