Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January Madness

With six or seven weeks to go until Selection Sunday, I spent my evening watching college basketball for the first this season:
  • One of my three favorites to win it all, Michigan State (the others are Kansas and Villanova), took their undefeated Big Ten record on the road and into Ann Arbor to face a Michigan team coached by John Beilein. Michigan played Beilein's style of defense and outside shots and took the Spartans to the wire, but Michigan State is too deep. Their best player, point guard Kalin Lucas, had a bad game until the very end when he took over and hit a jumper with three seconds left to win (after Michigan missed a short bank shot at the buzzer). This is how Michigan State made it to the final game last year and I expect the same kind of toughness come March.
  • Maryland leads the ACC and ran a pretty bad Miami team off the floor tonight. The Terps were not good early in the year, but they've caught fire. Maybe they'll actually prove worthy of the top-twenty preseason ranking.
  • How is John Calipari allowed to coach? He has had two teams have to vacate Final Four runs, UMass because Marcus Camby took money and Memphis because Derrick Rose had his SATs taken for him. Now, Calipari has the best freshman class in the country, including the best player in the country, John Wall. The Wildcats went into tonight ranked #1 as the only undefeated team left. It's fishy.
  • Except that #1 ranking lasted all of one day before Kentucky became the last team to lose a game. South Carolina had never before beaten a top-ranked team and they seemed severely outmanned, but SC had my new favorite player in the nation, Devan Downey. Downey, a 5'8" guard, was simply unguardable. He badly outplayed Wall and scored thirty points, including some crazy circus shots in traffic down the stretch. It takes SC to .500 in the SEC, so they'll have some work to do to get into the tourney. Beating #1 can't hurt. No embeddable highlights as of yet, but here is the link.

March is right around the corner.

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