Posts Tagged ‘jay bilas’

Monday Medley

What we read while sexually harassing Herman Cain back…

  • It’s about time someone explored why humans’ biggest potential foe is the octopus.
  • ESPN’s go-to SEC profiler Wright Thompson looks at one of the weekend’s big winners: Les Miles.

Monday Medley

What we read while Seth Greenberg wondered what he did…

It’s College Basketball Season II!

Sure, right now you’re thinking football season is pretty good. You’re all like, “It’s anybody’s game in the NFL!” and “Man, that Oregon offense is awesome except for last game!” and “There’s like a 2 percent chance the BCS doesn’t screw this up!” But let’s be real here: The NFL has settled into that middle-of-the-season complacency where we make up arguments over who the best team is in the NFC and pretend like the Jaguars still have legitimate playoff hopes. College football’s best story is shrouded in scandal, and there’s a 98 percent chance the BCS does screw this up, so why get your hopes up anyway?

And that’s where college basketball comes in. I’m not going to sit here and pretend college basketball is pure—not one season after John Calipari and Bob Huggins coached with a berth to the Final Four on the line and not when two storied programs have to deal with significant eligibility issues regarding their freshmen.

No, college basketball isn’t perfect. But it’s as close as we’ve got in the modern sports world. It has a regular season that still matters, if only for a few more years until they bump the Tournament to 96. It has games like every night, and good ones at that. And it has the Tournament, which as you should be able to tell by now, I like just a little bit.

So as the 2010-2011 college basketball season gets underway, here are the eight things I’m looking forward to the most:

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The Double Bonus: Thin Up Top?

With losses this week by the top two teams in the country, as well as Purdue’s loss of its best player for the whole year and Villanova getting its fourth loss in seven games, a popular refrain has settled in among the college basketball punditry: There are no elite teams this year! The front line is weak! No team is unbeatable!

Well, obvs. College basketball is not like college football, where dominant teams often do seem unbeatable. College basketball teams don’t go undefeated—not anymore—and therefore, they are all beatable. No. 1 seeds are going to lose at some point during the season, but that doesn’t mean the sky is falling.

It’s popular to compare this season’s probable No. 1 seeds with UNC from last year, the preseason favorite that coasted to a National Championship. But the idea that last year’s Tar Heels were unbeatable or invulnerable is revisionist history, stemming largely from the fact that UNC did not face a significant challenge in the NCAA Tournament.

At this point last season, though, UNC was the #4 team in the country, behind Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, and UConn. They started out 0-2 in ACC play, including a loss at home to an unimpressive Boston College team, and at this point in the season had three total losses—one more than Kansas, Kentucky, and Syracuse have this year. It’s true that the ACC was a stronger conference last year, and that the Tar Heels were generally considered the favorites throughout the year, but they were by no means an unstoppable behemoth, surviving close calls at Florida State and at Miami. Continue reading