Not sure how it happened, but various teams, coaches, conferences and players have sent me their New Year’s resolutions for 2012. I guess that means I should feel free to publish them, right?
Here’s what I’ve received so far:
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski
Resolution: Buy a copy of and learn lyrics to every song on “Watch the Throne,” the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration project.
Thoughts: I didn’t know Coach K liked Hip-Hop. But with 910 wins (all-time record), the stamina to coach for five-plus additional years and incoming recruiting classes that could help him win his fifth ring, the resolution makes sense. He’ll be on top for some time. Perhaps the album’s content will help him stay there.
Resolution: Find and play NBA Jam for Sega Genesis.
Thoughts: I know. I thought it was a weird resolution, too. But the Aggies are averaging a deplorable 63.8 points per game, No. 265 in the country. Why NBA Jam for Sega Genesis? Because you can score like 190 points in 30 minutes on that game. Maybe the high-potent offense that made that game a gem in the 1990s will rub off on the Aggies, who need a serious offensive makeover to compete in the Big 12 and earn a trip to the NCAA tourney.
Ohio State’s Thad Matta
Resolution: Keep a rabbit’s foot and a four-leaf clover on the bench at all times, and petition city officials to remove every ladder and black cat in Columbus, Ohio.
Thoughts: Now this makes sense. Matta’s stars always seem to encounter some bad luck just when things begin to click for the program. Greg Oden missed a chunk of his freshman season with a wrist injury. Evan Turner fractured his back in a meaningless nonconference game. And now, national player of the year candidate Jared Sullinger is dealing with foot and back problems. The Buckeyes are solid without him, but they’re Final Four-good with the big man in the lineup. They can’t afford to lose him for multiple games during Big Ten play.
Resolution: Obtain NCAA permission to sell “Haterade” during games
Thoughts: Syracuse has dismissed challenges on and off the floor. The Cuse is so deep and talented that it has to be the favorite to win the Big East and it’s built to make a run at the national title. Plus, players have successfully overcome the distractions of the Bernie Fine investigation. With all the North Carolina and Kentucky preseason buzz, Syracuse was rarely mentioned as a national title contender. And once the Bernie Fine drama commenced, some anticipated the program’s downfall. But this team just keeps winning, disregarding critics and controversy. Seems like it won’t have a hard time finding consumers for their “Haterade” concoction.
Resolution: Find the old Jordan Taylor
Thoughts: Wisconsin is Wisconsin. Good luck scoring against the Badgers. And, yes, opposing teams are still baffled by Wisconsin’s endless supply of 6-foot-10 forwards with hard-to-pronounce last names and 3-point range. Bo Ryan, however, can’t rely on a system. He needs Taylor, a preseason All-American, to make a return to star status. Other than a slight uptick in assists, the senior is averaging more turnovers and fewer points than last season. He’s also shooting 34 percent from the 3-point line a year after connecting on 43 percent of his attempts. Perhaps summer ankle surgery was more of a setback than he’s willing to admit. And he’s had to make a major adjustment without Jon Leuer. But Wisconsin’s defense will only take it so far. See the Badgers’ performances in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments as proof. At some point, they’ll need more scoring. And Taylor, in the past, provided that. To his credit, Taylor looked like his former self during Tuesday’s 64-40 victory over Nebraska.
Resolution: Convert Ashley Judd from full-time fan to full-time coach
Thoughts: After Terrence Jones struggled in the team’s loss to Indiana, he received a few heartwarming tweets from actress Ashley Judd. To regain his mojo, Jones needs to stay motivated. I think it’s tough for players to go from being The Man to just another man on a talented roster. Happened to Patrick Patterson when John Wall’s class arrived. And it’s happening to Jones right now. Doron Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have jumped into the cockpit for Calipari’s most talented Kentucky team. But Jones is still a major factor and not only due to his worth on the floor. His experience from last season will certainly help the Wildcats in tight SEC games and throughout the postseason. Who better to convey that message to Jones every night than super fan Judd?
Resolution: Meet with Dr. Phil every week until we fix this thing
Thoughts: Just a few months ago, the Pac-12 was hot. The league had expanded and announced a big TV deal. Leading up to the start of the college basketball season, words such as “resurgence” and “comeback” were tossed around in regard to the conference’s hardwood product. But the league’s performance thus far has been a major disappointment. It’s like the teams are playing a game of “Anything you can do, I can do worse” or something. It starts with UCLA’s decline, but problems have permeated the entire league. That’s why it’s time to call Dr. Phil. Ben Howland just needs a hug right now. Arizona State lost to Fresno State in Tempe, Ariz., last week. Arizona didn’t realize it was in a high-stakes matchup against Gonzaga recently until the Bulldogs scored the first 14 points of that game. Washington lost to South Dakota State. At home. Grab some tissue. I think it’s time for that entire conference to go into a room with Dr. Phil and just let it all out before conference play heats up.
Other resolutions: Cody Zeller vows to return Jared Sullinger’s copy of “Preparing for your first year in the NBA” after he finishes the last three chapters … Ashton Gibbs wants to go through with the whole “clone” idea so he can finally get some rest … The Missouri Valley Conference will begin its push to eliminate the term “mid-major” from the Internet … Vanderbilt says it’s going to continue its search for a time machine that can take it back to October … Craig Robinson will press President/brother-in-law Obama to pass resolution that guarantees the Beavers a slice of the inaugural Pac-12 title.