Commentary

A look at the college hoops calendar

A quick review of the early season with a lighthearted look ahead to 2011

Originally Published: December 31, 2010
By Dana O'Neil | ESPN.com

A new year is upon us, the perfect time to reflect on what's happened and predict what lies ahead. To wit, a 2010 College Hoops Retrospective and 2011 Prospective.

(Note: We are not guided by the Gregorian, Mayan, Chinese or even fiscal calendar. We prefer Naismith's version, guided by the rising and setting of the basketball season.)

October 2010

15 -- Practice begins. In West Lafayette, Ind., Purdue is ready for big things as Robbie Hummel returns from knee injury.

16 -- In first full practice, Robbie Hummel tears his right ACL. Cruel injury puts a huge dent in Boilermakers' national title dreams.

Alex Oriakhi
AP Photo/Eugene TannerUConn's victory over Michigan State in Maui was a shot to the bow for national experts.

November 2010

8 -- Preseason poll is released. Connecticut doesn't receive a single vote. Michigan State earns two first-place nods. The rest go to Duke. Voters are smug in their knowledge.

20 -- SEC suspends Bruce Pearl as commissioner Mike Slive unwittingly invents a new game: six degrees of Cam Newton.

21 -- North Carolina loses its second straight in Puerto Rico to drop to 2-2. Top-10 Tar Heels revealed as overrated. Again.

December 2010

9 -- Big Toe, Big Problems: Fabulous Duke freshman Kyrie Irving sidelined indefinitely with injured toe.

13 -- Connecticut moves into the top 5. Michigan State drops out of the top 10. Voters revealed as dolts.

18 -- Renardo Sidney plays. After sitting out an entire season, Mississippi State welcomes Sidney to the court.

21 -- Renardo Sidney suspended indefinitely. Booted for conduct detrimental to the team.

21 -- Renardo Sidney suspended one game. Oopsies. Coach Rick Stansbury said the information released hours earlier was incorrect.

24 -- After brawling with a teammate in the stands, Renardo Sidney suspended indefinitely. For real. For now.

28 -- Purdue sends notice Boilermakers are not a one-man team. Trounce Michigan on the road for a resounding start to Big Ten season.

31 -- Rum punch. Rick Pitino and John Calipari exchange hotel recommendations in the Caribbean before pummeling one another in the Kentucky-Louisville game.

January 2011

1 -- Happy New Year. Nothing like opening a brand-new year in 70 inches of snow in Syracuse against an undefeated Orange team (ESPNU, 3:30 p.m. ET). Notre Dame coach Mike Brey wonders who in the Big East hates him.

1 -- New parlor games invented. At bars nationwide, dart boards hung with names of ACC and Pac-10 schools. Object: Determine who finishes behind Duke and who wins Pac-10.

8 -- Kemba Walker and Jordan Hamilton play one-on-one. Well, technically there are other guys on the court as Connecticut faces Texas, but they just stay out of the way.

8 -- Kenneth Faried sets rebounding record. The rebounding machine grabs every single board available as Morehead State beats Jacksonville State, the team currently ranked 319th in rebounding.

9 -- Duke leads Maryland 42-11 at the half. Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith have 20 apiece. There will be no shared ACC title this season.

[+] EnlargeRenardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey
AP Photo/Eugene TannerThe status of Mississippi State's Renardo Sidney (left) is not known heading into 2011.

13 -- Indefinitely has an expiration date. Realizing just how dreadful the SEC West is and recognizing that his team actually has a shot at this thing, Rick Stansbury reinstates an apologetic, misunderstood Renardo Sidney. Just in time for the game against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs win.

16 -- Renardo Sidney suspended indefinitely. Misses game against Auburn. Like it matters. Mississippi State wins easily.

22 -- Renardo Sidney reinstated. Forgiven just in time for game at Georgia. Plays against Vanderbilt and Florida, too.

22 -- Syracuse hosts Villanova. It's assistant coach Gerry McNamara Day. The entire city of Scranton buses up I-81, children sing a song about McNamara just like they did when he was a senior (yes, that really happened) and the Orange entice people to sit in Carrier Dome seats that might as well have Utica zip codes, breaking the school's attendance record from last season.

26 -- San Diego State wins at BYU. Reporters clamor to go "inside" the Aztecs program. Preferably through the month of February.

