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November 27, 2002 Columns No Comments

Musings and Myopia

by Michael Ermitage

Sometimes you just sit back in your recliner after watching another riveting episode of “Fish On,” and you just are overwhelmed by the amount of differing tidbits floating through your head, college basketball and otherwise. Ok, maybe this is just me, but every month, I hope the good readers of Hoopville will let me share.

• It took just one game for Arizona to establish itself as the best team in college basketball. Its one game 107-68 demolition of the Chris Marcus-less Western Kentucky Hilltoppers proved that no hype is too big for the Wildcats.

• Insomniac show of the month: I never thought I’d turn my readers to the Oxygen channel but Talk Sex with Sue Johanson is just too funny. The show is on Sunday nights on the channel for women, and follows in the footsteps of a million other call-in sex question shows, except this one features a grandmotherly woman dishing out the advice.

• I see good things for the Alabama Crimson Tide. After topping Oklahoma (in a game in which the score was not at all indicative of the Tide’s dominance), Gottfried’s crew maintained concentration and blew out a mediocre Alabama State club. Upper echelon teams follow tough nationally televised wins with blowouts, I like the Tide.

• I don’t really like to compare conferences, but I think the ACC may surprise some people. Duke doesn’t seem to have fallen off too much, and neither has Maryland. Add to that a solid Georgia Tech team (with freshman Jarret Jack and Chris Bosh, who combined for 36 points, 13 assists and 17 rebounds in game one), a surprising North Carolina team and a dangerous NC State club and you have a powerful conference. Of course, the Wolfpack will be without the services of Ilian Evtimov, who was lost for the season minutes into an exhibition contest.

• The Bush twins are 21!! Now they can really party.

• I think all voters in college polls should print their picks. Everyone should be accountable. Now, keep in mind that I have not seen even a quarter of these teams play. Furthermore, I believe there is a political element to these polls. Since I’m a Midwesterner, I feel it is my duty to promote good teams in the region, just as I expect our West Coast writers to hype the Utahs, Pepperdines and Fresno States of the world. I think polls this early in the season are ludicrous, but here is how I voted this week in the Hoopville Top 25:

1. Arizona
2. Kansas
3. Alabama
4. Florida
5. Texas
6. Pittsburgh
7. Tulsa
8. Duke
9. UConn
10. Oregon
11. Michigan State
12. Ohio State
13. Missouri
14. Wisconsin
15. UCLA
16. Marquette
17. N.C. State
18. Xavier
19. Louisville
20. Georgia
21. Minnesota
22. Maryland
23. Gonzaga
24. Notre Dame
25. Texas Tech

Being a college basketball columnist brings with it a certain prestige, a certain bravado, if you will. Yes, I’ve been introduced on the radio as an “expert,” and I’ve used the Hoopville name to wrangle an interview I might not have otherwise gotten as a freelancer. But the public is tough, scathing and fickle. There is a fine line between becoming a favorite like Bill Simmons (ESPN Page 2, if you don’t know who is you should be ashamed) or a bum like Bill Walton.

I’m off to Indianapolis to catch Purdue vs. Louisville. I’m anxious to see if Louisville is able to effectively run Rick Pitino’s high-paced offense. I’ll report on that, Pitino’s wardrobe, how watching a game in a gigantic dome is like, and other meaningful and non-sensical notes.


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