Monday, December 12, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Weekend in College Basketball

The Good: I feel like this section should be entitled "The Great" or "The Unbelievable", because that's exactly what the Indiana-Kentucky game was. We predicted on Friday that IU would keep it close, but eventually UK would pull it out for a victory. Well IU did more than keep it close, and when they were down 2 (thanks to Doron Lamb only making 1 of 2 free throws) with 5 seconds to play, IU placed itself back in the national basketball picture.

A few things to note in this video:
  • Check out Tom Crean's reaction at the 23 second mark. Hey Tom, you just had your biggest win at IU. We know you are a super hyper passionate guy. I get trying to act like you've been there before, but a smile would have been nice.
  • Great court storming by the IU student section at Assembly Hall. Nice work on a very worthy storm.
  • Nice job by ESPN's Dan Shulman staying quiet and letting the moment breathe. I'm guessing they had to unplug Dick Vitale's mic to keep him quiet at this time.
  • Is there any camera shot cooler than the wide angle where you get to the see the entire stadium, arena, etc explode at the same time?
  • A few thoughts on the game - best way to beat Kentucky is to get Anthony Davis in foul trouble, make some outside shots, and hope Terrance Jones is allergic to the basketball for the majority of the game.
  • Its obvious Kentucky had a foul to give, and you know Calipari told his team to get one early. His young team didn't execute, and his first reaction to the made 3, was wondering why his team didn't foul (at about the 1:58 mark).
Other goodness from Saturday - Syracuse remains unbeaten by taking care of business with George Washington. Bottom line, GW isn't very good, and the Orange jumped on them right away and never looked back. That's what good teams are supposed to do. Thanks to a couple of loses elsewhere, Syracuse should be #1 in the new polls.

The Bad: We won't necessarily saw this is bad, but rather unfortunate. It was unfortunate that Jared Sullinger wasn't able to play at Kansas on Saturday. The Jayhawks ended up winning, but OSU was right there most of the game. If Sullinger is healthy, I think OSU wins. KU's Thomas Robinson continues to impress. He was 7-9 from the field, 7-8 from the line, 7 rebounds and 21 points.

The Ugly: To say that the end of the Xavier - Cincinnati was ugly would be a huge understatement. As bad as the scene was with punches being thrown, sucker punches being landed and bodies trying to be stomped on, the post game comments from Xavier's Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons were almost just as worse.

This video doesn't show Holloway's comments, but he basically said that his own team had a bunch of "gangstas" in the locker room (he clarified by saying, not thugs, but gangstas). He then went on to say that he had no regrets for anything that happened, and that's what you want to see in the XU-Cincy rivalry. Not sure if Holloway and Lyons have a nickname yet, but it should be Dumb and Dumber.

On Saturday, everyone gave credit to Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin for his post game comments. Here's some of the best:

“We represent an institution of higher learning. It’s way more important than basketball games. I made everybody take their jersey off and they will put it on again until they have a full understanding of where they go to school and what the university stands for and how luck they are to even be there let alone have a scholarship. Because there’s a whole lot of kids that can’t pay for college and don’t get to go to school....

......they are all sitting in there (the locker room) with no jersey on. Some of them I physically took them off........

.....We talk all the time, toughness is doing the right thing in life. That is what we talk about. If that is the case, you are being provoked, this or that, true toughness, you walk away from it. You take your ass whipping and you go home and you get better."

Cronin talked the talk on Saturday, but he along with the University and the Big East did not walk the walk on Sunday when handing out punishment. The fact that Yancy Gates, who connected on a sucker punch, threw numerous other punches and could barely be restrained, was suspended a total of 6 games is absolutely ludicrous. After the game Cronin talked about not knowing who would even be on the team anymore (you have to think he was referencing Gates), to now having one of his best players only miss the next 6 games, and only one of those being on the Big East conference schedule.

In my opinion, 10 games would have been acceptable, 15 games would have probably be right on, and being kicked off the team would not be out of the question. Six games? Six lousy out of conference games doesn't send a message. Cronin said he was embarrassed after the game. Well he should be embarrassed by what he thinks is an acceptable punishment.

Holloway will get one game, while Lyons gets two games for their role in the brawl, but mostly for their post game comments. Both of these suspensions are probably a bit light at well. It's obvious Holloway and Lyons didn't "get it" after the game. Let's hope they do, sooner rather than later.

+1: Since we don't want to end on such a sour note, let's give you a bonus video from the weekend. One of the coolest traditions in college basketball comes from Taylor University and their annual "Silent Night". Spend the next 3:27 watching this video. It's worth it.

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