What is the most annoying sound in the world (world of college basketball)? Right now, other than Dickie V, it’s someone trying to continue to make the claim that the Pac 10 is still a power conference. The league is garbage. The only team that is ranked is Washington (#24 in AP and #22 in Coaches) and I don’t know how this is possible with the loss to Oregon at home last weekend. Three of the traditional powers of the conference are .500 or worse and have some really bad losses.
One has to start with UCLA who is 7-8 overall including losses to Cal St. Fullerton and Long Beach St. Those two teams are currently in the bottom half of the Big West Conference standings. Getting into conference play has been a bit kinder to the Bruins (which further proves that the league is crap). They split with the Arizona schools at home last week and started their weekend in the Bay with an OT win over previous conference favorite Cal. The fighting Wooden’s have been humbled this season by Kansas, Portland, and Mississippi St. by an average of 22pts per game.
Next we go to Arizona where the Wildcats are plugging along at 7-7 and are in major jeopardy of having their streak of 400 straight NCAA tourney’s snapped. They’ll have to win the conference tournament to get in. The Wildcats have lost to every decent team they have run in to and their best win is a two point home win over NC St. To be fair they have a new coach after the Lute Olson fiasco of fence sitting (Seriously this guy waffled more than Brett Favre and Bobby Bowden combined, why wasn’t this made a bigger deal? Why did he get a pass?).
We finish with the educational institution of Stanford, which is also sitting at 7-7. The Cardinal don’t have a signature win (their best showing was an OT loss to Kentucky) unless you think a five point win in Mexico over possibly the worst ACC team in Virginia counts, which I don’t. They just got a one point win over USC who had recently found out that this season will all be for not. Landry Fields has been the one bright spot, consistently tearing it up for them, averaging 23-9-3 this season.
Ok, so the traditional powers might be struggling, but that means other teams have stepped it up, right? Um, no. The non-conference record for the PAC 10 against other power conferences is 8-24. Throw in the MWC and the WCC and the record doesn’t improve, staying 16 under .500 at 20-36. The PAC 10 has a losing record to the little brother WCC (6-7). They are 1-15 versus the current top 25 coaches poll (the lone win was the ineligible USC’s victory over Tennessee at home). According to the latest rankings on this site, 2 teams will make the tournament (would be three if, again, USC were eligible). That seems very optimistic to me, but to be fair it was done before Cal’s home loss to the Bruins.
The Pac 10 is not a power conference, if you try to argue such you must be taking crazy pills. Let’s move on from bad to stupid.
Ok, so you attend a major University in which you are getting free education because you play a game really well. This past fall some classmates, who are also getting free education for playing a different game, are dismissed from school because they are going to pretend to be gangsta pulling an air pistol on people near campus then cruising away in their getaway hybrid while smoking some green leaf. But this doesn’t make you stop and think, “I probably shouldn’t roll around town with my glock with the altered serial numbers smoking it up with some teammates.” Forget crazy pills, the four Volunteers must have been taking moron pills.
Tennessee’s hopes for a conference title, run in the NCAA Tourney, or chance at beating Kansas this weekend all went down the tubes when four players who all averaged over 15 minutes a game were suspended indefinitely. Two of them, Tyler Smith and Cameron Tatum, were top four scorers for the Vols.
The Big Red of Cornell certainly scared the pants off Jayhawk nation the other night. Lucky for KU they still have Sherron Collins, the senior picked up the slack of his younger teammates by going for 33 including 13-14 from the line. Rock Chalk dominated in their first road game against a quality opponent and a little let down would be expected and Cornell, being a lot better than most used to think, almost took advantage. This is a game the Jayhawks used to lose and it’s nice to see the top team come through in a tough spot.
Ohio St. must be happy that Evan Turner came back Wednesday night against Indiana, even if it was in limited fashion. Turner played 20 minutes, scoring 8 points while adding 5 assistants and 4 rebounds, but the big score was him playing 3 weeks before team doctors thought. It couldn’t have come at a better time (although they probably would’ve beaten Indiana at home without him) since the Bucks had just lost two games in bad fashion at Wisconsin and Michigan. It will be interesting to see how effective he will be in the next few games and how long it will take him to get back to full strength. Either way, he’ll have a huge impact on the remainder of the Big Ten season.
Finally, we get to what was perceived as a monumental upset with College of Charleston taking down the defending champs in OT. Was it though? North Carolina is obviously not the same team as a year ago, they’ve struggled finding consistent play in the backcourt and were missing Marcus Ginyard and Will Graves. The last point was enjoyed most by the Cougars guard Andrew Goudelock who went for 24pts including a game tying three with just 2 seconds left. Sure CoC was just 7-6 entering the contest, but better teams have lost to worse.
Ok, I suppose that’s enough negativity today. Coming soon a look at the conference leaders emerging.