Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Man Advantage: Feasting!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before from me:

I love college basketball.

There isn’t another sport that fills me with such happiness and excitement. The pageantry, the rivalries, the fans, the spirit of hope that even the smallest school has a shot at championship glory... couple it with my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) and Feast Week is without question one of the best things on the planet (disregarding March Madness of course).

While other people were spending their "Feast Week" on “food, family, and FOOOTBAAAAALLLL,” I enjoyed a cornucopia of great college basketball games. From Tuesday to Saturday, I probably watched 15-20 games (with bits and pieces of several others thrown in). Here’s some tidbits that stuck out to me:
Drexel guard Frantz Massenet
    1.)    Dragons Fizzle: Is there a bigger early season disappointment than our own Drexel Dragons (Maybe Memphis)? Picked to run train through a depleted CAA, the Dragons have looked remarkably unremarkable through six games. The non-conference schedule, with games against Illinois State, St. Mary’s, and Xavier already, is much improved from last year--unfortunately this team, which returned all notable pieces from last year’s 29 win squad except do-it-all forward Samme Givens, hasn’t earned the pre-season hype. The injury bug has hit frequently, limiting Damion Lee and likely ending Chris Fouch’s Drexel career. Junior guard Frantz Massenet, the preseason CAA Player of the Year, has been sloppy and forwards Dartaye Ruffin and Daryl McCoy have struggled to be consistent presences in the post-Givens era. Fortunately, Drexel started the season very similarly last season before turning it around and winning 25 of 26 games on their way to the CAA Tournament finals: the next few games are very winnable. Unfortunately, however, the Dragons close out 2012 with home games against cross-city foe St. Joseph’s and…

    2.)    Davidson Roars: The Davidson Wildcats, the team that may have impressed me the most this past week. While their 3-3 record so far this season might not seem noteworthy, anyone who saw their victories over Vanderbilt and West Virginia in the Old Spice Classic saw a bracket buster in the making. Their only loss came in the tournament finals against a Gonzaga program that is arguably a top-10 team this season. Keep an eye on these Tigers—this is an experienced team that can do some damage in March.

    3.)    Atlantis Rocks: Was there a better Thanksgiving tournament than the Battle 4 Atlantis? How many tournaments in November can boast four top-20 squads, along with two dangerous mid-majors and two quality major conference teams? The field was something to see, and while three of the four semi-finals teams make my stomach turn with revulsion (I was unable to watch the first semi-final at a risk of losing my Thanksgiving leftovers), the games were fantastic. For the basketball fan who just wants to see a good game, the Louisville-Missouri semi-final was just fun to watch, even as a born-and-raised Kentucky Wildcats fan. The tempo and intensity from both teams reminds us of what we love about March…. In November.

Did you catch much college basketball over the break? What jumped out to you? Answer in the comments!

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