January 22, 2007
It was an interesting weekend in the world of college basketball.
This is the time of year where schools can really build their resume. Go ask Indiana how big the win at Connecticut was. I don't want to hear that the Huskies are so young ... the bottom line is a big W on the road is impressive and it really boosts the RPI. Personally, I prefer to use the VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index). After all, the RPI had Florida ranked 28th last week! The Huskies could have used a statement win, but it did not happen and Jim Calhoun's squad had a Monday date at Louisville.
Kelvin Sampson is putting a stamp on the Hoosiers program, winners of nine of their last 10 games. Rodrick Wilmont and DJ White have been outstanding. Tough, tough defense can make a difference.
Vanderbilt capped a great week by stunning Kentucky at Rupp Arena. That is a tough place to play and Kevin Stallings doesn't get enough credit. He is in a tough, tough situation with the Commodores, competing against the likes of Tennessee. That win, coupled with a blowwout over Alabama, gives a boost to the RPI of Vandy.
If North Carolina can play as defensive-minded as it did against Clemson and Georgia Tech recently, this team will be really special in the weeks ahead. The Tar Heels are so unselfish and love making the extra pass, a la Pittsburgh. North Carolina is averaging around 20 assists per game. This group was brilliant in its passing the rock against Georgia Tech.
Brandan Wright and Tyler Hansbrough are so tough inside. The Tar Heels can really pound you from the perimeter too. Ty Lawson has really learned how to play at the point guard slot.
There was also surprises. Besides the Vandy stunner I mentioned earlier, Marquette upset Pittsburgh, Texas Tech beat Kansas, New Mexico State got past Nevada ... and the hits just keep on coming with parity in college basketball.
There are so many diaper dandy point guards to watch this season. Javaris Crittenton did not play well against North Carolina, but trust me, my friends, he is a very good one. Think about what Lawson has done in Carolina blue. Mike Conley has played very well for the Buckeyes and I look forward to watching him play this weekend against Michigan State. Throw in D. J. Augustin of Texas, coming off a 25-point performance against Villanova, and Sherron Collins of Kansas.
Some happenings from a super weekend of hoops.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.