College Hoops 101

By: David Kay

College Hoops 101 is a weekly article centering around all things college basketball.  David Kay looks back at the previous week, glances forward to what is ahead in the up-coming days, and keeps track of how many games I have watched this season in hopes of topping my mark from a year ago (274.)

This week’s College Hoops 101 comes a day late due to my road trip to Minnesota on Sunday to see my boy Brett Favre do some serious work.  Seriously, all the Favre-haters can suck it.  That’s all I have to say about that… Onto the college hoops!
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College Hoops 101

old spice swagger

By: David Kay

There is nothing quite like walking into a neighborhood watering hole located in a strip mall at 11:00 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving to watch college basketball and down a couple Bloody Mary’s and Old Styles before it is even one o’clock.  That is the joy that Feast Week brought me.

Non-stop college hoops last week combined with a five-day vacation allowed me to spend a lot of quality time in front of the boob tube.  There were plenty of entertaining games, interesting storylines, and upsets galore.  It’s all here in College Hoops 101.


-Since I am a glass half-full kind of guy, let me start by saying this; prior to the Old Spice Classic, if you would have told me that Marquette was going to finish 2-1 in the tournament, I would have taken it in a second.  With that said, it is still massively disappointing that after holding a 17-point second half lead, MU let is slip away in their Championship game loss to Florida State.  But we did learn a lot about this Marquette team.  They are gritty, play hard, get after it on the defensive end, and despite being grossly under-sized are going to scrap to stay in every game.  Translation: They have sucked me in and I am a believer that this team could be competitive in the Big East.  I also rescind my comment from a week ago that they will only win four games in conference play.

-Remember all that talk about the Big Ten being the toughest, deepest conference in college basketball this year?  Maybe not.  Friday was a rough one for the Big Ten as four ranked teams lost; Michigan State to Florida, Michigan to Marquette, Minnesota to Portland, and Illinois to Utah.  Follow that up with the Illini losing to Bradley on Saturday and the Gophers and Wolverines falling on Sunday, and the Big Ten took a big hit on the national scene.  Northwestern was a saving grace though as they upset Notre Dame and beat a talented Iowa State squad in the Chicago Invitational Challenge (check out Paul M. Banks coverage of Northwestern’s winning the challenge.)

-UCLA… OUCH!  Playing in Anaheim at the 76 Challenge, the Bruins finished in eighth place out of eight teams.  They were embarrassed in their first round game losing by 27 to Portland.  Then UCLA was edged by Butler in a consolation round game and then fell to Long Beach State by 11 in the 7th place game.  The Bruins are now 2-4 on the year and it doesn’t get any easier with top-ranked Kansas coming to town this weekend.

-The Pac-10 is not the best college basketball conference on the west coast this year.  The West Coast Conference is owning the Pac-10.  Loyola Marymount won at USC.  Portland beat Oregon and then smacked UCLA around like Ike slapped Tina.  San Diego beat Stanford earlier this year by 13 and of course there is Gonzaga who beat Wisconsin and Cincinnati to win the Maui Invite.  The Pac-10 might only get two teams in the tourney.

-Play of the week goes to Alabama’s JaMychal Green who secured his team’s victory against Michigan in the 3rd place game of the Old Spice Classic.  (Fast forward to the end of the game.  Sorry, it was the only clip I could find.)

Fast Forward

-This is supposed to be the year the Big Ten claims the Big Ten/ACC Challenge crown having lost all ten match-ups versus Dickie V’s favorite conference.  Two games to keep an eye on including the re-match of last year’s NCAA title game:
Michigan St. at North Carolina: Tuesday 8:00, ESPN
Duke at Wisconsin: Wednesday 8:15, ESPN

-North Carolina at Kentucky: Saturday 11:30, CBS
The Heels follow up their game with the Spartans by heading to Lexington.  Both teams are extremely talented but still young and trying to find a groove.  Expect a lot of offense in this one.

-Miami (FL) at Boston College, Sunday 2:00, FSN
Isn’t it way too early for the first conference game to be played?

The Drive
Games watched through 11/29: 53

Games watched this past week (home teams in CAPS): 20

#10 Tennessee 57, DePaul 53
A year ago, the Blue Demons went oh-for in Big East play.  This year, they hang with Tennessee and are 3-1 so far.  DePaul will be no pushover in conference play.

Cincinnati 67, Vanderbilt 58

Finally Jay Bilas is on color for a game I watch.  Cincy was very active on the defensive end but I was just happy to here Bilas’ sweet voice calling a game.  (Now is about the time Bilas files a restraining order against me.)

#6 Purdue 73, #9 Tennessee 72

Very entertaining game.  Both teams played really hard and got after it on both ends of the floor and should be major factors this season nationally.

Wisconsin 65, Arizona 61
Dear officials, way to ruin what should have been a very intriguing match-up by calling 54 fouls resulting in 66 free throw attempts.  The only thing we learned from this game is that ‘Zona freshman Derrick Williams has stud potential.

