Thoughts From the Weekend in Hoops

There's been so much that has occurred since the opening tip of the college basketball season. The non-conference portion of the season has provided several moments that will continue to be discussed until early April, when a national champion is crowned. But, with all of the moments that have been assembled to make this season, I'm going to focus on a couple from the last week.

A Game That Was Just So Offensive

When two bluebloods get together, it's hard for the actual matchup to exceed the preliminary hype. That didn't happen on Saturday, when the veteran-laden core of North Carolina met another Kentucky squad stocked with youthful talent. If you were a fan that has been looking for more action across the sport, this was your game. Both squads displayed offensive proficiency rarely seen in these specific matchups. Both teams shot north of 50% from the field (UK at 54.1%; UNC at 53.0%) and north of 50% from three-point range (UK at 55.6%; UNC at 52.9%) in the Wildcats' 103-100 victory.

This very likely will go down as the best game of the entire season. There's no question that these teams are among the best in the country. Opponents will have to worry about facing these squads, potentially all the way to Phoenix. Opponents may also be licking their chops to let their own offenses loose on those two defenses.

Different Paths to the Same Destination

In the pantheon of collegiate basketball, there may be two personalities that are more different than those of Bob Huggins and Rollie Massimino, but I'm not so sure of that. Both coaching stalwarts reached quite the milestone this week, each recording their 800th career victory on the bench. Huggins, the man that returned Cincinnati to prominence in the 1990s and early 2000s, collected his milestone while coaching at his alma mater of West Virginia. Massimino, the man that lead Villanova to its first national championship in 1985, amassed his milestone at a more obscure location ... Keiser University out of West Palm Beach, Florida.

But personality isn't the only opposite between these two. When looking at the paths these two have taken to get to the same plateau. Huggins started at NAIA institution Walsh University and worked his way up the ladder. Massimino moved from Stony Brook to land in the middle of Philadelphia's vaunted Big Five collective. Eventually, he was involved with what would become a juggernaut in the Big East Conference. Now, his love of coaching has brought him to the NAIA. Just goes to show that "once a coach, always a coach" is an appropriate slogan in both of their cases.

Where Does Your Strength Lie?

The debate over which conference is the best is an annual talking point. What makes one conference better than the others? Is it key non-conference wins early in the season? Is it above-.500 records? Is it NCAA tournament bids (by number or percentage)? Is it housing the national champion?

How about a multitude?

The ACC, Big Ten, and Big XII have been arguing over this "best conference" status ever since the old Big East dissolved and separated. Now, could the new Big East be ready to assume the mantle that its ancestor once held? They have a 24-17 mark against other Power conferences. Six of the league's squads sport a 9-2 record or better (only one St. John's is sub-.500 as of Sunday night). And, most importantly, they lay claim to the defending champion. Villanova started the season as a top-five team. They now stand at No. 1 in both major polls. Could this spark a new era of a dominant Big East? We'll find out.

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