Much has changed in college hoops
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
So this is what the new world in college basketball looks like. And not just the camouflage shorts
In the new world, Kentucky and North Carolina are unranked and Gonzaga is headed for No. 1. It’s like watching Cinderella wake up one day and have to get a dress for her queen coronation.
Not to rain on the imminent parade in Spokane, but at first glance it’s hard to buy the Zags as the top-ranked team in the land. Not without them having to endure the weekly meat grinder of a top conference.
Then again, their non-conference schedule was beyond dispute – they beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Clemson and should have beaten Butler. And nobody has looked like No. 1 very long this season, so why shouldn’t Gonzaga get a turn?
In the new world, the Big East is dead, long live the Big East II. The Catholic 7 are clicking in the final details of their great escape, and packing the Big East name to take with them.
Apparently, those plans include Butler, which is not a Catholic school but is reverential enough toward the game of basketball. ESPN reports the Bulldogs bolting the Atlantic 10 after a single season, in their own version of one-and-done. From the Horizon League (bring on Valparaiso) to the Atlantic 10 (bring on Rhode Island) to the Big East (bring on Georgetown) in 24 months.
In the new world, Connecticut has gone from three-time national champion to fighting irrelevance. Jim Calhoun is retired. When the Catholic 7 gutted the Big East, nobody asked the Huskies to tag along.
Because of sanctions from academic shortcomings, that 19-8 record won’t get them in the NCAA Tournament either.
In the new world, the biggest ACC game of the regular season is Miami at Duke Saturday night. Since it’s in Durham, if the Blue Devils lose, at least the other team’s crowd won’t rush the court and annoy Mike Krzyzewski.
But Coach K has a legitimate point about getting his team and … [For more on Lopresti: Much has changed in world of college hoops, click here.]