JackSmack: Issue #39

I hardly want to remark on Clemson hoops right now, as teams with an actual pulse are making what is turning out to be one of the greatest seasons ever, which is going to be followed by wide open conference tournaments and a crazy NCAA tournament.

No more chastising Larry, no more nothing on Clemson. We finish the season at (13-16) and (4-12) in the ACC, tied for last, and probably looking at the #9 seed. UNC is awful and they swept us. Hey, yeah, we did beat FSU last Saturday behind Edward Scott's 36 points, but whoopty-friggin-doo.

On to real college hoops, where we'll go through the major conferences and see who won or can still lay claim to regular season titles. Also, this weekend, bubble teams like Virginia and the entire Big East (except Pitt) better hope that the upsets stay to a minimum in the mid-major conference tourneys, because that's where bubble team's bids start going down the toilet.

Let's start in the ACC, where Maryland has clinched the regular season title with a little help from Virginia's late run last night to beat Duke and keep the Cavs' chances alive. If UVA can beat Maryland Sunday, they're in, but if not, they're going to have to win at least one in the ACC tournament, where they could be in a 4-5 game with Wake Forest. I thought they were done after the home loss to Georgia Tech, but last night was huge. What a tough way to lose a basketball game for Wake with that ‘no timeout' call against Maryland. They had them beat. Wake went on to lose @ GT, and have now lost 5 of 6.

On to the SEC, where Alabama clinched its first regular season title since their coach played for the team in 1987. What a great game and a great finish against Florida. The Gators turned around and held off a tough luck Tennessee team, who might not even make it to the NIT after so many close calls against top teams this year. Georgia clinched a 1st round bye in the SEC tournament when Vanderbilt beat Kentucky by 15. By the way, why is everyone on Nolan Richardson's case? I think he's a great coach. He's had players leave early and every year, he runs his game with what he's got, which right now isn't much. Ole Miss could become the second, but right now Arkansas is the only team in the conference to have beaten Florida and Alabama. Let Nolan go and you will regret it.

In the Big 12, Kansas has another regular season title under it's belt and is going for the 1st undefeated conference season since it was the Big 8. Not an easy task winning @ Mizzou, so we'll see. Last week, Oklahoma killed Texas before the ‘Horns turned around to demolish Texas Tech. Also, Missouri beat Oklahoma State in a game the Tigers needed, and Kansas did get a scare winning by 1 @ Nebraska.

Oregon can win the Pac Ten title outright with a win @ UCLA Saturday, but with a loss, there a couple of teams that can split it with them. Last night was a huge win for Oregon @ USC. Stanford gets ripped at home by UCLA, and then wins @ Arizona last night. I thought Cal was in anyway, but winning this week against USC and @ Arizona State was big for the Bears.

In the Big Ten, Wisconsin has clinched a share of the regular season title with a few other teams with a shot to split it. Illinois has won 7 in a row after winning @ N'western and then over Indiana. Michigan State solidified itself with wins over Indiana and @ Ohio State. This tournament is going to be nuts.

A quick take on Conference-USA: Cincinnatti squeaks by Marquette at the last second, and then Marquette loses to East Carolina and the Bearcats lose to Louisville. Maybe this conference tournament will be better than expected.

Oh, did I forget the Big East? Oops.

This weekend, there are many good games, some very important, some just very interesting.

Florida @ Kentucky (Not sure, but I think the winner gets a 1st round bye.)

Oregon @ UCLA (The Bruins seem to play big when they need to, but Oregon wants the title outright.)

Cal @ Arizona (Let's see how hot Cal really is. Arizona needs this game for seeding.)

Georgia @ Tennessee (Will the Vols lose another close one to a top team?)

Illinois @ Minnesota (Two tourney teams with the Illini trying to win their 8th in a row.)

Stanford @ Arizona St. (The Cardinal need this one for seeding.)

N.C. State @ WF (Wake needs to get back on track, but it's not going to be easy.)

Kansas @ Missouri (Can the Tigers give KU their only conference loss this year?)

Virginia @ Maryland (The Cavs are in with a win, but the Terps are rolling.)

Alabama @ Ole Miss (The top 2 teams in the West square off in Oxford.)

So I'm going to get back at you next Wednesday before the major conference tournaments start. There will already be a handful of teams in the dance, and plenty of anxiety going into the weekend. I don't think anyone can get more excited than Dick Vitale, but I'm close right now.

It is March Madness time, but there is still stuff happening in other sports. Here's my take on some of the news:

--The Olympic Men's Hockey was great. It felt good to beat Russia, and the final against Canada had more talent on the ice in a game that mattered that I have ever seen. A great showpiece for hockey, period.

--Al Michaels is the best NFL play by play man in the business and I think it's going to be fun listening to him and Madden next year on Monday Nights. I liked Dan Fouts, and you can bet he'll be on CBS or Fox. I don't think the Dennis Miller experiment was a failure, but it had definitely run its course.

--Well one week Al Davis makes a good move in my opinion and then just turns around and falls on his face. How do the Raiders sign Bill Romanowski? Probably the dirtiest player in the game, he's 35, gets by on steroids, and they give him a 7 year contract. What the …?

--Question of the century: What will happen first? Baseball realizes it needs a salary cap or football realizes it needs a much bigger one. I just hope it's in my lifetime.

Enjoy a great weekend of basketball and we'll get back next week with the seedings for the major conference tournaments and I'll tell you who has to do what to get where.

Thank you for the e-mails. Even if I get 15 ripping me for having us down last week playing N.C. State instead of UNC, that's fine. But by the way, I'm not a so-called expert and neither is Vitale, Bilas, Packer, or Andy Katz. Nobody's an expert, there are just knowledge people. I know my sports because I watch them religiously.

I make good picks and I stand by them (except maybe not in this year's NCAA's.) Seriously, though, your input only makes my work better, so feel free to let me know if you like what if I have to say or if you think your left foot could do a better job. You can always reach me at: jacksmackcu01@yahoo.com

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