A pretty crazy weekend in the Big 12. Five of six road teams won. The single road team that lost was Missouri, who lead by one at halftime while their best player served a one-half suspension (or at least that’s what I was told). Kleiza comes in for the second half, Mizzou loses by 28. Strange.
What to make of two other games? Tech wins at OU. Does this mean Tech is much better than we thought, or OU not nearly as good? Probably a little of both. Iowa State not only wins at Texas, but they do so by crushing the Horns in OT. A fade by Texas was expected with all their roster issues, but ISU now has two quality, upset wins in a week. Perhaps they’re finally rounding into the squad that some thought could compete for fourth place before the season began. The Clones still have Tech and KU on the schedule, so they can have a say about who wins the conference.
One final conference note, and it’s one of my regular slams of Bobby Knight. After beating OU, Knight gave Kelvin Sampson the briefest of handshakes, and without saying a word to Sampson or any other OU coaches or players, stomps to the locker room. Here’s a guy who has railed against perceived injustices to the players of the game over his career, yet he can’t spend 90 seconds congratulating and complimenting the OU players on their effort. Once again Knight proved he’s only coaching for the purely personal reasons of beating Dean Smith’s wins record and getting back at IU rather than for what college basketball is supposed to be about: the effort of the players. Dick.
12) Duke. Hey, it’s UNC-Duke Week, errrrrr, Rivalry Week on ESPN! In the network’s defense, although R Week is clearly going to be the week these two teams play every year, they do have a decent schedule of legit rivalries this year.
11) Utah. I know nothing about them, but seems like everyone else lost last week.
10) Washington. If a tree falls and no one is around, does it make any noise? Can we please get a UW game on national TV?
9) Syracuse. Shouldn’t they beat Notre Dame by more than three at home?
8) Oklahoma State. Crushing the bottom dwellers of the conference. Bedlam #2 is tonight. February 27 looms even larger than before after last week’s action.
7) Louisville. Won two close games over strong opponents, beating Cincy and UAB last week.
6) Wake Forest. Solid wins over Duke and VaTech.
5) Kentucky. Ho-hum. Not likely to get challenged again until the Round of 32.
4) Boston College. At Notre Dame Tuesday is a sexy pick for loss #1 for the Eagles. I think they hold on at least two more games and either lose to Syracuse or at Villanova next week.
3) Kansas. Nice comeback against MU and doing what good teams do on the road Saturday. A certain baffling streak is on the line Wednesday.
2) North Carolina. First battle with Duke is Wednesday. UNC is more talented, but we’ll see if Coach K can continue his mastery of Mr. Williams.
1) Illinois. Impressive win over Michigan State. After starting hot against IU Sunday, got sloppy but still got a double digit win. Should be clear sailing from here, with only a visit from Wisconsin looking risky before the Big 10 tournament.