You know what I miss most about college? The free time. I miss being able to sit down and crank out articles for a website, or spending hours in front of the TV or enjoying a drink or several with friends. I miss being able to spend my time following college sports.
Well, it doesn’t help my cause that my two favorite college teams, Purdue and Minnesota, have been brutal in both of the major sports, football and basketball. The only highlights were a misguided letter from a third string tight end and watching Laurence Moroney’s value plummet between now and draft day. There were no basketball highlights.
But that’s the thing about college basketball, and college basketball fans. Tonight, the Boilermakers take the hated Indiana Hoosiers, whom I hated even before I knew I was supposed to as a Boiler. And the fans will stop lamenting the fact that Purdue sucks and start remembering how much the Hoosiers do. Mackey Arena will be loud, and many things will be said about Mike Davis’ family, particularly the female members. And that passion, which never seems to fully go away no matter how beleaguered the home team is, is why I usually always enjoy following and appreciating college sports. And basketball has always been my favorite.
So now that I have some time on my hands, imagine my surprise when I took a look at the current rankings. Memphis is ranked number three? I thought Conference USA was supposed to be weak this year! Didn’t anyone take that into account when making their votes? Who’s even in C-USA anymore anyways? Central Florida? Rice? Then the next three, Villanova, Gonzaga, George Washington. When did 1989 roll around? Well, I suppose that doesn’t make any sense because Gonzaga was nothing until about seven or eight years ago. But seriously. ‘Nova? GW? (How many more schools can I put in front of question marks in this post… Read on!)
Seven through nine, Texas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, makes me think I see the problem with the polls. This is actually the football poll. That makes more sense! Wait. No. Illinois is number 10. This is still certainly basketball. The rest of the rankings make a little more sense, save for West Virginia at 18 (Kevin Pittsnogle?) and Georgetown sneaking in at 20. Never mind the fact that Nevada is in the top 25 in the AP poll and Bucknell is prepared to sneak in to the top 25 in both polls at any minute.
So what’s going on? Have I been asleep at the wheel here? Has the face of college basketball changed so dramatically that schools like George Washington are among the elite basketball powerhouses in the country? Should everyone invite me to be in there pools because I am so far out of the loop? Well, after a little bit of research I can say that the answer is a resounding “NO”. Memphis DOES play in a terrible conference, and so do Gonzaga and George Washington. I was right! Villanova is, as there always is, the hot team going into the tournament that will lose in the Sweet 16 to Michigan State. (Michigan State? Iowa?!) Everything is still the same as it has always been, except there is a new superconference (The Big East) that, instead of separating the wheat from the chaff, just muddles all the wheat together. The Big Ten appears to be in the same situation. So I have successfully figured out the situation. I was right. The polls are insane.
Well, maybe not that insane. Duke and UCONN are still 1 – 2. – Ryan