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. One week remaining in the season… what am I going to do with myself after next Monday?
-First and foremost, I owe TSB.net’s Peter Christian an apology. In our staff picks at the beginning of the season, Peter picked Villanova to make it to the Elite Eight, and I called him crazy. Not only did ‘Nova exceed Peter’s expectations, but his boy Scottie Reynolds hit the game-winning shot with a half-second left in what will certainly be a NCAA Tournament highlight that we will all see over and over for the next fifty years.
In all actuality, the Pitt/Nova game probably never should have come down to the Reynolds’ game-winner. I am not sure if Jay Wright or the inbounder (Reggie Redding) is to blame, but what a terrible decision made late in the game. Why the Wildcats went for the home run inbounds pass while leading by two with 10.3 seconds left is baffling. Throw it to your guard, have him get fouled, and go to the free throw line. Instead, the Hail Mary is picked off; Pitt gets fouled and ties the game at the charity stripe. I really like Wright and the call was gutsy, but back-fired worse than Happy Gilmore’s puck trick with the golf chick.
-If you watched the Michigan State Sweet 16 game, you probably saw about 613 cutaway shots of Tom Izzo’s wife, Lupe. While Peter claims she looks like she belongs on an episode of The Sopranos, I cannot help but wonder if she even understands the game of basketball. At the end of the game when things were very exciting, she sat there with a stoic look on her face as if she did not know what was going on. Or maybe she has been injected with so much botox that she was trying to smile but was just unable to do so. Good thing we will get to see 483 more shots of her during the Final Four.
-Big ups to Marquette’s Jerel McNeal who was named a second team All-American. A well-deserved honor for McNeal and not one that I would have imagined at the beginning of the season.
-Seth Curry, the younger brother of Davidson’s Stephen Curry and nation’s leading scorer among freshman, has decided to transfer from Liberty to pursue opportunities to play against tougher competition. Curry will likely end up at an ACC school, possibly Virginia Tech where his father played, but I still am going to send him pamphlets about how Marquette is such a fantastic college institution. (UPDATE: Seth Curry has committed to Duke and will be eligible for the 2010-11 season. And I just threw up in my mouth.)
-Ohio State freshman center B.J. Mullens has decided to turn pro. DUMB. Mullens was the Buckeyes’ sixth man and while he showed steady improvement throughout the season, he is nowhere near ready to contribute in the association. He still has plenty of potential and is an athletic seven-footer which should still make him a late-lottery/mid first round pick. If Mullens would have stayed in school, The Ohio State likely would have been a top ten team next season. The only plus to Mullens’ decision is that he won’t end up on my or Peter’s most hated players in college basketball list next season because he looks like a real doofus and has an Adam Morrison-like porn stache going on.
NIT Championship, Thursday (6:00)
The NIT Final Four features Baylor vs. San Diego State and Penn State vs. Notre Dame. I’ll take San Diego State vs. Notre Dame in the title game with the Aztecs taking down the Irish to claim the irrelevant championship.
North Carolina vs. Villanova, Saturday
UNC was my and pretty much everybody else’s pre-season pick to roll all the way to the National Championship, but people cooled off when they actually lost a couple games during conference play. As much as I enjoy watching Nova and would love to see a Big East team in the Finals, I just don’t think they can knock off the Heels with how dominant Carolina was against Gonzaga and Oklahoma. UNC is just too big and strong inside with running out different bodies down low. Nova’s guards will need to play out of their mind for the Cats to pull off the upset.
Prediction: UNC 89, Villanova 76
UConn vs. Michigan State, Saturday
I am not going to lie, as much as I dislike Michigan State, they might be the perfect team to take down a UConn sqaud that has saved its best ball for the tourney. Sparty has the depth and size inside to compete with Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien and the quickness in their guard play to hang with A.J. Price and Kemba Walker. The x-factor (pardon the cliche) will be the match-up between the Huskies’ Stanley Robinson and State’s Raymar Morgan. Then again, if Thabeet gets into early foul trouble, the Spartans could run UConn right out of the arena just like they did to Louisville. Oh, and Sparty is playing in their backyard in Detroit.
Prediction: Michigan State 73, UConn 65
The Drive to 225
My drive for watching 225 college basketball games this season has already been completed. Like I predicted, the dream of reaching 300 was aiming a bit too high. I’ll settle with around 275.
Games watched through 3/22: 270
Games watched this past week: 14
Davidson at St. Mary’s
Penn State at Florida
Kentucky at Notre Dame
UConn vs. Purdue
Memphis vs. Missouri
Pitt vs. Xavier
Villanova vs. Duke
Syracuse vs. Oklahoma
Louisville vs. Arizona
Kansas vs. Michigan State
UConn vs. Missouri
Villanova vs. Pitt
Louisville vs. Michigan State
North Carolina vs. Oklahoma