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Wild cards (Cont.)

Posted: Thursday February 9, 2006 1:59PM; Updated: Thursday February 9, 2006 3:44PM
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Other Hoop Thoughts

• I realize nobody in the Big Ten is winning on the road this year, but Michigan's shellacking at Iowa last weekend was truly disappointing. Every time I think this Wolverines team is finally shedding its tendency to play soft, it goes out and does just that.

• I'm hearing Tubby Smith has never been unhappier in Lexington. Losing is never easy, but it is especially difficult in the Commonwealth. Tubby has turned away NBA suitors in the past, but the word on the grapevine is that if the league comes calling next spring, Tubby will listen.

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• The bottom line for Duke is, the Blue Devils need to get DeMarcus Nelson to become their third main scorer. If it doesn't happen, it's hard to envision this team going all the way.

• I don't care what the circumstances were, there is absolutely, positively no excuse for Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to get thrown out of his son's basketball game for yapping at the refs.

• Creighton's Dana Altman is going to be a very hot name on the coaching carousel this spring. He'll be at the top of the short list if the Missouri or Iowa post comes open.

• Speaking of Iowa, Indiana coach Mike Davis faces an absolutely must-win situation when the Hawkeyes visit Bloomington on Saturday. He can't afford a home loss against the coach so many people want to see take his job.

• From the under-the-radar department, keep your eye out for Justin Williams, a 6-10 senior at Wyoming who is averaging 10.7 rebounds. One NBA scout who really likes him told me Williams reminds him of Dennis Rodman.

• Not to make excuses for what is surely the most disappointing team of the season, but Louisville was really hindered this season with 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Juan Palacios playing on a weak ankle. Palacios had surgery on the ankle last summer and it won't heal completely for another several months. If he had stayed healthy, he was poised for a breakout season, but that will have to wait at least until next year.

• Do whatever you have to do to catch these Missouri Valley games, folks. They really are great theater.

• As much as I love Texas guard Daniel Gibson's game, I worry that he doesn't seem to get big buckets in important moments. The Longhorns needed Gibson to bail them out at Oklahoma two weeks ago, but Gibson shot 6-for-17 and took all but three of his attempts from 3-point range.

• Everyone talks about North Carolina's terrific freshmen (and for good reason), but the main reason the Heels are headed for the tourney is that their two veterans, David Noel and Reyshawn Terry, are much better than most people thought. 

• You absolutely cannot fire a coach who takes his team into the NCAA tournament. Period.

• Florida still has the same two problems: The Gators don't have a blue-collar approach to defense, and they don't get the ball inside enough to Al Horford. I also don't think Final Four teams allow themselves to get swept by the likes of South Carolina.

• By this point, I look at where teams are ranked statistically within their league in conference games only. It's a much more telling stat.

• I hope you all realize how amazing it is that Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap is on pace to become the first player ever to win three straight national rebounding titles.

• I never thought I'd see a Lute Olson-coached team make so many dumb plays.

• I'm glad Matt Doherty finally flat-out said he has no warm feelings for his alma mater. Those Carolina guys have always talked about being a family, but in Doherty's case the family was the Sopranos.

• It will be interesting to see how much that loss to Marshall affects West Virginia's seed, especially if the Mountaineers go undefeated in the Big East. Will that loss keep them from getting a No. 1?

• You can add my name to the list of people who were disgusted that high schooler Epiphanny Prince scored 113 points in a 137-32 game. That may have broken Cheryl Miller's scoring record, but it is a hollow achievement.

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