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Thursday Random Basketball Thoughts

- As expected, Iowa State got blown out by Duke. I don't really get why Iowa State is so bad, they have too much talent to be an NIT team, but that's where they're headed unless they have a strong showing in Big 12 play.

- Stanford got a much needed win over Kevin O'Neill and USC. This may have been a letdown game for USC as they'd just put themselves on probation for a year. I feel bad for the players who are being punished for O.J. Mayo related transgressions they had nothing to do with, but I feel no sympathy for that weasel O'Neill. I will never forgive him for the 2000 season when he completely quit on the program in mid-season and led the 'Cats to a winless Big Ten record.

- While browsing the Pac-10 scoreboard, I came across a shocking score. After the 2008 season, many Northwestern fans thought it was time to fire Carmody for his continued inept coaching, and were touting former NU assistant and Brown head coach Craig Robinson for the job. I was definitely in favor of this plan at the time, but the 'Cats kept Carmody and Robinson ended up at Oregon State. In his first year, Oregon State improved dramaticaly, but they've taken a step back this year, and last night they were humiliated on their home court, losing 99-48 to Seattle University. Seattle is an independent in its first full year of Division 1, and they won by 51 points at a Pac-10 arena. It looks like Jim Phillips made the right decision in keeping Carmody.

- Lots of interesting developments out of last night's game between Charlotte and Tennessee. First off, there's the ongoing saga of the 4 Vols suspended for gun and drug charges. Yesterday the story got much more entertaining, as unconfirmed speculation from the Tennessee page indicates that center Brian Williams had written his name on the bag of weed the cops found. That's the dumbest marijuana related arrest I've seen since Damon Stoudamire wrapped his weed in tin foil before passing through the airport metal detector. The best part of that game was discovering an all-time great name, in Charlotte forward An'Juan Wilderness. The guy's first name sounds like And One, a perfect name for a basketball player that conjures up images of An'Juan being a playground legend, and then you have his last name which is about the complete opposite of street ball on the playgrounds. Maybe he was discovered on Siberia's answer to Rucker Park.

- 2-0 last night for me picking as Michigan State held off a game Wisconsin squad and Ohio State pummeled Indiana in Evan Turner's return. Even though Wisconsin lost, once again I am amazed at how good a coach Bo Ryan is. Wisconsin neutralized Michigan State's big edge in athleticism by taking the air out of the ball and making it a half court game. If Trevon Hughes had played as well he usually does, Wisconsin probably wins the game. Just outstanding by Ryan, he's got my vote for Coach of the Year nationally right now. Onto tonight's pick:

Michigan at Penn State (-1.5), 6 PM central on ESPN2

I really don't have a strong opinion here. Penn State desperately needs a win and is playing at home, unfortunately for them they are not a good team. Michigan is coming off a big win over Ohio State, but given how bad the Wolverines have been away from home (1-5 with the only win in overtime against a bad Creighton team), I guess I'll take Penn State and hope Talor Battle gets some support.

Pick: Penn State

Pick for the Northwestern game coming shortly