Bouncing around the nation, barely a week into the college basketball season:
Those scrambles may now be a bit more cumbersome for the Hurricanes and Hokies after losses that could come back to bite them when at-large bids are being doled out by the NCAA's Basketball Championship Committee in a hotel meeting room in Indianapolis.
Coach Frank Haith's Miami team saw a nine-point lead in the second half evaporate while dropping a 57-53 decision to the Air Force Academy Monday night in Seattle during a Black Coaches Association Classic semifinal.
Granted, the Hurricanes were playing without Anthony Harris (sidelined with a broken bone in a foot), who led the team in assists last season. But is he any more important to them than forward Nick Welch, twice an All-Mountain West Conference selection, is for Air Force? Welch is sidelined for the season because of ankle and knee injuries but is expected to play as a fifth-year senior next season for Coach Jeff Bzdelik.
The previous management Preseason NIT (now under the umbrella of the NCAA and called "The 2005 NIT Season Tip-off") seemed to have had a "protégé" (Quin Snyder) vs. "mentor" (Mike Krzyzewski) semifinal matchup of Missouri vs. Duke in mind when they drew up the bracketing.
So the folks who show up in
And what about
The 49ers, who were playing their second game as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, have an All-America forward candidate in Curtis Withers and one of the top four-year transfers in the country in guard De'Angelo Alexander (Oklahoma) and are projected to be the top threats to George Washington in the conference.
Northwestern? The Wildcats were expected to be improved over their 15-16 (6-10 in the Big Ten Conference) finish of last season. But beating a fringe Top 25 team by 14 points in their opener? Wow.
The 49ers shot .308 from the field with Withers and Alexander missing on a combined 15 of 22 shots from the field.
Meanwhile, one of the Big Ten's most (nationally) under-appreciated players isn't going to hang onto that status much longer.
Senior forward Vedran Vukusic (16.8 points per game last season), after going for 25 points in the Wildcats' 61-59 victory over Lehigh Sunday, dropped 28 more on the 49ers. He was eight of 13 on 3-pointers in the two games.
But the Cowboys' 6-10, 225-pound senior post player, Justin Williams, has gotten off to the kind of start that will cause some buzz among NBA talent evaluators, scoring 29 points to go with 27 rebounds (16 Monday night) and nine blocked shots.
*The Kentucky lineup that Tubby Smith had on the floor – Sheray Thomas and Rekalin Sims (both right at 6-8), and guards Rajon Rondo, Ravi Moss and Ramel Bradley – down the stretch against Lipscomb Monday night looked very quick and efficient.
If Monday night's game was any indication, Rondo will have his hands on the ball as much as any player in the country this season.
Powe, the Pacific 10 Conference's
Freshman of the Year in 2004 for
But he was held out of the team's
exhibition Monday night against
Padgett, who spent last season
Both players are critical to the
respective teams' success this season. But
*If Texas Tech wins the Coaches vs.
Cancer Classic (beating
On second thought . . . no, it will not.
*One of the top 10 high school juniors in the country (and I'm leaning toward the conservative side in that rating), 6-3 Jerryd Bayless of Saint Mary's in Phoenix, committed to the University of Arizona last week.
By the way . . . I can't be the only one who thinks that 71-year-old Wildcats' coach Lute Olson is never going to retire, can I?
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the