One of the perks of our new, snazzy CBS blogpoll is that we participate in these round tables which basically consist of a couple of burning questions regarding college basketball that week. The guys over at A Sea of Blue were responsible for this week's questions:
Who really looks like the best team in college basketball this season?
I was pretty damn sure that at the start of the year, North Carolina was going to win it all. They have got players on that team that could have gone on to the NBA two years ago in Lawson and Ellington and one of the biggest gamers in the nation in Tyler Hansbrough. They have faltered this season but so has everyone in the nation so I still like North Carolina as the best team in the nation right now. If Jerome Dyson did not get hurt, my answer would probably be Connecticut but Dyson is a huge piece that is now missing. Carolina lost Ginyard, but he did not produce to the capacity that Dyson did. There are two other teams that have a fighting chance at being named the top team in the nation at this point and that is Oklahoma and Pitt. I'm sorry to admit this, but I'm not a true believer in the Sooners. If you can only manage to beat Colorado by five points, you are not the best team in the nation. Blake Griffin is the best player in the nation but I see them as the one seed that will probably fall first if they come across a team that is not intimidated by the one-man show. Crocker and Warren are good supporting players, but I'm still not sold. Pittsburgh is right there, I think. I still don't think they are as skilled at every position as North Carolina is, however. They beat UConn on the road which is an amazing feat but without Dyson, UConn was due for a loss. I'm a big Pitt fan, but I'll be curious to see if their role players can step up in the big time. Blair, Young and Fields are a great threesome but is it enough?
continue reading after the jump for more Q&A and feel free to comment below!
Is Blake Griffin the Player of the Year already, or can somebody catch him?
It's really not even close at this point. Griffin is leaps and bounds ahead of any other player as far as public perception goes. He's a top story on Sportscenter virtually every night Oklahoma has a game and just puts up gaudy numbers, especially on the glass. Watching him is an absolute pleasure because you realize that with a player like Griffin, Oklahoma can beat anyone in the nation because he can take over a game by himself.
If I had to pick someone that is even remotely close to Griffin, it would have to be Ty Lawson. I love the way Ty Lawson plays the game and if you watched the Miami game, you know why. Lawson, who was apparently sick as a dog, nailed a number of key buckets late in the game to give his team the victory at Miami. He's second in the nation in Assist/Turnover ratio, and also leads his team in field goal percentage, steals, and assists. He has been the driving force in that team this year and is about as pure as a point guard can get.
What currently ranked team is the biggest disappointment so far this year?
Sadly, this award (if you call it that) probably will be going to a team in the West. As a very disappointed Gonzaga fan right now, my first instinct was to immediately point to our beloved Zags. Gonzaga was up to fourth at one point this season before dropping their first game to Arizona. Since then they have been a shell of themselves and are limping through the WCC schedule. As bad as Gonzaga has been, it's hard to say that UCLA has been less of a disappointment. I understand they lost Kevin Love but they returned some of the better players in the Pac-10, including Darren Collison who was supposed to compete for player of the year this season. The Bruins have been completely lost in the interior this season as (surprise!) Alfred Aboya and James Keefe have not been able to provide steady, consistent play this season. Aboya has been decent but the Bruins are hoping the J'Mison Morgan comes along very quickly.
I do think the the Bruins were set up to fail. Looking at their team before the season started, there is no way people should have expected them to be a top five team. The Pac-10 can match up with the Bruins perimeter players but could not match up with Love last year. Now, there is a major hole there and the Bruins are greatly suffering because of it. UCLA has been the biggest disappointment, but Gonzaga is right there.
Predict the next team to beat Oklahoma.
I think that someone will beat OU before the conference tournaments begin. Looking at their remaining games, it is not easy whatsoever. They head to Texas in a couple of days and then welcome Kansas two days later. Both these games are potential tripping points because Texas is such a major rival for the Sooners that anything can happen. Kansas has a coach in Bill Self that will not let his players get rattled when they head into Norman.
The game that really excites me (assuming they don't fall off) is Missouri. On March 4th, the Sooners have to travel Columbia, Missouri to take on the Tigers. Mizzou is currently riding a major hot streak and I think that if OU is going to lose, this has to be the game. The only negative about the timing of this game is that it comes just three days after Mizzou travels to Kansas to take on the Jayhawks. Win or lose, there will probably be some type of hangover. Hopefully the three day break allows them to get their focus set on the Sooners.