Hoop Thoughts (Cont.)
Time has also passed for Jerry Tarkanian. He recently turned 82 and is in declining health. He has already had one close brush with death. He is not going to live forever. Based on his coaching credentials alone, he would have been elected to the Hall before he retired. He committed enough wrongdoing to warrant a lengthy delay, but banning him for eternity is a punishment that does not fit his crimes.
It has been a long wait for Jerry Tarkanian and his family. He has paid his price. He has served his time. Let the man have his due.
Ohio State played well enough at Duke to win Wednesday night, but the Buckeyes are in dire need of a stronger second offensive option. Deshaun Thomas is the team's only natural scorer, so when the Blue Devils shut him down in the second half, Ohio State needed Aaron Craft to produce big buckets, and that's just not what he does. The player with the most potential to grow into this role is 6-8 sophomore forward LaQuinton Ross, but it appears he isn't mentally ready for it.
I'm rooting for Arizona forward Kevin Parrom as much as any player in the country. The kid has been through hell and back (including being shot) but is serving as an invaluable sixth man on an excellent team.
Get ready for a whole lot of stories about Boise State. The Broncos nearly knocked off Michigan State in the Breslin Center on Nov. 20, and last night they scored an eye-popping road win at Creighton. Derrick Marks, a 6-3 sophomore from Chicago, went for 35 in the win. Doug Who?
I realize Michigan State is a little beat up, which contributed to the Spartans' loss at Miami Wednesday night, but I reiterate what I believe to be a major problem for this team: No low-post scoring. The problem is exacerbated by the team's lack of a traditional, playmaking, post-feeding point guard.
If you like that Duke's three-man nucleus is made of up of seniors (and I do), then you gotta like Illinois' senior core of Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Tyler Griffey (which I also do).
Remember when Wisconsin was unbeatable at home? Those were the good ole days.
I can't imagine a program having much of a worse week than the one UCLA just had. You just get the feeling this is not going to end well.
Imagine how much better Maryland would be if Pe'Shon Howard could make a shot. He's shooting 22 percent from three and 15 percent from the floor, yet somehow he's averaging nearly seven assists per game.
I like what I see from Oregon, especially at the defensive end. Dana Altman can really coach, and his Ducks are tougher than people realize. They gave another tough team, Cincinnati, all it could handled when the teams played in Vegas.
Wichita State is still undefeated, and one of those wins came on the road against VCU. Just making sure you knew.
Big, big night for Kansas senior center Jeff Withey last week in the win over San Jose State. He set a single-game school record for blocks (12) and had the second triple double in school history (16 points, 12 rebounds). You may have heard that they've been playing basketball at Kansas for quite a while.
It has long been my opinion that referees get about 85 percent of their calls (and no-calls) correct. Ten percent of their calls are incorrect but close, and five percent are boneheaded mistakes. All in all, I'd say that's a pretty good rate.
Along those lines, a high school basketball coach I used to cover named Gary Palladino at Notre Dame High in West Haven, Conn., told me many years ago he thought basketball was 70 percent talent, 20 percent coaching, and 10 percent luck. Still haven't heard anyone put it better than that.
Kentucky will be better with Ryan Harrow healthy and in the fold (he returns Thursday night against Notre Dame), but in the meantime Archie Goodwin is getting valuable experience running the team. He averaged 24 points and 6.5 assists in the Wildcats' recent wins over Morehead State and LIU-Brooklyn.
Speaking of Morehead State, I sure hope Sean Woods learned his lesson after being suspended for berating and humiliating his player. I can never understand coaches who act like that and then think they can caution their players to keep their cool when the pressure gets hot.
Rick Byrd has another solid team at Belmont. The Bruins are 5-1 with a road win at Stanford. Can't wait to see them play Murray State in the OVC.
Kelly Olynyk's return from a suspension has given Gonzaga a boost, but it appears to have come at the expense of the team's starting center, Sam Dower. I'd love to see those guys play well together.
N.C. State didn't complete its comeback at Michigan, but I think the Wolfpack learned a valuable lesson about just how hard they have to fight. As I said throughout the preseason, these guys have to learn how to play with a bullseye on their backs. Until you've experienced it, it's hard to comprehend just how difficult it can be.
Cody Zeller is playing great, but I still don't think he's making perimeter jump shots the way he's capable. He just needs to fire them with confidence.
Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum is headed for one of those seasons. He has already had three 30-plus games, and he leads the nation in scoring at 26.3 points per game. And lest you think he's just a volume shooter, McCollum is converting 50.8 percent from the floor and 55.3 percent from three. Maybe it's just because he wears the number 3, but he looks a little like D.Wade out there.
Minnesota's convincing win at Florida State Tuesday night was one of the more impressive under-the-radar performances you'll see all season. I thought the Gophers would be gassed after playing three games in three days in the Bahamas, and then having to play a true road game on Tuesday. Duke also played three games in three days in the Bahamas and the Blue Devils looked tired against Ohio State, even though they had an extra day and got to play at home.
Louisville will miss Gorgui Dieng (broken wrist) in the short term, but the development of Stephan Van Treese as a backup center will help in the long term.
Great name, nice game: Titus Rubles. The Cincinnati juco transfer took over that Oregon game in the second half.
Ed Daniels' hair > Andrew Bynum's hair.
If you're watching Syracuse, I'm sure that, like me, you're keeping a close eye on the progress of 6-9 freshman forward DaJuan Coleman. He needed just 18 minutes to get 12 points and 7 rebounds against Colgate. Yes, it was Colgate, but it was still a nice baby step.