Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Monday, January 23, 2006

Switching to hoops

With two weeks before the Super Bowl, we'll take a break from football commentary and move to basketball, given that there are two good stories there.

Big, Big, Big East

All three remaining college unbeatens lost on Saturday, two of them losing to Big East schools -- Georgetown over Duke and St. John's over Pittsburgh. These results and the rest of the play this season points to the Big East this year being the best conference ever.

When a school like St. John's, which has struggled for the past few years, beats 2005 Final Four participant Louisville and unbeaten Pitt in back-to-back games, you're talking about a deep conference. Georgetown has also struggled in recent years but appears to be making a return under the son of their greatest coach.

Add to the mix UConn, which is a perennial Final Four contender and in line to be No. 1 in the new polls; Villanova, a Top 10 team despite a strong inside presence; West Virginia, which came within a whisker of the Final Four last year; and newcomers Marquette, DePaul and Cincinnati along with Louisville. It has legendary coaches -- Pitino, Boeheim, Calhoun -- along with up-and-comers like Jay Wright and John Thompson and underrated coaches like John Beilein and Tom Crean.

The Big East has been and always will be a basketball conference, and expanding to 16 teams after the defections of football schools Miami, Virginia Tech and BC was a brilliant move.

Kobe's 81

Kobe Bryant ran Shaquille O'Neal out of Los Angeles so that he could be "the man." Well, officially, he is.

Earlier this year, Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters against Dallas. Last night, he went for 81 against Toronto. He's topped 40 points 12 times this year and is almost certain to be the NBA's leading scorer.

Watching him play, even in highlights, it's obvious Bryant has that Jordan-esque quality that even when you set your defense to stop him, he can still beat you whenever he wants. It's now clear that he is the heir apparent to the greatest player who ever lived.

Now that Bryant has made peace with Shaquille O'Neal and lured Phil Jackson back into Jeannie Buss' life, performances like last night will bring spotlight to Kobe's talent, rather than his propensity for selfishness and ball-hogging.

Will he be able to win a championship all by himself? That remains to be seen. But Bryant has earned the right to try.



Anonymous Mike B said...

The Big East has gotten out of control. It is unnecessary to have 16 teams in a conference! You would hope they would be deep with that many teams. However you have to wonder when it comes to picking teams for the tourney if the size of the Big East hurts teams who are in the middle of the standings and will likey lose bids to the Mid-majors. Despite my hatred of the Big Ten! I think the two strongest conferences in CB are the Big Ten and Big East without a doubt! G'town Rules!

12:18 PM  
Blogger NY Warrior said...

nice post.....note however that Seth Greenberg does not coach in the Big East.

Not sure I'd put him in the same categories as Crean and Thompson either

1:53 PM  
Blogger Dave Jackson said...

Good catch on Greenberg. He was in the Big East with Va. Tech.

2:17 PM  

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