Somewhere, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is chortling, after his conference doubled its win count Sunday in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series (and exceeded last year's win count by one).
Just think: Two years ago, Oklahoma was in the Elite Eight, and less than a year ago, Texas was ranked No. 1 in the country. And they just lost road games to Arizona and a four-loss USC team by a combined 40 points. Ouch.
Oklahoma's loss to an Arizona team that gave KU all it wanted in Las Vegas came as no surprise. What I did learn is that the Sooners' resident ginger, Nick Thompson, is a hideously tattooed and eminently hateable player. The flagrant, intentional technical foul he administered to Derrick Williams probably should have resulted in an ejection.
Instead, Thompson remained in the game, scoring 15 points; smirking every time he did something halfway notable, even as Arizona players rushed to the other end of the court for uncontested dunks, layups and 3-pointers; and being relentlessly booed by Wildcat fans every single time he touched the ball. It was pure awesomeness.
I'm really going to enjoy beating that guy's ass in Bramlage Coliseum this season. It should give some flavor to an Oklahoma game that otherwise would be an uninteresting blowout.
As for Texas, the loss really should have come as no surprise. Young teams — and make no mistake, Texas is an extremely young team that starts two freshmen, a sophomore, a somewhat-capable senior (Gary Johnson) and a senior who can't shoot (Dogus Balbay) — do that sort of thing all the time. Texas shot like shit and defended worse.
But this was a USC team fresh off blowing a 20-point lead over the amazing phenomenon that is Nebrasketball. Texas — deservedly so — should fall out of the top 25 today, and its win over Illinois soon might be regarded as a fluke.
Speaking of Nebraska, Husker fans everywhere finally can trade in their vintage Creighton blue for the same colors they wear during football season, and just in time for a move to a Big Ten Conference that will make the beatings usually taken from Kansas seem like an everyday occurrence.
Hey, Creighton, that's what you get when you hire a failed Iowa State coach. Enjoy your future irrelevancy.
Finally, a few words about Virginia Tech: WTF? Wasn't this supposed to be the year the Hokies finally made it to the Big Dance? With three straight losses, two of them at home and one of them to an instate rival completing a six-game road trip, you might as well slap a neck brace on Seth Greenberg and dub him Jim Wooldridge the Second.
AP Ranking = 5
ESPN/USA Today Ranking = 5
Overall Record = 7-1
RPI = 10
SOS = 17
Signature Wins (RPI 1-30) = none
Quality Wins (RPI 31-100) = Virginia Tech
Bad Losses (RPI 101 or greater) = none
- James Madison (6-2, 0-1 CAA) | RPI = 112
Virginia Tech (4-4, 0-1 ACC) | RPI = 87: Loss to Virginia (54-57)
- Presbyterian (3-5, 1-1 Big South) | RPI = 106
- No. 24 Gonzaga (4-3) | RPI = 142
No. 1 Duke (8-0) | RPI = 4
- Texas Southern (1-6) | RPI = 210
- Emporia State (5-3, 2-0 MIAA*)
- Washington State (5-1) | RPI = 119
- Alcorn State (0-6) | RPI = 285
- Loyola Chicago (7-2, 0-2 Horizon League) | RPI = 182
- No. 16 Florida (6-2) | RPI = 12: Win at American (67-48)
- No. 23 UNLV (8-0) | RPI = 11
- UMKC (4-3, 0-2 Summit League) | RPI = 272
- North Florida (4-4, 1-1 Atlantic Sun) | RPI = 126
- Savannah State (1-9) | RPI = 310
- Oklahoma State (7-1) | RPI = 89
- Colorado (4-3) | RPI = 265
- Texas Tech (5-4) | RPI = 168
- No. 8 Missouri (6-1) | RPI = 35
- Texas A&M (7-1) | RPI = 66
- No. 10 Baylor (6-0) | RPI = 45
- No. 4 Kansas (7-0) | RPI = 6
Nebraska (6-2) | RPI = 111: Win over Creighton (59-54)
- Iowa State (6-2) | RPI = 108
Oklahoma (3-5) | RPI = 201: Loss at Arizona (60-83 in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series)
- No. 20 Texas (6-2) | RPI = 34: Loss at USC (56-73 in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series)