Just yesterday, SI released its 2008 men's college basketball top 20 rankings. If you're an informed college hoops fan, there are certain things you should know about each of these teams. There are also less-crucial morsels that are really only good as conversation starters at parties. Below, you'll find these semi-important facts, rumors and observations for each top 20 team.
1. North Carolina
No matter the time of year, coach Roy Williams always has a solid tan. It looks good on TV, but if you ever get within five-feet of the man, you realize how unnatural it is that he looks like he just got off the beach even when it's February in North Carolina. Also, Tyler Hansbrough is a really good ping-pong player, even with stressed shins.
Hasheem Thabeet, UConn's 7-foot-3 junior center, has a 7-foot-5 wingspan, which make him wider than he is tall. Thabeet learned English in Tanzania by watching The Cosby Show reruns. Oh, and I almost forgot, coach Jim Calhoun, who has a much smaller wingspan, once worked as a gravedigger.
Genetically speaking, point guard Darren Collison was born to be fast. Both his mother and father were world-class runners who competed for Guyana in the Pan American Games. His mother, June Griffith, also represented Guyana in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Senior forward Terrence Williams owns over 300 pairs of shoes and fears heights, which is ironic considering he only has two feet and can jump out of the gym.
Current head coach Matt Painter was once an assistant coach under Gene Keady, the Boilermakers' all-time winningest head coach. Other former Keady assistants include Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, Illinois coach Bruce Weber, Missouri State coach Cuonzo Martin and, of course, former UCLA coach Steve Lavin. In an unrelated note, Keady had the best comb-over in the business.
6. Notre Dame
Power forward Luke Harangody's eligibility status came into question this summer when a company used images of Harangody and quarterback Jimmy Clausen in an online ad. Technically, that made both players spokesmen for the company, but since neither player consented to the advertisement and Notre Dame quickly sent out a cease-and-desist letter, the NCAA ruled both players could maintain their eligibility.
The Panthers' season could very well hinge on point guard Levance Fields' play, so let's hope he doesn't try to fight a cop again like he did before last season. According to the police report, an officer asked Fields to stop screaming obscenities outside a nightclub in Pittsburgh. Fields continued to curse and then reached for the officer's weapon. He promptlyreceived a Taser to the chest. I wonder how many other college basketball players have ever been Tasered?
After Trent Johnson left Stanford for LSU, Cardinal freshman forward Miles Plumlee backed out of his commitment and headed to Duke. Ironically, the 6-foot-10 big man went from Stanford to Duke right as Stanford first-year coach Johnny Dawkins went from Duke to Stanford. Plumlee's a good grab for Coach K, not only because he provides much-needed size inside, but because he's got two younger brothers, Mason and Marshall, who are also going to be good ball players. Mason already committed to Duke in February.
A.J. Abrams -- all 5-foot-11, 155 lbs. of him -- tested those murky NBA waters this offseason, but after he failed to receive an invite to the league's pre-draft camp, he withdrew his name and decided to return to Texas for his senior season. With that kind of decision making, Abrams should have no problem replacing D.J. Augustin at point.
In their final preseason game, the Tennessee Volunteers took on the mighty Tusculum Pioneers. The game was tied at tip, but quickly digressed into a blowout as the Vols led 40-2 after 14 minutes. During this stretch of preseason dominance, Tennessee made two more field goals than Tusculum attempted.