MORGANTOWN - It was Casey Stengel who first asked of his 1962 New York Mets, "Can't anybody here play this game?''
I'm trying to figure out if perhaps the same question should be asked about college basketball in general and the Big East in particular this season.
Let's face it, judging by what's happened in the first two-thirds of this season, only one of two options is available:
Quite honestly, there are arguments to be made on both sides.
Quick, what is the best team in the country? In almost any season you can recall, there have been a handful of good choices.
A year ago at this point, Kansas was 20-1 and a near-unanimous choice as No. 1, having lost only on the road at Tennessee. The Jayhawks were No. 1 in 15 of the 19 Associated Press polls taken prior to the NCAA tournament.
The year before, the first February poll had 20-1 Connecticut well ahead of the pack, where the Huskies might have stayed had Jerome Dyson not injured a knee.
The year before that it was Memphis, which was 20-0 and in the midst of a 38-2 season in which the only losses were to No. 2 Tennessee and then in overtime to Kansas in the national championship game.
OK, granted, none of those teams went on to win titles, which says a great deal about the overall validity of polls. But that's not the point. The point is that at this juncture in the season, a certain pecking order is usually established. Almost everyone can usually agree on, if not the best team in the country, the best handful of three or four or five that just scare the stuffing out of you.
This year? Ohio State, at 22-0, is a near-consensus No. 1 and the only unbeaten remaining. That's the Ohio State team - sorry, The Ohio State team - whose best player by far is a true freshman and a team that won by a point Saturday against an eight-loss Northwestern team playing without its leading scorer.