I don't want to look anti-Auburn here, but I need their basketball team to show why college basketball these days is so unpredictable. Auburn is without question a bottom feeder in the SEC in 2010-11 and will not even sniff the NIT. They blew a 27 point 1st half lead to Georgia Southern, lost to UNCA/Campbell/Samford to start the year, and trailed 9-7 LSU 32-6 at halftime in a home game last weekend. Their 2 best wins are Florida State and....Arkansas Pine-Bluff?? Hard to find another quasi-quality win on the schedule.
Point is, Florida State knocked off previously unbeaten and defending champs Duke last night. How in the world does Duke lose to a team that Auburn beat by 5? Crazy result, but Duke always seems to struggle in Tallahassee.
As more people turn their focus to college basketball this week, here are 5 things to know about the season so far.
1) The Big East has 7 lock NCAA tournament teams right now (Marq, Cincy, UConn, Cuse, Pitt, Nova, and ND. And, they could easily get in Louisville, Georgetown, and West Virginia for a total of 10. Best conference....by far.
2) The Mountain West Conference is worth paying attention to. Jimmer Fredette is on fire this year, averaging more than 26 points per game, and BYU has beaten Arizona, USF, St Mary's, @Creighton, and @UNLV. San Diego is one of 4 remaining unbeaten teams and could be a #2 seed in the tournament.
3) Ohio State, while not too deep and without a true point guard, has all the ingredients of a championship team. They play remarkable defense while shooting over 50% from the floor and score over 80 points per game.
4) Current un-ranked teams that are top 25 teams in the country - Florida, Michigan State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State
5) Team getting too much hype? Kansas - no wins over current top 25 teams and near losses to un-ranked USC, UCLA, and Michigan.
Team not getting enough hype? Pitt - probably due to their consistent early exits in March, many are hesitant to get on the Pitt bandwagon. They are amazingly efficient on offense, deep, athletic, and share the ball (1st in the nation in assists). Just look at their wins: Texas, UConn, Marquette, @G'town, and Maryland.
And, here are 5 of the best games already been played that you probably missed.
1) UConn 82 Texas 81 - Texas went up 9 in the 1st half only to fall behind by 7 with 5 minutes to go. The Horns force OT, but lose on Kemba Walker's 15 footer with 4 seconds left.
2) UCF 57 Florida 54 - UCF led for most of this one and then went on to beat Miami to state their claim as the best team in Florida
3) UAB 100 UTEP 97 (3 OT's) - If there is 1 thing you need to know about UAB, it is don't turn off any of their games at halftime. Their 2nd half prowess this year has been remarkable. In the 2nd half this year, they have outscored Troy 47-28, UGA 32-23, UTEP 33-26, GW 41-22, VCU 47-32, USA 46-25, and so on. They are also 2-0 in OT. The 3 OT win over UTEP was an unreal start to the C-USA schedule.
4) Oakland 89 Tennessee 82 - Oakland (MI) knocked off UT shortly after UT beat Pitt and Nova (still the only loss for both to date). UT has been very inconsistent this year but has a ton of players and has hosted many illegal Bar-B-Q's.
5) Texas A&M 63 Washington 62 - David Loubeau blocked an Isiah Thomas lay-up as time expired to ensure the victory for the Aggies. A very well played game on both ends and possibly a match up of conference champions.
More NCAA hoops stuff to come in the next few weeks, including a bubble watch and must-see games.
As for the NBA, I have just one thought in relation to the Hawks. Will they stand pat with the group they have and lose in round 2 in 4-5 games or make a move to give them a chance? The Magic made drastic moves to try and keep pace with the Miami Super Friends, and the Hawks need to do the same.
Steve Nash can be had. Phoenix also has veterans that would fit in well with the Hawks (Grant Hill/Channing Frye). Lets get Crawford/Teague/Marvin/2 1sts and make a run at Nash and a veteran. It's the only way this group stands a chance in the playoffs the next few seasons. You have Nash for a year and a half and let him run the show.
If you can't get Nash, try for Billups or Calderon. Something needs to be done. Crawford would be a big loss, but he isn't re-signing. You think the Magic, Celtics, or Lebron and company would fear this team in Round 2?
ESPN Trade Machine says a Nash/Hill/Frye for Crawford/Teague/Williams/2 1sts increases the Hawks win total by 14.
What would you do? Anyone out there worth making a run? Joe is un-trade able, but would moving Josh make the team better?
Thoughts are welcome...