The top two teams in college basketball yesterday won by a combined 6 points against unranked opponents. #1 Kansas squeaked by Memphis and #2 Michigan State fought off Gonzaga. Besides the top 2 teams in the country, #13 UConn had trouble putting away Hofstra and #20 Georgetown scored only 46 points against Temple, winning by 1 point. If these early season match-ups are any indication of the season ahead, all college basketball fans are in for a treat. On any given night, an unranked, mid-major team can give a top tier team a run for their money. I\’m not saying that Hofstra will go deep in the tournament or Temple will win the National title, but with the rising level of talent across the country, it has become less clear who will make the sweet 16 and who won\’t make the tournament at all. Since 2004, 8 teams seeded #10 or lower (10-16) have made the sweet 16, 2 teams have made the elite 8, and 1 team has made the final four. It is still a long and difficult road for these lower ranked teams, but if George Mason in 2006 could upend 6-seeded Michigan State, 3-seeded North Carolina, 7-seeded Wichita State, and 1-seeded UConn before losing to the eventual National Champion Florida Gators in the final four, anything is possible. Come March, it would not surprise me to see another 10-seeded or higher team in the elite 8 and possibly even in the final four.
2 thoughts on “Close Calls”
Speaking of George Mason, they lost to Nova by just 1 tonight, and probably deserved to win the game. These close game are not at all surprising this early in the season. Many of these \”BCS\” teams have a lot of highly talented young players who lack experience and are going against mid majors with junior and senior laden lineups. Thus, you get some crazy results in early season play.As for UConn, I'm extremely concerned with our frontcourt. How can we possibly expect to contend against the likes of Arinze Onuaku, Greg Monroe, Samardo Samuels, and Yancy Gates? I know it's early but I've been disappointed with Oriakhi. He's a McDonald's All American but has shown little offensive ability, and he has AWFUL hands, almost as bad as Thabeet's. Gavin's the only big guy who can catch a basketball.Anyway, I've enjoyed reading your posts and I'm looking forward to some good college football and basketball banter!
I agree with you on most points and am concerned about UConn's front court as much as you are. Oriakhi has been sub-par thus far, but I get the feeling, for some weird reason, that he will improve a ton over the next few weeks. He was a legit high school player and I certainly hope he can raise his level of play. The good news is Edwards. This is his chance to dominate inside like he is capable of as long as he can play a lot of minutes and stay out of foul trouble. The UConn back court, however, is deep and extremely talented. They are athletic, can drive to the basket, and for the most part, can pop a 3 here and there. Ideally, the athleticism of the back court can put pressure on the opposing big men by driving to the hoop and drawing fouls and looking for the fast break opportunities whenever possible. That's not a fool-proof, strong strategy, but it could prove to be effective in getting the court to open up come Big East play.I appreciate the comment, keep your comments coming. That's the entire reason I have a blog!