#3 Texas 85, Iowa 60
Tied at the break, the ‘Horns out-scored the Hawkeyes 47-22 in second half.  Remember the name Jordan Hamilton, a freshman swing player on Texas.  He could be special in a year or two.

Arizona 91, Colorado 87 OT
Very entertaining game to watch.  Nic Wise came up huge for ‘Zona down the stretch while the Buffs proved they are ready to make some noise in the Big 12.

MARQUETTE 93, South Dakota 68
I am really okay with teams wanting to zone MU this season.  They have shooters who can knock down three’s and Lazar Hayward can set up shot in the middle of the zone.

Gonzaga 74, Wisconsin 61
Despite welcoming ten new players, the Zags are still one of the top mid-majors in the country and can hang with any team from the power six conferences.  Of course it also helps that the Badgers were 5-26 from three in this game.

#3 Texas 78, Pitt 62
The ‘Horns are apparently a second half team.  They were tied with Iowa at the half and then trailed Pitt at the break before turning it on for the final twenty minutes.

Wisconsin 78, #21 Maryland 69

I kept getting interrupted and watched this game over three different sit-downs, so I didn’t get a feel for it at all.

Vanderbilt 84, Arizona 72
An off-night for Nic Wise = ‘Zona loss.

Gonzaga 61, Cincinnati 59 OT
Zags win the Maui Invite and show that despite being without four of their top players from a year ago, they are still one of the best mid-major programs in the country.

#15 Michigan 83, Creighton 76 OT

I am still trying to figure out if Michigan did not impress me or if Creighton really impressed me.  Manny Harris was one rebound shy of a triple-double.

Marquette 71, Xavier 61

Not gonna lie, I was already chalking this one up in the loss column for Marquette.  Thankfully, Xavier went on a late five-and-a-half minute dry spell without a field goal as MU went on a 16-2 run.  Big confidence building win.

#16 Minnesota 82, #10 Butler 73
There were 81 free throws attempted in this game.

Marquette 79, #15 Michigan 65
Nothing like going to the bar at 11:00 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, order a couple Bloody Mary’s and Old Styles, and watch your team knock off a ranked team.  That’s called a good start to the day.

Florida State 60, Alabama 51
With this win, FSU advances to meet Marquette in the Old Spice Classic Championship.  The ‘Noles are 7-1, 6-9, 6-8 in their frontcourt.  I have no idea how MU can guard them.

#7 Duke 68, #13 UConn 59

Neither team played very well in what was pretty much a letdown game to watch.

Florida State 58, Marquette 57

Read the Rewind section of this article for more on this game.

#8 West Virginia 84, Portland 66
Portland’s Cinderella-run in the 76 Classic comes to an end at the hands of a Mountaineer team that is as good as advertised.

College Hoops 101: Feast Week Edition


By: David Kay

There was so much college basketball on TV this week that I actually did not get to eight games that I DVR’ed because I just did not have the time.  If you think I did some serious work this past week on the college hoops viewing scene (check out “The Drive” for proof), just wait until Feast Week.  Not only will I be stuffing my face with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries (no pumpkin pie for this guy, never been a fan), I will be feasting on a heavy diet of college basketball thanks to a glorious and much-needed five day weekend.  For the record, I planned on taking these days off in hopes of going to Orlando to see Marquette in the Old Spice Classic but plans fell through.  I will have to settle for sweats, a couch, and some good friends while cheering on my Golden Eagles.

As always, College Hoops 101 takes a look back on the past week in college hoops, a preview of what’s to come during the next seven days, and what I saw in the games I watched as I keep tally of my total for the year.  (By the way, I still do not have a goal for this season.  Let me tell you this though, I am Chad Ochocinco-confident that I am going to destroy the 274 game total from last year.  CHILD PLEEZ!!!)  If you have any suggestions for a goal or challenge, I will happily consider your idea.  On with College Hoops 101…

-John Wall… welcome to Lexington.  The Kentucky super-frosh and likely #1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft hit a game-winning shot with 0.5 seconds left to help the Wildcats escape with a two-point win against Miami, Ohio.


-No Jonny Flynn, no Eric Devendorf, no Paul Harris… No probelmo.  Syracuse knocks off Cal and North Carolina on back-to-back nights and besides Kansas, is the best team in the country right now.  Yup, you read that right.  They have size and muscle inside with Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson.  They are long and athletic on the wings with Wesley Johnson (who is as good as advertised) and Kris Joseph.  They have a lights out shooter in Andy Rautins and two fearless point guards in Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine.  I could not have been more impressed with them this week.

-The Pac-10 continues to take a beating early in the season.  Cal dropped a pair of games to ranked teams.  UCLA lost at home to Cal-State Fullerton.  Oregon State dropped to 1-3 after losing at home to Sacramento State while Loyola Marymount won at USC.  Oregon fell on the road to Portland.  Some mid-major conferences are better than the Pac-10 this year.  Believe that!

