JackSmack: Issue #38

Okay Bobby Robinson, this is my last plea for Mr. Shyatt's farewell tour. We have some good young players that a coach with a brain could at least take to the NIT. Right now, the Tigers are 13-15 overall and 4-11 in the conference, barely above a shoddy UNC squad.

We got ripped @ N.C. State and then in Littlejohn vs. Maryland. This week, we have two home games: Sat. vs. FSU, and Wednesday vs. Wake Forest. I'm watching good basketball all over the country and none of it involves anything close to my beloved Clemson University. I'm embarrassed as we all should be, so Bobby, don't give us a bunch of crap about graduation rates and nobody getting in trouble after the season. Just find a good coach (Jeff Lebo, maybe) and then think about football because I'm pissed.

Nationally in college hoops, it's crunch time. It's almost March and it's put up or shut up time. Along with USA Today's projections for the tournament, let's run through the ‘major' conferences, and I'll let you know what I think.

In the ACC, 4 are in: Maryland, Duke, Wake Forest, and N.C. State. Maryland finally whipped Duke to make the ACC tourney very interesting. That's the worst I've seen Duke play in 3 years. Duke did turn around and run Wake last night. The team that has to be playing for their lives is Virginia. This week, they got ripped at home by Wake and then lost @ FSU. They are (6-7) in the ACC, and they have GT, Duke, and Maryland left. This is the only conference where you can go (7-9) in the league and still make it, but the way the Cavs are fading, they may have to go (8-8) and they definitely can't lose in the first round of the ACC tourney.

On to the SEC, where 6 teams are going: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Miss. State. That's 3 from each side. Last week, Ole Miss beat Florida handily at home, and although the Tide lost @ Arkansas, they beat Tennessee at home to go to (5-0) against the East. They get Florida in Tuscaloosa tomorrow for a great game. Georgia finished its sweep of Kentucky before the ‘Cats turned around and barely escaped Tennessee at home, a game the Vols badly needed. Tennessee is the only way the SEC gets 7 in, but they need a strong finish, and a run in the SEC tourney which is wide open.

In the Big Ten, I have 6 going. The committee loves this conference, and they aren't going to leave out Minnesota or Michigan State. Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin are already in. This should be a wide open tournament as well. Last week, Ohio State won @ Iowa, while Minnesota lost at home to Wisconsin and then @ Michigan State. Wisconsin also beat Iowa, and Indiana held serve at home versus Ohio State.

On to the weird Big 12, where I have 6 going. Yes, that includes Texas Tech and Missouri along with Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Oklahoma State. Mizzou might have some work to do in the tourney after losing to Texas at home, but I'm putting them in. Texas turned around and lost at home to Oklahoma State, who is finally starting to look like an Eddie Sutton team. Should be another good tournament especially after Kansas has to finish the season @ Missouri.

I have 6 teams in the Pac Ten going as well: Arizona, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Oregon, and Cal. The Bears may need some wins down the stretch, but I think they're in. Last week, Arizona lost @ USC, and UCLA lost at home to Arizona State. This tournament is as wide open as it gets.

Just a touch on the Big(L)East, where it seems like every time somebody gets ranked, they lose to Rutgers. Pitt may be the best of the bunch, and they'll get 6 in, although none of them will do anything. Along with Pitt, I got Miami, Connecticut, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and BC. If Rutgers or Georgetown has a problem with that, I suggest they run the table in the tournament, which shouldn't be very difficult.

This week's notable games:

Texas @ Oklahoma (Both need it. I like the Sooners.)

Florida @ Alabama (The Tide haven't lost at home in almost 2 seasons, but the Gators are playing well.)

UCLA @ Stanford (The Bruins seem to come up big when they need to.)

Illinois @ N'western (The Illini have to start proving themselves against this kind of competition.)

GT @ Virginia (Virginia loses here, the NCAA will not come knocking.)

USC @ Cal (A big game for Cal against a good Trojan team.)

WF @ Maryland (Could be good if Wake brings their ‘A' game.)

Indiana @ Michigan St. (Could solidify the Spartans, but I like the Hoosiers in this one.)

UConn @ BC (Probably bigger for BC.)

Okla. State @ Mizzou (Huge for Missouri. It's time to step up.)

Tennessee @ Florida (One of those games that could help UT a lot.)

WF @ GT (The Deacons don't need to lose here.)

Cinci @ L'ville (Pitino's squad is overmatched, but it's Pitino and they're at home.)

Duke @ Virginia (Very big for UVA, but I don't see it.)

One football note before I sign off:
--2 1st round picks, 2 2nd round picks, and money for Jon Gruden? I like Gruden, but jeez! I think Al Davis finally won one. (At least until we see where he gets his new head coach.) Hint: Take Dennis Green. (Or rehire Art Shell. If he'll take you.)

So enjoy the last week of February as March Madness approaches. What's that? I didn't mention the Olympics. Well, I am watching the hockey. That is as long as the U.S. Men are involved. Big game against Canada tonight.

Agree? Disagree? Hate Me? Feel free to tell me what's on your mind at: jacksmackcu01@yahoo.com.

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