Congratulations to North Carolina's
Anyway, we'll begin this week's 'Bag with some good B-sides that didn't make it into the mag article:
• After spending a couple hours last Thursday night at the four-bedroom off-campus house Hansbrough shares with teammates
• When asked if it bothers him that NBA pundits don't rate him as a lottery pick, Hansbrough had this to say: "That's one thing about me not really having a lot of pressure to leave [college] right there. It also drives me to stay in college and prove them wrong. I have room to improve, and I take it from there. I use it as motivation, to be honest with you."
• North Carolina coach
• Hansbrough's single-most impressive stretch of the season may have been the two games in three days between Feb. 10 (a 103-93 double-OT win over Clemson) and Feb. 12 (a 75-74 win at Virginia). Psycho T had 39 points, 13 rebounds and a game-changing mid-court steal in the second OT against Clemson. The next day marked the only practice he has ever missed at UNC as he dealt with the pain of losing an infected toenail off one of his big toes. When the doctor tried to drain the toe, "the needle went straight through the toe," says Hansbrough, who leaped up in pain. "It was probably the freakiest experience I've ever had." But instead of sitting out the Virginia game the next day, Hansbrough managed to suit up -- and score 23 points, including a critical jump-hook with 21 seconds left.
Before we get to the serious stuff in this week's 'Bag -- namely, the mountain of e-mail we received in response to our article in SI on
As the ABC cameras zeroed in on Rice leaving the court at halftime, he pulled up his jersey to reveal ... pinstriped boxer shorts riding up about five inches above his uniform shorts. And instantly we recoiled in imagined pain. (On the 'Bag's high school team this practice was called "Free-ballin", sung in the locker room to the tune of
Anyway, the 'Bag knows that
Got lots of mail on fan abuse following our SI story, so let's dig in:
It's certainly not the first time the topic has been written about. The incidents involving
In Love's case, I sensed that there was probably more to his side of the story since I knew that Oregon students had distributed his cell phone number. And given that some time had passed since the game in Eugene, I figured Kevin and his father,
As for the media's impact, we certainly play some role, but not as much as critics might think. I've heard that some local media organizations portrayed Eric Gordon as "the enemy" heading into the Illinois game, and that seems out of line. But one of SI's regional covers for our college hoops preview issue featured Indiana's
In the end, fans are responsible for their own behavior, and any offender playing the "blame the media" card needs to look in the mirror.
I'm all for creativity and humor when it comes to signs and chants, and I have no problem with Duke fans lampooning the Terps' graduation rates. "The line" is different for everyone -- I'm always reminded of the hyperventilating
As for the Cameron Crazies, they still have their low moments sometimes, but I think they're usually some of the best fans in college basketball, not least because of their creativity, but also because of the efforts
But opposing coaches have diverging views on the Crazies. One coach of a Top 20 team told SI that he thinks Duke's fans are the most foul-mouthed and distasteful that he's seen, "but then they're held up as the best ones." But then
Duke fans are no angels, but should they be held responsible for Oregon fans who are unable to match their creativity and resort to profane chants? I'm not so sure. I do think it's interesting that when I spoke with
Good point, Charles. If people from the Oregon and Illinois programs would have done a similar thing before the UCLA and Indiana games -- which they knew would be volatile situations -- it's unlikely that we would have seen what happened.
I guess I don't see Wake Forest and Miami as pillars of inside strength, so it's hard for me to have a full idea yet of whether Duke really will struggle with big teams in the NCAAs. It's one of many reasons why I'm fired up for the rematch between Duke and Carolina on Saturday. As we mentioned before, the Blue Devils have given up a lot of double-doubles to big guys this year, but they've made up for it by causing a ton of turnovers and spreading things out offensively. The better question these days might be: Have Duke's perimeter guys finally started to wear down?
It depends on how you define Player of the Year. For me it matters how your team performs, and there is clearly a big difference between Kansas State and North Carolina right now. Just because Beasley is a better player doesn't mean he should be the Player of the Year in college basketball.
Short answer: no, especially considering how Indiana has played since the departure of
Got a few more responses on the 'Bag's story on the Dribble-Drive Motion offense, including last week's question on whether an offensive scheme could be registered with the patent office. Even on that topic, though, there was some debate:
Well, that clears up ... nothing. But I appreciate the input, and I really like the ", esq." suffix on Pat's name. In fact we're going to suggest that our pal
I think Walberg's offense is too new to have contributed to the change of de-emphasizing mid-range shooting. I just think this is the natural impact of the 19-9 three-point line. There is very little incentive to perfect a 17-foot jump shot with a man in your face, at least in the college game. It's a different scenario in the NBA, where the three-point line is much farther out. I'm curious to see if the longer three-point line in the NCAA next year does anything to help bring back mid-range shooting. As for CDR, that's a good point. However, when things get tight for Memphis, the Tigers have no problem taking mid-range jumpers. Remember how many
• Thursday's showdown between UCLA and Stanford will help determine which team wins the Pac-10 race, but it'll also determine who wins individual honors in my book. Right now I have
• Just wanted to remind you of the 'Bag's Magic Eight, the eight teams from which we guaranteed the national champion would emerge: Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Memphis, Tennessee, UCLA and Xavier. Remember, we did this on Jan. 16, which makes us feel pretty good about those Louisville and Xavier picks. (I'd feel better about the Indiana pick if they hadn't gone through a coaching change since then.) And yes, I'm still worried about not including North Carolina, even though its defense still doesn't match up to the D of the top contenders (as
Good point, Jens. I'll have to hit Arthur Bryant's on my next trip to K.C.; it's been too long. Plus, I'll follow any food rec from Calvin Trillin, who belongs on my food-writing Mount Rushmore with
• Picks from the 'Bag:
See you next week -- make sure to send in a good question!