Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkey Day Hardwood Thoughts

Thanksgiving week is one of the best weeks of the year for college basketball outside of March.  With so many meaningful tournaments and made for TV matchups we get to learn quite a bit in a short amount of time.  Here are some things I pulled away from this week.

#1 Baylor is Baylor.  Its an old adage around Cyclone Fanatic but its the truth.  They have some of the best talent in the nation but can be beaten by anyone.  Granted they lost to a good Syracuse team but they are nowhere close to realizing their potential.  I see ISU being able to jump them for the #3 spot in the Big 12.

#2 Can we get ISU to the Maui in 2016?  If so, can I go?  This is the non-conference tournament to go to.  Kansas and Kansas State are slated to go the next few years but could ISU make their first ever appearance after that?  I think they would be a good choice.

#3 The Battle for Atlantis might be the most competitive tournament.  They had a great field this year and have an even better field coming up next year.  They have done great things like dimming the lights around the court to make it a more appealing atmosphere and getting NBCSports to cover the tournament.  They did a great job by the way.  The benefit this tournament has over Maui is that there is no Chaminade.  Chaminade is a great story but they typically make for three non-competitive games.  The Battle for Atlantis had that this year but the matchups were engaging.

#4 Kansas is vulnerable.  Now, I firmly believe this will not be a team you want to play in March but there are some glaring weaknesses right now.  First, they just can't shoot.  They have just a load of talent but its not materializing....yet.  I don't think the Villanova loss is going to be a bad one by any means but the fact they played close games with UTEP and Wake Forrest raises some eyebrows.

#5 If Kansas is vulnerable what is Duke?  Granted their two losses were to Top 10 teams (at the time anyway) but this might be the worst team Coach K has had in awhile.  KenPom has them all the way down in the mid 20's, not a typical spot for Duke.  Its looking like the ACC is Syracuse's for the taking in their first year.

#6 I'm seeing a trend.  Blue bloods of basketball struggling.  Add North Carolina to the list.  After today's loss to UAB they now have two questionable losses in the last three weeks along with some close calls.  The Louisville win has essentially been wiped out already.  Who is going to step up and give the Linn-Mar alum Paige some help?

#7 Iowa is a good basketball team.  Everyone knew they would be, but they aren't great like some might have thought.  A great team doesn't blow a big 2nd half lead to a Villanova team playing a five guard lineup.  Iowa will make the tournament but their rebounding struggles and inconsistent shooting will keep them from contending for a B1G title and a top 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

#8 College basketball is going to reward teams that can shoot consistently even more now.  Teams are getting better looks as a result of the new rules but not all of the teams are making them.  After watching over 12 hours of basketball Friday, there are a lot of teams that just cannot shoot.  Those teams won't be able to get away with that any longer (see: Kansas State).

#9 I hope the people in charge of the Big 12/SEC challenge do a better job of scheduling next year.  I'll give them a pass this year because of existing schedules/tournaments, etc.  Also, what about using the Sprint Center in KC and Jerry World for a couple of doubleheaders?  Here is an example schedule for next year:

Kansas vs Kentucky @ Sprint
Iowa State vs Missouri @ Sprint
Baylor vs Florida @ Dallas
Texas A&M vs Oklahoma @ Dallas
Oklahoma State vs Tennessee
Kansas State vs Arkansas
Texas vs LSU
TCU vs Vanderbilt
Texas Tech vs South Carolina
West Virginia vs Ole Miss

#10 This could be a special year for ISU.  This is the earliest ISU has started a season ranked this high in awhile.  They have some favorable games coming up and a big opportunity to take an early lead in the Big 12 standings.  This group, in my opinion, would be scary to play when in the driver's seat of the conference.

Side Note: While watching OSU vs Memphis (for the 2nd time this season) I have noticed OSU sprints to help up teammates that have fallen on the ground.  I know its probably taught and enforced but for whatever reason it doesn't come off as phony and I kind of dig it.

1 comment:

  1. That's a lot of basketball to watch in one day... #1 I agree Baylor will be a wild card again. Wouldn't surprise me to see them give ISU and other top teams fits and then drop a couple to K State and West Virginia. Baylor might have more upside, but ISU is surely more consistent.

    #2 ISU and OSU should be the next two invited to the MAUI. If they're in we're going.

    #4 Until they prove otherwise, you have to pick KU to win the big 12.

    #9 Big 12 SEC challenge has a long ways to go before its on the level of the Big 10 ACC challenge. Maybe it would have made more sense to pair with the PAC12?