Follow the bouncing ball
Before the 'Bag jumps into this week's reader questions (send 'em in, guys; we need as many as possible, the more creative the better), a few thoughts after ODing on games over the past week:
•You can't get away with carrying the ball anymore. It's been a point of emphasis for refs before, of course, but I'm seeing it called more than ever. Arizona's
•Biggest disappointment so far: Tennessee. Watching the Vols get drilled by Texas, I remembered something
• USC is fast becoming the college hoops version of the 1978 Yankees, and it's addictive to watch. What'll happen in Trojanland this week? A tussle between teammates? An upset loss to Mercer? Or a 70-45 destruction of Southern Illinois (the best the Missouri Valley has to offer)? Even in that game, stars O.J. Mayo and
• Another positive trend:
• Breakout alert I: BYU big man
If the 6-foot-11 Plaisted was able to shred UNC's interior defense, how much damage might Ohio State's 7-foot frosh
• There's a reason the 'Bag had Xavier at No. 10 in our pre-season Top 20 voting at SI HQ, which became clear in the wake of the Musketeers' 15-point win over Indiana. Xavier can defend in numbers,
• Big ups to 'Bag fave
This also gives me a chance to revive one of my favorite Coles theories, which came from a story I did for SI a few years ago on the basketball-coaching class he was teaching. According to Coles, the steady decline of defense over the years is directly connected to the enactment of leash laws in communities around the country. The result: a nation of chronically flat-footed youth. "Getting chased by dogs helped me as an athlete," Coles told me, tongue only halfway in cheek. "Defense is anticipation, and if you were in a neighborhood and you didn't know where the dog was, it put some fear into you."
This is the same guy who said teaching offense was like saying, 'I'm putting $50,000 in cash up here, now come up in an orderly fashion and get your share.' I love Coach Coles.
• Breakout alert II: USC freshman
• Kansas State freshman
• Two lessons from Kansas' OT win over Arizona: 1) Jayhawks guard
• One more thing to love about living in Baltimore: rampant speculation, rumors and half-truths (perhaps even whole-truths?) about what's to come in Season 5 of
You may be right, Michael. Butler's combination of a talented, experienced roster (led by
Baylor. (I'm only half-kidding.) The obvious top two are Texas and Texas A&M, both of which picked up impressive wins last week with the Longhorns handling Tennessee and A&M throttling Ohio State. I'll go with Texas for now. There's still a lot of basketball to play, but UT is much better than A&M at the point (
The answer has more to do with the current roster than with Conley or Oden. Given the star potential of Koufos and the fact that Conley was just as important to the Buckeyes as Oden was by the end of last season, I'd say Conley would help this team more.
Franchione drew criticism not because he was critical of players; he did so because he didn't reveal to his AD the existence of the ongoing newsletter scheme for boosters, a for-profit side-business which helped finance his personal Web site (not the Aggies program as you described). Krzyzewski's open-mike practice (pun intended) is a once-a-year event that's held not for boosters but for participants in a university-sponsored conference run by Duke's Fuqua School of Business. One is above-board, known to everyone. The other was below-board. Apples and oranges.
In a word: yes. Avid 'Bag readers know we think Beilein is one of the most innovative coaches in the nation, and once he gets his own players in Ann Arbor he'll win lots of games, just as he did at West Virginia, Richmond and Canisius. But he needs unique guys to run his quirky system, and it's no wonder his first teams at West Virginia (14-15) and even Canisius (10-18) didn't light it up right off the bat. This season could be a tough one, in other words, especially with losses to three good teams already in the bank (Georgetown, Butler, Western Kentucky) and games against Duke and UCLA on the way.
It's a simple problem: Most of the analysts are former coaches themselves. My theory is that college hoops may have even more rah-rah analysts than other sports because the coaches (and not the players, who change too often) have become the enduring symbols of programs. But not everyone doing TV is all-fluff-all-the-time. I don't always agree with ESPN's
Wow, a former Princeton townie? Does that mean you used to skateboard all the time up on Nassau Street? (Or maybe you're one of the former players the 'Bag coached to a winless season mark in the Princeton Rec League in 1995?) Anyway, Princeton is definitely in rebuilding mode after the shockingly still-born tenure of
Carril's slower version of the Princeton offense may indeed be a thing of the past. The coaches who have hewn most closely to it (Scott and Northwestern's
We've been catching up on recent releases lately, checking out
Send those questions in -- and see you next Wednesday.