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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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Saturday, February 19, 2005

in progress...

-- A few months back, I suggested the Lakeland (FL) Ledger's Corey Long read "Bringing Down the House" on his flight out to Vegas. The result? (Though I can't find his original blog post describing the trip,) Corey couldn't stop reading "The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions" and enjoyed his flight out West.

Without further ado, today's recommendation: Anything by Malcolm Gladwell. In particular "The Tipping Point" and "Blink." "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" is probably the most thought-provoking and perspective-altering book I have ever read. Last night, speaking at Politics and Prose, a Washington, DC bookstore, Gladwell made "Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking" sound equally as good. Readers who'd like to hear Gladwell's theses applied to sports should begin, however, by reading Malcolm's interview with Jeff Merron of the WWLIS.

-- The Washington Post suggests Charlotte' Bobby Lutz will be a hot commodity at season's end. Pourquoi? He has led his 49ers to four NCAA Tournaments in six seasons. And with Charlotte (18-4, 9-2 Conference USA) playing its best basketball of the year, look for the 49ers to make a splash in the NCAA Tournament.

-- Dan Raley of the Seattle (WA) Post-Intelligencer Reporter notes Dick Bennett's announcement regarding his upcoming retirement has added a bit of intrigue to today's Washington-Washington State game. Even as Andy Katz yesterday reported Tony Bennett is already (and prematurely?) telling recruits he will be his pop's heir apparent on the Wazzu bench.

-- How low will the NCAA selection committee go? Could Memphis make the cut with an RPI in the high 60's or low 70's? Only time will tell.

-- More from the Washington Post: Bracketology. (Syracuse, Chicago, Austin, and Albuquerque Regionals).

-- Heh.

Penn State (7-17): Can a Big Ten program really be this bad for this long?

-- Minnesota's Dan Monson believes Michigan State is "the most underrated team out there." He's wrong. Try...Arizona. In the preseason, pundits acknowledged Arizona had the talent to make a Final Four run, but questioned Salim Stoudamire's attitude and leadership abilities. Now that Salim has established himself, not only as the nation's best and hottest shooter, but also as the 'Cats team leader, it is increasingly hard to justify keeping Lute Olson's club out of the Top 10.

-- The always enjoyable and rarely off-target Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette floats a trial balloon; Chevon Troutman for Big East Player of the Year?

Troutman's statistics make him worth of such consideration. A 6-foot-7 senior forward from Williamsport, Troutman is first in the Big East in field-goal shooting (60.7 percent), second in offensive rebounds (3.45 per game), tied for sixth in rebounding (7.9) and seventh in scoring (16.8).

Troutman has been spectacular over the past month, averaging 19.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 63.3 percent from the field in a seven-game span.

In a world without Craig Smith and Hakim Warrick, yes. In the real world, no. For better or for worse, Troutman lacks the (regional and) national cache to win conference POY honors.

-- Joe Kay of Associated Press writes up the reaction to Jihad Muhammad's Muslim faith on the Cincinnati campus.

-- Rarely do I find the lead of the day in a game preview. But today was such a day.

Maryland has proven it can beat ranked opponents. The unranked foes are another story.


-- The Associates Press' Susan Haigh writes up the Connecticut Ethics Commission's decision to publicly release portions of the consultant contract between Nike and University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun. Contract compensation numbers, however, will remain private.

-- From bad to worse, the Pierre Pierce saga. Prosecutors yesterday filed tougher charges against the former Iowa basketball star in connection with his alleged assault last month of a former girlfriend. The new charges, which supersede six previous counts filed last week, include two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of assault with intent to commit sexual assault and one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief. Terrible. Sad. Unfortunate. Unnecessary. Just a few of the adjective's I could use to describe Pierce's (potentially) heinous behavior.

-- Louisville guard Taquan Dean has mono, but will continue to play through the end of the season. To a healthy recovery.

-- Clark Kellogg of Yahoo Sports (online) identifies six "Games of Note:" DePaul at Marquette, Georgia Tech at Florida State, UCLA at Stanford, Memphis at Southern Mississippi, Utah at Air Force, and Florida at LSU. The Washington Post's "Game of the Week" is Wake Forest at Duke.

-- The AP's Keith Parsons suggests Wake Forest's success is due to the mentality of its bench. Taron Downey, Trent Strickland, Chris Ellis and Kyle Visser see themselves as -- and often contribute like -- starters for Skip Prosser's club. Parsons also makes Downey out as a class act.

As a sophomore, he started all 31 games and led the Deacons to their first ACC regular-season title since 1962. He scored 10.1 points a game, made 86 percent of his free throws and led the team in assists.

But the next season, he lost his spot in the lineup, thanks to the arrival of Paul, a can't-miss freshman. Yet Downey never sulked and never complained while his playing time steadily decreased, and now he's determined to make the most of his final season, even as a role player.

-- Jeff Latzke of the Associates Press rewrites Dennis Dodd's column for CBS Sportsline. Not. Very. Original.