Two o’clock thoughts on today’s action:
Despite Andy Katz' dulcet tones, Connecticut-Cincinnati was unwatchable. And it now seems completely fair to declare the Huskies done for the year. If their response to the return of Jim Calhoun to the sideline is a 48-point effort at home (UConn's worst scoring effort since 2002), this team’s issues run far deeper than which guy is standing on the sideline.
That said, a Big East road victory should restore a glimmer of home to the Bearcats. If they can follow that up with a win at South Florida Tuesday, then hold serve at home against Marquette and DePaul, that assures Cincy of at least a .500 league mark. With neutral-court wins over Vanderbilt and Maryland, Mick Cronin’s team would at least be in the argument.
Talor Battle might be the closest thing in the nation to a one-man gang. The Penn State guard had 30 of the Nittany Lions’ 54 points against Michigan State, five of their 23 rebounds and five of their 12 assists. Nothing new there: Battle is the only player on a big-six conference team to lead his team in all those categories and steals. He should consider suing for lack of support.
Duke has been absolutely on point in ripping Maryland through the first half, but the most impressive thing I’ve heard about Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday is former Duke assistant Pete Gaudet's presence for Mike Krzyzewski’s 1,000th game as a head coach. Gaudet was the guy who took over during K’s Dark Period in the mid-90s, when back surgery and other issues forced him from the sideline. When K made sure Duke’s sorry record during that time wound up on Gaudet’s permanent record instead of his, it set the stage for an acrimonious parting between the two. Good to see they have apparently mended fences.
Gary Williams looks displeased on the Maryland sideline. How uncharacteristic.
Oklahoma is one of the biggest disappointments this year. They haven't shown the maturity to handle expectations without the Griffin brothers to provide both star power and leadership. Another signal that all is not well in Norman came when the Sooners suspended freshman big man Tiny Gallon and did not take him on their trip to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State.
Also not a great sign for Michigan State that the Spartans left guard Korie Lucious home in East Lansing for failing to meet academic requirements. Time for everyone to be locked in on taking care of their business -- on the court and off -- until your season is over.