BOZICH | Monday Muse: Early college hoops madness; ACC football - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • Which team will win the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season men's basketball title?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Duke
    10%
    67 votes
    Florida State
    3%
    23 votes
    Louisville
    50%
    348 votes
    North Carolina
    12%
    81 votes
    Virginia
    24%
    167 votes
    Other
    2%
    16 votes

BOZICH | Monday Muse: Early college hoops madness; ACC football ruling

Posted: Updated:
A week into conference play and the ACC and Big Ten races are already scramble. A week into conference play and the ACC and Big Ten races are already scramble.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — I’m not certain where to begin.

I guess Georgia Tech beating North Carolina after the Yellow Jackets had lost to Tennessee by 23 and Georgia by 17.

Virginia losing at home to Florida State after winning at Louisville is not as strange as it seems when you remember the Seminoles also beat Tony Bennett’s team last season.

Here is a strange one: Nebraska winning at Indiana and Maryland after floundering six times, including once against Gardner-Webb.

Then there is Purdue losing at home to Minnesota, Butler stumbling against St. John’s, Michigan fumbling at Iowa … and you understand. 

College basketball placed the Titleist on the tee for the Monday Muse. 

1. ACC SNAPSHOT

Have you looked at the ACC standings?

The ones with Florida State on top — and Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Louisville in the second division.

I know, I know. One week. Let the schedule breathe.

I’m not ready to project the Seminoles as the league champions, but they do have that road win over Virginia and they’re four points shy of being 15-0. Hard to believe Leonard Hamilton, Joe B. Hall’s former assistant at Kentucky, will turn 69 in August, isn’t it?

They’re talking about at least nine and perhaps as many as 11 ACC teams making the NCAA Tournament. They’re also saying the league champion could have as many as five losses for the first time in a decade.

Home teams lost four of the first nine league games played. Syracuse (8-6, with losses to Boston College and St. John’s) is in free fall. Clemson has seven Top 100 wins.  BC is no longer a gimme.

Louisville has three consecutive home games after Rick Pitino's team plays at Notre Dame Wednesday and Georgia Tech Saturday. The Cards need to win in either South Bend or Atlanta to make up for the home loss to Virginia.

Winning the ACC regular-season title will be more difficult than winning the NCAA Tournament.

2. SEC SNAPSHOT

The question in the SEC rarely changes: Is anybody capable of pushing Kentucky?

Florida.

Maybe.

Let me share this statistic with you: According to Jeff Sagarin’s computer power formula, SEC teams are 1-21 against teams ranked in Sagarin’s Top 25.

The win? Kentucky over North Carolina.

For comparison, ACC teams are a respectable 11-16 against Top 25 Sagarin teams while Big Ten teams have been shaky — 7-27.

But not as shaky as the SEC.

There are signs the exception could be Mike White’s team at Florida. The Gators won at Arkansas and also handled formidable Miami on a neutral court. Florida’s three losses have been to Top 15 teams — Gonzaga, Duke and Florida State, none at home.

The Gators play the Wildcats home and away this season. Ken Pomeroy has Florida favored in every SEC game, except the two with UK. 

His forecast is 14-4, two games behind John Calipari’s team.

If you’re asking for a sleeper, I’ll take Georgia.

Mark Fox is a solid, veteran coach, the Bulldogs started league play with a road win (Auburn) and they can build early momentum with their next two games (South Carolina, Missouri) at home.

After that? I’m open to suggestions.

3. BIG TEN SNAPSHOT

This is the most difficult league to forecast as well as the league that could be decided this week.

Huh? What?

Let me explain. Back-to-back road wins by Nebraska, Minnesota’s victory at Purdue Sunday and Michigan State’s unexpected 2-0 start have helped shape a league that is already reduced to three unbeatens.

Home losses by the Boilermakers and Hoosiers have altered the script. The Cornhuskers, Gophers, Northwestern and Penn State look improved from last season.

But in the Big Ten, things go through Wisconsin.

The Badgers visit Indiana Tuesday and Purdue Sunday. How’s that for finding out where you stand? If the Badgers win those two, the rest of the Big Ten will be chasing Greg Gard’s team for the next two months.

4. TAKE A  BOW ACC

The bowl season is not over, but we already have a winner: 

The Atlantic Coast Conference.

ACC teams have won 8 of their 11 bowl games. That’s more bowl games than the Big Ten (2-5), Pac-12 (2-3) and Big 12 (3-2) have combined to win.

