Villanova Win Will Elevate Duke Back to No. 1

The Connecticut Huskies didn't lose at Villanova Monday night because of a lack of talent. They lost, in part, because they didn't always take advantage of that enormous talent they have on their roster. Of course, the Wildcats' play, especially that of Allan Ray and Kyle Lowry, had a lot to do with the outcome as well.

Villanova's 69-64 victory over Connecticut Monday night didn't change two of my opinions about Coach Jim Calhoun's Huskies: 1.) They possess the most talented roster in college basketball and, 2.), they will be the consensus choice to win the national championship when the NCAA Tournament field and bracket are unveiled on March 12.

 

But anyone who thinks (or hopes) the Huskies will cut down twine in Indianapolis late-night April 3 in Indianapolis has to be at least mildly concerned about a couple of things.

 

Why couldn't they come close to equaling the Wildcats' tenacity, on either end of the floor? And happened to their half-court offense down the stretch? Their shot selection was curious, at best, at times.

 

Duke will (barring upset this week) return to No. 1 next week. As for the two concerns about Connecticut's Monday night performance, I've had the same trepidations about the Blue Devils at times this season when it comes to the latter (shot selection) but never the former (tenacity).

 

That being said, it was quite an entertaining game to watch and there is no denying that the Wildcats did more to win the game than the Huskies did to lose it.

 

Coach Jay Wright's backcourt play really is tremendous. Randy Foye hits just three of 10 shots and Mike Nardi plays only 16 minutes and the Wildcats still prevailed, thanks to the best overall play by a pair of guards (Kyle Lowry and Allan Ray) I've witnessed in a game this season. And Will Sheridan (13 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots against the best frontcourt in the country) did a lot to dispel the notion that Villanova is "weak" in the post.

 

And one other thing: I have a hunch that West Virginia is going to have to play a whole heck of a lot better in Morgantown Saturday than Villanova did in Philadelphia Monday to beat Connecticut.

 

BOUNCING AROUND THE COUNTRY

*The comments by Indiana coach Mike Davis during Monday's Big Ten Conference teleconference sure sounded like they were coming from a guy who, a) doesn't want to be the program's coach after this season, and/or, b) doesn't expect to be asked to return as the Hoosiers' coach next season.

 

How many folks would truly be stunned if Steve Alford is IU's coach next season?

 

The Iowa coach and former Hoosier All-America certainly fits the qualification of being "one of their own", the criteria Davis suggested Monday that the program needs in a basketball coach.

 

*No matter what happens, legally, as a result of the auto accident Eddie Sutton was involved in Friday in Stillwater and the ensuing DUI citation, I have the feeling that the Oklahoma State coach has coached his final college game. I hope not, though. It would be nice if he could pick up the six wins he needs to reach 800.

 

After seeing footage of the damage done to his vehicle in the accident, it's remarkable that he – or anyone else – wasn't more severely injured.

 

*Adam Morrison of Gonzaga is clearly the best college player in the Western portion of the country and one of the two best players (with a guard from Duke) in college anywhere – period and exclamation point!

 

But Brandon Roy of Washington is as good a "second best" player as there has been out West in a while.

 

He's the most complete player in the Pacific 10 Conference, as well as the "most valuable" player and the best NBA prospect in the conference (it's hard to imagine his not being a lottery selection), as well.

 

Anyone who has an All-America ballot is best advised to drop him into the second-team shooting guard slot. The first-team choice at the position is the same player from Duke who is one of the two best players in the country along with Adam Morrison.

 

In case you're wondering, I am making a decided effort not to mention the name of the very good guard from Duke – just this once. I've been accused of "East Coast" bias by some readers of late because of a perceiving "favoring" of the guard from Duke over Morrison for Player of the Year consideration.

 

I dig the "East Coast bias"-deal, though, since I've never lived east of the southern portion of Southern California's Orange County in my life.

 

Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.FrankHoops.com



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