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Hoopaholic’s Gazette: What have we learned so far?

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So, yeah, this time last year how the season was going to play out was pretty much already settled.

In week one, Duke turned Kentucky over under sideways down in the Champions Classic, and the throne was being assembled atop Mt. Zion, since the Blue Devils were a Brent Musberger Vegas deadbolt lock to capture Coach K’s 114th national crown.

UVa was coming off the biggest upset in the history of sports, the first #1 seed to lose to a #16, and Tony Bennett had secured the sobriquet as the “most nicest most decent guy to never even make it to the Final Four.”

How’d all that turn out?

Which is to underscore, that after Week I of College Hoops ‘19-’20, we know nuttin’ honey.

Except this: Hoopaholics everywhere are in that euphoric state of “Basketball is Back.”

So whattaweknow, whataweknow?

* * * * *

Isn’t there like always some coach’s son, playing out in the hinterlands for his dad at some also ran school, who is good enough to become a thing, you know the baller everybody knows they don’t know about?

Like that McDermott kid who was a Creighton Bluejay a few seasons back.

OK, maybe he’s the only one who immediately comes to mind, but work with me here, I’m trying to entertain as well as inform.

Well there’s another one this season, and he comes with a bonus reason to pay attention, besides how good he appears to be.

The kid’s got the best Beavis & Butthead name since, oh, Dick Trickle was redlining it in the Winston Cup series.

Tres Tinkle plays for his dad Wayne at Oregon State. He’s 6-7, and after two victories over Cal State Northridge and the usually formidable Iowa State, the kid’s averaging 26 ppg, 10+ rpg and 5 1/2 apg. He’s shooting 61% inside the arc, which actually pales in comparison to his 69% accuracy from Treyville.

Heh, heh, heh, he said 69.

Shut up, Butthead.

* * * * *

Remember when Shaka Smart was the mid-major mentor every school longed for, once they learned that Brad Stevens and Billy the Kid Donovan were happy just where they were?

Well, in case you’ve forgotten, since Smart has frankly fallen under the radar, he ended up coaching Texas. Can I call their hoopsters, the Hook ‘Em Horns?

Anyway, the few Longhorn hoops fans that there are must be wondering why they deepsixed Rick Barnes, and have been getting ready to Morse Code out an SOS on SS. Smart’s record in burnt orange coming into this season is a decidedly underwhelming 71-66.

That smothering full court press that made Smart the Flavor of the Month, last seen at VCU, must have gotten lost in the move from Richmond.

It may however be time for people outside Austin city limits to pay attention. The coach could be on the cusp of a Boom Shaka Laka moment.

The Longhorns went into West Lafayette and bested Matt Painter’s always better than expected Purdue Boilermakers, 70-66.

* * * * *

Florida State, which lost to Pitt which lost to Nicholls State, beat most everybody’s favorite Dark Horse Final Four candidate Florida for the sixth straight time. In Gainesville.

The Seminoles shut down consensus Best Grad Transfer in the Land Kerry Blackshear, who went 0/5 shooting from the field.

Is it possible that Leonard Hamilton has really learned to coach?

* * * * *

Former Louisville Cardinal interim assistant, peripatetic Greg Paulus has landed in the first chair.

At Niagara, where former coach Patrick “Son of John” Beilein resigned for personal reasons, before ever coaching a game for the Purple Eagles.

* * * * *

Cole Anthony.

You might be hearing his name this season. A lot.

* * * * *

Which brings us to the “What the hell were you thinkin’?” Department.

Step into the witness chair, Penny Hardaway.

Anfernee, let me call you by your given name, what the hell were you thinkin’?

You were coaching East High School in Memphis, right? And you “loaned” over ten large to James Wiseman’s family so they could move to Memphis? To your school district? To hoop for your team? Then recruited him to play at Memphis State where you now coach?

And you figured all that was copacetic? That nobody would notice?

* * * * *

So, one of the season’s question marks coming in is how the defending national champs will fare, what with their trio of stars all moving on to play for pay?

The answer appears to be: Very well, thank you very much for asking.

If the Cavaliers continue on their current pace, they’ll go undefeated if they can just tally 35 points each time out.

They held Syracuse to 34 in their Carrier Dome opener. Because of which, Jim Boeheim was in full bray, and the Dome Ranger, well, who knows where that college hoops icon has been? Then UVa, to prove it wasn’t a fluke held James Madison to 34 points.

Guess which school is ranked #1 for adjusted D -- or even absolute D -- in Ken Pomeroy’s respected computer hierarchy?

* * * * *

The Louisville Cardinals host the Indiana State Sycamores Wednesday night.

Being a remember when kind of guy, it got me to thinking about The Great Cardinal Game That Never Was.

In the ‘79 NCAA Midwest Regional semis, U of L was upset by Arkansas, 73-62. Cardinal star Darrell Griffith gathered splinters on the pine most of the 2d half.

Ahhhhh, but IF the Cards had won, they would have played Indiana State and that guy Larry Bird for the right to move on to the Final Four.

Sigh.

-- Seedy K