This is the weekend that Auld Lang Syne gets played more even than Rocky Top at a Tennessee game.So before the ball drops – the one in Times Square, not all the conference openers – here are college basketball’s new year’s resolutions.
We resolve to keep five players on the court at all times. Outscoring Minnesota with only three guys was fun and all, and it got us more attention in Tuscaloosa than Nick Saban’s last press conference. But let’s not make a habit of it.
We resolve to finish with a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, like we always do. And then not trip over the first week of the NCAA tournament, like we almost always do. Four of the past five times, that’s happened. The year we didn’t, in 2016, we ended up with a parade.
We resolve not to miss any good shots after a Trae Young pass. That way, he can become the first player to lead the nation in scoring and assists since the NCAA started officially keeping assists more than three decades ago.
We resolve to rattle the natural order of the universe on Jan. 16. Win at North Carolina, in other words. We’re 11-1 this season, you know. We’re also, uh, 0-58 in Chapel Hill.
We resolve not to let our focus wander. Because if we keep doing things like beating Notre Dame one minute and losing by 20 points to Fort Wayne and 21 to Indiana State – at home – the next, we’re going to drive our red-clad fan base bananas. And cut short Archie Miller’s honeymoon.
Back in B-Town pic.twitter.com/8iU47ZrV3A— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) December 27, 2017
We resolve to beat Duke, if we run into the Blue Devils in March. Because if Tom Izzo drops to 1-12 against Mike Krzyzewski, he will want to stick his face in a fan.
We resolve to shoot 100 free throws a day. Or 200. Or a million. Whatever it takes not to be 310th in the nation from the line, since being that lousy in free throws is a good way to lose games we should win as a top-25 team.
We resolve to go on a diet the next time we make our non-conference schedule, and not gorge on so many sugary desserts. Because that didn’t prepare us to play the big guys, which may be part of the reason why we blew leads of 13 and 20 points in losses to Syracuse and Butler.
We resolve to be everything we can be, because we sure as Blue Devil blazes don’t want to waste our one-before-he's-done year with Marvin Bagley III. Besides, Coach K is about to turn 71 and he won’t be here forever. Will he?
The versatile @wendellcarter34 was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the 2nd time. He scored a career-best 27 points and buried 4 from deep in our only game last week. You have to guard him to 3. He can score anywhere. pic.twitter.com/A2FaPLTVNX— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) December 26, 2017
We resolve to find more bodies for the paint and put down all this loose talk, rumor and innuendo that someone else is going to win the Big 12. Fake news.
We resolve to rediscover our magical mojo. Which means, among other things, that never again in this millennium will an opponent score 68 points against us in the first half, like Oklahoma did the other night.
We resolve that the 12-0 start – with 11 of the victories by double digits – is no mirage. And we’re going to start proving that before 2017 is even over. Saturday, to be exact, when we visit our in-state chums at Arizona. It’s a gala New Year's occasion, since it’s been 23 years since we’ve faced one another as ranked teams. Confetti, hats and kazoos optional.
Rivalry Week pic.twitter.com/eGqf0OPN8I— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) December 27, 2017
We resolve to win games at home in 40 minutes. Because once it gets past that, things tend to go south and Ole Miss becomes Uh-oh Miss. Three overtime losses at home?
We resolve that conference play will be more fun than the non-conference season. Really, how can it not be? Five of the six winless teams in the nation reside in our league. Our bottom five’s combined record is 0-65. Bring on January. Please.
We resolve that when the imminent eight-day trial by fire with Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas is over, that No. 10 ranking – the highest in our history – will not have melted faster than ice cream on a Fort Worth July afternoon.
We resolve that Wofford was a computer glitch.
Virginia and Virginia Tech
We resolve to entertain the Commonwealth on Jan. 3 when we meet in a study of contrast – the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense against the nation’s No. 4 scoring offense.
We resolve to get Markus McDuffie back into the pink of health, because while we’ve shown we’re pretty good without him, we’re not quite good enough to complete our plans of barging into the American Conference and taking over the place.
We resolve to get Mike Brey to the Final Four, no matter how long it takes. Because this is his 18th season and the only three coaches in the power five leagues to have more longevity at their current jobs are Jim Boeheim, Krzyzewski and Izzo. They have a combined 24 Final Four trips, so shouldn’t our guy have at least one?
We resolve not to treat the 3-point area as if it has land mines. We’re 334th in the nation in three-pointers a game, and we’re probably going to need better, since this crop of freshmen is taking a while to blossom. More oak tree, than dandelion. P.S. We ain’t that good at the free throw line, either.
We resolve to stop letting opponents fatten up their scoring averages against us, since eight opponents have already broken 100. But maybe we’d better make that resolution after the Michigan State trip Sunday.
We resolve to shoot better, because if we stay 257th in the nation in field goal percentage and 254th in three-point percentage, it might not be enough that we’re more prolific thieves than the James gang at the other end.
No. 7 West Virginia begins Big 12 play Friday at Oklahoma State. pic.twitter.com/gVHyVwIIHp— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) December 27, 2017
We resolve that life can be just as entertaining without quotes from anyone with the surname of Ball.
We resolve that, never mind some of these early bumps, in the end, we’re still going to be Gonzaga.
We resolve to get a steadier rotation since nine different guys have started and only four have played in every game, and the lineup is starting to sound a little too much like a bus station.
We resolve to warm the winter with intrigue, and then have a boffo March. And also, that the last two minutes of games stop taking so long.