The college basketball elite wished its opponents a happy holiday by scheduling mostly creampuffs in posting an incredible 29-0 record last week.
At least that’s what flashed up on the GamingToday scoreboard when computing this week’s edition of our poll. There were enough donuts (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Jacksonville State) and pastries (Charleston Southern, Central Conn., Sacred Heart) to go around.
Nice way to pad the victory column. Give us a break, guys and schedule some competitive opponents!
Some teams actually came out of the shell and risked a loss (Iowa vs Texas Tech, Pittsburgh vs Richmond) and Virginia barely escaped with a two-point victory in Charlottesville against Loyola Marymount (remember them, a point a minute!).
The "official" college hoops season begins next week when conference play begins in earnest. That’s when we will get a clearer picture of what March Madness will be about.
The two teams that caught our eye in the pre-conference season were Iowa and Washington. Texas Tech is probably a bubble NCAA tourney team, but Steve Alford showed no mercy for his former coach, Bob Knight, in Iowa’s 30-point rout in Iowa City. We like Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin in a knockdown drag out Big Ten, with Northwestern and Ohio State as factors.
Washington’s only loss was to in-state Cinderella-turned bully Gonzaga. The Huskies may have enough to withstand Arizona in the Pac 10, with UCLA sneaking past Stanford for third.
Here are a couple to chew on for Tuesday.
Gonzaga vs Oklahoma St.: A "neutral site" game in Oklahoma City. Advantage, Zags. The Cowboys are really tough at Iba Arena, so the switch helps. This will be a war under the boards. Take the points and don’t miss this one. GONZAGA.
Air Force vs Iowa: The Fly Boys like to slow things down, but that will be hard to do at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. No letdown after Texas Tech buildup. IOWA.
N.Illinois at St. Bonaventure: ESPN ranks the Bonnies as the nation’s worst team. Well, they covered against Syracuse. That’s good for us. ST. BONNIE.
Happy New Year.