Archive for November, 2009

New AP Vote
November 23, 2009

Made a big change this week at the top, dropping Kentucky from number one all the way to 8th, even though the Wildcats remain undefeated.  The reasoning for me, after seeing highlights of their two point victory over Miami, Ohio and reading how John Calipari was so disgusted with his team’s defense, I was fairly certain I have reached too far for a very young team.  Then I watched Kentucky against Rider, and while they won convincingly, their perimeter defense remains a disaster.

Kentucky is ridiculously talented, and by the end may reach the pinnacle, but for now they have seven in their sights.

With that,  congrats to Michigan State whom looks awesome and gets my top vote.

Also, here’s to not putting stock into exhibition games, clearly Syracuse is one of the best 9 teams in the country.

Here’s the rest of mt Top 25:

1)      Michigan State

2)      Kansas

3)      Texas

4)      Villanova

5)      Purdue

6)      Duke

7)      West Virginia

8)      Kentucky

9)      Syracuse

10)  North Carolina

11)  Butler

12)  Tennessee

13)  Florida

14)  Connecticut

15)  Washington

16)  Notre Dame

17)  Michigan

18)  Minnesota

19)  Maryland

20)  Ohio State

21)  Oklahoma State

22)  Florida State

23)  Clemson

24)  Georgetown

25)  Miami, FL

Here’s how it stacks up to the this week’s poll:  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/ncaa/men/polls/

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Rising High
November 19, 2009

Two years ago we were fortunate to see three schools from Maryland reach the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (had to be the first time in state history that three went, but none from College Park). 

But this season may prove even better. 

First the Terps.  Maryland discovered the right mix of chemistry at the end of last season to rally past a stretch of horrible play and reach the field of 32.  This year, they are better.  All key players return with greater experience, and they add a pair of post players ready for Division one action.  Gary Williams kept saying he had help on the way, and it wasn’t just a defensive reflex to criticism.  He was right.  Jordan Williams and James Padgett make the Terps competitors at least for a 1st round bye in the ACC Tourney, and a top four seed in the NCAA’s. 

In Baltimore, Morgan State jumps out to a 2-0 start, winning a pair of games on the road against America East competition (a conference with a better RPI than the MEAC.)  Todd Bozeman’s insanely fast re-invention of the Morgan program remains one of the best coaching efforts in the country.  He took over a four win program four years ago, and this year goes for a 3rd straight 20 win season. 

Pat Kennedy has struggled at Towson the last couple of years, but his Tigers made a nice run at the CAA Tourney last spring and seem to have grown from that.  Towson opened up the season with a solid victory over Miami, OH.  It’s a victory that looked nice last Friday, but even better by Monday as Miami took 4th ranked Kentucky to wire before losing on a last second shot at Rupp Arena.  Part of my jaw dropping though comes from me having Kentucky number one with my AP ballot.  That will change come Sunday, but I digress.  Kennedy has finally found some depth and shared scoring after long relying on a star player to carry the load.

Loyola is 2-1 including a win at UMBC Monday Night and a great half of basketball in Morgantown.  Jimmy Patsos had his Greyhounds tied at the half against 5th ranked West Virginia before the Mountaineers ran away after the break.  Patsos, like Bozeman has re-invented a program and changed expectations.  Siena is the class of the MAAC, but Loyola could challenge.

Mt. St. Mary’s has the best team in the NEC and looks for a 2nd trip the big dance in three years. 

UMBC has opened with a pair of losses at home, but it’s not a lack of talent doing in the Retrievers.  They have so many new faces including their first new starting point guard in four years.  Chris de la Rosa replaces Jay Greene , but offers similar skills.  Randy Monroe also has a new seven footer with skills.  By mid-January, once the chemistry develops, this team will be har to beat.

Coppin State enjoys a new home in a matter of weeks, opening up the new Coppin Center.  They lost their best player from the last four years in Tywain McKee, but with a new facility it will be easier to replace that kind of talent.

And Navy, well at least it’s a great football season. 

Take some time over the holidays to check out some of the local teams.  That way you’ll know the rosters when these guys get to dance in March.

New Rankings
November 16, 2009

Here’s a look at my vote for the A.P. Men’s Top 25 Basketball Poll this week.  Nice to make some decisions based on games actually played, although the match ups lacked drama.  That changes this week with many great games, and it is safe to say, this list will shuffle greatly in seven days….

1. Kentucky
2. Michigan State
3. Kansas
4. North Carolina
5. Texas
6. Villanova
7. West Virginia
8. Purdue
9. Duke
10. Ohio State
11. Butler
12. Tennessee
13. Florida
14. Washington (assuming victory over Portland State, if Huskies lose they’re out,Oklahoma is #25)
15. Connecticut
16. Oklahoma State
17. Notre Dame
18. Minnesota
19. Michigan
20. Maryland
21. Missouri
22. Georgia Tech
23. Florida State
24. Georgetown
25. California

QB is BQ once again
November 11, 2009

The Ravens forced Eric Mangini to make a change at quarterback last time around as he benched Brady Quinn mid game in favor of Derek Anderson.  Six games later Mangini switches once more, this time back to Quinn.

This news confirmed this morning during a conference call between Mangini and local Baltimore media.  Confirmed with the most dispassionate, uninspiring of tones from the first year head coach in Cleveland.

Expecting Mangini to feel giddy wouldn’t make sense.  A horrible season in which incredulous quarterback play has led the way to a 1-7  record wouldn’t have me skipping to work either.  But Mangini didn’t seem listless just talking about his QB situation, but also the passion of his fans, Jamal Lewis’ career, Joe Flacco’s development.  He offers no passion period.

Same way when he was an assistant in Baltimore.  Same as head coach in New York.  How he has convinced anyone he should be the face of any franchise boggles the mind.

So while the Ravens surely endure a struggle, it’s not from a lack of passion.  And on the Monday Night stage this week that passion will shine, as we watch another listless performance from Cleveland.  A pleasant reminder for perspective.  The Ravens have their problems now, but at least they aren’t run by a droid masquerading as head coach.