This season, the top spot in college basketball is only a little more secure than any position of authority in Westeros. The year’s best college basketball betting tip might be “best against number one.”
Either that or, “save your money.”
Indiana will lose the top spot – for the second time this season – after a defensive breakdown gave Illinois a last-second layup – and a win – on Friday. With seconds remaining in the game, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo coughed up the ball but recovered in time to slap D.J. Richardson’s shot out of bounds. On the ensuing inbounds play, Illinois’ Tyler Griffey received a beautiful pass from Brandon Paul and hit an uncontested game-winning layup.
That might have put the Michigan Wolverines in the top spot, but they were unable to get past Wisconsin and lost in overtime on Sunday.
So who is the best team in college basketball right now? The Miami Hurricanes would seem to have as valid a claim for the number one spot in the polls as anyone… though it’s awfully hard to get past the fact that they lost to Florida Gulf Coast earlier this season. That’s probably the main reason that Indiana retains the top spot in this week’s poll.
The Hoosiers have the top spot and were number one on 26 of 65 ballots. The Duke Blue Devils – who were absolutely pasted by the Hurricanes by a score of 90-63 on January 23 – are second, with 20 first-place votes. Miami (17 first-place votes) is third and Michigan fourth.
The last two first-place votes went to Gonzaga; the Zags are fifth in this week’s poll.
Roughly eight zillion* messages from college basketball coaches get posted on Twitter every day. This one, from Indiana’s Tom Crean, is the first I’ve seen that brags about his players’ academic performance.
@TomCrean I just had a chance to see our grades. We had a TREMENDOUS SEMESTER. I am really happy and proud of these guys.
Nice work, coach.
*Eight zillion is a rough estimate.
Tom Crean’s Hoosier Pride originally appeared on About.com Basketball on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 at 15:54:26.
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Bob Knight took some shots at Kentucky coach John Calipari while giving a speech at a fundraiser on Thursday, saying:
We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching. You see we’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.
Calipari has taken two schools — Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2007 — to the Final Four. Both visits were stricken from the official record books due to significant NCAA violations involving star players. UMass center Marcus Camby admitted to accepting gifts from a potential NBA agent. At Memphis, it is alleged that star guard Derrick Rose had someone else take his SAT, and that Rose received other improper benefits. The Memphis case is still pending an appeal.
In both cases, Calipari left for a new job before the investigations were in full swing; he left UMass for the New Jersey Nets and Memphis for his current gig at UK. He was never personally implicated in either scandal — but has had trouble shaking the “first rat off a sinking ship” label, given his well-timed departures.
Coach Knight might not be an ideal candidate for “moral compass of college basketball.” During his tenures at Army, Texas Tech and , in particular, Indiana, Knight’s hot temper and chair-throwing antics generated almost as many controversies as wins. And that’s no small feat; he has the most wins in men’s Division I college basketball history.
On the other hand, he was always known as a stickler for the rules; none of his teams were ever cited for violations by the NCAA, and he graduated a very high percentage of his players throughout his career.
Getting back to Knight’s statement… that he doesn’t understand why Calipari is coaching… well, let’s go back to sentence one of paragraph three. Cal has taken two schools to the Final Four. In today’s NCAA, what else matters?
Bob Knight Knocks John Calipari originally appeared on About.com Basketball on Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 15:48:16.
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Indiana University hired Kelvin Sampson despite the fact that he was facing NCAA sanctions for making illegal recruiting phone calls while at Oklahoma.
Hired him even though he was banned from making any phone calls to recruits.
So what happens, now that Sampson’s been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, er… on the receiver… for the second time in two years?
An assistant is taking the fall, obviously.
Rob Senderoff, a 34-year-old assistant on Sampson’s staff, will resign from his position as a result of the latest — or is it the ongoing? — scandal. Sampson is not expected to face any additional punishment from the NCAA — though the university took away a scheduled $500,000 raise and one scholarship when reports of the illegal calls surfaced last month.
You could register your displeasure at the latest development — and the fact that Sampson is apparently going to get away with this — at FireCoachSampson.com, though you’ll note a distinct lack of activity on that site.
Did we mention Indiana is expected to have a top-ten team this year?
Think that has anything to do with the apparent lack out outrage?
Wondering what would have happened if a coach that wasn’t running one of the NCAA’s flagship programs pulled a stunt like this?
Interesting new twist to the Eric Gordon/Kelvin Sampson recruiting controversy. In today’s “Hoops on Hoops” blog, Dick Weiss indicates that Gordon backed out of his verbal to Illinois over the summer. If that’s true, I take back all… well, most… of the mean things I said about Kelvin Sampson.
The mean things I said about Jim Calhoun stand.