NCAA basketball has established an interesting tradition as its unwritten official start to the season: 24 straight hours of basketball. Seriously. For example, yesterday morning Rider tipped off against Drexel at 6:06am in New Jersey.
Now, I've been accused of being crazy, but even I'm not crazy enough to stay up 30 hours straight on weekdays to watch basketball. But here's the thing: we are without NBA. So unless you're a sour old man who religiously believes basketball is not meant to be played by young whipper-snappers in 40 minute increments (just kidding S-n-P......kind of....) there's really no reason to not be watching some of these games. Especially when a lot of them are really good.
So today we're going to talk some college basketball. Because....there's really nothing else to talk about...? Well, that and it's totally worth it.
(ED Note: slight changes made from above in bold.)
- Lord Voldemort
Mike Krzyzewskiis now the winningest coachbusiness manager in NCAA Div I men's basketball. Last night, Duke Inc beat Michigan State, giving the Coach K brand hisits 903rd win (absolutely an absurd number--even more so when you Google Pete Gaudet), officially topping his mentor, the infamous Bob Knight. To put that in perspective, 903 wins in 203 more wins than the Timberwolves have in their entire existence.
- If there's one thing that's immediately apparent this year, it's that the talent pool (read: prospective draft pool) is ridiculously deep. There are a lot...a lot....of really good sophomores this season. Guys like Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Patric Young. The freshman class includes super-talent Anthony Davis. Even the upper classmen have clout....guys like John Henson and Tyler Zeller, and Thomas Robinson. If ever there was a year the Timberwolves cannot miss the draft, this is it.
- Jeremy Lamb continues to impress. He followed up his 30 point explosion against Columbia with a 20 point game against Wagner, that included 12 trips to the free throw line (huzzah for shot creators!) Lamb is a genuine do-it-all guard, and easily the player I'll be watching the closest this year...if the Wolves manage to secure a first round pick, this is the kid they should angle for.
- I'm also very impressed with Anthony Davis. The dude gets basketball. Against Kansas last night, he put in 14 points, 6 rebounds and 7 blocks and continued to show off impressive athleticism. Even if you don't like college ball, you need to watch at least a couple Kentucky games just to see him play.
- Anthony Davis also has go-go gadget arms. Like, seriously. It's kind of creepy....
- I will be shocked if Davis' wingspan comes in at anything less than 7'2". More probable is something like 7'4" (Dwight Howard territory).
- If there's one thing that could be an issue with Davis, it's that he's (so far) shown a little bit of passiveness. It's hard tot tell how deep that runs...college ball is inherently a guard-driven brand of hoops, and Callipari's system exacerbates that big time. Marquis Teague is no Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans or John Wall. A lot of how Davis performs will hinge on Teague's decision-making, and whether Cal can adjust his system to focus more on the post.
- I'm interested to see Perry Jones return to action. Has he improved at all? What type of player will he establish himself as? So far, Davis has been everything Jones was billed as but didn't show last season.
- Jared Sullinger is a fantastic back-to-the-basket player. He instinctively understands that 90% of the post battle is won before you ever get the ball. His ability to establish position and seal off defenders is pretty amazing to watch. And he's no anchor on the court either. He's in much better shape this year and can really move. Think Nene here.
- Watching Sullinger and Patric Young battle it out in the post last night was pretty sweet. Sullinger's the better overall talent, but Young gives up nothing when it comes to scoring from the low block.
- This may be the weakest Kansas team since the 1980s. Looking at their roster and watching them play, I don't see a single first round talent on their team, which is unheard of for a Bill Self squad.
- The other player that really intrigues me as a potential Timberwolf is John Henson. I see a lot of Marcus Camby in him. He doesn't move the ball like Camby, but he'll rebound and block the hell out of it on the defensive end. Seems like an early ideal fit for the team.
So those are my two picks so far: Jeremy Lamb and John Henson. Will the Wolves even have a draft pick this year? Who knows. But if we write off the season and the draft in November, we might as well quit now.
UConn plays tomorrow at 6 on ESPN3. If you want to see Lamb, that's a good place to start.