Outlet Pass – 4th Edition

After a brief technical issue with TheMessageBoard, Droppin’ Dimes is back with another installment of Outlet Pass

NCAA Initial Reaction

  • I figured Kansas and Duke would be 1-2 throughout most of the season, with the occasional week one of them drops to 3 or 4.  I still fully envision them both in the Top 5 of every poll this season.  Ever since the first half of the Michigan State game, Kansas has looked real sluggish, if not bad.  They played about 8 minutes of good basketball against Marquette on Wednesday night and still managed a 9 point victory.  You watch Dedric Lawson play and you can’t help but think he’s played poorly.  All of a sudden you look at the box score and see he had 20+ points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists while shooting 9-15 from the field.  Imagine if he plays well…
  • Speaking of the top teams, I must admit I underestimated Gonzaga.  I knew Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell would be consistently solid for the Zags.  What I didn’t expect was the leap Rui Hachimura would make this season.  He had some big games last season, and was always going to be a key piece, but I wouldn’t have pegged him for being the best player in the field of the Maui.  They beat Duke in a game that wasn’t as close as the score tells.  They thoroughly outplayed the Blue Devils in every aspect for 35 minutes.  Oh…and they still won’t have their best player for another month.  NCAA basketball went from a 2 team field, to a 3 team field this week.
  • AD’s regretting moves?   Texas fires Rick Barnes after 17 seasons, 10 of which he finished 3rd or better in the Big 12.  For reference, Kansas has won the Big 12 for 14 straight years.  I will agree, his last few years in Austin had disappointing March finishes, but that’s the nature of the beast that is March Madness.  You base a team’s season success on the result of one single elimination tourney, you’re a moron.  Simple as that.  He gets canned, quickly latches on in Tennessee, all of a sudden they are a top 5 team and went from 12th in the SEC in his first season to winning it in his 3rd.  That’s not a coincidence, Texas.  Barnes can coach.
  • Speaking of Tennessee and coaches.  Sure, they have Barnes now leading them as one of the top teams in the country, you know who else had them there?  Bruce Pearl.  Yea, OK, this one is a little more reasonable seeing as how he was fired during an NCAA investigation that resulted in a 3-year “show cause penalty”.  What has Pearl done since then?  After a short gig with ESPN, he signed with known basketball power (sarcasm) Auburn, and has them a top 10 team that is fresh off a 2-1 trip to Maui where the only loss they gave Duke all they could handle.
  • Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Villanova, what happened?!?!  Nice new arena you have.  Too bad it now belongs to Michigan after they stroll in and beat you by a 30-burger!!  Fine, whatever, only one game.  On to the next.  Oh, the next game is Furman coming into the same building and also walking out with a win?  Maybe you should switch locker rooms or something, explain to the new guys what “protect our house” means.
  • HuggyBear Heart Watch is in full effect this year in Morgantown.  Start the year 2-2 with losses to Western Kentucky and Buffalo?  Granted, Buffalo is a good team who come March people will be saying “no way are they a 9-10 seed, just getting no respect because they play in the MAC.” and end up playing in the 2nd weekend of the NCAA Tourney.  But, back to Huggy.  Not so sure that A-fib is going to protect his heart from having to rely on Beetle Bolden to be a replacement for Javon Carter.  His lowest heart rate of the year will still be higher than any time he put Teddy Allen in last year.  I put the over/under of games HuggyBear misses “due to health reasons” at 3.5.  And take the over.

NBA Thoughts

  • What’s up, Oakland!!!!  Curry is hurt.  KD’s a bitch.  Shrek Donkey is still chirping like he matters.  And Thompson is getting a glimpse of what it would be like when he chases money next summer trying to be “The Man” somewhere.  This team needs Curry back in a bad way, if not just for stability.
  • JR Smith out in Cleveland?  I put it at -500 he somehow ends up in a Lakers jersey by the end of the year.