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Tuesday Morning Point Guard 2

November 25, 2003 Columns No Comments

Tuesday Morning Point Guard – November 25th

by Dean Austin

Good Morning and welcome to another installment of the Tuesday Morning Point Guard although due to circumstances a little beyond our control this will be more like Tuesday Afternoon Point Guard. Go with the flow; there are more important things to get worked up about.

Ten College Basketball Thoughts

1. Must have been a strange sensation for Nevada Coach Trent Johnson as his Wolf Pack lost to Connecticut 93-79. He probably was relieved. Having struggled mightily against Yale before finally winning 70-60 in the opener you knew the Huskies were just itching to destroy a team. Given the circumstances a 14 point defeat was not a bad result. The pounding came a couple of nights later as Sacred Heart lost 111-64 in a game that wasn’t that close.

1a. Connecticut’s Big East brethren must have groaned as they watched the Yale game struggle. As if Coach Jim Calhoun needed any more help in reinforcing you have to play every night. The Huskies probably won a couple more games this season given the closeness of the Yale game.

2. Similar thoughts were, I’m in no doubt, also going through the ACC as Duke struggled early and often with Detroit. Down 10-0 and 22-9, the Blue Devils rallied for ultimately a comfortable victory.

3. The perils of writing a column. When I wrote that I expected Cal to be a surprise this season I didn’t exactly have in mind that the surprise would be them losing their home opener to Cal Poly! That being said, Cal will probably be well off the radar and could really catch some teams by surprise.

4. After a truly horrible off season it was good to see Baylor back on the court and the Coach Drew era get off to a winning start.

5. It may only be three games into the season but it looks like Utah’s Oz import Andrew Bogut might live up to the hype. 18 boards against Minnesota is mightily impressive.

6. I’m certainly not the first, and won’t be the last, to point out the insane non conference ride that Tom Izzo has scheduled for his Michigan State Spartans. At Kansas, Syracuse and UCLA and at home against Duke, Kentucky and Oklahoma. As noted previously my head says Michigan State wins it all but also my heart. I want to see this kind of scheduling rewarded.

7. Speaking of schedules, leaving out the three teams Syracuse, Florida and Missouri who have yet to play, and the first game of the season for the TMPG Top 25 against Designated Patsy U saw an average victory of 13.88 points 72.68-58.8. This includes the two teams, Cal and Gonzaga who lost.

7a. This doesn’t include such games as the Texas mauling of Sam Houston State 122-71 which missed out due to the technicality of it being the second Patsy U that Texas had scheduled at the start of the season. What’s the benefit of scheduling this game for anyone involved?

8. Really fascinating double header on ESPN tonight. Obviously the marquee match up is Kansas and Michigan State, I’ll be shocked if Kansas loses, but Dayton vs. San Diego State is the one I want to watch. San Diego State got a nice recruit in Power Forward Marcus Slaughter and it will be interesting to see how he matches up with Dayton’s senior Keith Waleskowski. The Aztecs ambushed Ohio State in their last game. I expect Waleskowski and the Flyers to carry the day but…

9. College Basketball needs an Opening Day. Yes I know there is the Pre Season NIT and the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and more but what the sport needs is one day when everyone plays. One day on which you can point to the calendar and say, this is when the College Basketball season starts for everyone. As it stands defending National Champion Syracuse hasn’t played yet and Marquette is 4-0. This needs to change.

10. So back to the nicknames. There are a lot of cool names out there. The Vandals at Idaho, Scarlet Knights at Rutgers, Horned Frogs at TCU, Purple Aces at Evansville and a personal favorite of mine, the Thundering Herd at Marshall. There are nicknames that make sense, The Minutemen at Massachusetts, the Quakers at Penn, the well named Hatters of Stetson and even the UConn Huskies. But in the name of Dick Vitale can someone explain to me the University of Missouri at Kansas City and their nickname; the Kangaroos. Bison I understand, Eagles, Bobcats, Cougars, Bears, even Seahawks, Great Danes and Terriers. But Kangaroos? With no self irony UMKC announces on their homepage that “UMKC is a great university in one of America’s “smartest” cities.” Did some wandering Aussie end up in our heartland and say, “hey this looks just like the Tanami Desert, I’m going to start a University”? Chancellor Martha W. Gilliland, enquiring minds want to know…

