Welcome to our weekly feature: This Week In Hoops. Every Monday morning we’ll take a quick look back at what we learned from the last week of games and a look forward at this week’s slate.
What We Learned Last Week
- The Warriors winning streak reached 16 and they now sit atop the Western Conference at 21-2. It’s become apparent that either Steve Kerr is a good coach or Mark Jackson was a very bad coach. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are finally playing to their full potential.
- What the hell is happening in Ann Arbor? A week after losing to NJIT, Michigan lost to Eastern Michigan and got trounced by Arizona. Nik Stauskas was a good college player, but there’s no good reason for the Wolverines to be in freefall without him.
- Kentucky had quite the week. First, they played even with Columbia for 30 minutes (and yes, they opened up a lead when they needed to, but they let an Ivy hang around with a lead for most of the game at Rupp), then Alex Poythress tore his ACL in practice, and then the beat up ranked UNC. The whispers of an undefeated season have grown to normal volume talking (Dickie V mentioned it during Gonzaga-UCLA), but the Cats showed a wild amount of variance this week. I could go on for another 500 words here…so expect to see something about this in the near future on Palestra Back.
The Week Ahead
In The NBA
Tuesday, Warriors @ Grizzlies
Oh, just the two best teams in the NBA playing each other. Golden State brings the best backcourt (Curry and Thompson) in the NBA to Memphis to face the best frontcourt (Gasol and Z-Bo), which brings us to an interesting question.
If Curry and Thompson played Gasol and Randolph in a game of 2-on-2, who wins? The big guys can probably score every time they get the ball. Then again, the Splash Brothers could probably get an open look every time they touch it too. If we’re giving more for a 3 pointer, I have to think the guards get the win. If not, the Gasol/Z-Bo post ups are bringing higher percentage shots and they are grabbing most of the rebounds (long shots mean long boards though). I don’t know. Can we do this during All-Star weekend? Sounds better than any of the current activities.
Wednesday, Grizzlies @ Spurs
So after the Grizzlies play the 20-2 Warriors at home, they need to board a plane and fly to San Antonio to play the Spurs. Anyone who thinks the current NBA schedule brings about the best possible on-court product is a liar, a dummy, or both.
In College Basketball
If you’ll allow me a moment of honesty, it’s a down week in college hoops. There’s a bit of a lull between the early season tournaments, classics, challenges, and invitationals and the conference schedule. During the work week, no ranked teams play each other. The best games are Alabama-Wichita State and UConn-Duke, neither of which inspires a real spike in enthusiasm. But then Saturday comes around…
UCLA @ #1 Kentucky
#4 Louisville @ Western Kentucky
Syracuse @ #7 Villanova
Lafayette @ #10 Kansas
#21 UNC @ #12 Ohio State
#15 Butler @ Indiana
#23 Northern Iowa @ Iowa
#16 Oklahoma @ #17 Washington
That’s a pretty nice slate of games. Football season has shifted into its bowl period, so Saturdays belong to hoops again.
Speaking of bowls, let’s pretend for a moment that basketball and football switched places (this is like the fifth time we’ve done so). If basketball ended with a season of “bowl games”, where would the important ones be held? And what would they be called? Here’s some suggestions.
The Comcast Xfinity Liberty Bowl presented by Taco Bell, at the Palestra
Ok, but really:
The Liberty Bell, at the Palestra
The Hoosier Bowl, at Assembly Hall (or Hinkle Fieldhouse)
The Apple Bowl, at Madison Square Garden
The Wooden Bowl, at Pauley Pavilion
I’m going to stop there because all of those sound stupid and the idea of those existing makes me miss March Madness. Can you imagine two bubble teams, instead of making the tournament with a chance to advance, playing in the Applebee’s Eating Good In the Neighborhood Bowl at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey? That makes me want to cry.
Sorry, let’s end this on a happier note.
(Note: Every edition of This Week in Hoops will end with a song. I’ve compiled all of these songs into a playlist that you can find here.)
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and lone contributor at PalestraBack.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.