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
- Man, wasn’t Saturday the best basketball day? While most of the country was watching Ryan Lindley flounder against the Panthers, the college hoops world was buzzing. Miami stormed from down 19 to force overtime and then double overtime before eventually losing to #3 Virginia. South Carolina picked up a resume building win over #9 Iowa State. Georgia Tech dragged #14 Notre Dame to double overtime but couldn’t pull off the upset. Unbeatens Villanova, TCU, and Colorado State had their perfect seasons ended on the same day. Aaaaand #18 Oklahoma topped #22 Baylor. We’re only getting started.
- Things got cloudy in Cleveland. Well, cloudier than usual. Stories about LeBron James questioning the authority and decision-making of his head coach David Blatt. Then only a few days later, it was announced that James will miss several weeks with back and knee issues. Injury aside, the coaching situation is much more worrisome long term.
No NBA team has ever had success with a player having a stronger voice than the coach. Not even Michael Jordan’s Bulls teams, who always operated within Phil Jackson’s Triangle offense and zen attitude. Even when James was in Miami he was vocal, but within Erik Spoelstra’s system. James knows he’s the best player in the world and the level of influence that goes along with that. He’d be better off using that influence to support those around him, rather than undermine them.
- I could have written an entire post about this pass from Gonzaga mountainman Przemek Karnowski, but I’ve reached my Zags gushing quota and Peter Woodburn over at The Slipper Still Fits already did so.
The Week Ahead
In The NBA
Monday, Teams can begin to sign 10 day contracts.
Hoo, boy. The Sixers lineups have already had more “Who’s?” than the town the Grinch lives above. Now the carousel is open for business. Keep your cell phones charged. You never know who Hinkie will call for a 10 day.
Monday, Cavs @ Sixers
So why watch this one? Because if the Sixers win, NBA Twitter and ESPN will explode with doom and gloom about the mess in Cleveland. When in doubt, root for chaos.
Wednesday, Lakers @ Clippers
First, Byron Scott detailed the backward thinking the Lakers would bring bringing on the court this year. They have followed with a 10-23 record, because of course they did.
Now, Byron Scott says he wants Kobe Bryant to shoot even more than the ridiculous amount he’s already shooting. If Kobe does start shooting more (and he will because he’s Kobe) and the Lakers start to lose even more (and they will because the Lakers are 3-10 this season when Bryant shoots more than 22 times), Bryon Scott will be befuddled as to why his strategy has failed. Meanwhile the rest of the basketball loving world will continue to happily watch this trainwreck, like this:
In College Hoops
Monday, #14 Notre Dame @ #19 UNC
Quite simply, Marcus Paige battles Jerian Grant (who should be in the next Avengers movie, after his dunk on Saturday).
Monday, #18 Oklahoma @ #11 Texas
Big game early in the Big XII season. Oklahoma’s schedule is nuts. They’ve already played 4 ranked teams (when the game was played) and have 9 games to come against currently ranked teams.
Monday, Indiana @ Michigan State
Monday, Nebrasketball @ Iowa
Tuesday, #6 Villanova @ #15 St. John’s
Possibly the biggest game of the Big East regular season. Both teams coming off of a loss, but still the early favorites to take the conference crown.
Tuesday, #20 Ohio State @ Minnesota
Wednesday, #13 Kansas @ #22 Baylor
Thursday, Michigan State @ Iowa
Saturday, (deep breath) THERE ARE 145 D-1 GAMES NEXT SATURDAY
#5 Louisville @ #19 UNC
#3 Virginia @ #14 Notre Dame
#9 Iowa State @ #17 West Virginia
That’s three top 10 teams (thought Iowa State will drop in the new poll released today) playing on the road against top 20 teams. Let’s go live to Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg with how you should feel about that sentence:
#20 Ohio State @ Indiana
#11 Texas @ Oklahoma State
Like a million other games.
Enjoy them all.
(Note: Every edition of This Week in Hoops ends with a song. I’ve compiled all of these songs into a playlist that you can find here. For obvious reasons, it’s a bit holiday heavy right now. It will even out soon enough.)
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer of PalestraBack.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.