There are plenty of reasons to love college basketball, but this time of year, one reason stands out above the rest.
When it's too cold to leave the house, college hoops gives us something to do other than play video games or eat ourselves into a coma.
It's an abbreviated version of the Musings this week. I was too busy with school all week to put a full column together. Check back next week when the column returns with a vengeance.
Random thoughts after this week's games
-Nobody is playing better basketball than Duke right now. Nobody. Though UConn and Louisville are coming close.
-On the flip side, nobody's stock is falling faster than Georgetown's. Except for maybe Notre Dame's.
-Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist were at it again, insisting that Idong Ibok's real name was some sort of weird hybrid between his Nigerian heritage and some Brazilian footballer. Guys, stop calling him "Ibong".
That wasn't their biggest sin though—that was calling Michigan State "Michigan" several times during the first half of the Ohio State game on Sunday. It's never okay to confuse the two schools.
-On College Gameday this week, Jay Bilas said that Michigan State is a Final Four team if they become mentally tough. I think it's a lot simpler than that. If they stop throwing games away with stupid turnovers, they could be a Final Four team.
-UCLA continues to look weak. It's really hard to envision them losing in the Final Four again this year. They'll probably bow out in the second round.
-Did you know that the words "Notre Dame" are French but the team is the Fighting Irish? Think about that...Yes, I've been watching The Simpsons a lot lately.
-You want proof that the pollsters are idiots? Look no further than Georgetown and Notre Dame, two 6+ loss teams ranked ahead of Minnesota, Baylor, and West Virginia, among others.
-Aubrey Coleman got away with a one-game suspension for stomping on Chase Budinger's face. Maybe Ric Flair should consider going back to school and playing basketball. Apparently "enforcer" is becoming a sanctioned role in college basketball.
-Because two crappy postseason college hoops tournaments weren't enough, we're getting a fourth tournament. The NIT doesn't get a ton of coverage, almost nobody paid attention to the College Basketball Invitational...yeah, it seems like there's room for another tournament.
Why not just let everybody play in some farcical postseason tournament? This way, nobody gets their feelings hurt!
-I'm very disappointed that the Big Ten Network doesn't stream any worthwhile games online. For the past two weeks, I've been forced to watch a play-by-play update of Michigan State games on Wednesday nights because the BTN didn't have an online feed of the broadcast. If ESPN360.com can stream cricket live, BTN should be able to bring me a basketball game while I'm in class.
What I'm watching this week
Duke and Wake Forest on Wednesday night. You should be watching that one, too. A couple of one-loss teams, a current no. 1 against a former no. 1...doesn't get much better than that.
I'm in class from 6:10 to 8:00 on Wednesday nights, but luckily we get free ESPN360.com on campus. Yes, I'll have my laptop. No, I won't be paying attention to the lecture.
In a battle for the West Coast Conference, St. Mary's and Gonzaga face off on Thursday night. People have been knocking the Gaels all season for having a weak schedule, but they'll put those criticisms to bed after they trounce an overrated Gonzaga squad.
As usual, Saturday has a stellar slate of games. Louisville takes on West Virginia in a rematch of that great 2005 Elite Eight game.
Remember that weekend? The best weekend of college hoops ever. Three of four Elite Eight games ended up going to overtime, we saw a furious Louisville comeback, a disputed three-pointer from Patrick Sparks, and Arizona failing to get the ball across the halfcourt line for the last minute and a half against Illinois.
Saturday also has Notre Dame vs. Pitt. This figures to be an easy win for Pitt as Notre Dame continues their slide towards the NIT. The Irish just haven't been able to figure things out this season.
Out in the Pac-10, newly-ranked Washington will attempt to knock off James Harden and Arizona State. The winner of this game will have the inside track for the Pac-10 regular season title.
On Sunday, I'll be glued to the TV watching Michigan State teach Penn State that no, it was not the officials' fault that you lost in Happy Valley.