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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Monday, January 24, 2005

the big easy

-- Tom Luici of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger asks two very good questions in his latest column.

Why is it that the Big East only grudgingly gets the national respect it deserves year after year? A case in point: Boston College had to win its first 16 games before finally cracking the top 10. That doesn't happen if the Eagles are playing in the ACC (which they will do next season). Take a 16-0 ACC team -- any 16-0 ACC team -- and it gets rubber-stamped as a top 10 team. Maybe No. 2-ranked Kansas' loss Saturday to Villanova -- a mid-pack Big East team -- will change some attitudes about the league this year. But probably not.

Would someone please explain why it is that so many college basketball "experts" are enamored with Providence's Ryan Gomes? He was a consensus first-team All-American last year, yet you could have compiled a All-Big East first team without him on it. He was voted the league's preseason Player of the Year this season -- but the Friars are the league's only winless team. So let's review: Gomes gets nice numbers, but can't carry a team, doesn't put the ball on the floor well, isn't a good 3-point shooter and faces a questionable future in the NBA because he's 6-7 and doesn't have a true position. He couldn't stop Providence from losing four straight to close out last year and he hasn't been a factor in the Friars' past two losses in a disappointing 9-8 season. But he wins lots of awards.

-- Roy Williams is working with North Carolina athletics director Dick Baddour to make the Smith Center as hostile as Carmichael. Some of the changes since Dean's time? More pregame music, new "ribbon" message boards and, next season, new giant video screens.

-- Illinois-Wisconsin previews here, here, and here.

-- Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times finds Nate Robinson maturing with every game. The explosive Huskies star isn't forcing shots, trying to put up dazzling numbers or playing for himself. Rather, he's been the consummate team player this season, helping his teammates develop and Washington win. All the more reason to expect a great March run from Lorenzo Romar's squad.