Welcome to the latest edition of Talking Hoops with Ted Sarandis. In this episode, we touch on several big picture subjects in between the current game play, so there is much to get to.
We begin with Conference USA, where Ted got to see UAB pick up a win as they and Middle Tennessee lead the way. UAB may have a new coach in Rob Ehsan, but the Blazers appear to not be missing a beat. They’re in a conference that had some very good days before conference realignment hit them as hard as any conference, leaving them now with a group that includes some bad teams at the bottom.
From there were talk about matters like television contracts and the conferences hit hardest by conference realignment, as both are pertinent to Conference USA. We quickly transition over to a good note from the Missouri Valley, a conference not hit so hard by conference realignment, and a good note with Missouri State’s Alize Johnson.
A former Missouri Valley member, Creighton, suffered a devastating blow when point guard Maurice Watson Jr. suffered a torn ACL earlier in the week. Losing any player is difficult, but when it’s your point guard, who leads the nation in assists and has been the catalyst for your team’s turnaround, it’s that much harder. We talk about what this does for their ceiling and NCAA Tournament implications.
Next up is the story of Allonzo Trier, another player who could affect a team’s season but in a different way. As I wrote extensively on Thursday’s Morning Dish, we now know why Trier has not played this season while being with Arizona all along, including traveling with the team. That the Wildcats have continued to win in a business-as-usual fashion through this and several injuries is a testament to the job Sean Miller and his staff have done.
We finally turn to Notre Dame and their fast start, though they lost to Florida State earlier in the week. Speaking of Florida State, the Seminoles are finishing a very tough stretch of ranked teams – Saturday’s game against Louisville will be their sixth straight against ranked teams, which has not happened since 1992-93, when Maryland played against six straight. Whereas the Terrapins went 0-6 in that stretch, the Seminoles are 4-1 through the first five. (A big thank you to Florida State media relations director Chuck Walsh for a quick response on our inquiry about the historical note.) This led us into discussion of the weekend, which features several noteworthy games on Saturday.
With that, we hope you enjoy the podcast and the upcoming games.