Week 9 Of The College Basketball Season: Harangody, Vols Shine

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Week 9 Of The College Basketball Season: Harangody, Vols Shine
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Individual Performances:

 

Luke Harangody, Notre Dame.  Harangody was my preseason pick for the Player of the Year.  It wasn’t because he’s the most talented or jaw-dropping player in college hoops land, though he’s more athletic than the casual observer would think.  Of all the POY candidates, he has the most impact on his team’s fortunes.  This was quite apparent against South Florida, where he had 36 points in a one-point squeaker and followed it up with 24 against West Virginia, whose comeback fell just short.

 

Sherron Collins, Kansas.  While Collins and Co. were victimized by a shorthanded Tennessee squad (more on them later) they were nearly upended by a Cornell squad that is the best the Ivy has had to offer since 1999.  Collins wasn’t going to let that happen as he dropped 33 points on the Big Red, which accounted for almost half of the ‘Hawks total.

 

Austin Freeman, Georgetown.  Both the Hoyas and UConn’s Huskies have some learning to do if they’re going to make a deep run in the tournament but if G’Town can get a shooting performance like Freeman’s (33 points, five for nine from three) in their comeback against UConn that will be tremendously helpful.  While the D.C. bunch isn’t known for firing up the nets Freeman has actually made half his shots for his career. 

 

Ekpe Udoh, Baylor.   All you need is one line to summarize Mr. Udoh’s recent performances: 13 points a game, 15.5 rebounds a game, 6.75 blocks a game in his last four contests.

 

Team Performances:

 

Tennessee.  The phrase “addition by subtraction” would have to apply to the Vols.  Tyler Smith’s dismissal and the suspension of three teammates galvanized Rocky Top.  Still, Skylar McBee struck a blow for every walk-on and benchwarmer with his Dolly Dagger special against Kansas.  If Bruce Pearl brings back any of Smith’s cohorts and they learned from their mistakes the Vols could be very dangerous in the Dance.

 

Brigham Young.  Every year the Mountain West conference is considered for four bids on Selection Sunday and it never plays out that way.  This year will likely feature the same scenario but Brigham Young will be a certainty.  Without scoring machine Jimmer Fredette the Cougars continued on the warpath and sit at a robust 16-1.  But can the Cougars win a tourney game for the first time since 1993?

 

Random Thoughts:

 

After this weekend it is becoming a stark reality – the Pac-10 could very possibly see only one team in the tourney bracket.  No team is undefeated in conference play.  No team will be ranked this week.  California is the only team eligible for postseason play that has an RPI above 40.  It makes last season’s SEC look positively robust.

 

While Northwestern has temporarily righted their ship in their quest for their first Dance invite New Mexico has gotten off to a troubling start by dropping their first two Mountain West battles.  The Lobos are a young team that has to shake off the shock and right their ship lest they collapse as they are historically not a favorite of the selection committee.

 

Bald Prophet Top 40 Rankings:

 

               

1.       Texas

2.       Kentucky

3.       Villanova

4.       Kansas

5.       Syracuse

6.       Purdue

7.       Tennessee

8.       Duke

9.       Michigan State

10.   West Virginia

11.   Kansas State

12.   Texas A&M

13.   Brigham Young

14.   North Carolina

15.   Butler

16.   Miami (Fla.)

17.   Georgetown

18.   Georgia Tech

19.   Connecticut

20.   UAB

21.   Gonzaga

22.   Temple

23.   Oklahoma State

24.   Florida State

25.   Northern Iowa

26.   Texas Tech

27.   New Mexico

28.   Northwestern

29.   Clemson

30.   Minnesota

31.   St. Mary's

32.   UNLV

33.   Virginia Tech

34.   Ohio State

35.   Louisiana Tech

36.   Baylor

37.   Pittsburgh

38.   Cornell

39.   Wisconsin

40.   Rhode Island

 

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