By Greg Crawford, CSNNW.com College Basketball Insider, @wchoops
Merry Christmas to everyone and may your favorite team or sport have a great 2013.
Basketball Present---During this time of year, we often think about giving a gift to someone, or getting something special.
I have to ask everyone three questions today about getting a gift and I want you to tell me the answers in the comment section please or by email. Will really look forward to what you have to say. Grab a gift from below, just one or all three and tell me why.
1. What college basketball arena would you like to visit that you always wanted to go see, but have not as of yet?
2. What rivalry game in college basketball would you like to see. It is ok to say North Carolina Duke, but there are plenty of other rivalries that are pretty good.
3. What tournament would you like to go to, that you have not been able to in college basketball?
Yes, I do get to answer. The greatest arena for college basketball I have been too is Utah State, even better than Cameron Indoor at Duke. Just loved the crowd, the singing, which is much better than any soccer crowd singing and the intensity is riveting in Logan.
As for rivalry, really want to go see the IllinoisMissouri game someday. They just played this past weekend and it was as intense as it gets, per usual. I guess it means more to have an inner-league rivalry, but love this one.
Really want to attend the Great Alaska Shootout. I do not like basketball when it is 80 outside, so Maui Classic is not on my radar, but Alaska, wow, what a gorgeous state and in the winter time, I need to get there.
For good measure, I have been following Big Sky basketball since the league started in the 60s and it is my goal at some point to visit every Big Sky arena. I just think the Big Sky has some charm to its basketball competition, both men and women. Of course the league needs a name change, any fifth grader could tell you that, but I love the competition of the league and the cities the teams are located within.
Now your turn, let me know, answer one of the questions or all of them. It will be fun to see your answers.
Mac's Message---"Coach Mac, I have been so impressed with the play of Aaron Moore, can you talk about him and also how does he overcome missing the two crucial free throws in the final minute of regulation against Weber State. I felt so sorry for him as he is one terrific player"? Doug---Downtown, Portland Oregon.
"Doug thanks so much for your question and insight, you obviously have been watching the games closely.
I too felt badly for him when he missed the free throws in the clutch last Saturday. I do not think we would have been in the game at that point if it were not for Aaron playing as well as he did, so the loss certainly can't be pinned on him. I thought it was great after our post-game meeting when I was walking up from the locker room, I found Aaron shooting free throws with Marcus Hall rebounding and encouraging him. He certainly didn't wait until we resume practice on the 27th to address free throw shooting--which has been very good.
When we recruited Aaron from San Bernardino Community College we were aware of his strengths and shortcomings as a player. I think we are a little shocked that his inside game has been as good as it has been. He is willing to go into the basket area, bang with strong opponents and has a willingness to play physically on the interior. Without question, he is our "Newcomer of The Year", to date. He has to be in consideration for the same in the Big Sky Conference along with Northern Arizona's impressive freshman guard, DeWayne Russell.
Like a lot of junior college transfers, Aaron is making the adjustment to the level of play at the D-1 level and is striving for more consistency. I think he is making transition very nicely and has the ability to do even more as we get into the Big Sky race.
Thanks for your question and interest in Viking basketball. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Crawford's Court, Aaron Moore and all Portland State Vikings, each and every sport". Andy McClouskey, Portland State assistant basketball coach.
"100 in 90"---My seeing 100 college basketball games during 90 days in the state of Oregon is on pace, even a little ahead of schedule. Last week I saw six games, bringing my total for the year to 18. Actually the highlight, was seeing the rivalry game in the NAIA Cascade Collegiate Conference, a game that Warner Pacific won over defending NAIA national champion Oregon Tech. Great game and packed house at Warner Pacific.
And speaking of packed houses, where were the people to watch Oregon women play U of Portland on December 21st. 438 fans showed up, ouch and Duck fans, where were you? Come on, 438? No wonder it is so hard to get the Duck men to play in Portland. This to me was the low-light of the week. Shame on everyone.
Now here is your chance to make amends. There is a great doubleheader at U of Portland on December 29th, first game at 5:15, inner city battle between Portland State and U of Portland women, followed by the Pilot men taking on Texas Pan American.
The Pilot men are playing some great basketball right now, so I suggest you get out there and get a 2 for 1, with four decent teams playing. As matter of fact, a doubleheader like this in a 4,800 seat arena should be sold out. I know, here I go again, but you can't fault me for trying to raise the level of interest in college basketball and increase attendance.
Craw's Nine---My top nine teams at present in the six leagues out west that play D-1 basketball. Keep in mind this is not always best record, it is in the moment. Feel free to disagree or deliver you top nine in comment section.
9. Boise State---Leon Rice has nice team, 9-2 and playing good basketball. Pay attention to BSU.
8. Colorado State----Flying under the radar, have won four in row and have great season going so far.
7.Oregon State---Five wins in row, showdown coming January 6th, when Ducks visit Corvallis. Both teams will be 11-2 when they play.
6. UCLA---Five wins in row, huge game coming 28th at home against Missouri.
5. Santa Clara---Six wins a row, 11-2 on season, could easily be 13-0. Once again my pick, which I wrote in October to win WCC tourney, no one is laughing at me now.
4. San Diego State---Steve Fisher is an amazing basketball coach, if they beat Arizona on Christmas Day, they will be number one next Monday in Crawford's Court.
3. Gonzaga---I will tell anyone who listens, this team has all the potential to go to at least the Elite 8 or Final Four, first time ever for any Gonzaga men's basketball team for either of those postseason places.
2. Wyoming---12-0, if you are undefeated headed into 2013, you have to be good.
1. Arizona---Easily the best team in the West, no one even close right now.
Scores---My usual attempt at humor on a Monday, although, I am 22-6. Can you beat me, send me an email and I will give you a chance.
December 28th Missouri (64 at UCLA (68) Mild upset.
December 29th Santa Clara (71) at Duke (84) Duke is good, not rest of ACC.
December 29th Idaho (80) at Seattle (60) Madison scores 35 for Vandals
December 29th UNLV ((90) at North Carolina (87) ACC is overrated this year, end of story.
GregCrawford@csnnw.com and twitter @wchoops
By Greg Crawford, CSNNW.com College Basketball Insider, @wchoops