Parity rules college basketball

ITV columnist Scott Stepro takes a look at parity in college basketball.

Parity, the great equalizer or Six ways to a Georgia Bulldog. 

In the sports world, there are few specific words whose meaning is exact. Two or more words strung harmoniously or errantly together are typical in descriptive measures; words used alone tend to be vague and require further explanation. Words like "why" and "How" are examples of that. Some words mean so much by themselves that they require little if any. Words like "Stop", "Go", "Now" and "Parity" 



From the French word parité.

Defined as:

  1. Equality, as in amount, status, or value.
  2. Functional equivalence, as in the weaponry or military strength of adversaries:

Parity. Six letters and three syllables are all that is required to describe the current state of NCAA Division 1 hoops. No longer is there a team that is a cut above except maybe Arizona. However even they, when played properly can be exploited as LSU can attest. Of course it doesn't hurt if All-America candidate Luke Walton is on the bench. Duke has finally been exposed human, as the rigors of a D1 season seem to be catching up with the Blue Devil freshmen. 

This one word can partly explain the past week's two game slide by perennial powerhouse and home of beyond its fair share of Hamburger All-Americans, Duke. Back to back road losses to #15 Maryland and NC State left the Devils blue and looking for support from the legendary Cameron Crazies and Duke horn tooter Dick Vitale. 

This same word is the reason the Tennessee Volunteers, Louisville's Saturday opponent, beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta less than 10 days after the Jackets defeated then #18 Georgia (in Atlanta) 84-77. To prove that parity is at a constant, lets play a game, "Six ways to a Georgia Bulldog."  

OK, after Georgia Tech beat Georgia, Tennessee beat Tech, two games later the Jackets lost a heartbreaker to then #22 Minnesota in Minnesota. Georgia, since the loss to Tech, has gone a solid 10-2 and are currently #1 in the RPI, 22nd in the coaches poll and #19 in the AP. Touting road wins against Colorado and Gonzaga and home wins against then #2 Pittsburgh, #25 LSU and the OT win January 22nd against Tennessee at Georgia.  

Did you follow that? Ok, lets take it a step further. Tennessee lost to West Virginia in Morgantown. West Virginia beat Florida in Morgantown 5 days after the Gators waltzed into Allen Fieldhouse and rocked then #2 and pre-season final 4 contenders Kansas 83-73. The same Kansas team that has since beaten then #16 Maryland (who, if you will remember, has since knocked Duke out as the lone unbeaten D1 team) and #18 Tulsa but lost on Thursday (Jan 22) to Colorado who barely lost at home to… if you were following the answer is easy, Georgia, 71-70.  

Head spinning yet?  

I can tell you for certain, after looking through the Cards next five opponents, that same trend is there to a similar degree. Lets take a quick look at Indiana for example. Indiana has beaten then #8 Maryland (remember Duke?), then #8 Illinois and Purdue at home. We all know what Maryland has done and that Purdue team dealt the 13-1 Cards their only loss on the season. Purdue also won at home against Michigan State (who also lost to Kentucky) but got dropped by Illinois (who lost to Indiana) Arizona State and Xavier on the road. We know that Louisville manhandled Kentucky on the same court (Freedom Hall) where the now infamous phantom foul tirade by Indiana Coach Mike Davis occurred during IU's loss to Kentucky a week earlier.

Lets see if it applies to the #1 team in America. I wonder if we can spin Arizona into the "Six ways to a Bulldog" game? Sure can. Don't read the next paragraph and try it yourself! All the information you need is contained in this article. 

LSU handed Arizona their lone loss on the season in Baton Rouge 66-65 but the Tigers have also notched a home victory against then #8 Mississippi State. Since that win, LSU has lost to a 6-9 Arkansas on January 22 four days after Arkansas was thumped by "Six ways" Georgia. Since the Mississippi State win, the Tigers have also dropped games to Mississippi (who just knocked off Alabama but lost to Tennessee) and you guessed it, "six ways" Georgia. 

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