Thoughts on Week 4
ü The Pac-10’s poor performance will be a recurring theme that we won’t visit in column after column but Drew Gordon’s transfer from UCLA is a classic example of how far the Bruins have fallen. From what has been reported Gordon’s poor attitude necessitated his departure but he was their best inside threat. Now that the Bruins are sitting at 2-5 following a loss to top-ranked Kansas they will have to win the Pac-10 to make the Dance – which is looking highly unlikely.
ü Ishmael Smith is a solid point guard with one big flaw – free-throw shooting. His Wake Forest Demon Deacons had a chance to beat Purdue on Tuesday but Smith’s zero for five performance from the foul line seriously handicapped their chances at an upset. Any young players who are running the show need to get this memo – please, please practice your free throws. You will be the primary ball handler and have a lot of opportunities to ice close games – they call them free for a reason.
ü Illinois looked dead in the water against Clemson at halftime on Wednesday. But Bruce Weber’s Illini are mentally tough. Demetri McCamey had four fouls for the majority of the comeback – and never picked up a fifth. Mike Davis, Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson – well, it seemed like everyone in a Illinois uniform came together to come back from 24 down. Remember this team come March.
ü The Ivy League doesn’t usually come to mind when you think of great matchups but two individual battles have to be noticed this week. On Wednesday an otherwise “who cares” matchup between Cornell and Bucknell featured a great matchup between Big Red center Jeff Foote (28 points, 18 rebounds) and Bison center Mike Muscala (off the bench with 20 points and 7 rebounds). Sunday’s Harvard-Connecticut had a little more spotlight quality to it thanks to a close game and another great matchup between Crimson guard Jeremy Lin (30 points, 9 rebounds) and Husky guard Jerome Dyson (24 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists). Cornell and Harvard is going to be a nip-and-tuck battle all year for Egghead League prominence.
And now, your weekly Top 40. I am not Casey Kasem.