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Duke Blue Devils (22-3)
A tale of two feuds:
Aggressive: The recent Memphis-UAB incident had, according to various media reports: whisky bottles nearly hitting John Calipari; beer, water, soda and pom-pons being thrown at the Tigers; UAB fans holding up signs with overt Robert-Dozier-assault references; Pierre Niles slapping Larry The (Faux) Cable Guy; and Joey Dorsey being physically restrained (and prevented from an Artestian moment by members of the Memphis staff).
Passive-Aggressive: The current Duke-UNC feud features two iconic coaches verbally sparring over, of all things, injury reports. The basics: Mike Krzyzewski recently said on his radio show, while discussing an injury to Nolan Smith, "unlike other schools we don't release our injuries." Roy Williams took great offense to this, deeming it a reference to UNC's steady stream of news about Tywon Lawson's ankle, and said, "Regardless of what somebody else says about they have injuries too, which is a bunch of bunk, so I don't give a crap about what somebody else says, but coach their own damn team, I'll coach my team." A trivial dispute, perhaps, but at one point Tuesday this was the most popular news story on all of SI.com.
Next three: 2/23 vs. St. John's, 2/27 vs. Georgia Tech, 3/1 at North Carolina State
Texas Longhorns (22-4)
Last week, it seemed as if Longhorns point guard extraordinaire D.J. Augustin was hitting a wall. That was a reasonable explanation for why he shot a combined 3-for-25 in wins over Kansas and Baylor; there were plenty of times where tired legs appeared to be causing three-point attempts to get front-rimmed. Augustin was, after all, in the midst of a stretch where he played at least 39 minutes for 10 straight games. Yet on Monday against Texas A&M, just two days after beating the Bears at home, Augustin somehow looked as fresh as ever, shooting 9-for-14 from the field for 27 points -- his first 20-point game since Jan. 21. All the smart analysts were crediting this breakthrough to the fact that D.J. took 300 shots Monday morning ... with ESPN's Holly Rowe as his personal rebounder.
Next three: 2/23 vs. Oklahoma, 2/25 at K-State, 3/1 at Texas Tech
Connecticut Huskies (21-5)
I was beginning to have doubts in the power of YouTube when I searched on Monday and couldn't find a clip of Craig Austrie's game-winning shot against South Florida from the weekend. Almost on cue, one appeared on Tuesday, as a part of a highlight-ish reel with Jay-Z's Public Service Announcement as the soundtrack. Apparently UConn players have started to call Austrie, a junior guard who wasn't exactly expected to be in a starring role, either "M.C." or "Mr. Clutch." Now they just need a term for the big-shot celebration dance he did after stunning the Bulls. The Squat-and-Stare pretty much describes it, but that's a terribly uncool name.
(One good side note: The UConn student who was lauded in last week's PRs -- he drilled a half-court shot while wearing a toilet-bowl costume during a promotion at the Notre Dame game, but didn't win the cash prize because it came a second too late -- has stepped forward. His name is Matthew LaRotonda, and in his e-mail he tells us, "I've worn that costume to every UConn football game and basketball game so I figured it was only right that I wore it while I took the shots. I wish I could do something to get that $1,000." Can someone from People's United Bank please pay this kid?)
Next three: 2/23 at Villanova, 2/26 at Rutgers, 3/1 vs. West Virginia
Xavier Musketeers (22-4)
It wasn't all that long ago that it was en vogue to talk about how strong the Atlantic 10 was this season; it was around the same time that the league was bristling about getting called a "mid-major." Now the A-10 is increasingly looking like a conference with one great team (Xavier), one decent team (Rhode Island) and not much else. As of Wednesday, only one A-10 team other than the Musketeers was higher than No. 40 in the RPI. That team was Dayton, which built up a nice early resume with wins over Louisville and Pitt, and has since tanked -- with a 5-6 league record -- while dealing with injuries. The Flyers, as well as UMass and St. Joe's, are all on shaky NCAA tournament ground. In his latest Bubble Watch, SI.com's Stewart Mandel has Dayton as a No. 10, UMass as a No. 11, and St. Joe's on the outside looking in.
Next three: 2/21 vs. Duquesne, 2/24 at Dayton, 3/1 vs. George Washington
Wisconsin Badgers (22-4)
In his last Hoop Thoughts, SI.com's Seth Davis mentioned that he's "strongly considering" naming his next dog Krabbenhoft, after scrappy Wisconsin forward Joe Krabbenhoft. Whether this is foreshadowing to Krabbs' inclusion on the All-Glue team later in the season, we do not know. He at least has my vote.
On the canine front, though, I wouldn't consider "Krabbenhoft" for my first hound's name; it's just too hard to yell in a non-awkward fashion. Better hoop-themed dog names are:
• Beasley. For big, inside-outside dogs who prefer Spongebob toys to bones.
• Chalmers. For dogs who routinely steal things from the neighbors' yard.
• 'Gody (short for Harangody): For high-energy bulldogs.
Next three: 2/23 at Ohio State, 2/28 vs. Michigan State, 3/5 vs. Penn State
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