College Basketball Nation: Up In The Air
January, 25, 2010
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
It's Monday, the Cats are the new No. 1 team in the country, and we're all just living in their shadow. Don't try to fight it. Do, however, send me links and posts via Twitter. Now, on with the links:
- As the last unbeaten team in the nation, today Kentucky officially ascends to the No. 1 spot atop both the AP and Coaches Polls. This has inspired several questions, not least of which is, "Is Kentucky actually this good?" and "When will Kentucky lose, if ever?" The first question is being pondered by the Cats fans over at A Sea Of Blue, which reasonably concludes that Syracuse, Texas, Kansas and Duke are all teams Kentucky would rightfully be an underdog to, while there are 10-to-15 teams capable of upsetting the talented Cats. Probably all true. Given that Kentucky's Pomeroy, Sagarin and Basketball State rankings all have Kentucky as either the No. 6 or No. 9 team in the country is reason enough for this distinction. Meanwhile the second question -- When will Kentucky lose? -- gets a treatment at The Dagger, where Matt Norlander outlines Kentucky's next major challenges on the road to its possible SEC title and NCAA tournament run.
- Wondering where Jim Calhoun was during Saturday's UConn win? Where else: Calhoun was at home watching the game. Calhoun thought about taking a mental break in Hilton Head, S.C., but instead decided to stay in Connecticut and rest at his house. I wonder how much resting went on after UConn beat the the No. 1 team in the country at home. Probably not very much. Meanwhile, Calhoun's return is still up in the air, a phrase I will never again be able to use without thinking of George Clooney talking to the mustachioed cowboy from The Big Lebowski on an airplane.
- Adam Zagoria zooms in on Villanova frosh Dominic Cheek, who is emerging during conference play as the McDonald's All-American star most recruiters thought he'd be.
- Bruce Weber is refusing to let his Illini players talk to the media. "Until they start talking and taking leadership, they're not talking to anyone else," Weber said. "I don't know when it will end. I hope it ends soon. Somebody's got to take this team and go with it, but right now, it's not happening." Losing by five at Northwestern wouldn't seem worthy of this sort of response -- that's not the worst loss ever, you know -- but Weber has been unhappy with his team's leadership for weeks, and he doesn't appear to have changed his mind.
- Former Fab Fiver Jimmy King says he can relate to Manny Harris' issues at Michigan, where Harris was suspended before UM's loss to Purdue on Saturday. King's quote on the matter: "In those situations, player to coach, you got to understand that the coach is the man and ultimately you’re the player so you can’t go against the coach regardless if you feel you’re right," he said. Vague? Yes. Disconcerting? Slightly. Meanwhile, UM Hoops says that Harris has played well in the wake of disciplinary action before.
- This is good news: Samford coach Jimmy Tillette, who suffered a seizure and a collapse during his team's 70-67 win over North Carolina-Greensboro on Saturday, is in stable condition.
- Last week, Luke Winn caught up with Virginia's Sylven Landesburg, who, much like his team, has been quietly succeeding under the tutelage of first-year coach Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers are 3-1 in the ACC after a loss at Wake Forest on Saturday.
- Finally, be sure to check out today's Weekly Watch, which wraps up this weekend's action with awards for UConn and Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin.