With apologies to Stephen Curry and Tyler Hansbrough, it’s clear that being First-Team All-American will have to be enough for them. That’s because Blake Griffin is a man among boys right now. He’s putting up Michael Beasley-type numbers, but with more talent around him. He’s the most dominant player in college basketball since Tim Duncan. He’s strong, athletic, can run the floor, has great hands and great touch around the basket.
I know this disappoints all of my folks with East-Coast bias, but you can’t hide from reality. That reality is Blake Griffin is the National Player of the Year…without question.
Stock Up: Louisville. The Cardinals were on the verge of becoming the biggest disappointment in college basketball this season. After losing to Western Kentucky and not performing well against the better teams on their schedule, the Cardinals looked as if they weren’t who everyone thought they were. However, they’ve won four straight including wins over Villanova and Notre Dame. It appears as if this team was having an identity crisis. They’ve found it.
Stock Down: Utah State’s strength of schedule. I have the Aggies in the bracket this week, but they have bubble team written all over them. Any team on the proverbial bubble is going to need some key wins to strengthen it’s resume. Hard to get that quality win against Utah Valley St, Houston Baptist, Southern Utah, or Howard though.
Stock Up: Michigan St. How is it that a program with the reputation of Michigan St not be getting recognized? I don’t know why, but the Spartans are rolling right now. They’ve followed an early-season blowout loss to North Carolina with a nine-game win streak. Expect this team to do some special things in the Big Ten this season.
Stock Down: Boston College. I praised them last week, but this week they NEED to be criticized. Under no circumstances, is it acceptabale to follow a win over the number one team in the country with a loss to Harvard. Just for good measure they lost to Miami too.
This week’s Bracket Projections:
Last Four In: Arizona, Washington, Texas A&M, Miami(FL)
Last Four Out: San Diego St, Utah, Maryland, Boston College
This bracket is good for games played through Sunday, January 11, 2009.
1.Duke16.Hampton Greensboro, NC
5.Michigan12.Texas A&M Portland, OR
6.Baylor11.Utah St Boise, ID
3.UCLA14.Long Beach St
7.Florida St10.Ohio St Minneapolis, MN
1.Connecticut16.North Dakota St Philadelphia, PA
5.Purdue12.Arizona Boise, ID
6.Arizona St11.Villanova Miami, FL
7.Dayton10.Wisconsin Kansas City, MO
2.Oklahoma15.Middle Tennessee St
1.Wake Forest16.Austin Peay Greensboro, NC
5.Louisville12.Washington Miami, FL
6.Butler11.Miami(FL) Minneapolis, MN
7.Oklahoma St10.UNLV Dayton, OH
2.Michigan St15.East Tennessee St
1.Pittsburgh16.Robert Morris/Alabama St Dayton, OH
5.Minnesota12.Siena Portland, OR
6.West Virginia11.BYU Kansas City, MO
7.St. Mary’s10.Missouri Philadelphia, PA
2.North Carolina15.Weber St