Afternoon linkage: Kentucky streaks to 2,000, Kansas holds top spot
December, 21, 2009
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
Soon, there will be a better name for this than "Afternoon Linkage." Or, I should say, if the new name isn't exactly better, it will at least sound like there was some iota of thought involved before the fingers started hitting the keys. That much I can promise. In the meantime, off we go. (As always, if you have links or sites you want to submit for consideration, hit me up on Twitter.)
- Kansas holds the fort. For now. The Coaches' Poll should probably be ignored as much as possible. It sounds counterintuitive, but coaches are not national basketball prognosticators; their knowledge is intensely focused on their own team and on that team's next few opponents. As it should be. But hey, the polls are fun to glance at on Monday morning, and today's no different, as Kansas managed to hold on to its No. 1 overall ranking yet again. This is despite the emergence of Texas, which is also unbeaten and had a victory over North Carolina on Saturday that was far more impressive than KU's limpy win over a struggling Michigan team.
- What I'm trying to say is that Michigan can't score to save its life. Speaking of Michigan, Dylan at UM Hoops is still trying to figure out what's wrong with the Wolverines, who were ranked (OK, so perhaps they were a bit overrated) in the top 25 to begin the season. To be more precise, Dylan has figured it out: Michigan can't shoot. Like, at all. And the Wolverines aren't deep or talented enough to overcome it.
- Meanwhile, back in Lexington ... Kentucky fans have a lot going on. There's Monday night's game against Drexel, which is a big deal because if (when) Kentucky wins, it will become the first program in college basketball history to achieve 2,000 wins. That's an arbitrary number, sure, but it does convey some level of superiority, and you can bet Wildcat fans will be sure to bask in it. Then, after that little piece of business is handled, UK boosters can get back to being angry (perhaps rightfully) at Bob Knight and various other media members over last week's comments about John Calipari's supposed lack of integrity.
- Things keep getting worse for Iowa. I promise I'm not trying to spend my first day on the new blog bashing Iowa -- I'm from Iowa, after all; my friends will disown me if I keep this up -- but an already talent-bereft team just suspended guard Anthony Tucker for public intoxication in Iowa City. Seriously, someone throw Todd Lickliter a bone. This is just getting silly.
- Up a Creek without a paddle (but with a pretty effective outside jumper). Hey, Maurice Creek pun! Fun for the whole family. (Sorry. Won't happen again.) The point of that bad pun? To clue you in on Indiana frosh Maurice Creek, who is quietly averaging 18 points a game in his first season as a Hoosier and who seems to be getting better with every game.
- Does Willie Warren miss Blake Griffin? That's not fair. We all miss Blake Griffin. Remember when he hit his head on the backboard? That was awesome. But Warren might be missing Griffin more than most, as Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis writes today: "A closer look, however, reveals a more troubling picture. The latest snapshot came on Saturday, when Warren took six shots, scored four points and committed five turnovers as Oklahoma, which has fallen from a No. 17 preseason ranking out of the AP poll, barely squeaked by Northern Colorado at home, 80-79. After the game, Sooners coach Jeff Capel referred to Warren's desultory performance by saying, 'I'm tired of trying to figure him out.'" Eesh.
- Congrats, Gus Johnson. You were the best college basketball announcer of the decade, according to Searching For Billy Edelin. I have absolutely no problem with this.
- Long live the King. King Shark. Or something. It wouldn't be an inaugural batch of links if I didn't include Ohio State's Mark Titus in the mix, whose personal blog still manages to be sublimely funny even now, after the novelty has long since worn off. Go forth and read it. It's worth it for the occasionally horrifying glance into Titus' brain alone.