I watched USC beat #4 UCLA (part of it anyway-- when did UCLA start wearing jerseys where the "C" was a different color than the other letters in "UCLA"), Kansas State beat #9 Texas A&M, Maryland beat #1 UCLA, and Duke beat #23 Clempson.
I was struck by the fact that I saw OJ Mayo (starred in USC's win yesterday), Michael Beasley, Bill Walker (starred in KSU's win yesterday), Tywon Lawson (sort of featured in UNC's loss yesterday), and Nolan Smith (starred in Duke's win yesterday) all playing in the same game 2 years ago, when Oak Hill played North College Hill, in front of 17,000 people in Cincinnati.
Interestingly, in that game, Mayo was the overall leading scorer (for NCH), Smith was the winning team's leading scorer (for OH), but Walker was the most ferocious and accomplished player, with the biggest motor and the most eye-popping athleticism (he had a much more complete game than Mayo, playing defense against bigger players, shotblocking, rebounding, and scoring), and Beasley (to me, at least) was clearly the one with the most talent and potential, but he only turned it on in spurts. Lawson was not particularly impressive; he was sometimes anonymous among the bigger, more athletic players surrounding him. Smith was the most anonymous of all-- he had the quietest 20 points you ever saw, getting all of them within the framework of the offense, and not making any spectacular plays.
Looking back, it seems to me that Kansas State (thanks to Bob Huggins) has ended up with the two most gifted players on the floor that night-- but, of course, neither is likely to still be there this time next year. Even so, Kansas better watch out for KSU this year-- I also watched some of Kansas vs. the dregs of Quin Snyder's once-talented Missouri team yesterday, and I saw nothing to make me think Kansas should be considered the #1 team in the country; Kansas struggled to beat a very bad Missou team, and I think they will perform the usual Bill Self/Kansas choke in the NCAA tourney.
A few points:
1. Who was Beasley playing for in the NCH/Oak Hill tilt? I don't remember him playing for Oak Hill, but NCH doesn't seem right, either. Also, what an amazing amount of talent in one game, although I guess that's pretty standard whenever Oak Hill takes the court against a high profile opponent.
2. UCLA is wearing the yellow "C" jerseys this year to commemorate the school's 100 total national championships (across all sports).
3. Mizzou is not a "very bad" team. They're actually pretty decent, ranked 22 in the KenPom rankings, ahead of the likes of Pittsburgh, USC, and Gonzaga. If you missed it, they're now coached by Mike Anderson, a twenty year Nolan Richardson disciple and basically his basketball clone. He had a lot of success in his few years at UAB, and has Mizzou playing much the same style this year. 40 Minutes of Hell is a great equalizer, and it's not that surprising that they were able to stick with Kansas.
As for Missou-- they may be ranked decently and have a decent record, but they were completely awful in the second half, when I was watching them. They seemed to pass the ball around the court aimlessly, as though they had no idea what they wanted to do on offense; the few times they had a chance to get the game really close late, they either took really bad shots or missed close-in layups; they couldn't score to save their lives... so, they may be a "pretty decent" at other times, but they were dreadful on offense in this game-- and I don't attribute it to Kansas' defense. A good team would have beaten Kansas in this game, as they were there for the taking. I'd put it this way-- Duke would have beaten Kansas yesterday.