It was a big weekend in college hoops. Some teams (Indiana) proved they are for real, some teams (Gonzaga) proved they are frauds, and others are just getting by. So let’s play a game of The Good, the Bad, and the Questionable. Here are the major takeaways from last weekend.
Baylor (W 89-62 vs. Texas Tech)
Baylor is kind of back. Well, disregard their close loss in Austin, but they’re kind of back. Texas Tech hung around for about twenty minutes in Waco but didn’t have the horses to hang around. This is a deep and talented Bears team led by the awesome, electric guard Keyonte George. It’s not the 2021 title team by any means, but they’re finding their form and are at the top of the list of teams you won’t want to see in March. And in a year where no one has really pulled away yet (no, Purdue has not pulled away yet), they are prime to upset a 1 or 2 seed in the Sweet 16.
Virginia (L 74-68 @ Virginia Tech)
Losing a close game on the road at your arch rival sucks, but it isn’t always horrible. Still, Virginia had more than a handful of chances to win this game. In classic Virginia fashion, the offense stalled late and couldn’t keep up with the Hokies’ scoring. Not to mention the amount of easy shots Virginia missed, which includes multiple missed dunks in the first half and easy layups rimming out in the second half. Credit to Virginia Tech for a great home win, but the Cavs end up in the Bad section because of how they lost the game. Can we trust this Virginia team to score in the NCAA Tournament and make a deep run? No one knows just yet.
Iowa State (W 68-53 vs. Kansas)
Will the real Iowa State please stand up? I don’t know what to make of this team. It wasn’t like they shot the lights out; they actually shot pretty poorly, but the Cyclones defense is top tier and thrive off of forcing turnovers. They played the perfect first half and made Kansas rush into everything on offense. But I just can’t figure out if this team is actually good or not. They just blew a huge lead to Texas Tech — the worst team in the conference! They got blown out by Missouri! But they’ve also beaten teams like TCU, Texas, Kansas State, and now Kansas. There is just something about this team that makes me think I can’t trust them in March. Maybe it’s because they don’t have that one big NBA prospect on their team. Part of me also thinks that the Cyclones could beat every top ten team in the country, make a run to the Final Four, and I would still be like, “ehhhh, I don’t know…”
Indiana (W 79-74 vs. Purdue)
Hoosier Hysteria! Mike Woodson’s Hoosiers got their biggest home win since the 2012 buzzer beater vs. Kentucky. And even though things got a little scary in the last few minutes, they got the job done. Purdue’s Zach Edey proved why he is worthy of National Player of the Year honors, but Trayce Jackson-Davis was brilliant too and has Indiana fans dreaming of a sneaky run in the tournament. Ladies and gentlemen, Indiana might be back.
UConn (W 68-62 @ Georgetown)
My goodness. Did you see this ending? Georgetown was one defensive rebound away from having a chance to tie the game. Georgetown?! Georgetown hasn’t won a conference game since 1986. That’s a real stat. But here they are, taking UConn to the wire. Hey, remember when UConn was number one in the country? That feels like a very long time ago and it just speaks to what a roller coaster this Huskies season has been. Now they’re 7-6 in the Big East. Maybe you’re asking Why not put Georgetown in the Good section for keeping the game close? Because Georgetown is 6-18. That is not good.
Tennessee (W 46-43 vs. Auburn)
I don’t know what to make of either of these teams coming off of this game. If you watched this whole game then you probably aren’t reading this because you’re still in therapy. It was such a gross, ugly game where the two teams combined to go 5-48 from three point range! We know that Auburn tends to be pretty hit or miss depending on if they make their shots, but Tennessee has been shaky lately. The Vols are very talented but some recent poor shooting performances have made people start to question if we can trust them in March. It’s so easy to see them losing in the second round to Saint Mary’s or something like that, and this game won’t help that. Throw out the tape from this game and burn it. Also, for the record, Wendell Green absolutely got fouled at the end of the game on his tying three point attempt, and the refs didn’t call it. That was a pretty awful call.
Charleston (W 84-67 @ Delaware)
Florida Atlantic (W 67-52 @ Charlotte)
It was a good day with two of the best mid-majors in the country who are making their cases for the NCAA Tournament. Charleston is the perfect blueprint for what you look for in March. They are efficient, they can shoot threes, and they play eight or nine guys. They had a tricky spot at Delaware where a lot of people thought they could stumble, and after a close first half they dominated the final twenty minutes for a big win.
FAU also had a shaky first half before really pulling away in the second half thanks to some really nice shooting splits (55% FG, 45% 3pt). After conquering fellow conference challenger UAB last week, it looks like a pretty smooth road ahead for the Owls. With only two losses on the season, they are making a good enough case to possibly be an at-large team should they not win their conference tournament.
DOWN SO BAD
Oh brother, this guy stinks! The Syracuse coach has gone from “Legendary Coach” status to “grumpy old man” status in a very short period of time. It was another ugly press conference for Boeheim, who already won’t stop bitching about referees, fouls, and injuries, all while yelling at reporters because they asked why his best player wasn’t playing. This time he attacked Wake Forest and Pitt, saying that they bought their players, and then he went on a rant about how NIL is ruining college sports — shades of last summer’s blockbuster Saban vs. Jimbo beef. Time to hang it up, Jim. You aren’t a good coach, and your team sucks.
DEFINITELY A FRAUD
Gonzaga (L 78-70 @ Saint Mary’s)
Any realistic college basketball fan had doubts about Gonzaga coming into this season. This team just wasn’t as good as the year’s prior and they looked vulnerable. Leave it to legendary Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett to expose Fraudzaga to the whole country. Even the oddsmakers are in on it; they made the Gaels a small favorite in this game. It’s a real shame that Drew Timme’s ninth and final year of college had to end like this.