Thoughts On Week 6:
§ Best individual performances of the week:
· Trevor Booker, Clemson. OK, East Carolina falls under the Cupcake State territory but when you consider that the elder Booker brother is known as a bruising power forward his line of 13 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists is impressive (especially that last number). An interesting matchup looms tomorrow against upstart Western Carolina.
· Denzel Bowles, James Madison. Bowles recently became eligible for the Dukes after transferring from Texas A&M where he averaged a paltry four minutes a game. In his second game he went off for 37 points and 15 rebounds (eight offensive) against Gardner-Webb. The Dukes are a mediocre 5-4 and have to go on the road against Stanford on the 29th. Even though this matchup wouldn’t normally be must-see TV it will be interesting to see how Bowles plays against Landry Fields, who is a one-man gang for the Cardinal.
§ Team performances
· New Mexico. Los Lobos nearly fell from the ranks of the undefeated against a struggling Creighton squad but still stand atop a stout Mountain West conference thanks to a second-half monster effort from juco transfer Darlington Hobson (22 points, 16 rebounds and six dishes for the game). Thanks to Hobson and Roman Martinez Steve Alford has these guys off to a tremendous start and a possible Sweet 16 finish if they continue to progress.
· Louisville. They have appeared to right the ship for the moment by force-choking the crap out of Oral Roberts and Western Kentucky but home losses to the aforementioned Western Carolina and Charlotte are a troubling sign for a team that still had high hopes at the beginning of the season. Considering the strength of the Big East don’t be surprised to see the Cardinals in NIT or even CBI land this spring.
§ Conference performances
· ACC. Aside from North Carolina’s loss to Texas (which leaves them as the best team with three losses in the college hoops universe) the Tobacco Road contigent had a monster week. Right now you could make a great case for eight teams getting in from a 12-team league. Supposedly, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year – it looks more like a reloading.
· Big East. Maybe they had their minds on the blizzard but it could have been a better week. Syracuse and Villanova took care of business but Georgetown lost at home to Old Dominion, Cincy got blown out at UAB, UConn barely beat Central Florida at home, Seton Hall fell to Temple to drop from the undefeated ranks and DePaul became American University’s first victim of the year at home. Yikes.
§ Oddity of the week
· I saw this sign in Lexington, Kentucky outside a tobacco shop a few days after this game took place. “GO IU. BEAT UK.” As hard as it is to believe not everybody in Lexington supports the Wildcats (and no, the rumors of suffering public stoning for such an ‘offense’ are not true) but from a business standpoint it may not be such a good idea to openly support a hated rival.
I now humbly submit my weekly Top 40: