Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Quick thoughts on the end of Miami's winning streak, Louisville's recent dominance and the latest victory for Team Towson.
Miami had been flirting heavily with a loss for the past week and-a-half, but a curb-stomping at 11-14 Wake Forest wasn't exactly what doubters had in their forecast. I loathe, loathe, loathe the "good loss" talking point, but I'm willing to acknowledge that there might be some merit to it in this instance.
The Hurricanes handled the success of the Duke win well, but the Carolina blowout that propelled them to top line status on mock brackets all over the Internet seems to have been a turning point. Since then, Jim Larranaga's team hasn't played with that same poor, hungry driven mindset that led it to the best ACC start by a team other than UNC or Duke since 1981.
Miami is like every other team in the country this season outside of maybe Indiana: Not good enough to win a national title on pure talent alone. Parity is so great this season in college basketball that if you show up to any game without a desire (or at least a will) to defend, then you're probably going to get embarrassed. That's what happened to the Canes today, and it's why their 14-game winning streak is no more.
Agree with it or not, the consensus from Bracketologists the world over is that Gonzaga would be a No. 1 seed if the NCAA Tournament started today. They should root for the WCC to be this down every year.
It's come against the bottom of the Big East, but Louisville has looked like the top-tier national title contender everyone thought they were in early January their last two times out. This is what Rick Pitino teams have done in recent years, so no one should be particularly surprised.
In Saturday's 79-61 rout of Seton Hall, junior center Gorgui Dieng scored a career-high 23 points by hitting 10-of-11 from the field. The most impressive thing about the performance was that seven of those 10 makes were jump shots; it wasn't the typical high-percentage shooting game from a big man where all but one or two of his makes are lay-ups and dunks. If Dieng is near this level of good, then U of L is awfully tough to beat.
Guards Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Kevin Ware also combined for nine steals, as Louisville forced 19 Seton Hall turnovers. Perhaps more importantly, the Cards only turned the ball over nine times themselves.
A huge win today for Team Towson, which knocked off preseason CAA favorite Drexel, 72-71. With just two games to go in the regular season, the team which was in the middle of a record 41-game losing streak just 13 months ago now sits alone in second place in the Colonial standings. The Tigers have won six of their last seven seven, and their 16 wins are already the most the program has seen since 1995-96.
Pat Skerry for Team USA coach in 2016.
Vanderbilt, which entered today 10-15 overall, 4-9 in a bad SEC and with a 50-33 loss to 7-20 Marist on its resume, just beat Mississippi State by 41 points (72-31). Help is coming, as Rick Ray has a pair of top 100 recruits entering the fold next season...but my goodness.