Pastner proving to be worthy successor to Calipari at Memphis (cont.)
Explain to me how this is possible: Texas freshman guard J'Covan Brown is third in the nation in free throw shooting at 93.5 percent, yet as a team the Longhorns are ranked 322nd nationally at 62.4 percent. That should tell you just how bad the rest of the team is from the line.
I don't know whether to be extremely impressed that Michigan State keeps winning ugly, or concerned that this team is not as good as its perfect Big Ten record would indicate. I do know that if Delvon Roe doesn't step up (he is fighting a sprained wrist on his non-shooting hand), the Spartans will be easier to beat in the tournament than they should be.
Zen Hoop Thought: Cornell's best win was its loss at Kansas.
Northwestern's win over Illinois was critical because the Wildcats could end up competing with the Illini for an at-large bid. They lost in overtime in Champaign, and if they had been swept it would have been hard to overcome. I'm calling it right now: Northwestern is going to the tournament.
Reason No. 4,315 why college hoops is better than the NBA: Proud parents who come to games wearing T-shirts bearing their son's name and jersey number.
In the ongoing Great Conference Debate between the Big 12 and the Big East -- and really, no other league is even in the conversation -- I feel compelled to remind everyone that the Big East has four more teams. Thus, it is not an open-and-shut argument to cite the number of teams the Big East has in the top 25 or the top 10. Take last week's AP poll: Five of the 16 Big East teams were ranked. That's 31.3 percent of the conference. On the other hand, four of the Big 12's teams were ranked, which is 33.3 percent. Both leagues had two teams listed in others receiving votes. Furthermore, the middle and bottom of the Big 12 is clearly superior to the middle and bottom of the Big East. And there are three really bad teams in the Big East (South Florida, DePaul and Rutgers) and two pretty bad teams (St. John's and Providence), while only two Big 12 teams fall into either of those categories (Colorado and Nebraska). So yeah, I'm sticking with the Big 12. For now, anyway.
Speaking of the Big 12, when I asked Kansas State coach Frank Martin last week what his primary concern was, he said it was his team's tendency to foul too much. Sure enough, two of the guys who played so well in the win over Texas, Dominique Sutton and Jamar Samuels, played just 31 minutes combined in a loss to Oklahoma State because of nine fouls. It was also quite surprising to see Oklahoma State, which has to play a four-guard lineup because of a lack of size, outrebound the Wildcats by five.
I saw my colleague Ian Thomsen quoted some NBA scouts pegging Oklahoma guard Willie Warren as high as No. 4 in this year's draft. That truly boggles the mind. Warren is barely looking like a pro right now, much less a top-five pick. I suggest those scouts DVR a couple of Sooners games before recommending to their bosses that they make that investment.
The best part about Seton Hall's win over Pittsburgh on Sunday is the fact that 6-foot-8 forward Herb Pope played his best game of the season, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds. Sorry to keep picking on Jeremy Hazell, but it is noteworthy that he was limited to 16 minutes because of foul trouble and only had nine points, yet the team still won.
Totally classless move by several dozen San Diego State students who dressed up as Mormon missionaries to mock BYU when the Cougars came to town on Saturday night. Riding the opposition is fine, but there are a few things that are off-limits, and religion is of them.
If nothing else, Kentucky is proving once and for all that talent is more important than experience. Think of it this way: Experience is a luxury, but talent is a necessity.
Kudos to UCLA for beating Washington and Washington State last week, but it is a little sad seeing a Ben Howland-coached team playing this much zone.
When I covered high school sports at the New Haven Register back in the mid-1990s, a basketball coach at Notre Dame High in West Haven named Gary Palladino told me he believed basketball was 70 percent talent, 20 percent coaching and 10 percent luck. I still haven't heard anybody put it better than that.
Nice job by John Marshall of The Associated Press pointing out last week how much of a nonfactor the new can't-take-a-charge-under-the-basket rule has been this season. A few months ago it seemed an automatic that a dotted line would be added to the floor next season, but that's not definite anymore.
The act of rushing the court clearly hit its nadir when Indiana fans did it after their Hoosiers beat Minnesota in overtime. I love that fans are starting to call each other out for this kind of lameness and refuse to storm the court themselves. There is no better example than Kansas State's fans refusing to rush the floor after the big win over Texas. Coolest move of the season, I say.
Y'all know I've got a bit of a man-crush on Baylor, but I'll have lots of company next season when Perry Jones, a 6-11 forward from Duncanville, Texas, joins the party. Jones is a poor man's Kevin Garnett who will be the best freshman in America next year.
For all the chatter about North Carolina's struggles, not enough people are noting how much of the Tar Heels' troubles stem from injuries. They were missing two starters when they lost at College of Charleston, they just lost Tyler Zeller for a month, and their best player, Ed Davis, did not suit up against Wake Forest. That said, the one thing that could really be a game changer for this team would be if freshman guard Dexter Strickland plays well enough to be a starter. Alas, Strickland shot 1-for-7 and scored just two points in the loss to the Demon Deacons.
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