MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE EVERYONE!!!
-Im in Louisville, KY for the Holidays, and the big news down here is the suspension of freshman Derrick Caracter
from Louisvilles basketball team. He is a highly touted player, but was suspended by the NCAA for a few games to open the season, and hasnt done a whole lot since being reinstated. Now, hes been un-reinstated by Louisville coach Rick Pitino. The direct quote from Pitino was I had no idea he had so many obstacles to overcome. He may be better getting a trainer and getting ready for the NBA Draft and go have workouts. I personally interpret that as Pitino saying although Caracter is an extremely talented player, hes an even bigger distraction and it would be better off for Louisville if he wasnt around.
It was hard to determine how the Cardinals would react to this, especially since many of their fans, as well as people in the local media, had been extremely critical of them all season. They came out yesterday and absolutely spanked Miami 82-59. I missed the beginning of the game because Tennessee and Texas went into overtime and my parents do not have the ESPN Alternate channels, but by the time they did get to the Louisville-Miami game midway through the first half it was pretty much already over. Louisville had a much better game awareness, made much better passes, played better defense, and shot the ball better than they have all season. Id go so far to say it was the best theyd looked since making the Final Four in 2005. Miami, FL is by no means a top notch team, and probably isnt even a tournament team, but they arent bad. They are certainly much better than some of the teams Louisville has been struggling against, so this is a big statement win.
As far as the NCAA Selection Committee is concerned, this win is not a statement win, but as far as Louisvilles confidence is concerned, it is huge. They really scored a lot of style points in this game because for the first time in a long time they actually looked like a top 25 team. Its more of a statement about their potential than it is about their current body of work. They look like they have the potential to put together an impressive resume between now and the end.
-Florida blew out Ohio State 86-60 yesterday. It was close in the first half and Ohio State actually drew even early in the second half, but it was all Florida after that. The loss is more insult than injury for Ohio State. The sooner they forget about it the better. You may remember that Texas was blown out by Duke in a similar game at about this time last season, and they recovered nicely and actually had a better showing in the NCAA Tournament than Duke, so they Buckeyes shouldnt be that discouraged. Jonathan Watters wrote a nice article about this game in his blog, so be sure and check that out if you havent already.
-Wichita State lost their second consecutive game to USC to finish fourth in the Las Vegas Invitational. They were once again without P.J. Couisnard, so the committee will likely take that into account, but this will be somewhat a knock on their profile. It isnt so damaging that it will keep them from being selected, but it will likely knock them out of the #1-#2 seed range where I had been projecting them.
-Bobby Knight has tied Dean Smith for most all time div1 wins. Texas Tech defeated Bucknell rather handily the other day. The funny thing is that Knight seems to care less about this than most people. Whenever asked about it, hes been rather dismissive.
-My plan is to begin working on my new bracket tonight after everyone has gone to bed. Keep an eye out for that.