There. We said it. The 'Bag has always believed this, and yet few coaches in the nation have taken a more public beating than Texas' Barnes has in the past year, mainly for what was perceived in some precincts as his team's inability to get the ball in the hands of
Implicit in that criticism was another indictment: that Longhorns point guard
Well, now look: Durant may be gone, but Texas has pulled off the nation's most impressive pair of wins so far this season, knocking off two of the 'Bag's preseason Final Four picks: Tennessee (on a neutral court) and UCLA (in Pauley Pavilion).
Both times Augustin was the best player on the floor, combining timely scoring with near-flawless passing and the wisdom to know when to push the pace and when to slow it down. (Don't use
Barnes put on a coaching clinic Sunday. The Longhorns' 2-3 zone flummoxed a UCLA team that didn't have an
And whatever Barnes has done to increase the confidence of
Then maybe some people will finally admit that the man can coach.
Good question, Kim. I'm going to take your question to ask about teams that are extremely inexperienced. Several Top 20 teams don't have any senior starters -- North Carolina, Texas, UCLA, Marquette and Louisville -- but you can have leadership without being a senior (consider Collison or
To answer your question, though, I'd name two inexperienced teams that could potentially make a deep NCAA tourney run in March:
To take Kim's question one step further, the 'Bag checked out the starting lineups of all 44 teams that received votes in this week's AP poll. On the other end of the scale, the most experienced starting fives were:
Speaking of Creighton, we don't know which fact we love more:
• That Kaleb
• That a third Korver sibling,
• That a fourth Korver brother,
• Or that all four Korver boys' names begin with a K, like
(Even though he can no doubt join Kyle's NBA posse if he doesn't end up playing hoops for a living, Kirk will no doubt be under pressure to become the fourth Korver brother to earn a Division I basketball scholarship. Which causes the 'Bag to ask our readers: Can you name any other examples of four brothers who earned full rides in basketball to D-I schools? The closest we can recall are the
Guilty as charged. Plaisted did indeed shred the UNC defense, but Koufos (while still an impressive prospect) has some developing to do, as shown by his struggles against the bigger front-lines of Carolina and Texas A&M. (Maybe it should have been a warning sign that his top performance came against the defensive matadors from Syracuse.) Anyway,
I consider Arkansas to be one of the nation's most intriguing teams, a talented outfit with the possibility to be this year's version of last year's Oregon Elite Eight squad (i.e., underachievers who finally start reaching their potential). New coach
In order, I'd say Wisconsin, Illinois and possibly Purdue. The Badgers are an experienced bunch that won't have many down games like their loss to Duke. Illinois looked pretty good in Hawaii (beating Hawaii, Arizona State and Oklahoma State). And Purdue, although painfully young, put up a good fight in its only loss (at Clemson). There's reason to be excited if you're a Boilermakers fan.
Geez Mom, can't we talk about this on the phone or something? Does the 'Bag Dad know about this Bilas infatuation? (Loyal 'Bag readers will recall that nothing in the 'Bag Family is sacred, since we once led an essay in
Anyway, my take on Olson is this: He needs to decide soon if he's going to miss the season or not. The college basketball calendar is just too short to leave his players and assistants hanging. That said, fill-in
A couple more Arizona points: freshman point guard
(One suggestion, though: It might be time to remove the "1997 National Champions" slogan painted on the court in Tucson. Banners are fine. On-court proclamations should have a statute of limitations.)
Wait a second: You're asking why Duke isn't getting enough attention? You're kidding, right? (We'll make certain to address the Blue Devils soon. The 'Bag is certainly intrigued by all the wrinkles that
I'm notoriously bad at predicting how college stars will fare in the pros, mainly because I don't follow the NBA very closely. For what it's worth, nbadraft.net projects Love in the middle of the first round, but it also had Oklahoma's
As for Love's height, that's also a concern of NBA scouts. He's listed at 6-10, but Love told me that he's really 6-9, although he added that doctors recently told him he's still growing. "Without my shoes on, they're hoping I could be around 6-10," Love explained.
Bottom line: If I was a betting man, I'd say Love is out after one college season. I don't see how his skills wouldn't translate to the pros. But I'd say Love is also less likely to leave after this season than
• Kevin Love is a heck of a passer, but the best-passing post player I've seen so far this season is Providence's
• More teams appear to be using zone defense effectively than in recent years, with the conspicuous exception of Syracuse and the zone-master himself, Jim Boeheim.
• Random question for any of you readers who happen to be high school and college coaches: What sort of things do you look for when you're watching a college basketball game on TV? In what ways are they different from what a "normal" fan would be looking for?
• The Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series has been a total treat to watch. We'll support anything that promotes good matchups in November and December.
• What's up with Washington when it hits the road? That loss at Oklahoma State was fugly.
• Question I: Why is it considered "news" when a player says he thought about transferring at one point? These are teenagers playing a high-pressure sport. Wouldn't it be more newsworthy if the player had
• Question II: Will TV announcers please stop spreading the (
• I haven't found a player as fascinatingly smart and as dumb in the same game as USC's
We finally saw
But we can happily recommend (on DVD) the complete series of
Make sure to send in a question, and we'll see you next Wednesday!