COLLEGE HOOPS AS WIDE OPEN AS IT’S EVER BEEN!

We are still a month away from the two most said words in sports, other then the two words “Super Bowl” and those two words are “MARCH MADNESS”! Some seasons we have had two or three elite teams that you would’ve been hard pressed to expect one of those 3 to cut down the nets at that years Final 4.

This College Hoops season though has no clear cut team and although teams like Duke and Tennessee are led by two top Lottery Picks each, this years eventual Champ can emerge from as deep as possibly 18 teams. After the Opening night loss by Kentucky to Duke by what seemed like 100 points, the Wildcats have rebounded to now being a solid threat to win it all. Duke dusted off Virginia a second time with it’s 1-2 punch of Barrett and Zion the best we’ve maybe seen in many, many years.

I have to say I really expect this to be the best Sweet 16 we’ve even seen in March Madness and when you have a team like Villanova (10-0 to start Big East play) was not even in the Committee’s first Top 16 list. That means even the Number 1 seeds will be cringing at their matchup this year in just the third round as the #4 team in any Bracket will surely not be a slouch.

How crazy are things this season in CBB?  Kansas is not the Kansas we’ve been accustomed to as they have been beset by injuries and lack depth and have played just horrific on the Road this year so far. This might finally be the year we crown a different Big 12 Champion.

My beloved Pac-12 Conference may be the one League sending only one team to the Big Dance. With Nevada very unlikely to not win it’s Conference Tourney, the Dance will be short of entries from the West Coast.

This was the year Nebraska was going to break down the door but they are now the biggest disappointment to me in all of CBB and I wonder now the fate of Tim Miles down in Huskerland.

I have to tip my hat to Tenny Vols HC Rick Barnes. He year after year underachieved at Texas and now this year his team is only an OT loss from still being unbeaten 1/3 the way into February. I personally don’t get a real read on top teams winning by 40 points, but by the fewer games they play other elite competition. This upcoming Saturday February 16 we as fans will get to see a premier matchup as the Vols (hottest team in nation) travel to play the Kentucky Wildcats (maybe the second hottest right now). I am a big fan of Nevada’s senior laden club this year but my worry is they really never get to play in any competitive games like Tennessee and Kentucky does. I expect Kentucky to win Round 1 in Lexington on Saturday and then expect Tenny to open March games with a payback win in Knoxville.

Sunday Feb 10th will have as solid a close of a matchup as it gets between two of the most underrated Head Coaches in CBB, when Cinci heads into the Lions Den to face the Houston Cougars, the winners of all 31 Home games the past 2 years. Mick Cronin vs. Kelvin Sampson is as old school as it gets and these two cats use every trick in the book going for a victory. Houston will surely enter this game with a bad taste in it’s mouth from it’s crushing 56-55 loss in the American Athletic Conference Final last year to Cinci. Houston plays it’s home games at the Fertitta Center and although they hold only 8,100 (fans) seats to root their club on, they now have one of the more dominant Home Court advantages in all of College Hoops.

Check back in again soon for more College Hoops chat.

Gary Greene