Five random musings from the week that was in college hoops:
1) Legend has it that in basketball's early days the powers that be considered putting a lid on the basket to keep scoring down. One player would have to get to a rope which released the lid so a teammate could score.
On Feb. 18 in Champaign, Illinois there was no such apparatus in place because it wasn't necessary, as the Illini and Penn State "played" to a 38-33 final. PSU's Talor Battle was the game's leading scorer with 11 points. Illinois didn't shoot a single free throw. Fans who attended the game were awarded a free counseling session and a BOGO coupon from Taco Bell.
2) Out west, Utah has an excellent chance of getting four teams into "The Dance." Utah, Utah State, and Weber State lead their respective conferences, while BYU is close on Utah's heels and has a solid RPI. There is no word on whether or not the Runnin' Utes will petition the NCAA to schedule a team other than Kentucky as their first-round opponent.
3) Kentucky swept Tennessee on Saturday, and scoring-machine Jodie Meeks didn't have to pull an Atlas-like effort to do it. The Vols are now a "stout" 16-10 and need their RPI more each day just to extend their NCAA Tournament streak. Bruce Pearl has complained that people are "spoiled" by their recent success. It's doubtful Brucie loses this gig, but it has been a season to forget in Knoxville.
4) Another team that started with high hopes, only to watch them crumble like a sand castle in a tsunami, is Davidson. The only reason they will get in "The Dance" now is if they win the Southern Conference Tournament.
The Citadel is possibly the most interesting team in the Southern Conference. Nobody expected them to upset their apple cart, yet they sit only two games behind Davidson in conference play. Yes, the Bulldogs have never been dancing, and I suspect they don't allow such silly activities at the military academy. It might be time to loosen the rules a bit at Pat Conroy's alma mater.
5) Finally, St. Mary's has proven they don't need no stinkin' Pat Mills. Mickey McConnell scored 22 as the Gaels blew through Utah State in a BracketBusters match-up they had to have. They have their tuxes pressed for an invite, if they can finish second in the regular season of the West Coast conference.
- Michigan State
- Arizona State
- Wake Forest
- Florida State