Compared to the rest of the weekends during 2016 this one didn’t feature as much craziness. Still, there’s plenty of things to talk about including some unwelcome results from the Irish and the Flyers.
- Let’s start with the Flyers. Woof. They’ve now lost 3 out of 4 and they didn’t deserve to win the one game they got. Yesterday was the low point, losing at home to a Rhode Island team that was down to just 7 scholarship players. You can understand the loss at St. Joe’s – that’s a good team. To some extent you can even understand the tight loss to St. Bonnaventure at home, although it’s a game they really should have won. Barely beating a horrendous St. Louis team and then losing at home to an undermanned Rhode Island team? Nope. That just can’t happen. A quick look at the numbers yesterday shows that Dayton didn’t play anything resembling effective defense and their offense has looked broken for almost a month. There’s something very wrong with this team right now and entering March with serious questions is not a recipe for tournament success.
- As for the Irish, when I asked Nate what I should know about the game he just replied, “It was a total disaster.” I have nothing to add to that. Bad loss.
- And now for something completely different: positivity! Virginia proved itself to be a serious contender with its impressive win over North Carolina. I don’t think anyone wants to play these guys in March – they look an awful lot like a Final Four team from where I’m sitting.
- Enough of that. Back to negativity. Way to puke away a golden opportunity for a #1 seed Xavier! I’ll never get tired of watching them lose.
- We don’t talk about the NBA much around here, but I have to address what seems to be a growing anti-Stephen Curry sentiment out there. I’ve now seen completely indefensible positions taken by former players Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson, and Phil Jackson. How anyone can have a sincere objection to the basketball joy factory that is Stephen Curry is beyond me. If you like basketball you should love Stephen Curry. This is not debatable.
- Maryland and Arizona showed some cracks in their respective armor, losing at Utah and at Purdue, respectively. Neither loss is surprising, but if you’ve thought both of those teams looked like they might be a tad overrated (raises hand) Saturday’s results didn’t change your mind. Utah has been playing very well lately, too, which is something to keep an eye on heading toward the Conference of Champions Tournament.
- Perhaps the most significant result of the weekend was Vanderbilt taking down Kentucky. Kentucky is such a young team that these up-and-down results shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but this game is more about Vandy. They might have secured their tournament berth with this win after straddling the fence for the better part of a month. Even with only one regular season week left I’m still not sure any of the teams in the SEC are any good.
- Pittsburgh taking down Duke is probably the second most significant result of the weekend in terms of tournament invitation implications. There was something a little odd about Duke’s performance in this game, too. It almost looked like they were disinterested. This Duke team is tough to figure out.
- Texas. Man can Shaka coach. It’ll be fascinating to see how the Big12 does in the tournament because it sure looks like there are some damn good teams in that conference.
- Iowa has now lost 3 in a row and 4 of its last 5 after dropping a tight game at Ohio State. There’s something very wrong with these guys right now. In early February it really looked like Dayton, Iowa, and Providence would be sweet sixteen candidates at least. Now…not so much.
- Iowa’s loss also handed the Hoosiers at least a share of the B1G title. This team has come a long way from a dismal weekend in Maui.