Friday, December 29, 2017
College Basketball Odds and Ends
* As I write this, Georgia Tech is losing at home to Coppin State (0-13) in the second half, 54-51. In an earlier column, I predicted Tech to return to the NCAAs this year. They're also down to six scholarship players due to injuries.
Still, this is looking like the worst prediction I've ever made on Sports Central, and I've made a lot of bad predictions. They've already lost to Georgia State, Wofford, Grambling, and Wright State. The six scholarship players still playing include Ben Lammers, Tadric Jackson, and Josh Okogie, who are arguably their three best players. They should not be struggling with a winless MEAC team. I've been a big fan of their coach, Josh Pastner, but I'm not sure a midseason firing would be unjustified.
* Staying in the ACC, do you remember the Ewing Theory? It covers teams that shockingly do better after losing one of their best players.
That might apply to Boston College. They lost Deontae Hawkins for the year against Nebraska on November 29th. He was nearly averaging a double-double. Two weeks later, they shocked Duke and have not lost since. They have no embarrassing losses, as their three defeats are against vastly improved Texas Tech, Nebraska, and Providence programs.
Does the win over Duke mean the Eagles will compete for an ACC crown? No. But while BC hasn't done better than 4-14 in conference play in five years, that poor streak is likely to end this season, and if they keep things close at Virginia December 30th, you're looking at a possible NCAA tournament team.
* Surely the biggest surprise of the young NCAA season has been Arizona State. They're undefeated against a very tough non-conference schedule that includes a win at Kansas and victories over four other high majors, only one of which came at home. Props to Bobby Hurley, the best college point guard of my youth, for getting them to No. 3 to the country.
Their next game will be an interesting road test against an enigmatic Arizona team. They finished a shocking 0-3 in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but have won the rest of their games.
* The funniest walk-on-turned-writer is Mark Titus, who played at the end of the Ohio State bench from 2006-2010. Before moving on to bigger things (The Ringer, to be exact), Titus maintained a blog called Club Trillion, so named because the number resembled his stat line.
Well, he better watch out, because he may end up not even be the funniest walk-on-turned-writer in Big Ten history when it's all said and done. Potentially supplanting him (I don't know if he has writerly aspirations) is Northwestern's Charlie Hall, who is certainly funny and just scored his first collegiate point.
It's not surprising that he's funny, though. His parents are Julia Louis-Dreyfus and ex-SNL cast member Brad Hall.
I'm rooting for Titus as an Ohio State Alum, but he better watch out.