College Basketball kicked off the money portion of the season as conference play began everywhere officially last week.
And, boy, it didn’t disappoint one bit!
There is not a team in any conference that is going to run away and hide from the rest of the league. In fact, this old hoops enthusiast thinks most conference champs will have more than four losses.
1. You can’t teach the battle tested leadership of an upperclassman. They are the greatest asset to any team in college basketball. This was the case in 1945 and it will be the same in 2045.
2. At some point in the next three weeks, most every star freshman is going to hit a wall. It doesn’t matter they played AAU or club or whatever. The college schedule is different from any they have ever played this time of year and dead legs will appear.
3. Pride. Team D is simply tired of hearing about how great Team A is all the time. Especially if that is their rival. These are 18-22 year old kids after all.
(Tuck these three nuggets away and feel free to use them at any point you need to at the water cooler. You’re welcome in advance.)
So what were the highlights and low lights of the past week? Sit back and enjoy all that was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Week Nine of the College Basketball Season.
Let’s give it up for the Ole Miss Rebels and the Texas A&M Aggies!
Yes they might both be a combined 19-10 overall and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference, but they both gave the entire nation hope this past week.
The Rebels (10-5, 1-1) took the mighty Kentucky Wildcats to overtime before falling 89-86 and the Aggies (9-5, 0-2) stretched the emotions of BBN to double overtime before falling 70-64.
So, yes, LSU (and Georgia and Alabama and Florida and so on and so on)…
There is a way and there will be a team or three that can play with and beat the Wildcats during the regular season. They are still the favorite to cut down the final net, but at least the rest of the nation has a fighting chance to pull off a win!
Add to the fact that over half of the Top 25 lost one of it’s conference opening games last week and you have to love where the drama is headed this season!
Of all the top teams in the land, the Louisville Cardinals might have the worst bench of anyone.
This weakness has been noted in multiple games this season, but was really exposed by the North Carolina Tar Heels in their comeback 72-71 victory on Saturday.
There is no doubt the Cardinals have one of the best starting fives in the nation. They might even have two of the best players in the nation in Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell. But once you get into Louisville’s bench, any team can pretty much have their way.
Yes, Mangok Mathiang and Anas Mahmoud are defensive enforcers which any team would covet. But there is absolutely zero scoring ability from the pine.
In other words, you get one or two of the starters in foul trouble or if another one or two has an off night shooting, the Cardinals can be beat.
Despite still being a top team, Rick Pitino has to get one of his four guys off the bench to step up on the offensive end. That is the only way the Cardinals are going to survive an extrememly tough Atlantic Coast Conference as well as make some noise when March arrives.
The number 38.
No that is not this guy’s waist size (a man can dream though)…
Nor is it this sports writer’s age…
It’s the number of points the Tennessee Volunteers scored in the ENTIRE GAME against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday. Needless to say the Vols lost 56-38.
And here’s the stat of the game…
From the 13:39 mark of the second half until the :35 second mark, Tennessee did not score one point…
Neither team made the net move much to be honest. With 11:09 remaining, the game was tied at 36-36. Then the Tide went on a slow and painful 22-0 run before Tennessee added a basket with :35 to go.
Of the 38 points scored, Josh Richardson collected 17 of them and as a team eight points came from the free throw line.
Seriously just threw up in my mouth thinking about how ugly this game was.
The Big 12 takes center stage tonight as the No. 24 Oklahoma State Cowboys invade Lawerence to face the No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks and the No. 16 West Virginia Mountaineers host the No. 18 Oklahoma Sooners. The No. 11Iowa State Cyclones travel to face the No. 22 Baylor Bears on Wednesday. That’s three solid games you need to tune into.
Meanwhile, Saturday and Sunday are just silly. Bama gets a shot at No. 1Kentucky in Tuscaloosa and the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils travel to the KFC Yum! Center (yes… that is the name) to battle No. 6 Louisville.
Simply another week of hoops heaven to enjoy!
*Section Photo credit to Andy Lyons, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kevin Jairaj, USA Today Sports.