What a Super Bowl! Don’t know about you, but ol’ Saint Dougie couldn’t have done without that second week of blabbering blowhards on tv and their hype machine to get me ready for that barnburner of a ball game. Yep, the National Head Trauma League gave us an ol’ granddaddy of a contest with that one. Richard Sherman vs. Peyton Manning! What a story line! Wow-wee-woo! Goosebumps! Goosebumps I’m telling you! Now here’s what I want you Fantasy Football lovers and you cats that watch those scintillating Titans/Browns slobberknockers on Thursday nights. I want you to go on the Indiana Purdue Ft. Wayne website and order yourself up a Mastodon t-shirt or maybe head over to Stephen F. Austin’s site for a Lumberjack hoody. And then I want you to repeat after me: “It’s 45 days to the Dance, cat daddy!” “It’s 45 days until the Dance, cat daddy.”
Shrink. Shrank. Shrunk. Oh you Arizona Wildcats! Just when we were getting used to a 3 team race for last man standing, you done went and got whacked at Cal on Saturday night when most of the college b-ball world was still trying to process the epic Duke vs. Syracuse banger in the Dome that just went down. On top of that, you said goodbye for the season to starting 4 and main interior scoring threat, Brandon Ashley. Not good out in the desert. Not good at all.
Wichita State – 23-0 (Yawn. 2 more double digit W’s vs. Loyola Chi-town and Evansville -both at home. Evansville did lead by 15 in the middle of the first half for what that’s worth. And now here comes the one little game that most Missouri Valley Conference fans predicted would be the Shockers undoing on Wednesday night at the home of Larry Joe Bird in Terre Haute, IN, Indiana State. The Sycamores are 17-5 and fully capable of making this a one team list next week. Get your rest, Wu Shock.
Syracuse – 21-0 (Well, you gotta hand it to the Orange. A road win at Wake Forest and then they take complete control of the ACC with an instant classic W over the Dookies. CJ Fair and Tyler Ennis had every answer. And that length and athleticism is impressive. Ask Jabari Parker about it. Home games against Notre Dame and Clemson this week should have the Orange at 23-0 before heading to the Pete at Pitt on 2/12.)
GAMES OF THE WEEK
2/3/14: #16 Iowa State at #19 Oklahoma State – 9 PM – ESPN (The Cowboys and the pre-season fave for Player of the Year, Marcus Smart (9 for 32 in OK St’s last 2 games!), have lost 3 of 4 and are reeling since losing interior force Michael Cobbins for the season. Cyclone City has lost 3 of 5. Something’s gotta give.)
2/4/14: Mississippi at #18 Kentucky – 7 PM – ESPN U (Hey you little freshmen Wildcats? You wanna see how a senior parties? Wait! Marshall Henderson is clean and sober and letting fly like always – no partying here! (19 3’s launched in a single game this week. IN. ONE. GAME.) Surely Rupp Arena will be happy to see him and the Rebs, who could use a Dance defying at large bid resume building win. Second place at stake in the SEC.
2/5/14 – #4 Wichita State at Indiana State – 8:05 pm – ESPN 3 – (Well, this is as big as it gets in the Valley this year. The Shockers have the biggest bulls eye in a Mid-Major conference since the Murray State Racers of ’11-’12. Terre Haute oughta be on fire. Would a win get the Sycs an at- large dance sniff?)
2/5/14 – #5 San Diego State at Boise State –9:15 pm – CBS Sports Network – (The Aztecs and coach Steve Fisher of Fab 5 fame tackle a tough Bronco outfit on the road as the Broncos try to build their own dance resume. Long and springy Aztecs gaining serious national love.)
2/6/14 – #22 UConn at #7 Cincinnati – 7 pm – ESPN (The Bearcats have won 14 straight with as little fanfare as you’ll see. The Huskies and Shabazz Napier visit Ohio.)
2/8/14 – #10 Michigan at #17 Iowa – 2 pm – ESPN (Tough loss for Wolverines at Indiana this weekend. Young Roy Marble, Jr. and the Hawks try to defend the Carver.)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
#1) Doug McDermott – Sr. – Creighton – 25 ppg and 7.1 rbg. 39 and a game winner against St. John’s this week. This exercise is about academic. Dougie Fresh has got this on lock.
#2) CJ Fair – Sr. – Jr. – Syracuse – 17.2 ppg and. 28 in the Dome against Duke. The silky smooth lefty may be the only one with a shot at Dougie’s crown should the ‘Cuse keep winning and the Jays slide a bit with Dougie playing badly in the slide.
#3) Cleanthony Early – Sr. – Wichita State – 16.2 ppg, 6.5 boards. His highest spot to date for Early. Defend that 0 and play as smooth as he has and he’s here for awhile.
#4) Jabari Parker – Fr. – Duke – 18 and 8 boards. Rejected at the rim in the Dome multiple times. Not to be deterred. 15 and 9 before fouling out on a tough charge call in the waning minutes.
#5) Xavier Thames – Sr. – San Diego State – 18 ppg. Averaged 27.5 and 5 in two Aztecs wins. Dean Browski himself left with a shrug after watching him play in person two weeks back.
#1) Harvard Crimson – 17-3, 4-0 in the Ivy. The Crimson rise to the top. Home W’s over Penn and Princeton over the weekend. Tommy Amaker’s boys are not going to be a welcome partner for anyone in the Dance. Currently tracking somewhere around a 10 seed in the dance. Can they run the Ivy table? 2/22/14 at Princeton will be a banger.
#2) Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens – 16-7, 8-0 in the Colonial Athletic. 10 and counting for the Hens after a harrowing 62-61 escape against 6-16 UNC Wilmington on Saturday. Forward Carl Baptiste is starting to give the Hens an inside presence to go along with their guards now. Saint Dougie and friends will be in the house for the Colonial Athletic Conference title game on 3/10/14. Hens looking more and more like they’ll surely be there.
#3) Green Bay Phoenix – 18-4, 8-1 in the Horizon. 12 game wins streak was snapped in the confounding 15 point loss to Valparaiso doesn’t help at large chances for the Phoenix. 7-1 Alec Brown did not play in the loss however.
#4) Toledo Rockets – 17-2, 5-1 in the MAC (West). 5 straight wins after a two game losing streak. Balance? The entire Rockets starting 5 averages at least 10 ppg. They average 83.2 ppg, good for 12th in the nation. Guard Rian Pearson stirs the drink. A W at Boston College and 5 road wins might not be enough of a case for an at large. Keep winning Rockets.
#5) Indiana Purdue at Ft Wayne Mastodons – 18-6, 6-1 in the Summit. They take the spot of conference foe, North Dakota State as the Bison fell by 4 at 11-11 Denver on Saturday. The Mastodons have won 5 of 6.
Others to watch: Stony Brook – 16-7, 8-1 in the America East, Stephen F. Austin LUMBERJACKS – 18-2, 7-0 in the Southland, North Dakota State – 16-6, 5-2 in the Summit, American Eagles – 14-7, 10-0 in the Patriot League, Georgia State – 15-6, 8-0 in the Sun Belt
UNSUNG PLAYER RISING
Billy Baron – Sr., Canisius Golden Griffins, 23.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.7 assists. The nation’s 5th leading scorer has helped the Golden Griffins (Love!) to 7 wins in their last 8 games with high scoring prowess. The Griffins now sit alone atop the strangely intriguing MAAC Conference race. Shooting 47% from the field and 90% from the line, the 6-2 Baron has 5 30 point games and hasn’t scored lower than 9 in a game all season.