Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 1 of the 2010-11 College Hoops Season – The Week in Review and What Week 2 Holds

Posted by CoHoops Marc Daley
Like a lot of my writing peers I have to put some music on to properly set the mood for my spiel. I hate it when people say they like all kinds of music. When I hear this, I challenge them to whip out their iPods and locate some polka, or Gregorian chants, or Zamphir's Greatest Hits Volume 1. I do have a variety of genres in my playlist, so the average person is probably going to find something to their liking, unless you really like pan-flute music and nothing else.

With that in mind, I will do my best to organize my thoughts on the college hoops season by using the titles of some of the songs on my playlist. Sometimes, I may use a particular artist or genre for the week. Other times, it might just be a random scattershot, so you could see Spoon, Motorhead, Miles Davis and Lupe Fiasco all hanging out in the same week.

"The Way We Get By" – Spoon

  • The final score of Syracuse's first two outings show blowout victories (Northern Iowa by 22 and Canisius by 19). However, the Orange weren't so sweet in the first half of either contest, leading by a long-range shot at halftime in both cases. Jim Boeheim was less than pleased with his bench's efforts and has said that his team will go as far as his starters will take them. I did see some things that made me think this is a little bit of Boeheim's usual dour post-game comments. Freshman guard C.J. Fair has hit 75 percent of his shots so far and backup center Baye Moussa Keita ate enough glass to make a circus performer respectfully bow. However, Fab Melo, the most hyped member of the recruiting class, has fouled out of each game and he needs to avoid that before they meet with Michigan State on December 7, their first true test of the season.
  • Regardless of your opinion of the Enes Kanter decision it's obvious that Kentucky will go as far as they can shoot (and that includes the freebies, Coach Calipari – nine for 23 won't feed the bulldog). Terrence Jones used his athleticism against East Tennessee State to snare a double-double but the Wildcats can't use him in the middle against bigger, more seasoned opponents. They also can't count on making half of their three-pointers like they did against the Bucs. Barring a change of heart, it looks like they'll be primarily the William Butler Yeats of the Top 25 ("the centre cannot hold").
  • They haven't rebounded, shot, or passed well but I have to give it up a little bit for the Oregon Ducks. Since they're likely drinking the same water as the football team they must be using those same good vibes to start 3-0. OK, so they haven't beaten a team from a major conference but Denver should contend for Sun Belt top honors and Cal-Santa Barbara has a good shot at snagging the Big West automatic bid come March. Not bad for a team that is picked by many pundits and squids to bring up the rear of the Pac-10.

"Changes" – David Bowie

  • Back in the days when hair metal was king, the first Bush ran the White House and East and West Germany became reunited the Iowa Hawkeyes were known for being a consistent Top 10 team (and were thought to be a no.1 contender at one point in the late 80s). Now they're known for being in steady decline since they forced Dr. Tom Davis out and getting a slap on the wrist courtesy of a Hollywood power couple. They made yet another coaching change by hiring former Siena head honcho Fran McCaffrey but they had the same result they've had for most of the millennium. This time, South Dakota State started things off with a whimper by beating the Hawkeyes at home by ten. I can see four probable wins on their non-conference slate but they probably won't win more than three in the Big Ten, so if this team reaches double digits in the victory column at the end of the year it would be a surprise.
  • Gardner-Webb won't get their fifteen minutes this year by knocking off Charlotte but I wonder if the 49ers didn't overstep their bounds by getting rid of Bobby Lutz. Alan Major has a solid background (he was on Thad Matta's staff for years) but Lutz had this team in the postseason consistently and there were some seasons where they were considered the fourth-best team in the state of North Carolina (no small feat with Duke, UNC and Wake Forest residing on Tobacco Road). They weren't picked to be a factor in the A-10 this year and it looks like Major has a major rebuilding job ahead.
  • Let's face it – Mike Rice could have beaten Rutgers with his Robert Morris squad of last season. By double digits. This year Rice has the unenviable task of leading the Scarlet Knights. They started off by only snagging 28 rebounds against Princeton (who are picked to contend for the Ivy title, but still) in an overtime loss where their biggest lead was a point. Don't be surprised if they start off 0-2 when they face an underrated Fairfield squad on Monday.

"Midnight to Midnight" – Psychedelic Furs

  • Not only does Tuesday feature three matchups between ranked teams but it's a part of what is the greatest day of college basketball that doesn't fall in March. ESPN's 24 hours of basketball will give you that feeling of insomnia so bad that you forget how to get the office the next day. Once you do get there, you realize you're wearing a plastic grocery bag as underwear and you brushed your teeth with shave gel. Totally worth it.
    So let's look at the best of the marathon.
    • The best time to locate a TV close to the restroom is from four to eight p.m. Eastern time. Ohio State and Florida tip off in the closing stanza and look primed to re-take their place among the college hoops elite (though don't look for them to meet up in the national championship like they did in 2007). Before that, Kansas State tries to build on last season's abundance of speed and facial hair against a Virginia Tech squad that might actually get to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the tournament expanded in 1985.
    • The best way to attack this day? True, you could go hardcore and load up on espressos and biscotti for the sunrise matchup of Stony Brook-Monmouth but the only people who will probably catch that donnybrook are the cast of "Jersey Shore" since they'll be coming back from a festive night of harassing bar patrons. Instead, skip the Monday night football game and the round of Donovan McNabb boos, go to bed early and set your alarm for 2 am for an intriguing contest between St. John's and St. Mary's. Back to bed at four then struggle through some quality time at the office before knocking off early for the doubleheader of ranked teams. After a lovely meal of your favorite convenience foods, doze off in the recliner before waking up at 11 for the San Diego State-Gonzaga matchup.

"Can't Change Me" – Chris Cornell

The MD Top 25 doesn't change this week. Maybe if the Tennessee loss actually counted but since it doesn't we'll just leave things alone. So in case you missed it, here's Week 1's poll, which looks eerily similar to the preseason poll.

  1. Duke
  2. Michigan State
  3. Kansas
  4. Ohio State
  5. Villanova
  6. Purdue
  7. Pittsburgh
  8. Florida
  9. Kansas State
  10. Missouri
  11. Kentucky
  12. Syracuse
  13. Illinois
  14. Memphis
  15. Gonzaga
  16. Baylor
  17. Tennessee
  18. Virginia Tech
  19. Brigham Young
  20. Washington
  21. Butler
  22. North Carolina
  23. San Diego State
  24. Minnesota
  25. Georgetown