Oh, goodness, there’s a lot to get to from the past several days, so here goes.
*-Surely everyone’s noticed how tall Malia Obama seems to be at age 10. And we know her dad, the new Prez, can play some hoops.
Have others been thinking what I’ve been thinking? That maybe eight years from now, we’ll have the first First Daughter to play collegiate sports? How cool would that be? How historical? I admit I’m already crossing my fingers.
I’ll bet if Geno Auriemma visits the White House with his national-championship Huskies this spring/summer – yes, I am predicting (like everyone else) that UConn is going to win it all _ he might check out whether Malia has a jump shot. He may want to inquire about Sasha, too.
Surely, the Huskies coach already has heard how much the First Kids like dogs. Maybe he’ll bring Jonathan to D.C., too. Hopefully, Malia won’t be allergic to him.
*-A couple of things about the showdown that wasn’t on Monday in Chapel Hill: After the game, I asked Maya Moore about how the Huskies will keep improving even when they are winning in blowouts.
I expected her answer to be about how UConn measures itself against “perfection” all the time, so the Huskies don’t necessarily need motivation from their opponents really challenging them. She agreed that was the case, but she also said that injuries like the ones last year to Kalana Greene and Mel Thomas and this year to Caroline Doty have a galvanizing effect on the team and result in everyone playing with all the more focus.
“It makes us cherish our time on court together even more,” she said. “Because you never know when it might be taken away from you.”
Also, after that game I was chatting with North Carolina media relations director Bobby Hundley about how important it was for the Tar Heels to shake off the 30-point loss to UConn quickly, because a trip to Georgia Tech was coming up.
“That place is always dangerous,” he said of Tech.
And, indeed, it was for UNC on Thursday, as the Yellow Jackets bounced back from their loss at Florida State on Sunday and beat the Tar Heels 66-62.
What’s next up for the Heels is also dangerous: They play at Maryland this Sunday.
*-About the Big 12 … Baylor’s win over Texas A&M on Wednesday was further confirmation, I think, that the Bears are the top team in the league. Oklahoma fans may disagree. Baylor and OU have the first of their two face-offs on Jan. 28 in Waco.
Meanwhile, Kansas State’s victory at Texas Tech on Wednesday was especially interesting because it was the third consecutive time the Wildcats have won in Lubbock. Because of the Big 12’s scheduling matrix, the North and South schools only play each other once in a season. So the past trio of wins at United Spirit Arena for K-State was in 2005, 2007 and now 2009. And consider that in 2007, that victory was one of just four that the Wildcats got during league play.
The win Wednesday was important for the Wildcats after they lost their first South road trip this season, at Oklahoma. K-State’s other South trip is Feb. 7 at Baylor, which has not been a good matchup for the Wildcats the past few years. Baylor has won the last six games in the series with K-State.
*-Sunday at the Tennessee-South Carolina game, Dan Fleser of the Knoxville News-Sentinel was talking about how interesting and unpredictable he thought the SEC tournament could be this year. Indeed, a glance at Thursday’s results is an example.
Georgia upset Vandy, Arkansas pushed Tennessee to the end (but Pat Summitt got her 998th win), Alabama gave unbeaten Auburn a game for 30 minutes, South Carolina got its first SEC victory (after starting 0-4) by winning at Mississippi … and Mississippi State won a 38-36 atrocity over LSU in Baton Rouge.
(This season has to be setting a record for the number of times we’ve all looked at final box scores and thought, “Wait a minute, that can’t be right. Is that the halftime score?” More about that in a future post.)
Dan’s right … this is one of those years when very little that might happen at the SEC tournament would be really shocking.