26 -- UCF beats Memphis. Marcus Jordan goes for 35 as the Knights officially become the Conference USA front-runner. Fans who taunted Jordan with, "Who's your daddy?" at start of the game feel like schmucks.

February 2011

1 -- Renardo Sidney suspended indefinitely. Misses games against Alabama and LSU. Bulldogs win.

8 -- Tennessee beats Kentucky in coach Bruce Pearl's first game since the eight-game SEC suspension. Vols celebrate with team barbecue.

9 -- Renardo Sidney reinstated. Double-double against Arkansas.

11 -- Renardo Sidney suspended indefinitely. Bulldogs trounce Auburn without him.

13 -- Mike Krzyzewski celebrates 64th birthday. Blue Devils give him the equivalent of a Father's Day tie -- another win as they beat Miami. Ho-hum.

14 -- Feel the love. Who says ESPN programming doesn't have a sense of humor? Kansas travels to Kansas State on Valentine's Day for a sweetheart's day stolen straight from the pages of "The War of the Roses."

15 -- Renardo Sidney reinstated. Scores big in close loss to Kentucky; smashes Ole Miss four days later.

15 -- Ohio State beats Michigan State in triple overtime. Jared Sullinger carves name on player-of-the-year trophies with double-double and game winner, while Sparty reminds everyone that quitting on coach Tom Izzo in December is silly.

17 -- Coach Ben Howland honored. UCLA executes the 3,000,000th pick-and-roll under his guidance. Game stopped. Fans in attendance awarded year's supply of NO-DOZ as Bruins beat Stanford.

23 -- Renardo Sidney suspended indefinitely. Bulldogs struggle to beat LSU.

24 -- Gonzaga beats Saint Mary's. Resurgent Zags scream neener-neener at cameras.

25 -- Renardo Sidney reinstated. Plays through end of regular season.

[+] EnlargeBilly Gillispie
AP Photo/Ed ReinkeAs he searches for a new head-coaching gig, Billy Gillispie will undoubtedly be working the phones again in 2011

March 2011

6 -- Northern Iowa wins tight Missouri Valley race. People in Lawrence break out voodoo dolls of former Panther Ali Farokhmanesh.

7 -- A whopping 17 coaches are fired. Billy Gillispie and Reggie Theus are listed as candidates for all 17 openings.

8 -- Butler wins Horizon League. Frustrated other coaches convince league to institute rule that forbids coaches who cannot grow facial hair. Brad Stevens is fired.

8 -- Opening round of the Big East tournament. DePaul visits Empire State Building, drinks hot cocoa at Serendipity, takes carriage ride through Central Park and collects hotel towels. With the addition of TCU next season, Big East has announced Blue Demons and Horned Frogs will permanently compete in a play-in game for rights to come to NYC.

10 -- Big Ten tournament opens. New motto to go with new logo: First team to 50 points wins!

10 -- Penn State loses Big Ten tourney opener. Athletic director Tim Curley, who just inked Joe Paterno to a contract extension through 2025 when JoePa is 99, is stunned. "We have a basketball team?"

10 -- Mississippi State loses SEC tourney opener. Renardo Sidney has zero points and zero rebounds and is exiled from the state permanently. Or until further notice.

12 -- Entire Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky and Harvard teams guilty of NCAA violations. Players gave away game-worn socks in exchange for packs of chewing gum. Due to "unique opportunity," all are allowed to play in NCAA tournament.

13 -- Selection Sunday. After the 68th team is revealed, cameras cut to Virginia Tech campus, where a boiling Seth Greenberg lobbies hard for a field of 96.

14 -- Northwestern forward John Shurna suspended until 2013. Accepted spaghetti dinner and glass of milk from booster. NCAA argues opportunity to play in NCAA tournament is not unique, since the Wildcats will never make it.

23 -- Kansas State coach Frank Martin celebrates his 45th birthday. Fans in hotel lobby on eve of Sweet 16 serenade him en route to practice. He is not amused.

April 2011

1 -- Enes Kanter declared eligible. At noon, NCAA issues issues the following release: "Ha ha! April Fool's. See how fun we are? We are still investigating his status and anticipate a decision by 2015." Kanter's father vows his son will remain at Kentucky until he is cleared.

2 -- Final Four at Houston. Phi Slama Jama story count: 302.

4 -- National championship game. Duke beats Syracuse to win national championship. That's my October pick and I'm sticking with it.

Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for ESPN.com and can be reached at espnoneil@live.com.

Dana O'Neil | email

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