It’s better than the SEC’s 5-5 record as play began Monday.

But here’s a note that makes the ACC’s record glitter a little more: Four of the eight ACC winners were teams considered underdogs by the betting public.

That would be Clemson, Florida State, Boston College and Wake Forest.

Toss in Lamar Jackson’s Heisman Trophy as well as Clemson’s legit shot to topple Alabama in the national championship game and this could a December & January that flattens any remaining perception that the ACC is a basketball/baseball league.

5. FROM WKU CANDIDATE TO HOT SEAT

A string of names trickled into the conversation as replacements for Jeff Brohm at Western Kentucky before athletic director Todd Stewart announced the hiring of Mike Sanford Jr.

One name that several folks pushed to me was Ed Warinner. He had Kentucky roots. His father played for Bear Bryant at UK. His grandfather was a state senator from Albany, Ky.

None of those factors are reasons to hire a football coach. What could Warinner do on the field?

Today Ohio State fans will answer that question: Not enough.

After struggling to score points against Michigan State and Michigan, Warinner’s offense was blanked by Clemson in the national semifinals Saturday.

Ohio State’s offense has gone backwards since Tom Herman left for Houston after the 2014 season. Don’t be surprised if Urban Meyer makes a change.

6. RONDO RUNNING OUT OF TEAMS

Rajon Rondo made his name playing for the Boston Celtics, winning an NBA title.

He bounced to Dallas in 2015, on to Sacramento last season and back to Chicago for 2016-17.

Now Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is learning what Tubby Smith, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle and George Karl discovered: Rondo is not an easy guy to coach.

The Bulls have already suspended Rondo once this season. Then Hoiberg sat him during the second half of the Bulls’ game at Indiana Friday and did not play him a minute Saturday against Milwaukee.

How did Rondo respond?

By saying that he’ll ask to be traded if the Bulls don’t intend to use him. (The latest story link.)

How many teams are looking for a guard shooting 37 percent from the field and 54 percent from the foul line who has slipped considerably on defense?

We’re about to find out.

7. MEDIA BASHING

I’m certain there are coaches, sports information directors and players who have considered asking me to leave the press box.

But it hasn’t happened yet.

It did happen to a reporter in Philadelphia Sunday. (Story link.) My reaction? I’m surprised we have not seen more of this.

Eagles’ management asked Jeff McLane, a beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, to leave the press box after he argued with a member of the team’s media relations staff about noise.

Considering the Eagles were finishing a 7-9 season that found them in last place in the NFC East, it’s likely been a stressful season filled with less than glowing stories about the team’s struggles.

Nominations are open for where this will happen next.

8. SUPER BOWL FORECAST

The Super Bowl will be telecast on WDRB (Fox Sports) this season on Feb. 5 from lovely Houston, Texas.

The game is always a ratings winner but Fox has to be rooting for form to hold because if the game is a matchup of the AFC and NFC favorites, a mammoth audience appears inevitable.

In one corner, you’ve got the team that everybody either loves or hates — the New England Patriots.

In the other corner, you’ve got America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, a franchise that has missed the big game for the last 21 seasons.

The league’s best veteran quarterback (Tom Brady) against the team’s best rookie quarterback (Dak Prescott)?

Sounds a tad sexier than the Atlanta Falcons against the Houston Texans or Miami Dolphins, don’t you think?

9. HOOSIERS’ HOWARD: 2nd BEST ROOKIE?

Some wondered if Jordan Howard made the correct decision when he decided to leave Indiana for the NFL a year ago.

Howard was not drafted until the fifth round, the 150th overall pick, by the Chicago Bears. The Bears were looking for a back to replace Matt Forte. That back was supposed to be Jeremy Langford.

Instead it was Howard. (Link to Chicago Tribune story.)

Langford was the Bears’ featured back in September. After that, Howard put him on the bench. If not for the slow start, Howard might have eclipsed the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott as the top runner in the NFL.

Howard (5.2) did average more yards per carry than Elliott (5.1) but Elliott won the NFL rushing title — 1,631 to 1,313.

Howard set the Bears’ rookie record for rushing — and we’re talking more yards than Forte, Walter Payton or Gale Sayers gained in their first seasons.

10. POLL RESULTS

Will suspended Duke guard Grayson Allen be reinstated when the Blue Devils visit Louisville Jan. 14?

Yes — 80.9 percent.

No —  19.1 percent.

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