Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Searching For an Under The Radar Final Four

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second, regardless of how much college basketball you’ve watched up to this point in the season, you don’t know which teams are going to make the Final 4, I don’t know which teams are going to make the Final Four, and neither do the experts. If you’ve been watching your share of college hoops and you don’t suffer from “Jim Caldwell syndrome” (otherwise known as the inability to have an opinion, take a stance on anything, or show any emotion) you probably have some idea about which teams you think are capable of making a run to the Final Four, and you probably have some idea of which teams you don’t trust to win four straight pressure-filled tournament games.

But the only thing we know for sure right now is that at this time last season, none of the teams that would eventually go on to reach the Final Four were ranked in the top 15 in either poll. What happened last year was certainly unexpected, even for March Madness, but it’s safe to say that the tournament has been trending this way for some time.

Unless you were the lone VCU alum who played the “I don’t care if we barely limped into the tournament, I’m picking us to go to the Final Four” card (isn’t it annoying when this guy wins your pool?), the unforeseen run that VCU made last season was completely out of the blue, and although teams like UConn and Butler had talent on their side, neither one seemed capable of making too much noise in the tournament at this time a year ago either.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Time to Include Draymond Green in the National Player of the Year Discussion

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America
Anythony Davis and Thomas Robinson. That’s where the National Player of the Year conversation pretty much begins and ends right now, and it’s fairly understandable.

If you have a television and are even remotely interested in college basketball, you’ve had the chance to experience the incredible freshman season that Davis is having in Lexington, and whether you’re talking about the absurd impact he has on the defensive side of the floor, or the fact that he’s the leading scorer and rebounder for a team that’s only lost one game and is the current favorite to cut down the nets in New Orleans, it’s clear to see why the 6’10’’ future lottery pick is the current front runner to win the National Player of the Year award.

Thomas Robinson isn’t far behind Davis in the unofficial Player of the Year standings, and his emergence under the basket for a 22-5 Kansas squad that is much better than anyone would have guessed after they lost the Morris twins, Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed, and Brady Morningstar, can’t be understated. Both Davis and Robinson are having great seasons for two of the best teams in the nation, and while they certainly deserve to be the front-runners for the most prestigious individual award given to a college basketball player, Draymond Green needs to be included in the conversation as well.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Who's In? Who's Out? Who's Still Hanging Around? (FINAL)

It's been an amazing month and a half, and the fun is just getting started.

Here is the long-awaited final bracket. There are still a few inclusions/exclusions I don't feel great about - and I'm sure most people will argue that West Virginia should be in instead of Drexel, BYU, and Cal, but I'm going out on a limb here. WVU had 13 losses and only 4 wins over tournament-bound teams - only 1 one of which came over a projected 5-seed or better. Will I be at all surprised if they get in? No. Not one bit.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Couple of Observations Having Rediscovered College Basketball in Mid-February

By Charlie Scaturro
Unlike some fans who suddenly take an interest in college basketball after the Super Bowl ends, my mid-February hoops awakening has nothing to do with the fact that the NFL is no longer dominating every sports media outlet in America, at least not really. Writing about the NFL full-time this past season was an incredible and sometimes daunting experience which left me with little time to follow other sports, get enough sleep, or spend much time doing anything besides watching football and writing about it (I know, it’s a tough life). Because of this, my consumption of college basketball reached dangerously low levels during much of the first three quarters of the season, but now that the NFL is in our rear view mirror, I finally have some time for what I believe is the best sport in the world (and not just because of March Madness). With some new found time and a huge sports void to fill I’ve tried to ease myself back into the college basketball landscape, but I basically feel like I’ve slept through the first three months of the college basketball season and have just woken up in mid-February.