Things have been a bit slow on the local hoops landscape lately, but the pace is going to pick up quickly starting tonight.
I'm sure you've already seen today's Inquirer and Daily News, but in case you haven't, the Inquirer has turned today's Page 2 over to college basketball. This will be a weekly feature for the rest of the season, so be sure to check it out. The inaugural edition features columns from Joe Juliano, Keith Pompey, Kevin Tatum and Ray Parrillo.
Today's Daily News has a column from Dick Jerardi advocating that Fran Dunphy should be inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame before he retires. That has never happened before for a local coach, so its' an interesting talking point.
There's a lot of action on the floor, too. Penn and La Salle play a City Series game at Tom Gola Arena tonight; Villanova hosts Louisville at the Wells Fargo Center; Temple hosts St. Bonaventure at the Liacouras Center; and Saint Joseph's hits the road for what is always a tough trip to Dayton.
If you aren't going to any of the games, you'll want to have your remote control handy. Penn-La Salle is on Comcast Network and Louisville-Villanova is on ESPN2.
There are also big games on the national scene: Pittsburgh-Georgetown and Duke-Florida State are on ESPN; Kansas-Iowa State follows Villanova on ESPN2; and ESPNU has Syracuse-St. John's at Madison Square Garden.
But I know what you really care about. You want the latest round of reader rankings and trash talk in the Schuylkill 16. So here it is.
1. Villanova, 13 points (12 first-place votes)
- "We will see what the Wildcats are made of from this point forward. The Big East is brutal at the top. The Cincy win was a good start to the fun. They were not a legit 15-0 team, but undefeated and olaying in the Big East is far better than a straggler in the A-10. Bring on Pitino!" (Ralph Manoppello)
- "You took the Cherry Crusade's rollouts? Really?! That is weak!" (Marshall Fleming)
2. Temple, 23 points (1 first-place vote)
- "I saw some highlights from the Liacouras Center over the weekend. Looked like maybe 250 Temple faithful turned out for the Saint Louis game. What a disgrace!" (Ralph Manoppello)
3. Drexel, 45 points
- "Bruiser has some fire, like a fire-breathing Dragon. Got to respect that." (Patrick Flannery)
That would make some sense, wouldn't it.
4. Princeton, 64 points
5. Penn State, 67 points
- "I'm not a Penn State guy, but they could sneak up on people." (Ralph Manoppello)
I can think of a few dozen people at Michigan State and Illinois who would agree with that statement.
6. Rutgers, 79 points
7. Rider, 92 points
8. Bucknell, 96 points
9. Delaware, 115 points
- "The only team in the country to force fewer turnovers per game than Drexel is Delaware. No wonder the two combined for just 13 on Saturday." (Jeff Shafer)
10. La Salle, 120 points
- "26.2 is a distance you hope to run. 26-2 (against Richmond) is a run you hope to distance yourself from." (Jon Solomon)
- "When I thought La Salle would be good this year, it was partially based on the presumption that Giannini would be sane and not bench his best player." (Brian Ewart)
t-11. Lehigh, 133 points
t-11. Penn, 133 points
- "The next three for Penn are all Big 5 games that will have no impact on the Big 5 standings. It's like playing the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl over and over again." (Jeff Shafer)
13. Saint Joseph's, 145 points
- "Phil... we all love you, but running an actual play instead of just continual dribble weave (ghost of the Globetrotters) might be nice. I don't think the Hawk faithful would be upset if we saw a little back door screen and lob to Ron-Ron Roberts - he really loves to jump in the air." (Carl Minniti)
14. Delaware State, 163 points
15. Lafayette, 165 points
16. Monmouth, 179 points
- "The Hawks' best win? Lehigh. That is the only half-decent team they beat. By one point. On a free-throw, with a second left. So, one kinda-good but fluky win. Outstanding." (Brian Ewart)
- "For their thorough undressing of the Hawks." (Pat Flannery, who sent the comment a full day before the game in question)
Public service announcement of the week from Marshall Fleming
ESPN is coming to the DAC on Thursday for the Drexel-ODU matchup. We could certainly use the Tannenwald-bump for this game (we're undefeated in the last 2 years when he covers our games live), but alas, he's going to be covering soccer.
That's right, I'm off to engage my alter ego for a few days at the Major League Soccer and Women's Professional Soccer drafts. Both will be held in Baltimore as part of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention. Check out my soccer blog, The Goalkeeper, for all the latest updates. I'll be back on here for live coverage of Maryland-Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center.