Son of Yhency

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Basketball preview -- college edition

Some people -- myself included -- love the NBA. It's got the prestige of being the best basketball league in the world and the play is (generally) polished and precise.

Others -- myself also included -- love college hoops. Not the same level of skill as the NBA, obviously, but as epitomized in the Tournament each March, the play is always intense and exciting. And there's something to be said for that.

Since I already took a look at the NBA and the Lake Show the other week, and with UCLA opening its season against New Mexico State at Pauley Pavilion tonight, I'd like to briefly explore my world of college hoops. And that world consists of two teams -- UCLA and Penn. Here's a quick look at each program for the upcoming season:

UCLA Bruins
My boys are back!! Apparently Ben Howland is some sort of a coaching/recruiting guru, because he went to Northern Arizona and within three years, they were winning. Same thing at Pitt. And now, three years into his tenure in Westwood, the Bruins are a top 20 team, or at least according to the most recent rankings. There were some bad years in there, no doubt, but with what is being heralded as one of the country's best back courts, hopefully Johnny Wooden can see the Bruins win one more national title in his lifetime.

Penn Quakers
Penn is... Penn? Not sure what to say about my boys, especially since I haven't seen them play live since 2003 and they get no national coverage (not that they deserve it). All I have to go off of is the recent ESPN breakdown on them and the preseason media poll that picked them to win the Ivies. But is picking them to win that league really going out on a limb? In the last 47 years, Penn or Princeton has either won or shared the Ivy League title 44 times, with a current 17-year streak going since neither of them had something to do with the title. That's just absurd -- but I'll take those chances.

With the NBA season two weeks old and college hoops getting under way, the best is yet to come! Should be a great few months of basketball, hope everyone is excited. Let's just pray we don't see a first round matchup in the Tourney between UCLA and Penn. Because then I may have to throw myself off the bus.