My First Weekend Of Actual College Hoops Viewing.

Generally, the beginning of bowl season in college football is when I can start paying attention to college basketball with any sense of interest or proportion; the die-hards like the folks at Storming the Floor and 35 Seconds provide enough updates via the RSS reader to keep me knowing whom is who, but of course, it does not substitute for actual viewing, and that’s why I’m now on Texas-Michigan State, as I’ve not watched the reported emergence of D.J. Augustin and need to catch it with my own eyes.

(Plus: I love Bill Raftery — the “with the kiss!” and “throw it down, big fella!” exhortations ever get old.)

Georgetown and Memphis both have the obvious tools to be serious favorites to be in people’s Final Fours again, but Roy Hibbert just played like shite, dogged by foul trouble and Joey Dorsey, who has possibly the worst free throw shooting technique I’ve ever laid eyes upon, and that means a lot since I’ve seen plenty of Shaquille and Ben Wallace bricks over the years. Derrick Rose is The Hype, a dervish who can coast on both sides of the floor, and this game was essentially played at Memphis’ tempo after the first ten minutes — Georgetown even played down to Memphis’ atrocious free-throw shooting by bricking it from the stripe worse than the Tigers. Seriously, I’m not picking Memphis for a Final Four until Calipari makes all those guys spend extra hours in free throw drills.

Michigan has to figure out how to win against teams like UCLA, vulnerable to slacking off this early in the season before conference play gets going. The Bruins are great on paper — I’ve been a Darren Collison backer and Kevin Love, while not quite as advertised yet (and injury might have something to do with it), is interesting, but the Wolverines gave up that game in the second half by missing three-pointers constantly. John Beilein’s system depends on hitting threes, so you see how well that will go over.

Ohio State should beat Florida this year, and they did, given the Gators’ complete depletion of last year’s championship team to the NBA. It was like watching teams trying to find identities again, as the Buckeyes went around Kosta Koufos all game and Florida could only get one player in double figures the whole game.

Photo: AP/Lance Murphey

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