BOZICH | Stock report: ACC basketball down; Big Ten up; SEC???
By Rick Bozich
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Notes written while wondering if Jeff Brohm still has that smooth three-point shot:
We’re 11 days into the college basketball season, which means I’m 10 1/2 days late with an outrageous overreaction. Not any more. I’ve got plenty to offer in 3, 2, 1 …
1.) A gap is opening in the middle of the Atlantic Coast Conference that the University of Louisville can navigate to land higher than the 11th place finish predicted at ACC Operation Basketball last month.
2.) The Big Ten is returning to Beast Mode.
3.) The Southeastern Conference is closer to a shoulder shrug, not that anybody outside the folks at Rupp Arena expect more than a shoulder shrug at this point on the football calendar.
Let’s go in 3, 2, 1 …
1. Not a great start for the ACC. Duke has sucked 99.7 percent of the oxygen out of the room as the consensus has calcified that Zion Williamso,. R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish will be the first three picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.
If I see one more LeBron James/Zion Williamson comparison, I’m going to call the local FBI office.
Mike Krzyzewski’s team has been relentlessly compared to Michigan’s Fab Five, which is tainted praise considering the Wolverines never won a Big Ten title.
I get it. Duke is good. Zion Williamson is clean. Stop talking about the FBI investigation. You’re upsetting coaches and players everywhere.
But the basketball part of the ACC’s introduction to the new season has not been dazzling.
Syracuse played from behind nearly all night before losing to rebuilding UConn. The 'Cuse were picked to finish fourth in the league and ranked No. 15 in the latest AP poll. Fire the equipment manager. The coach's wife is not happy they misspelled the name on the back of one Orange jersey.
Georgia Tech was 13 points worse than Tennessee (OK, that’s excusable. The Vols are legit.)
Notre Dame lost a home game to Radford. Boston College burped at home against IUPUI.
Wake Forest was punished for its 20-point loss to St. Joseph’s by falling to last (No. 118 overall) in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings for the Atlantic Coast Conference. If I were Danny Manning, I would not send out my dry cleaning.
After stepping on a pair of Styrofoam cups to open the season, Louisville is matched with a Vermont team that aspires to play in the NCAA Tournament Friday at 7 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.
Pomeroy likes the Cards by nine. Vegas says 7 1/2. Sagarin says only 5. We’ll learn something about Louisville Friday night.
2. On the flip side, the Big Ten has more reason to be optimistic that the league won’t be a Styrofoam cup during its annual challenge against the ACC in two weeks.
Michigan led the way by making Villanova look like Jay Wright was back to wearing off-the-rack suits again, punking the defending national champs by 27.
Wisconsin won at Xavier. Iowa beat Oregon on a neutral court. Indiana dominated Marquette. Nebraska dominated Seton Hall. Minnesota handled Utah. (The last three were home games. Overreact with care. Indiana needs to show it can win at Arkansas Sunday. The Razorbacks looked good while losing to Texas in OT.)
Ohio State has two road win credentials for March, handling Cincinnati and Creighton. That is impressive — and I’m not overreacting.
The only embarrassing moments were Michigan State falling way behind Kansas, Illinois losing a home game to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown and Penn State’s burp against DePaul.
Jeff Sagarin has already moved the Big Ten ahead of the ACC and the Big Ten as his top rated league. Pomeroy still makes it Big 12, ACC, Big Ten and SEC.
3. The SEC actually has more issues than the ACC. Eight of the league’s 14 teams have already been beaten — and Kentucky is the only one that can use the excuse that it played Duke.
Florida was not competitive at Florida State. South Carolina made Frank Martin frown by losing at home to Stony Brook.
Texas A&M lost to UC-Irvine and didn’t belong on the same floor with Gonzaga. Alabama asked Collin Sexton to come home after losing to Northeastern by 16. Northeastern followed that up by losing to Virginia Tech by 28.
There are your early college basketball overreactions. You have been cleared to return to obsessing about Jeff Brohm.
Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.