College Hoops 101

By David K.

Welcome to a weekly article at thesportsbank.net where I will give you the 101 on what has happened in the week of college basketball and what is to come in the days ahead.

Rewind

-ESPN’s College Gameday was in my backyard, Madison, on Saturday.  I got to cover the Badgers/Ohio State game for work and made sure that I was at the Kohl Center in plenty of time to watch the whole crew do their thing.  It really is amazing how ESPN being there brought a huge buzz to the game.  I sadly though did not get to ask Jay Bilas if he would be my valentine.  (Yes, I know Erin Andrews was there too.  But asking her to be my valentine would be so cliché.)

-My apologies to Hasheem Thabeet.  When I picked my All-American teams two weeks ago, I left the UConn big man off my first two teams.  Thabeet is an absolute monster in the middle for the Huskies.  He is putting up the stats to back it up lately, including a 25 point, 20 rebound, 9 block performance against Seton Hall on Saturday.  On top of that, the 7’3” junior alters so many shots and practically changes the way an opposing team attacks the hoop.  Thabeet deserves to be in any conversation about All-America teams.

On his recent visit to Madison, TSB.net founder Paul M. Banks asked me about my five favorite teams to watch.  So here they are:
1. Marquette- For obvious reasons

2. Arizona- Frequent commenter Jason Moe got me hooked on ‘Zona since that is his team.  The Cats have won seven in a row and look poised to make some noise in March.

3. Syracuse- I love their up-tempo style and ability to put a lot of points on the board.

4. Wisconsin- Since I cover them on a daily basis, I should probably like watching them.  Plus, I respect what Bo Ryan does with a basketball program, even if their style is fairly boring.

5. Arizona State- All because of James Harden

-Speaking of Paul, he received an “Onions” text from me Thursday night when Demetri McCamey hit the game-winning shot as Illinois came back from a 14-point deficit with five minutes to play to win at Northwestern.

My AP Top Ten (if I actually voted in the poll)

1. UConn (24-1)
2. Oklahoma (25-1)
3. North Carolina (23-2)
4. Pitt (23-2)
5. Memphis (22-3)
6. Michigan St. (20-4)
7. Wake Forest (19-4)
8. Louisville (19-5)
9. Clemson (20-4)
10. Duke (20-5)

Nipping on their heels:

Marquette (21-4)
Villanova (20-5)
Arizona State (19-5)

Fast Forward

Pitt at UConn (Monday, 6:00 ESPN)

I mean, wow.  The Thabeet/DeJuan Blair match-up down low is going to be a battle.


Michigan St. at Purdue (Tuesday, 6:00 ESPN)

A Spartans win might just be the Big Ten title clincher.


Notre Dame at West Virginia (Wednesday, 6:00)

This game has crazy bubble implications.

Butler at Davidson (Saturday, 11:00 ESPN)

This is biggest of the “Bracket Buster” games.  Hopefully Stephen Curry’s injured ankle will be ready to go.


Wake Forest at Duke (Sunday, 6:45 FSN)

Wake won the first match-up on a last second basket.

The Drive to 225

To update my goal of watching 225 college basketball games this season…

Games watched through 2/15:  187

Games watched this past week: 17
West Virginia at Pitt
Marquette at Villanova
Florida at Kentucky
Iowa at Wisconsin
Syracuse at UConn
Xavier at Dayton
North Carolina at Duke
Louisville at Notre Dame
Gonzaga at St. Mary’s
UCLA at Arizona State
USC at Arizona
Villanova at West Virginia
Georgetown at Syracuse
UCLA at Arizona
Ohio State at Wisconsin
St. John’s at Marquette
North Carolina at Miami (FL)
USC at Arizona State