Thursday, January 13, 2011

NBA and College hoops thoughts...

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 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...


William Satterwhite said...

If the Hawks were to go for another veteran PG, I'd prefer Billups over Nash, if New Jersey is still looking for a 4th team to add to the Carmelo trade the Hawks could probably wiggle their way into that. Could the Hawks afford to add Billups and Al Harrington if they got rid of Crawford, Bibby and Williams?

Jeff said...

I think Billups would be a good fit, but I would be a bit hesitant to give up as much as his agent said he wants his contract bought out by the end of summer if traded.

I also like the Harrington idea, he could give the team another scorer and rebounder.

The other PG option I failed to mention is Devin Harris. If the Melo deal goes through with NJ and Harris is moved to DEN, he would probably be available with DEN wanting to hand the team over to Lawson...

Rob said...

Now that NCAAB is finally getting into conference play things are going to get fun. Syracuse has a huge game coming up Monday @ Pitt and then the following Saturday vs Nova at home. Syracuse's biggest wins this year have been vs Mich ST 72-58 and Notre Dame 70-58. Syracuse is averaging 76 pts a game and holding their opponents to just 59. The Cuse have some real studs this year and only 1 senior. Should be fun for another few years.

How bad does it suck that the Hawks are now only capable of being a mediocre playoff team? The Hawks have always lacked leadership and until they get that I don't see us going any farther in the playoffs. Having athletes on our roster is not the problem. Smoove has always had the reputation as being immature and while you see his outburst and blowups far less he's still not close to what I would call acceptable (attitude wise). JJ's leadership needs no explanation. Al is the only guy I see that shows any type of leadership but will Joe, Bibby, Jamal or Smoove ever really rally behind Al for the sake of the team? Team sports require teamwork and leadership. Until the Hawks find some semblance of either of these look for more of the same.

I do see upside to adding Nash or Harris but would hate to lose two first rounders plus C, B, W. But why are we even talking about this? We've been complaining about the need for a true PG since 2006 and the Spirit have never come through for us.

Can't wait to watch the Birds Saturday Night!

Rob said...

Oh yeah, I should have inserted a CP3 in there somewhere toward the bottom just for the heck of it and old times sake. Marvin....