Some random thoughts and free associations as we near the coming hoops frenzy.
- Lorenzo Mata has been a treat to watch develop. Contrast Mata's development these last two years with someone like, say, Jason Kapono's. Kapono, unfortunately under the cancerous tenure of 'the man whose name shall remain unmentioned' got worse each year in Westwood. No doubt, he was better his frosh year, and probably should've gone pro right after that. Mata has evolved into a better than average post-player, moving without the ball, jump-hooks, ranging for bounds, and solid shot-blocker.
- I like Erin Andrews, but she looks funny lately. Perhaps too much make-up or indoor lighting. Best sideline commentary around, but then my eyes are biased.
- Wisconsin is going to abuse Ohio State on Sunday.
- Ohio State is perhaps the 2nd most over-rated team in the country, behind Pitt (exposed by G'town tonight).
- Doesn't matter because OSU is going to get a #1 seed, as well as Wisconsin, and Florida is a #2 (I hope in our bracket, but unlikely).
- For all the Tarheel born and Tarheel bred - you will be introduced to the Roy Williams' painful downside this year. It's okay if you don't believe me, just place a random call to Lawrence, Kansas. The Jayhawks were notorious for early-round exits with Roy at the helm, despite being loaded with talent and seeded highly. This current UNC team reminds me of equally touted Kansas teams (though less disciplined), and they are ripe for a 2nd or 3rd round upset.
- PAC-10 tournament: I must admit I was one of those fans who used to pine for a conference tourney, and since it's inception I have been excited and interested - until now. For reasons that will go unmentioned until the tourney is over, I wish we didn't have one this year.
- I find myself searching for benchmarks to assess this UCLA team's ability to win it all. I think two useful comparisons are 1) the last UCLA championship team, and 2) the last team to win the championship from the PAC-10 (Zona). My initial impressions are that this team, as good as it is, could not beat either the Bruins 1995 squad or the 1997 Arizona team - not many teams could. Which brings me to my 2nd level of conjecture, and that is, UCLA doesn't have to beat either of those teams to win it (obviously), they just have to beat the six teams they draw in the current tournament. That being said, I don't know of any team in the field of 65, or more importantly in the top 25, who is capable of beating the '95 Bruins or '97 Cats. Go ahead, tell me this is crumudgeonly middle-aged man hindsight bias... I can take it, and would love to be proven wrong in April.