I’m starting this thread because I’m assuming there are other NCAA basketball fans here on the Dope.
We’re about a month into the season, and already a lot has happened.
North Carolina started the season ranked #1 and has since dropped out of the rankings. I believe I read that they were the fastest preseason #1 to drop out of the Top 25. Houston took over the #1 spot but lost to Alabama last week. They have dropped to #5, and Purdue is the new top-ranked team. Purdue is one of three unbeatens in the top 3. Virginia is #2, while UConn is #3. UConn wasn’t in the preseason Top 25.
As mentioned elsewhere, Texas coach Chris Beard was arrested last night on a charge of domestic violence. He has been suspended without pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.
I’m a Kansas Jayhawk fan. Last Saturday KU played Missouri in a revival of the Border War, a rivalry that goes back a lot of years, and two fanbases that don’t like each other very much. Kansas prevailed 95-67, handing Mizzou their first loss.
This certainly isn’t one of those “well I can tell you right now who’s going to be in the Final Four” kind of years. Houston and Alabama in the Top 5?
He’s almost certainly gone. The victim (apparently his fiancée) told police, “He choked me, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around and going nuts.” I assume UT is just making sure they have their legal ducks in a row that they can fire him for a morals clause violation and not have yet another coach on their payroll for years after they let him go.
Terps having a decent start under new HC Kevin Willard (who I almost just called Kevin Willis) but I am tempering my expectations. Lots of other locals love to shit on former HC Mark Turgeon and I get it, he was a mediocre coach who produced mediocre results, but the fan base has long had severe delusions about this school and team (and I say this as a lifelong fan).
Gonzaga is doing about as well as I thought. Their preseason ranking was pretty crazy to anybody who follows the team. You can run along fine with transfers and one-and-dones for a few years, but it’s never sustainable. At some point you need a good group of freshman that will be around for a bit and mature together.
Well, shows what I know. It increasingly looks like UT is looking for a way to sweep the whole thing under the rug. Beard’s fiancée put out a statement – at odds with her initial statement to the police – in which she takes responsibility for the incident. The statement reads like something a POW would be forced to recite for the cameras.
The biggest surprise in college basketball this season just might be Kansas State. Under new coach Jerome Tang (former Baylor assistant), the Wildcats are 14-1 (3-0, Big 12) and are ranked #7 in the CBS college basketball poll. They have won in Austin (scoring 116 points) and in Waco (97-95 in OT), two places in which road wins are historically tough to achieve. One of the leaders for K-State is Keyontae Johnson, a former Florida player who collapsed on the court during a game in 2020 and hadn’t played again until this season.
I’m not an ardent fan like I am of football, but I do keep my finger on the pulse of college B-ball, so to speak. The only thing I watch is the NCAA national championship tournament.
College players are very young and still developing, so college teams can and do improve dramatically over the course of just a single season. So, the shuffling in the rankings are to be expected.
Because of the 64 team tournament, the importance of the regular season is greatly diminished. If you get in, you have a shot, though a high seed is advantageous to a certain extent. Still, if you have a low seed, you might be better off playing a power early on when they might be looking past you. If you can win that game, you take their spot in the bracket and have the benefit of their tournament schedule the rest of the way through your Regional. Anything can happen. I honestly believe that, after a champion is crowned, they could replay the tournament with a good chance of ending up with a different champion when it was over.
I think you are absolutely correct. You could probably go back to almost every tournament and look at the games played by the champion, and you will find at least one close game that could have gone either way. The last champion that I recall that dominated was Kentucky in 2012, where the closest games they played were in the Final Four, both of which were 8-point victories.
The backstory is that Brandon Miller, star freshman for #2-ranked Alabama, had supplied the gun which a former teammate used to kill another man back in January. This is according to the testimony of a detective investigating the murder. The Alabama coach decided to let Miller play in last night’s game against South Carolina, despite calls for a suspension. (Miller has not been charged with a crime.) Miller responded with a career-high 41 points, including the game-tying basket near the end of regulation and the game-winning basket at the end of overtime.
At one point in the game, Miller made a basket which stopped a South Carolina run and quieted the crowd. The ESPN announcer said “Brandon Miller with the silencer.”
It is nice that I can despise Alabama for more than just its football program now. Brandon Miller, their star freshman (and likely top 5 draft pick) delivered a loaded gun to fellow player, who later gave it to a man who promptly murdered a 23 year old woman.
Alabama’s response? No discipline and a standing ovation at the next home game.
Jim Boeheim out at Syracuse after 47 years. Still somewhat unclear whether this was voluntary or not. He was probably ready to retire, and said about as much recently. He’s a 78-year-old man. He’s earned a rest. Leaves with 1,015 wins, a National Title (2003), and 5 Final Fours. Put 51 players into the NBA.