Five Non-College Basketball Sports thoughts

1. Interesting to see the comments about the Green Bay vs. San Francisco game this week. Generally it came across that Green Bay played well to beat a 49er team on the edge of the playoff race. Not so fast. If Green Bay gets to the playoffs I look for an early exit. Twice Brett Favre turned the ball over deep in his own territory and the Niners converted to the tune of exactly 0 points. A good team, which the Niners are not, would have blown out the Packers at that point.

2. Sad and shocked to see Alonzo Mourning announce his retirement. Obviously we wish him well as he fights his medical issues. Doesn’t seem all that long ago when Georgetown was turning out a number of top flight centers. I know a lot of people weren’t that thrilled with John Thompson’s swagger but I miss Georgetown being a major power. The mighty have indeed fallen.

3. The Presidents Cup was declared a draw due to fading light with Tiger Woods and Ernie Els tied in a playoff after a three extra holes. Did you know it was going on and did anybody give the proverbial rodent’s rump about this? Didn’t think so…

4. You know I’ve never subscribed much to this whole East Coast “Bias” crap that gets floated out on a regular basis. But I may have to re evaluate my position. I can’t believe how many folks are falling over themselves to get on the LSU bandwagon at the expense of USC. The argument seems to go something like this. LSU plays in a tough league and went into Ole Miss and beat Eli Manning so they should play Oklahoma for the National Championship. I’m usually a fan of LSU football, but this time the East Coast media is incorrect. If anyone has a chance of beating Oklahoma, it’s the defense of USC.

5. In a season of weird results and stats in the NFL I think the most shocking is Seattle hanging 41 on Baltimore even if the Ravens won. This from a defense that hasn’t allowed 40+ in 5 years, Jacksonville were the last back in 1998.

And a few Non-Sporting Thoughts

1. Had the chance to watch Spy Game again. An underappreciated movie from Director Tony Scott, I suspect because it starred Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. The Redford of his generation, Pitt remains more famous for his looks rather than his acting skills. And that’s a darn shame because Pitt and Redford are quite brilliant in this superbly paced film.

2. Speaking of soundtracks, which really are this generation’s classical music, take the opportunity to push around Dances with Wolves. Kevin Costner, alas, seems to have become a bit of a punch line but the John Barry score if anything gets better with age. Barry was the composer of the early Bond flicks and you can hear that reflected in a number of the tracks.

3. Unfortunate juxtaposition of the week. CNN online running the headline “Jury recommends death for Sniper Mastermind” on the front page next to an ad for a digital camera with the tag line, “just point and shoot.”

The Top 25

What is the TMPG Top 25? College Basketball rewards the last team standing, not necessarily the best team of the year. Therefore Syracuse as the defending National Champions are ranked #1 in the nation and will continue to do so until they lose. Whoever defeats them becomes the new #1. How far Syracuse will fall in the rankings depends on which team beats them and their ranking.

Not many changes in the total Top 25 this week. Some teams have not played yet and most of the others scheduled the Little Sisters of the Poor for their opening game. Cal Poly and St. Joseph’s join the Top 25, Cal and Gonzaga move down and Utah and Wake Forest exit the Top 25.

November 24th, 2003
1. Syracuse
2. Kansas
3. Texas
4. Marquette
5. Oklahoma
6. Arizona
7. Michigan State
8. Kentucky
9. Auburn
10. Duke
11. Connecticut
12. Pittsburgh
13. Butler
14. Notre Dame
15. Maryland
16. Wisconsin
17. Oklahoma State
18. Arizona State
19. Purdue
20. Missouri
21. Cal Poly
22. St. Josephs
23. Florida
24. California
25. Gonzaga

That’s it for this Tuesday. Catch you next time.


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