Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Grumpy Rants

2 things that irk me involving Big Ten teams:

1) How bad Michigan is.

Yeah, I know I've been saying that Michigan is not a '07 NCAA tourney team forever, but seriously, they shouldn't be this bad. How bad is Tommy Amaker as a coach? Last night it was on full display against a North Carolina State team that probably won't make the NIT.

The Wolverines had a big lead early, and couldn't hold on it (or anything really, coughing up the ball *only* 13 times--seemed like twice that, giving up countless offensive rebounds by merely not holding on to the ball) and launching a series of bad shots on offensive that would've made Daniel Horton think "they learned so well... why they didn't need me at all!"

But Tommy, you've got a bench full of long, lean athletes, and their point guard goes down with an injury 6 minutes in, why on earth aren't you pressing the entire game? Even a marginal amount of pressure came up with a ten-second count. And yeah, their five ended up playing an average of 37 minutes each, that doesn't mean you have to try and match them. Play the game to your team's strengths, not in reaction to what the other coach is doing!

But yeah, this is yet another Michigan basketball team with lots of raw ability, and not much Basketball IQ.

On to the second irritation:

2) Ohio State's #1 ranking (in basketball!)

Yeah, I might be a little more doubting of freshmen than I should be. Each year, I think less of the freshmen class than I should, and OSU could well be a Final Four team... with Greg Oden.
Ohio State's schedule has been fine, but seriously folks, #1? The ESPMSM narrative is "Think how good Ohio State is going to be once they get Oden!" when that's pretty far off base. OSU is #1 based on the fact that everyone is counting on Oden showing up in the not-too-distant future. And I'm sure he'll be very good, but the fact that OSU is #1 right now is ridiculous.

Ohio State has destroyed their opponents, but the toughest game has probably been when they hosted Loyola (Chi) and won 87-75. Doesn't strike me as a statement game, let alone anything proving they're worthy of a #1 ranking. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Pittsburgh or UCLA's chances to get the Final Four, it seems to me they've demonstrated more this season to earn
that top ranking than the Buckeyes (Pitt demolished UMass and Florida State, UCLA beat kentucky and Georgia Tech).

The narrative here should be "why is the ranking system broken?" Let me ask this, if these three teams each win 90% of their remaining, and yet news comes out that Oden will end up missing the entire year, who do you think will be ranked #1?


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