I have been raving about how happy I am that the NBA has returned, but realized last night that the games are hardly ever on. Furthermore, college hoops is where its at. Most of the time we are subjected to early season blowout games but last night was enjoyable.
Duke played Illinois in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational while number 1 UCLA played number 11 Michigan State. I watched the entire Duke game but only made it to half time of the UCLA-MSU game. Some of the things I did see were that Kevin Love is for real. I read all of the magazines and hear all of the hype surrounding him but I am one that has to see it with my own eyes. Love has a complete game. I haven't seen Michael Beasley of Kansas St. yet but Love so far is the best big man in the freshman class. In last night's game, Love at one point had 9 of his team's 13 points on an array of moves: he hit a short face up jumper, a jump hook, some free throws, and the one that impressed me the most a face up, dribble drive to the bucket from outside the three-point line. I'm excited to watch more college hoops the rest of the season, but I'm not sure how good FSU's hoops team will be.
For anyone to say that television doesn't have a Duke bias I will use this morning's highlights between Mike & Mike segments. Between their talking segments they show highlights from games from the night before and with all the college games played last night, the only highlights shown were from number 10 Duke against unranked Illinois. Number 20 Oregon was upset last night, no highlights. The UCLA-MSU game I mentioned featured two highly ranked teams but there were no highlights from that game either. I don't hate Duke like most people, I actually find them entertaining to watch, but ESPN is adding to the people that hate them.
Speaking of Duke, the team played better defense when freshman Nolan Smith was in the game and not Greg Paulus. Paulus is the veteran and knows the system but the game changed when Smith came in and upped the defensive pressure on Illinois point guards. Kyle Singler, I'm not sold yet. He's supposed to be in the Love, O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose class of freshmen but I don't see it.