If you’re a Tim Tebow fan, you probably had a rough weekend. If you devote yourself to Celtic pride, you may have shed a tear once or twice this week. If you wore enlarged cheese slices on your head and had dreams of a repeat, well, it’s going to take longer than a week to forget this one. But, if you watched college basketball this week, you are king of the water cooler and master of your domain. If not, don’t fret my dear grinder, it’s the Full Court Press.
Unbeatens: Syracuse (#1, 19-0, 6-0) continues to impress; on the road, in conference, hell I’d bet on this team if they played the Charlotte Bobcats. They go against a weak Pittsburgh team tonight, but after that their schedule toughens up. Look for them to be tested this week when they travel to Notre Dame (2-1 against ranked Big East teams) and Cincinnati (2nd behind ‘Cuse in Big East).
Baylor destroyed the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday and are the frontrunner in the Big 12 standings. That being said, clear your schedule. Whatever you do, watch. this. game. Tonight at 8:30 CT, #3 Baylor travels to Lawrence for a colossal brawl against #7 Kansas, who have captured seven consecutive Big 12 conference regular season titles. If the Bears want to be taken seriously as the best team in the Big 12, they need to bring it.
On to Murray State. Still undefeated and playing great, but now the targets are on their backs. Every team in the Ohio Valley conference has circled and highlighted their game against the Racers. Who is going to dethrone them? Murray State plays its final three games of the season on the road. Should be an epic finish.
Panic Meter: I know it’s too early to call this a serious panic situation, but then #3 UNC’s loss to Florida State on Saturday was pathetic. Seminole G Deividas Dulkys’ 32 points on 86% shooting killed the Tarheels. That, the stagnant performance by UNC’s bench (2-18 from the floor), and weak guard play cost the Tar Heels a road win. Another road test awaits them at Virginia Tech. By the way, nothing beats rushing the court.
Who’s Hot: Vanderbilt has quietly put together a fantastic resume thus far. The Commodores are 3-0 in conference, they are riding a seven game win streak, and are tied for 1st in the SEC standings. A team that lost to Indiana State and Cleveland State earlier in the season finds itself at the edge of Southeastern Conference truth. Will they continue to clog up the middle of the pack with the Auburns and the Arkansas? Or will they thrust themselves into the elite and make a run for the title?
Theme of the Week: Conference Road Games. By far the toughest way to win a basketball game is on the road against a rival. This week it was: Louisville’s 90-59 loss at Providence; UNC’s embarrassing 33 point defeat at FSU; Michigan State’s meltdown at Northwestern. Next week: #12 Georgetown at Depaul; #13 Indiana at Nebraska; #15 Mississippi St. at Mississippi.
Local Flavor: #5 Missouri has a big week ahead. This evening they take on Texas A&M at home. Mizzou hasn’t beaten A&M in 8 years, including the heartbreaking loss that snapped the Tigers’ 32-game home win streak two years ago. On Saturday, they travel to Waco to play #3 Baylor. No matter what the Bears do tonight against Kansas, this game is huge. Both teams will be top 10 nationally and top 3 in the Big 12.
Saint Louis University has had a tough time closing games lately. An unfinished comeback against Temple and a frustrating OT loss at Dayton leaves the Billikins a .500 team in the A10. A not-so-easy Duquesne team rolls into town on Saturday. Look for SLU to be well prepared after having a rare 7 days in between games.
Games to Watch:
#3 Baylor at #7 Kansas. Tonight @ 8:30 CT on ESPN
#9 Michigan State at #19 Michigan. Tuesday @ 6 CT on ESPN
Cincinnati at #11 Connecticut. Wednesday @ 6 CT on ESPN2
BMOC: My Big Man on Campus award goes to a guy who earned the award not based on single game performance nor a win, for that matter. This week, Royce White of Iowa State showed that how valuable he is to his team. He grabbed 17 rebounds and notched 18 points on just 50% shooting against Kansas in only 28 minutes. Foul trouble keeps him off the floor, but when he plays smart and doesn’t foul, he can put up numbers like he did against Texas A&M (10 pts, 10 assists, 18 rebounds).
*Note: Kansas is favored by 7 points tonight. Usually you see around 3 or 4 points for the home team, not 7. Don’t get me wrong, Thomas Robinson could give us a triple-double and blowout Baylor, but I’m thinking it’s going to be closer than 7.
- Pre-game warmup: No. 4 Baylor at No. 10 Kansas (aol.sportingnews.com)