UConn's Ryan Boatright worth the wait; more Hoop Thoughts (Cont.)
I know we're never supposed to say never, but North Carolina's loss to UNLV and UConn's loss to UCF underscored why I believe we will never have another undefeated NCAA champion in men's basketball again. (The last team to achieve perfection was Indiana in 1976.) Between players leaving early for the draft, the added number of games and the dramatic increase in media scrutiny, I just don't think it can be done.
UCLA's problems go deeper than just one guy, but I can't remember being as disappointed in a player as I am in Josh Smith, the Bruins' 6-foot-10 sophomore center. It's not uncommon for a big man to come to college out of shape, but Smith has had a full season of competition and off-season to work on his body. Yet, he is actually in worse shape now than he was a year ago. Smith has been blessed with great size, hands and feet. Such a shame he's letting all that natural talent go to waste.
Meanwhile, as Smith huffs and puffs, and as Reeves Nelson implodes, it must really gall UCLA fans to see Mike Moser, who transferred from UCLA to UNLV two years ago, bring his hard hat and lunch pail to work against North Carolina Saturday night. Moser, a 6-8 sophomore, had 16 points and 18 rebounds in the big win. It's the third time this season he has had 13 or more rebounds.
My only concern about Wisconsin right now is a lack of depth. The Badgers drilled BYU by 17 points over the weekend, yet Bo Ryan only played six guys.
Let me be clear: I hate the three goggles. I understand kids should be able to have fun while playing a game, but there's a big difference between exuberance and showboating -- and the three goggles gesture clearly falls into the latter category. I didn't mind several years ago when players started popping their jerseys, because that exalted the team. But the three goggles is all about the individual. I've long since given up hope that parents and AAU coaches would put a stop to this kind of nonsense (many of them encourage it), but I expect more from college coaches. Here's hoping they put the kibosh on this lousy new trend, and fast.
I'm mystified that Purdue point guard Lewis Jackson has been in college for four years and still hasn't become a dependable three-point shooter. Jackson is quick and is a nice floor general, but when you're 5-9 and you play the point, you've got to able to knock down long-range shots. Jackson has only taken 10 three-pointers this season and made three.
Everybody out there who said Missouri made a big mistake hiring Frank Haith, please raise your hand. Yep, mine's up too. Just checking.
Cleveland State hasn't exactly lit the world on fire since opening the season with a win at Vanderbilt. Before they blew out Rhode Island Sunday night, the Vikings had beaten St. Bonaventure, Kent State and Boston University by a combined eight points. Then they lost to Hofstra by 10. Looks to me like the Horizon will be a one-bid league.
San Diego State quietly pulled off two impressive true road wins last week at Arizona and Long Beach State. Give Steve Fisher credit: This program is no one-hit wonder.
Kris Joseph did a great job bailing out Syracuse at the end of that Stanford game, but I'm surprised Boeheim isn't getting more out of his freshmen, Rakeem Christmas and Michael Carter-Williams. I don't expect those guys to dominate, but I do expect them to earn more than six minutes of combined playing time.
If Patric Young is Florida's go-to guy, the Gators have a good chance to get to the Final Four. If they rely too much on their guards, they'll get clipped. Simple as that.
It's gonna be a close race between Boston College, Utah and South Carolina for the mantle of worst team from a power conference. And LSU is not far behind. I hate to say it because I think he's a good coach and a good guy, but I'm not sure Trent Johnson, now in his fourth year at LSU, can survive this.
Oh, and if Wake Forest fans are bummed about their team's situation, just remember that your athletic director fired Dino Gaudio after he took his team to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Karma, anyone?
I'm glad that in college hoops a team doesn't automatically get the ball at halfcourt after it calls time out. That's one thing this sport definitely has over the NBA.
Kansas fans have reason for optimism based on how the Jayhawks played in Maui, but at the end of the day I'm not sure you can really win big with Tyshawn Taylor as your point guard. He has lots of talent, but his decisions on and off the court leave a lot to be desired. Taylor looked great at times in the championship game against Duke, when he scored 17 points. But he also committed a whopping 11 turnovers. That was the biggest reason Kansas lost.
Speaking of Maui, you know who nobody is going to want to see in the NCAA tournament? Michigan, that's who. John Beilein coaches a unique, intricate offense that is extremely difficult to prepare for, especially if you've never seen it before. And freshman point guard Trey Burke is only going to get better between now and them.
You are aware that Baylor forward Quincy Miller has been the nation's best freshman, right?
SI Now: Who will get the most 2nd place votes for the Heisman trophy?
Pro Football Now: Thursday December 12, 2013