Before we get started, my fellow hoops diehards, this dire warning just in from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
For Immediate Release: We have now confirmed a serious outbreak in isolated sections of Hoopsylvania, which, if not addressed immediately and contained, could raise to epidemic proportions, resulting in catastrophe. The CDC can not recommend highly enough that remedial procedures be implemented immediately.
On Saturday, December 28, 2019, the University of Louisville Cardinals displayed virulent symptoms of severe hypercharitystripenisia. In a basketball game against the University of Kentucky, the team made only 9 of 20 free throw attempts, a number remarkably lower than the norm.
The following day, on December 29, 2019, in Bloomington, Indiana, the Indiana University Hoosiers, while competing against the University of Arkansas, exhibited the exact same medical condition, missing 9 of their 18 free throw attempts.
In the strongest possible terms, the CDC urges all those affected, as well as all those within proximity who may be affected, to take proper precautions immediately.
For further information, contact Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.
Be careful out there, hoopaholics, there does not appear to be any vaccine yet available.
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As an inveterate hoopaholic, I’ve got a couple pet peeves I gotta get off my chest.
I’m so sick and tired of hearing 1) How college hoops doesn’t matter until the bowl games are over because nobody’s paying attention; and 2) What a deplorable state college hoops is in because more and more high school phenoms are finding ways to avoid matriculating for at least a short stint of NCAA basketball.
And these national wags making such proclamations, these nagging nabobs of negativitude, include a writer of some note who resides right here in Hoopsylvania.
Give. Me. A. Friggin’. Break.
There’s a great and perhaps the most exciting, wide open season in a long while afoot. Even though there’s no major phenoms. Even though James Wiseman split. Even though Cole Anthony might opt not to play again. Even without Zion.
Probably because of such, there’s parity in the air.
It’s a great game. And if there are less super duper stars now and in the future, so be it. So what.
Any sport that can survive Dick Vitale has serious legs and staying power.
As long as there are office bracket pools in March, there will be significant interest.
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As for that IU tilt mentioned in the CDC missive, there are other disturbations causing mumbling and grumbling along the banks of the Wabash.
Archie Miller’s Hoosiers have fashioned a relatively sturdy looking record so far at 11-2. Which includes a 16 point W over Top 25 Florida State.
But IU blew an 11 point advantage over the Razorbacks in Assembly Hall, and scored just one field goal in the last 8:08 of the game, losing 71-64.
The Hoosiers visit Top 25 Maryland Saturday, and need to clean up more than their work at the FT line.
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There are two under the radar teams that intrigue me, as conference play gets in full swing.
One is St. John’s.
Partially because the NY school went totally out of the box and hired Mike Anderson to coach the Johnnies. (And he shall forever have a place in my heart for coaching UAB to a 2d round tourney upset of UK in the early ‘00s.)
He’s also one of just five active head coaches with 15+ years of experience who have never had a losing season. The last names of the others: Few, Izzo, Boeheim, and Williams (Roy).
St. John’s is 11-3, but playing better than anybody expected. And certainly better than most all of the time during the Chris Mullin Era.
I caught a bit of their game Tuesday night in their cozy and packed on campus arena against a very good Butler squad. The Johnnies fell by a deuce, but are going to raise some ruckus in the Big East.
The other is Illinois.
I’ve always admired how Brad Underwood’s teams played.
Now in his 3d season in Champaign-Urbana, he seems to have the Fightin’ Illini turned around.
They’re 9-4, including a 9 point league win over the Wolverines.
We’ll find out in the next couple of days whether Illinois is ready to bust a move or not? They visit Sparty tonight. And follow that with a home battle against Matt Painter’s most always better than expected Boilermakers.
Until next time, my fellow addicts, enjoy the ballin’. It’s conference infighting season.
-- c d kaplan