Midwest Swing: Title Game Edition

Midwest swing

By Paul M. Banks

INDIANAPOLIS- Signs inside, outside and all over downtown Indy read “the road ends here.” Indeed it did, my four venue, three city college basketball tour ended on this night. As did the championship aspirations of the 64th and final team. I literally teared up as Duke cut down the nets and hoisted the championship trophy because for me, the “Midwest Swing” that began nearly a month ago in Indy, ends in Indy. I came full circle in the “circle city.”

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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

-I had a bad feeling heading into Marquette’s game at South Florida on Friday night and unfortunately, I was right. That’s what happens when you convert on just 10 of 23 free throws and Dominic James thinks he is actually a three-point shooter. Am I worried? No. One hiccup through ten Big East games is certainly better than anyone expected.

-Funks continue for a pair of expected Big East powers. Notre Dame lost at Cincy and then was demolished by UCLA. Suck it Harangody! That’s seven straight losses. Georgetown ended their five-game skid by beating Rutgers, but then lost at Cincinnati. Both teams are on the wrong side of the bubble right now.

-Also in a surprising rut is Texas. Losses to Mizzou and at Nebraska now has the Horns in a three-game funk. For a team that I picked to be in the Final Four, this is very surprising. But teams have been locking down on A.J. Abrams and the rest of Rick Barnes’ team has not been able to pick up the slack.

-It was a strange Wednesday of blow-outs. Clemson embarrasses Duke by 27 on the same day that Wake Forest is waxed by Miami (FL) by that exact same amount. Without Raymar Morgan, Michigan State stomps Minnesota by 29. No rhyme or reason whatsoever there.


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

1. UConn (22-1)
2. Oklahoma (23-1)
3. North Carolina (21-2)
4. Pitt (21-2)
5. Duke (20-3)
6. Wake Forest (18-3)
7. Clemson (19-3)
8. Memphis (20-3)
9. Louisville (19-4)
10. Marquette (20-3)

Nipping on their heels:

UCLA (19-4)
Michigan St. (19-4)
Villanova (19-4)
Xavier (20-3)

Footlocker.com

Fast Forward

Marquette at Villanova (Tuesday, 6:00 ESPN)
Big bounce back chance for Marquette. Nova is playing good basketball having won five straight and are clicking offensively as they put up 94 points on Providence and 102 on Syracuse last week.

North Carolina at Duke (Wednesday, 8:00 ESPN)
Dickie V’s wet dream game. I don’t even need to pimp it any further.

Xavier at Dayton (Wednesday, 6:00 ESPN2)
Despite the fact that both teams were upset this past week, this game still has a lot of meaning in the A-10 race. Dayton has flown under the radar for a 21-3 team and could get a big boost come seeding time with a win over the Musketeers.

UCLA at Arizona (Saturday, 12:00 CBS)

Don’t look now but Zona has won five straight and is back in the NCAA Tournament picture. A win against UCLA would be a huge boost for their argument to make their 25th trip to the Big Dance.

Footlocker.com

The Drive to 225

To update my goal of watching 225 college basketball games this season… By the way, I am going to hit 225 before the conference tournaments even begin. I think I need a girlfriend.

Games watched through 2/8: 170

Games watched this past week: 17
UConn at Louisville
Marquette at DePaul
South Carolina at Florida
West Virginia at Syracuse
Duke at Clemson
Minnesota at Michigan State
Illinois at Wisconsin
Arizona at Oregon State
Gonzaga at Portland
Marquette at South Florida
Villanova at Syracuse
Notre Dame at UCLA
Michigan at UConn
Memphis at Gonzaga
Charleston at Davidson
Purdue at Illinois
Wisconsin at Penn State