Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Hitchcockian View of College Basketball's Preseason Top 15

The college basketball season is just around the corner, and the preseason USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll was already released on October 26. While the real intrigue is reserved for March, there’s still a place for the Master of Suspense when previewing the season. Alfred Hitchcock’s movies fit in quite well with the top 15 teams. Really, what’s more synonymous with college basketball than a British guy who’s been dead since 1980?

Hitchcock won’t be making one of his trademark cameos in this article. But given his fixation on beautiful blondes, he’d be thrilled to see Erin Andrews reporting from the sideline. Without further adieu, here’s a Hitchcockian view of college basketball’s preseason top 15.

14. (tie) Texas A&M. Rear Window. Can the Aggies continue their success, with Acie Law and Billy Gillespie in their rear view?

14. (tie) Gonzaga. Spellbound. That’s what Josh Heytvelt will be if he can’t lay off the mushrooms.

13. Oregon. The Birds. Despite the loss of Aaron Brooks, the Ducks will continue to be a nuisance in the Pac-10.

12. Marquette. To Catch A Thief. Thanks to his penchant for steals, guard Jerel McNeal was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. But he’s not quite as dashing as Cary Grant.

11. Duke. Notorious. It’s what the Blue Devils are on every campus outside of Durham.

10. Washington State. North By Northwest. The Cougars will once again be strong in the Pacific Northwest. No word on whether they’ll travel to games in a crop duster.

9. Indiana. Dial M For Murder. Kelvin Sampson knows how telephone calls can lead to big trouble.

8. Michigan State. 300. I know it’s not Hitchcock, but it’s the mandatory movie reference for the Spartans.

7. Tennessee. Rich and Strange. It’s an early, obscure Hitchcock film, but it’s a perfect label for Bruce Pearl.

6. Louisville. The Wrong Man. Cardinal fans are still thankful that Rick Pitino was the wrong man for the Celtics.

5. Georgetown. Vertigo. Jimmy Stewart had a fear of heights, so he’d have been terrified of 7’2” All-American Roy Hibbert.

4. Kansas. The 39 Steps. It’s how many steps Bill Self has taken, assuming you need 40 to reach the Final Four.

3. Memphis. Suspicion. Although they’re deep and talented, the Tigers can’t escape suspicion as long as they’re in Conference USA.

2. UCLA. Rebecca. The Bruins, like Rebecca Lobo, won a national championship in 1995. It could happen again, now that Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah are out of the picture.

1. North Carolina. Psycho. Tyler (Psycho T) Hansbrough hopes to lead the Tar Heels to the penthouse, not the Bates Motel.