I should get into coaching-Pic via SF Chronicle
EVD has decided to hit the majestic slopes of Illinois this weekend, so I am left to hold down the fort all by myself. If you see a 6’7″ dude sipping on some peppermint schnapps and falling on his ass, it’s probably EVD.
Since today is all about college hoops, let’s go on campus to get our daily dose of estrogen. Meet Layla Kiffin, the wife of Tennessee head football coach Lane Kiffin. The adorable mother of two is the definition of a trophy wife. Nice going Lane.
This should be a great weekend of hoops. There are several great match-ups in college basketball this weekend, including Villanova-Syracuse, Gonzaga-Memphis, Clemson-Florida State, and Notre Dame-UCLA.
On Sunday Kobe and the Lakers travel to Cleveland to take on LeBron and the Cavs, Boston hosts the Spurs and the Pistons welcome the Suns in the battle of dysfunctional teams.
I’ll be posting reaction to today’s games, so stay tuned.
But before I give you a preview of today’s college hoops action, here are some scores and nuggets and tidbits from Friday night…
South Florida 57, No. 8 Marquette 56-The Bulls got an unlikely Big East victory Friday night as Dominique Jones scored on a drive with 15.9 seconds remaining. This game was not a thing of beauty, and Marquette couldn’t have played much worse. The Golden Eagles are now 20-3 overall and 9-1 in the Big East. Watch the game highlights here.
-When the Blazers drafted Greg Oden in 2007, I thought they had made a big mistake. Oden dominated the paint during his one season in college, but I wasn’t a believer. He was the only true big man in the below-average Big Ten, lacked a go-to offensive move, and didn’t seem to be overly quick or athletic. Oden did appear to have good size and shot-blocking ability, just like this guy named Sam Bowie.
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was putting up historic numbers while carrying a relatively average Texas team in the terrific Big 12. He had handle, range, and a good all-around game despite being relatively raw physically. His skills clearly spelled success at the next level, but everyone loved Oden, who was billed as the NBA’s next great big man.
Kevin Durant and Greg Oden met for the first time Friday in Oklahoma City, and Durant showed that he is close to superstardom while Sam Bowie 2.0 was a non-factor as usual. Durant dropped in 31 points to lead the Thunder to victory while Oden finished with 4 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes.
Right now, Joe Przybilla is a better option for the Blazers inside.
I am certainly not writing off Oden’s career, he is still young and will probably make an impact someday. He could even be an All-Star. But Durant is special.
-Mark Jackson spent much of the ESPN broadcast of Suns-Warriors Friday defending Amar’e Stoudemire. Without his partner Jeff Van Gundy on hand to talk some sense, Jackson said that Stoudemire is a great talent who should finish his career where it started. Not one mention of Amar’e’s pathetic defensive effort or his complaints about not getting the ball. Don’t look for Jackson to secure a GM job anytime soon, unless it’s in the NBDL.
Stoudemire recorded a double-double and Grant Hill scored 27 points as the Suns got a much-needed win.
-The Pacers got 33 points from Danny Granger and beat the Magic 107-102 despite the struggles of the mustached Mike Dunleavy.
College Hoops Preview
No. 20 Syracuse at No. 17 Villanova-This should be one of the best games in the Big East this season. The game features fantastic guards, led by Nova’s Scottie Reynolds and Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn. Arinze Onuaku has been limited lately by a bad knee, but the Orange still figure to have an edge inside with Paul Harris and Rick Jackson. Reynolds is coming off a 31-point performance and should have another big game to lead Villanova to victory.
No. 14 Memphis at No. 18 Gonzaga-This should be an interesting game, but it won’t be pretty. Both of these teams dominate in conference play against vastly inferior opponents and will be hungry for a non-conference win to improve possible NCAA tournament seeding. Memphis has really ugly outside shooting but also has Tyreke Evans. The Zags are a much more balanced team than Memphis and should win at home. I look forward to watching Gonzaga senior guard Jeremy Pargo battle Evans.
Notre Dame at No. 15 UCLA-This game could be the Irish’s death knell unless Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney have big games. The Bruins really d-up under Ben Howland, and Josh Shipp should shut down the perimeter. Harangody has an advantage inside, but he needs to stay in the post and not shoot weird-looking fade-aways. UCLA wins in a close game.
Miami at No. 4 Duke-Jack McClinton leads Miami into Cameron against an angry Duke team. I doubt that Duke has discovered mental toughness in three days since that horrible Clemson loss, so this should be a good game. Miami has toughness, but Duke is at home. Too close to call.
Oklahoma State at No. 21 Kansas-I think that the Jayhawks are very underrated in the Big 12, but I smell and upset here. I really like what Travis Ford has done at OSU, and the Cowboys have some talented perimeter players led by James Anderson. Sherron Collins and Byron Eaton offer an interesting point guard match-up of short, stocky dudes. I give Collins the edge, partially because Eaton is so fat, but mainly because he is better.
Florida State at No. 10 Clemson-FSU is flying under the radar but has a good shot to make the NCAA tournament, especially if a win in Death Valley can be added to the resume. The Tigers could still be suffering a hangover from Wednesday’s big win, so I expect a close game. Too close to call.
Michigan at No. 1 UConn-The Wolverines are vastly improved from a season ago, but they don’t have a chance in this one. The Huskies are too big and strong and should win easily.
No. 19 Minnesota at Ohio State-Tubby’s boys got worked by Michigan State Wednesday and face another tough road test in Columbus. The Buckeyes are playing well and the Gophers are very offensively challenged. Ohio State wins and moves into the top-25 next week.