Friday, October 14, 2005

A Note on Midnight Madness

I apologize to the citizens of WilkeWorld for the following post. The Wife is giving me the evil eye as I post but sometime the King has to do what the King has to do.

Today was and is the first day of the College Basketball Season as teams were allowed to begin practices at 7:00 p.m. I am right now doing a little WilkeWorld jig. I am always so excited. As a graduate of the University of Utah, I wish now to give a review of both the Utes and the BYU Cougars. Both teams will get there run here at WilkeWorld until they prove to have no chance at making the big dance. Cougs, that means you have until the first week of January to even be considered.

I will begin with the Utes who return just two starters from last year's Sweet 16 club, Tim Drisdom and Bryant Markson. While the Mountain West coaches have the Utes picked 2nd and the national media (Street and Smith's) have them picked to win the conference, I have my reservations. Much of that reservation comes from the fact that they have no proven inside threat to score. Serbian Misha Radojevic was expected to be that threat, but thanks to an ACL injury, he will be watching everything from the bench this year. His injury severely damages the Utes' chances, especially because they have nobody else with much seasoning. Chris Jackson played a bit last year but he isn't really an offensive threat, and Luke Nevill, an enormous Australian, is projected to be quite a player but he red-shirted last year presumably to work on his game. I read that as "He's not that good."

All of that being said, the Utes do have some punch from Markson. The problem for Markson, however, is that he's never been the marked man. This year, he will draw the best defender from each opposing team and that can wear on a player. He will get his 14-16 points a night and his 6-7 boards, but I am not sure that will be enough on a lot of nights.

Lastly, I want to tell my energetic fellow Utes something. If Tim Drisdom is our starting point guard the entire season, we are in big trouble. He is an inconsistent shooter, he cannot penetrate the lane at all, and he gets picked clean at least twice a game. Heck, Jay Straight last year picked him innumerable times. No we have to hope that Johnnie Bryant is the man in the end. If he's not, it may be a long winter up on the hill.

My forecast:

Best Case Scenario--Shaun Green, a freshman, is the second coming of Josh Grant and Bryant Markson can roam like he did last year getting trash baskets. They lead the league in scoring defense and get contributions from Nevill and Langvad. They finish 24-7 and in a tie for first in the Mountain West with UNLV.

Worst Case Scenario--They can't find any offense whatsoever and despite the defense that keeps them in games they can't buy a three on the road and things get awfully ugly when they hit Laramie, Vegas, San Diego, Albuquerque and Colorado Springs. They finish 15-16 and in a tie for fifth in the conference.

What Will Happen--Green is a revelation but not enough to get Markson free to roam. Defense keeps them in games and they steal a couple on the road to get them near the top, but there are just too many questions to get them totally to the top. They finish 21-10 and in third place in the Mountain West which gets them squarely on the bubble for the tourney. In the end, the lack of a good non-conference victory dooms them and they got to the NIT.

Now for the Cougs (I told you this would be boring to my normal readers).

They have four returning starters but they have infinitely more questions than even the Utes had. Jimmy Balderson, who had a good run for the Canadian National Team over the summer, Austin Ainge, and Mike Rose all return at the guard line which could be both a curse and a blessing. Ainge is a train wreck waiting to happen (although he alone can win you a game) and both Balderson and Rose are distinguished solely for their inconsistency. They all have a year more maturity but at some point that has to translate into wins and to date it hasn't. The wild card might just be freshman, Lee Cummard, who was one of the Cougars prized recruits who has been on a Mormon mission. He is considered to be quite a shooter.

Along the baseline, BYU is a bit more consistent in that they will get a solid effort by Derek Dawes every time out and Keena Young is a battler on the boards. The problem is that neither of them has shown any offensive consistency and, unfortunately, the guards have to find a way to get them the ball. The loss of Garner Meads is really a big blow for the Cougars because he did have skills and so many of their other big men have limited skills. The coaches in the league have the Cougs dead last so it could be a long year.

Best Case Scenario--Balderson carries his hot shooting and consistent play over from the summer and becomes the leader of the team. Austin Ainge and Mike Rose shoot better than 35% from the three point line and the Cougars just run and gun. They finish the year 22-9 because of a weak nonconference schedule and place fourth in the conference just behind the Utes, Rebels and Aztecs.

Worst Case Scenario--Ainge is a head-case and Balderson goes in to the cocoon he was in last year. They can't buy a road win and find themselves getting blown out by disciplined teams both on the road and at the Marriot Center. They go 7-24 and despite their creampuff nonconference schedule they finish exactly where they were projected; last.

What Will Happen--The Cougs will find that inconsistency dooms them despite the fact that they shoot themselves into a few more wins than they should have. They finish 12-19 but they are not a team that Mountain West foes want to face in the conference tourney. I have them eighth just ahead of a miserable Colorado State team. They will do just enough to give the Cougar faithful hope for the future. With only one senior, that will be where they will rest all of their hopes, at least for this year.

That's it. Let the games begin.


Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I am not a football fan. Love that baseball and right now it is in high gear. Good luck to your Utes and the Trojans. May Utah have at least one championship. Go University of Texas Longhorns.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Grandpa Jones said...

Finally a blog on something else besides potty training. I am willing to place a little wager on which team wins, I pick BYU. I realize that I am not suppose to gamble, but my father taught me, " If something is a sure thing, it is not gambling." The bet is a hamburger and a malt. I hope you are up to it K....check and make sure the wife will let you have the money to pay off the bet....

3:37 AM  
Blogger Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i think i liked the potty training better, not a huge sports fan, it rules too much of my life in my own kingdom.

7:04 AM  
Blogger The Wife said...

Blah blah blah blah blah...I knew this when I married him, and still went through with it.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea who you are but you obviously don't know much about Ute hoops if:

A. "Luke isn't very good" - Well, Bogut was and is very high on him. All last year he was the best cover for Andrew. And yes, that included all the 7fters from CSU and Wyoming - since you like Jay Straight so much. Luke will come on strong as the conference season rolls along.

B. You're resting alot of the season on Sean Green? Well, he's a nice player who will do all the little things to win.

C. Your Drisdom comments show your true colors. Ya, he's fooled 3 coaches into starting him for 4 years. 3 NCAA trips, a sweet 16, the best TO/As in the conf.last year, started something like 94 games. Not to mention holding the entire frickin program together post Majerus. Mark my word Mr. Ute grad - Drisdom will be the surprise of the conference. For the first time in 4 years, they are finally playing HIS STYLE OF BASKETBALL.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Joseph Smith, Jr. said...

Interesting blog. Enjoyed reading it.


Joseph Smith Jr.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Joseph Smith, Jr. said...

Interesting blog. Enjoyed reading it.


Joseph Smith Jr.
mormon life

7:20 PM  
Blogger Joseph Smith, Jr. said...

Interesting blog. Enjoyed reading it.


Joseph Smith Jr.

8:49 AM  

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