-The play of the week goes to Arizona freshman Derrick Williams.  POSTER!

Fast Forward
-Pre-season NIT could feature a Duke vs. UConn final on Friday.

-Paradise Jam will pit Tennessee and Purdue in the championship game Monday night.

-The best pre-season tournament in my opinion, The 76 Classic, tips-off on Thanksgiving with a loaded field consisting of West Virginia, Butler, Clemson, Minnesota, UCLA, Texas A&M, and dangerous mid-majors programs Long Beach State and Portland.

-The Maui Invite (Wisconsin, Arizona, Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Maryland, Vanderbilt) and Old Spice Classic (Marquette, Xavier, Florida State, Michigan, Baylor, Alabama) lack the firepower of high ranked teams but should be competitive and entertaining nonetheless.

The Drive
Games watched through 11/15: 33

Games watched this past week (home teams in CAPS): 20

#8 DUKE 74, Coastal Carolina 49
The Blue Devils start four players 6’7 or taller and will bring two 6’10 guys and 7’1 Brian Zoubek off the bench.  All but one of them is white.  Wisconsin is jealous.

ARIZONA STATE 84, Texas State 57
I only watched this game because my DVR didn’t record the UConn game.  Did you know: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s twin brother plays for Texas State?

Cal State Fullerton 68, UCLA 65, 2 OT
What a terrible, yet entertaining basketball game.  The Pac-10 is so weak this year.  UCLA is picked to finish third loses their home opener.  Oregon State is picked to finish fourth, but loses two of their first three.  Ouch.

#23 Clemson 79, LIBERTY 39
Eric Gordon’s younger brother is a freshman at Liberty.  I wonder if he originally committed to the Flames or pulled a Judas move like his bro?

SIENA 59, Northeastern 53
Maybe it was the early Tuesday afternoon start, but it took Siena, one of the top mid-majors, a while to get going.  Once they got their defensive pressure going, they looked solid.

#20 GEORGETOWN 46, Temple 45
Were these two teams auditioning for a spot in the Big Ten and nobody told me?

#23 Louisville 96, Arkansas 66
The Cards just wore down a Razorback team that dressed just six scholarship players.  Louisville was chucking away, attempting 38 three’s.

MARQUETTE 86, Maryland Eastern Shore 60
I’ll say it again.  Lazar Hayward needs to learn how to stay out of trouble or else MU is screwed.  He did drop a career-high 28 despite first half foul trouble.

#1 Kansas 57, Memphis 55
Best game of the season thus far.  A lot of great talent on the floor, and Memphis’ Josh Pastner has just joined Butler’s Brad Stevens as my two favorite young coaches in college hoops.

#10 Butler 67, NORTHWESTERN 54
There is nothing sexy about Butler, but they execute their half-court offense and are extremely fundamental.

#6 Villanova 69, George Mason 68
Wow… Nova gets a pair of huge three-pointers late from freshmen as they escape against George Mason.  The Wildcats were playing without starting center Mouphtaou Yarou who was sent home from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off with an illness.

Mississippi 89, Indiana 71
One thing is for sure; this year’s Hoosiers are MUCH more competitive than last year.  Ole Miss has a lot of athletes, but will need to stay disciplined if they are going to make a splash in the SEC.

#24 Syracuse 95, #12 Cal 73
Ahhh… I missed Bob Knight’s rants about how useful shot fakes are.  ‘Cuse is my favorite team to watch so far.  They have athletes, shooters, and size.

#4 North Carolina 77, #15 Ohio State 73
A late OSU rally falls short as UNC’s size was too much for the Buckeyes who had several key players in foul trouble early on.

ARIZONA 66, Rice 49
I know ‘Zona is young and fairly inexperienced, but they are much deeper this season and do not need to rely on the Budinger/Hill/Wise trio of last year to do all the damage.  This team will only get better under Sean Miller as the season goes on.

#6 Villanova 71, #21 Dayton 65
A night after narrowly escaping the upset bid by George Mason, ‘Nova looked like a completely different team although they did have to hold off a late Flyer rally.

#15 Ohio State 76, #12 Cal 70
Despite his porno name and receding hairline, Dallas Lauderdale was very impressive for the Buckeyes and is really their only low post presence.

#24 Syracuse 87, #4 North Carolina 71
Read the “Rewind” portion for more on this game.

MARQUETTE 87, Grambling State 41
Grambling State shot the ball like a 4th grade girls rec-league team.  I am not sure if it is because they suck really bad or if MU just played some solid D’, but I would lean towards them sucking.

#6 Villanova 79, Mississippi 67
‘Nova wins the competitive Puerto Rico Tip-off without two of their top players.  Antonio Pena is one of those “glue guys” replacing Dante Cunningham in the Wildcats’ line-up.