Next time, Michael Litos and I will argue whether or not Bag O' Glass is a perfectly safe Christmas gift for the kiddies.
Lots of preview material to wade through today, but let’s begin by looking back. CAA blogger extraordinaire Michael Litos invited me to his site to debate Antoine Agudio—specifically whether or not his one-dimensional play was a help or a hindrance to the Flying Dutchmen last year as well as whether or not his presence will be missed this year.
Click here to see how heated it got and to see which one of us resorted to Dan Aykroyd-esque name-calling. Actually, it didn’t get heated at all, and I think we agree that the Dutchmen will be a lot better and a lot more versatile this year. We just have different opinions on how that reflects upon Agudio.
I won’t rehash here my defense of Agudio’s performance last year, but I don’t think he should be punished, for lack of a better word, for who he is and for being the centerpiece of a rebuilding team. With four new starters taking the court on a nearly nightly basis, the Flying Dutchmen weren’t going to be very good last year, unless Agudio managed to become a regular double-double threat, a la Loren Stokes and Carlos Rivera. Would that have been nice? Sure. But you can’t expect Agudio to suddenly transform into somebody else in his senior season.
It’s the flipside of the 2000-01 team, which lost Speedy Claxton yet improved from 24-7 to 26-5, enjoyed the nation’s longest winning streak and was far more competitive against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament than the Claxton-led team was against Oklahoma State in the big dance a year earlier. Hofstra wasn’t better because Claxton was gone. It was better because the starting lineup still featured four experienced and tournament-tested seniors (Jason Hernandez, Greg Springfield, Roberto Gittens and Norman Richardson)—pretty much the exact opposite of what the Flying Dutchmen had to deal with last season.
Anyway, feel free to chime in on Agudio by commenting here or sending me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Big thanks to Mike for the invite as well as for linking the post that got us debating in the first place. And if you found your way here via Mike’s site, welcome...and make yourself comfortable. We’re having some fun here.
Found three more previews over the weekend. And I’ll begin with The Sports Network, which, when it comes to predicting college basketball, is pretty good at producing a Division I-AA football poll.
I don’t want to sound like That Guy, the one who parses every word written about his favorite team and figures you must hate me if you don’t expect much out of said squad. I’d have a lot of enemies if that was the case, since Hofstra is picked above sixth in only one of the 10 polls I’ve seen thus far.
But I honestly have no idea what Mike Castiglione was thinking picking Hofstra dead friggin’ last. I don’t expect those who think a Dutch Treat is a casual date and not the home of hideously marked up six-packs of soda to be as optimistic or as obsessive as me. And the CAA is so deep that it’s tough to differentiate between four and 12, as I’m learning as I ponder the predictions I’ll post Friday (blatant plug).
But still…12th? I might chalk it up to the aforementioned balance of the CAA—hey, somebody has to be picked last—if Castiglione didn’t begin the Hofstra blub by stating “Without question, the Pride are entering head first into a rebuilding year.” Uhh, that was last year. When the Flying Dutchmen had four new starters.
Four sentences later, Castiglione mentions the “…plenty of question marks” Hofstra has, “…despite the return of four starters.” Well, what is it? It can’t be a rebuilding year with four returning starters, unless you’re New Jersey Tech. (Along those lines, one of these is not like the other, not like the other)
Anyway, that’s my rant about The Sports Network. I also found CAA predictions from the websites Collegehoops.net and Hoopville.net, the latter of which provides a particularly exhaustive take on the conference. Which poll was the one to end VCU’s quest for the unanimous no. 1 spot?
Below are the updated overall rankings, followed by the three newest polls.
1.) VCU (9) 12
2.) Northeastern (1) 31
2.) Old Dominion 31
4.) George Mason 41
5.) Delaware 53
6.) Georgia State 59
7.) Hofstra 75
8.) James Madison 87
9.) UNC-Wilmington 88
10.) William & Mary 91
11.) Towson 101
12.) Drexel 108
First-place votes in parenthesis
Polls compiled thus far: CAA, Blue Ribbon, Sporting News, Lindy’s, Athlon, The Sports Xchange, CBSSports.com, The Sports Network, Collegehoops.net, Hoopville
The Sports Network
2.) Old Dominion
4.) George Mason
6.) William & Mary
8.) Georgia State
9.) James Madison
3.) Old Dominion
4.) George Mason
5.) Georgia State
9.) William & Mary
11.) James Madison
2.) Old Dominion
4.) Georgia State
7.) George Mason
10.) James Madison
11.) William & Mary
Some quick notes about how the new additions (not New Edition, that would just be weird) affected the overall rankings:
—Hofstra was at Georgia State’s heels for sixth after seven polls, but the Flying Dutchmen are entrenched in seventh after being picked 12th, sixth and ninth. The count so far is three seventh-place votes, two sixth-place votes, two ninth-place votes, one fourth-place vote, one eighth-place vote and one 12th-place vote.
—Northeastern moves up for the second straight period after becoming the first team other than VCU to garner a first-place vote, though it should be noted that the author of the Hoopville preview, Jay Pearlman, is a former radio analyst for Northeastern. The Huskies received a first-, second- and third-place vote to move into a tie for second with Old Dominion, the latter of which has been picked below third just once.
—The only other change in the overall poll: UNC-Wilmington broke its tie for ninth with William & Mary, which is now 10th.
—Mason received its lowest vote yet in the Hoopville poll while Towson received its highest vote.
—VCU has been picked first in nine polls, Delaware has been picked fifth in eight polls, Mason has been picked fourth in six polls and James Madison has been picked ninth in six polls.
That’s all for today. Three days until hoops season starts. Make sure to check back between now and then as I’ve got a couple pretty cool things in the pipeline.
Email Jerry at email@example.com.