Thoughts on Week 2:
1. The average fan would casually dismiss ESPN’s 24-hour marathon of college basketball as a cheap marketing gimmick. Fortunately, I am not your average fan.
The gluttony couldn’t have started any better as the first revolution that would be televised featured a road upset as Cal State-Fullerton went to Pauley Pavilion and held UCLA to an abysmal 31 percent shooting in a double-OT win. The Bruins have had to deal with a laundry list of injuries this season and have Kansas looming in a few weeks. Something tells me Ben Howland isn’t getting back to his usual Final Four spot.
2. Rupp Arena played host to a very competitive game that was enjoyable to watch. John Wall showed he can be a leader and two other Wildcats had double-doubles. You could hear the din from Coach Calipari’s house a few miles down the road when Wall hit the game-winner. But before UK fans get caught up in their usual frenzy and anoint Lexington’s boys undefeated national champs, keep in mind they barely beat a Mid-American mid-pack team at their home nest and they have turned the ball over 39 times in two games. They’re not a Final Four team – yet.
3. The award for the Worst Offensive Execution Since The ’76 Buccaneers goes to the first nine minutes of the Temple-Georgetown game. It featured an 8-3 score, combined four for 21 shooting (including zero for seven from beyond the arc), six turnovers, and several fans that were administered medical treatment after lapsing into comas induced by extreme boredom. I know the Owls and Hoyas aren’t historically known for putting up 1990 Loyola Marymount-like numbers but that went beyond the limits of good taste.
4. The reports of Gonzaga’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Had it not been for some foul trouble and questionable late shooting they could’ve beaten Michigan State in East Lansing. I’m not sure why they look like Sly and the Family Stone but it works for them. Either way look for the Zags to be ranked again and atop the West Coast conference.
5. Thursday mornings are usually reserved for counting the hours until the weekend starts but this past midweek morning featured a great hoops matchup of two ranked teams. Dayton’s “Black Sheep Squadron” of Chris Johnson, Luke Fabrizius and Paul Williams got two-thirds of the Flyers’ points to lead them over a win at Georgia Tech. I think Tech will get better as the season progresses as youth seems to be their biggest handicap. Dayton should be the class of the A-10 again.
6. More fun in Puerto Rico that doesn’t involve rum and pristine beaches: Villanova was down for most of the game against George Mason (who didn’t have the services of Jai Lucas) and had their front line foul out (even Ed Pinckney and Tim Thomas) until intrepid freshman Isaiah Armwood nailed a three with thirteen seconds left. George Mason then developed brain cramps and failed to get a shot off. ‘Nova may be a bit overrated at this stage (even Jay Wright said so) but the Patriots should’ve won that game.
7. The conference of the week honors goes to the Big East (Power Six division). The Beast is back! Providence and Rutgers have been the only teams to lose and Syracuse dominated North Carolina in the second half of their Coaches v. Cancer win. In the mid-major division the Atlantic 10 and the Big West had bangup weeks, featuring quality wins by Temple and Cal-State Fullerton.
And now – your Week 2 BP Top 40.
3. Michigan State
8. North Carolina
11. West Virginia
14. Georgia Tech
23. Texas A&M
26. Oklahoma State
27. Kansas State
28. Brigham Young
29. Mississippi State
30. Florida State
36. Notre Dame
37. Wake Forest
38. New Mexico
39. South Carolina
40. Old Dominion
Photo courtesy of Danny Moloshok/Associated Press