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Posted: Friday December 5, 2008 2:44PM; Updated: Friday December 5, 2008 2:44PM

Hoopla: Home of the Hilltoppers

Story Highlights

Welcome to the first edition of Hoopla, SIOC's weekly college hoops column

We think WKU might be Kentucky's best team, and we think Louisville agrees

Immautre point guards, early-season transfers, little brothers and more

By Jacob E. Osterhout

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Steffphon Pettigrew's WKU Hilltoppers might actually be the best team in Kentucky.
Steffphon Pettigrew's WKU Hilltoppers might actually be the best team in Kentucky.
AP

Welcome to the first edition of Shoot Hoops, Not Guns, a weekly column meant to provide you, the college basketball fan, with everything you don't really need to know about college hoops, but might find interesting. As the Plaxident has taught us, the world would be a much safer place if more kids were shooting threes instead of Glocks.

[Editor's Note: Due to our effort to limit the gun-related humor on our site, we're going to call this column Hoopla instead. Jacob knows this, but insisted on calling the inaugural column Shoot Guns, Not People anyway. He's a stubborn man.]

The early-season transfer list

I'm not really sure why a player would decide to transfer five games into a season. Seems like a decision that should be made at the beginning of the season. OK, the announcement that Wake Forest forward Jamie Skeen will transfer wasn't that big of a surprise. Skeen was already ineligible for the fall semester after violating the school's academic policy and decided it wasn't worth appealing for reinstatement. But what about junior center Casiem Drummond, who informed the Villanova coaching staff he'd be transferring after playing in two games this season? Apparently, Casiem wants more playing time, which is understandable. What's harder to understand is how it took until December for Casiem to realize his playing time would be an issue.

Upsetting, to say the least

To date, the season's biggest stunner has been Western Kentucky's upset of Louisville. While the Big East is getting more hype than Lindsay Lohan's sexuality, the Hilltoppers quietly dismantled their in-state "rivals" 68-54. The game wasn't even close. WKU guard A.J. Slaughter penetrated at will on his way to 25 points and forward Steffphon Pettigrew (bonus points for spelling) dominated inside with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Louisville got worked so badly, coach Rick Pitino apologized to the fans for his team's performance. But is an apology necessary for a defeat to a solid basketball squad? On Tuesday, the Hilltoppers marched into Athens and beat Georgia 67-63, and despite losing their coach and two best scorers after last season, they might be the best team in the state of Kentucky.

The difference between a freshman and a senior

They say you mature a lot in college. Sometimes, as in my case, the maturation process isn't so obvious. But other times, it is. Contrast, for example, the behavior of Duke point guard Greg Paulus and Kentucky point guard DeAndre Liggins, two players at opposite ends of their collegiate careers. Paulus, a senior who started his first three seasons in Durham, has been relegated bench duty in favor of a younger, quicker point guard. But so far, Paulus hasn't complained, and because of this team-first attitude, Duke seems to be a stronger than last season. Liggins, on the other hand, is a freshman and still learning that there is no "I" in team (although there is a "me"). Upset that he didn't see more playing time in Kentucky's victory over Kansas State last Friday, Liggins refused to play when coach Billy Gillispie tried to put him back in the game. Liggins later apologized to the team and was allowed to play in the following game against West Virginia. We'll just chalk that one up to the learning curve.

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