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College Hoop Thoughts

Posted by davefowkes on 02/22/2009

The hype yesterday was on bracket-buster weekend, but it was the big boys that made a lot of the news:

–I think we can officially call Stanford a bad basketball team right now. It is hard to know where it all went so wrong. Three one-point road losses in a row? The home shellacking to Oregon State? Bottom line, there is no excuse for losing to Oregon this year. And that is what the Cardinal did yesterday. It is a brutal year on the farm and with three seniors departing and not much fresh talent coming in, it could be a long couple of years for Stanford.

–By the way, how far has the Oregon program fallen that the Duck faithful decided they needed to storm the court after beating Stanford! Can we all say it together, “Oregon now introduces Mark Few as new basketball coach….”

–Bad loss by Cal. OSU is clearly better than it has been but the Bears could be in 2nd place today. Instead they need at least one win either at home against the LA schools or on the road in Arizona to secure that tournament bid.

–Kudos to OSU for sweeping the Bay Area this year. 4-0! That is impressive. I am quite sure that has not happened since the Ralph Miller era!

–Losing at home to WSU is bad enough but how the heck did UCLA give up 81 points? It usually takes WSU a game and a half to get 80 points. Yet they did it on the Bruins home court against a traditionally strong, defensive minded team. UCLA will find themselves out of the top 25 this week. A true sign of how far behind the Pac Ten is this year.

–That said, the Huskies keep rolling. Nice road win for them over USC.

–Big game tonight in the state of Arizona. The Cats are one of the hotter teams. Can they keep the streak alive? ASU seems to have rebounded from a mid-season slump. For ASU 2nd place is on the table, for AZ it is about getting to the tournament.

–A win by Maryland is bad for those of us dreaming about mid-major conferences getting at-large bids. By rallying to beat UNC (and shocking me) Maryland is right back in the tournament talk. The more of these mid-level big conference schools that make a run, the less opportunity for the mid-majors to participate in March.

–Congrats to USF for getting the big win in OT over Santa Clara. Since USF suspended 4 players last week they have been competitive in all their games, including Gonzaga last weekend. It was nice to see them get rewarded for their efforts last night. Maybe Rex Chapman knows what he is doing after all?

–With a recent loss to Boise State (who got pounded last night by Portland State) and then losing at St. Mary’s last night, Utah State has proved the WAC will only get one team into the tourney. They better win their conference tournament! As for St. Mary’s, they are playing well and have a shot at winning the WCC tourney if Patty Mills comes back. They will need to because their losses when he first went down will keep the Gaels from an at-large bid. But if they do manage to win the berth, Gonzaga would get an at-large bid!

–I know nobody else west of New York cares, but I would love to see Niagara beat Sienna in the MAAC tourney and then the tournament reward Sienna with an at large birth. Both teams could create match up issues in the big dance and shoot their way to potential first round upsets.

–Butler vs Davidson was a good game but I wonder what would have happened had Stephen Curry not been hurt last week. He clearly was not the same player yesterday that he has been. Butler plays good defense so give them some credit but Curry just did not seem to have his legs under him. Anyone else catch how young that Butler coach looks? They pick him up out of high school?

–How do I know that Oklahoma is a great team? On the road, with the best player in college hoops on the bench (Blake Griffen left early with a concussion), they still almost beat Texas. With good health Oklahoma wins that game by 10.

–Three of the top four teams lost this past week. Still, this is a four team race as far as I am concerned with the top four teams being much better than the rest. After yesterday’s results, this would be my top five if I had a vote: 1. Pittsburgh 2. UConn, 3. Oklahoma 4. UNC 5. Memphis.


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