View From The Booth

Navy, Duke, Florida State, Gonzaga, Villanova - they're all here as Pete lays out his news and views on college basketball.

College basketball is simply amazing.


Just when you think you have a bead on what's going on, you find out that you really don't. In fact, no one does.


Congrats to Navy and coach Billy Lange for winning the N-Star for the 13th time in 14 meetings in Men's basketball.


While kids like J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison fill the stat sheet with national highlights, there may be no better story than that of Matt Fannin at Navy. Most kids would have said enough is enough, but as I told you here a month and a half ago, the job done by Fannin, trainer Ed Davis and strength coach Justin Livezey has been amazing. He is indeed a warrior and came through down the stretch when his team needed him on Sunday in front of a CBS-TV audience.


On the national scene, if I said teams like Wisconsin and Maryland would be left out of the NCAA Tournament a month ago you would have said, "Pete, stay on vacation - the sun has obviously gotten to you."


Well, with the Badgers taken down by North Dakota State (at home!) and Purdue, and Maryland in a free-fall, where even the Terps' own crowd is booing them, one wonders where these two teams will be come March.


How many escape acts can Gonzaga pull in its conference? The latest, a win over St. Mary's Monday night on a play that took 0.02 seconds according to the zebras where the guy caught the pass, turned and shot the ball, in 0.02!


Kudos to the NCAA for taking some action in the wake of a bad technical foul against Florida State on Saturday. No, it wasn't that the stripes favored Duke, a double technical is the easy cop-out when the Florida State kid did nothing wrong but commit a foul. I am a ref as many of you know, but we should be held accountable for incorrect judgments too. Isn't the coach? He gets fired. Doesn't the player? He gets benched.


Next Monday, GAME OF THE YEAR II. After all, by ranking, Texas-Duke was GOTY I.


Villanova hosting UCONN. WOW! I want a ticket. Randy Foye against Marcus Williams, the Huskies are deep, NOVA is not. But, Villanova has huge heart and the game's most under-appreciated head coach, Jay Wright.


You know I love the Mountaineers of West Virginia; I pegged them at the start of the year in football to beat Louisville, but man, look at their next five games - four of which are on the road. At Pitt, at Georgetown, at surging Seton Hall, the only home game is against UCONN, and then at Syracuse! I hope Mr. Gansey and Mr. Pittsnogle are ready for that.


By the way, it won't happen, but 14-of-16 Big East teams are .500 or better, DePaul is one game under. All would garner post-season bids somewhere if they made it.


No coach needed a big win more than Penn State's Ed DeChellis. The Nittany Lions at one time were presentable in hoops. The last couple of years have been bad, but at 11-9, there is a glimmer of hope in Happy Valley.


Anyone remember Steve Fisher? I once had a youth league coach by that name, but the 1989 NCAA winner at Michigan seems certain to be headed back with San Diego State. At 15-6 and 8-1 in the Mountain West, this league could get three bids. Air Force and UNLV, with former Illinois and Florida coach Lon Kruger at the helm, all have a chance. A big one is slated for Wednesday night as SDSU hosts Air Force.


Birmingham-Southern had a nine-game Big South winning streak snapped at Radford Monday night, as Whit Holcomb-Faye had 31 for coach Byron Samuels' Highlanders. Top Stories