I have to apologize for the lack of postings here of late, but with conference play well under way, I felt that it was time to revive this blog and get talking again on the subject that will dominate sports once that little football game in Miami is over in two weeks, college basketball.
It has been quite an early season to say the least with poll fluctuations, upsets and early-season surprises, all of which are leading to what will certainly be an interesting February and March. Since my last post was about Kentucky and how loaded they were, I’ll start with Coach Cal’s Wildcats again. Guess what? They are loaded and freshman sensation John Wall is as good as advertised. After dismantling Arkansas over the weekend, Cats now sit atop the polls for the first time in six years. Hopefully their stay will be more stable than Texas’ was, but with a number of key conference games coming up, they are sure to be tested.
At the other end of the poll, North Carolina exited the Top 25 this week and is unranked for the first time since 2006. The Tar Heels have battled injuries and inconsistent play of late and as a graduate and a fan of another Tobacco Road school, I must admit I’m not sorry to see them go. It is certainly possible that Roy’s boys will turn it around in the near future, but I’m willing to bet the Wolfpack gives them one more kick tomorrow night in Raleigh.
The games are getting better and better now that non-conference play is essentially over (of course Georgia Tech will tangle with Kentucky State this weekend, apparently none of the local high school teams were available for Paul Hewitt’s club, good SOS builder right there). Tonight’s tilt between Syracuse and Georgetown should be a dandy, as the Orange have truly been one of the country’s most pleasant surprises in 2010, as the Big East is once again rugged and loaded with teams poised to fill in brackets deep into March.
Before I take a look at the most-recent referee standings, I want to thank ESPN for its recent announcer switch. While watching Wake pound North Carolina on the road, it was also nice to hear the NBA crew call the game. Jeff Van Gundy is absolutely great as a color commentator and offers so much more to the viewer than Dick Vitale ever will. Let’s hope the Network keeps this tradition alive and treats the college fans every year.
Now, looking at the latest games-called standings, we see that our old friend David Hall leads the way with 65 games called already this year. He will certainly top the 100-game mark for the second-straight year. Here is the top-five through the weekend, courtesy of our friends at http://www.statsheet.com.
1. David Hall - 65 Games
2. Steve Wellmer - 59 Games
2. Mike Kitts - 59 Games
4. Rick Hartzell - 56 Games (Since he’s not the AD at Northern Iowa anymore he seems to be making good use of his free time)
5. Mark Whitehead - 55 Games
I’ll close by saying, these guys are over-worked to say the least, but until the NCAA has some say in their workloads, it’s not going to change. They are making strides for the tournament, but the regular season is nuts with the games these guys are working.