Kiss Of Death

By Jeff Lippman - January 07, 2008

Happy birthday to me.

Because I don't think Georgia and Stanford will be wishing me good tidings anytime soon.

The last two teams I wrote about, glowing praise for the Cardinal in my December Review, and talking about Georgia like they were the next big thing in the SEC, brought nothing but pain and suffering for each team.

Sunday, oh bloody Sunday.

Georgia left Cincinnati with their tails between their legs, getting whooped by a young - and quite good - Xavier team, and Stanford, well the Cardinal didn't have such a fun time in Los Angeles. Their two-game trip to La-La Land ended in a two-game losing streak, just days after they had perhaps their biggest win in school history over then-No. 1 Tennessee.

Sorry, but I had nothing but good intentions when I wrote what I did. I honestly believed that Stanford was making huge strides towards the Final Four and that Georgia was far and away the second-best team in the SEC.

And to tell the truth, I still believe that. Watch, they both lose three more games apiece, now. Happy Birthday to me, indeed.

UCLA, you might as well blame your 73-70 overtime loss to No. 10 Cal on me as well. After all, I proclaimed you ready for big things just yesterday. My bad, Bruins.

I'm a Washington Redskins fan. I spent the hours before Saturday's loss telling anyone who would listen about how there isn't a better team in the NFC right now. Two Todd Collins' picks returned for touchdown later and the 'Skins are the best team in the NFC who get to watch the playoffs from their couch.

Do I honestly believe I have that much impact in what goes on in the world of sports? Heck yes, I do.

Okay, maybe I don't. But anyone who has ever had a really bad sports weekend knows what I mean. There was basically an example of it every single Saturday during this college football season. What you know is going to happen and what actually happens many times are two completely different realities.

Stanford should not have lost two games in a row. It shouldn't have been tough to predict big things for the Cardinal after beating Tennessee. Georgia shouldn't have won 14 games to start the year, only to lose so easily to an unranked Xavier squad. Ohio State shouldn't be playing for a national championship in football, but LSU is the team with two losses.

It makes no sense.

The good news for the sport of women's basketball - because this is a women's basketball centrally focused blog - is that this new era of shocking upsets and inexplicable results means parity is growing.

Sure, UConn and Tennessee - boring! - are still at, or near the top of the rankings. Yes, the SEC and the ACC are still the best of the best. OK, you could probably write down seven teams right now and absolutely know without a shadow of a doubt that three of them will be in the Final Four.

But I bet you didn't know that Pittsburgh would beat No. 15 DePaul by 29 points in Chicago.

That's the beauty of today's game. You still have Tennessee beating a mid-Top 25 team by 30 or so points on a consistent basis, but you also are starting to see teams on the outside of the Top 25 with as much talent, youth and exuberance as many of those considered "elite," until all it takes is a well-played game by the underdog coupled with some struggle from the power and you have the recipe for an upset in women's hoops.

The more talent that spreads throughout the country, the more a team will be itching to showcase its ability to shock the team its playing. Maryland can no longer hope to win against teams it considers inferior on talent alone. Look at Duke, they supposedly have some of the best talent in the nation. If they don't put it together and play a team game, then that group with slightly less talent and more motivation will bury them.

And so it goes all around women's college hoops, men's hoops and even professional sports these days. The more talent spread to the masses, the better off the masses will become.

There is only one surefire way to correctly predict the outcomes of these games every single time - just ask me who I think is going to win, and go the other way.

In case you are wondering, I like Ohio State over LSU tonight. And the Vegas line for LSU just skyrocketed.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:19 AM on January 07, 2008

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