I’ve been pretty firm on the fact that Kentucky is NOT going to run the table, and that despite their overwhelming talent advantage, I didn’t like them at 3:2 to win a National Title. Last night’s performance challenged that perception just a bit. Their 72-40 win over Kansas was impressive for many reasons; first, they didn’t play THAT well offensively, certainly not even close to as good as they can play. Secondly, Kansas is GOOD. Really good.
People always speculate about what it would look like if a really good college team played against an NBA team. What would it look like? Um… THAT. There were possessions where Kansas looked like a women’s basketball game. Not in terms of talents, nor am I disparaging women’s hoops – that UConn v. Stanford game was incredible. It resembled a women’s game in that the disparity of physical talent between the good teams and the middle of the pack is so overwhelming. You’ll see lots of examples of over-penetrating and getting the ball too deep and then a shot not so much being “blocked” as being shot into armpits and forearms. There at least three such blocks last night where Kentucky players “absorbed” the basketball as much as they blocked the shot.
They were physically dominating, both “platoons” of five future professional basketball players, completely physically outclassed a Kansas team that could very well win the Big 12 and make it to the Final Four. I still think there will be a night where UK sleeps a little defensively, some team gets crazy hot from behind the arc, and when it’s time to make big shots UK struggles with WHO gets to take the shot. But if pressed for WHO that team might be, I’d have to honestly say I can’t see anyone off the top of my head even close to physically good enough on their regular season schedule… They play UCLA, North Carolina, @ Florida, Louisville – and will be favored by close to double digits in all of them.
Meanwhile, we cashed in on both picks to run the college season record to a nice 6-1 ATS. Let’s try to keep it going today. There are fewer games to choose from, and certainly none with the glamour of last night’s awesome slate, but there are a few decent plays on the board.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oklahoma Sooners -4 at Creighton Blue Jays
I think people (Vegas) might be slightly underrating just how much Dougie McBuckets meant to Creighton. He left Omaha as one of the most prolific scorers in the history of college basketball and took a middling program from the Missouri Valley and lifted them into national prominence (and eventually to the Big East, which just like Butler and George Mason in the A-10, might be a little too ambitious for their long-term recruiting realities). Every facet of the offense ran through McDermott and his loss cannot be overstated.
Yes, they are at home tonight, but they are facing a MUCH better basketball team. Oklahoma is expected to challenge Kansas and Texas (and I like Iowa State) for the Big 12 crown. They return a ton of talent, both in the front and back courts. They have post presence and rebounding in Spangler and Thomas and their backcourt of Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Heald can shoot and manage the game.
The biggest news might be the sudden eligibility notification of Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas. He averaged 16.2 ppg the last two seasons for the Cougars and could me the missing ingredient to get OU over the hump.
Either way, they should get the win tonight on the road. They are a lot more talented than the Blue Jays who might find their homecourt advantage a bit tempered by the fact that Dougie is no longer walking through that door for Dad…