Ok … time for random college basketball thoughts


This is the time of the year I start paying attention to college basketball.

Most teams have worked out all the kinks and the kids are starting to get tired transitioning from high school to college and the coaches have figured out how to juggle what they have and don’t have.

In addition, I believe the NCAA has become incredibly good at encouraging teams to schedule those awesome interconference games on occasion <which college football season begs for>.



Here you go. Not everything I am thinking, just some highlights.

The Big B’east’


Big East. This conference is a beast. I think it is consistently the toughest and best conference (sorry ACC) top to bottom. I don’t know that I particularly care for the conference style (a little rough & tumble) but boy they are good. And they have an elite group of coaches on top of it all. Figure Connecticut is a fucking good team and they cannot even crack the top 8 teams in the conference. And their top 6 will pound or run with anyone (where the heck do all these 6’6” to 6’8” greyhounds come from?):


Syracuse Villanova

Louisville Georgetown

West Virginia Pittsburgh



Lately Georgetown is kicking the crap out of everyone. And it isn’t even the best team in the Big East, let alone the country. Like all the top teams this year, Georgetown runs into problems on the road.

In the end I believe Syracuse and Villanova will be the only two who keep it going because they have coaches who can figure out how to get their teams to win on the road. But. Don’t count Connecticut out. If Calhoun comes back, like him or not, the guy can coach and bring out the best in a team. And if push comes to shove maybe they could borrow Gino from the women’s team for the tournament (he doesn’t lose either).



Those random little guys you gotta love



New Mexico, Rhode Island, Siena, Butler and Northern Iowa just to name a few (thank you ESPN 2 for showing some of their games). I still tend to believe if they were in conferences with bigger more talented teams they would get worn down and lose some more games.



One game. One day. Can get one win.

Sustainable? Nope. But put them on the big stage for a game and this is one of those games you love to watch. Come the Big Dance they make it out of first weekend and get knocked out weekend two. Except for one. And, no, I won’t tell you who I think that one is gonna be (mostly because I have no clue).


The Ivy League



Cornell. Princeton. Harvard. All three will end up with over 20 wins at the end of the season. Sure. No one truly believes they can knock off any of the big boys (let alone any of the top notch mid majors) but it sure is fun to see them playing “smart basketball” as everyone inevitably says when talking about one of these schools. I always chuckle about that.



They don’t play any smarter than say a Duke team or a Carolina team or a Gonzaga team. They are talented teams. Period. It is impossible in this league to sustain over a period of years but I truly hope Cornell’s ‘Big Red’ (the best of them) steps up and wins some games in the Big Dance.


They’re Kids



I had a fun conversation with a buddy of mine after Texas beat the crap out of Carolina. I simply pointed out that Texas’ kids just manned up better. Well. Let’s remember. Freshmen are maybe 17 years old. They are kids. They may look like men but they are not. All the top level teams dependent on a youngster or two in their lineup are gonna run into some problems at some point. John Wall. Awesome. Can still look like a freshman every once in awhile. And UK is still very young and continues to make mistakes. Turnovers and the inability to maintain intensity with a lead are the big problems. And Kentucky is just one example (throw in Texas, Syracuse, Connecticut, etc.). Great coaches, a Tom Izzo or a Rick Pitino or whomever, always figure out how to rattle a kid at the time they need to do it. When in doubt, for a long run in the Dance I still bet on a mediocre great team that has a very good senior tandem than a great team dependent upon a freshman superstar.



When in doubt (should your team be dependent on a ‘diaper dandy’).

Remember Kevin Durant. I think he weighed 100 pounds at 6’ 8” when he left Texas after his freshman year. I was relatively confident he would turn out to be another one of those college greyhounds who got killed in the NBA. Wrong wrong wrong. Cool as a cucumber in college. Ain’t disappointing in pros. So. It can happen.



The Mysterious Big Guys


Texas, Duke, Gonzaga … they tease us.

Almost every year in fact.

Just my opinion but some of these teams are coached over their true ability. Works to a point. A point where they rack up a boatload of wins and everyone overlooks who and what they really are. And then they run into a reality buzzsaw in the form of a team that has talent.



How do I tell them apart? Less talented teams overachieve in big games. And surprise you upwards. The truly talented teams surprise you downwards sometimes. They underachieve when not focused. The great coaches make talent focus when it counts (the NCAA tournament).


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Written by Bruce