ATB: So… Harvard > BC > UNC, right?Posted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2009
How is This Humanly Possible? Harvard 82, Boston College 70. In one of the biggest transitive property sequences we’ve ever seen, Harvard, a school who had never in its illustrious basketball history defeated a ranked team, went to BC and knocked off the newly-ranked Eagles a mere 72 hrs after those same Eagles had gone into the nation’s #1 team, North Carolina, and knocked them off. Sure, this kind of scratch-your-head stuff happens every year to a certain extent. But rarely is it in back-to-back games, and even more rarely is the difference in talent so great in the larger of the two upsets (according to Sagarin, BC was #40 in America; Harvard #247). Of course, we know that the transitive property doesn’t work in basketball, but it’s fun to talk about. What’s also fun to talk about is the word “letdown,” and BC may have redefined the word by completely failing to show up for a crosstown rival that its second team should be able to handle (esp. love the cheerleader angle below on the video). Credit is due to Tommy Amaker’s crew, who took advantage of an opportunity to catch an ACC team sleepwalking – the Crimson took the lead 19-17 with 7:32 remaining in the first half, and never lost it again, even extending into the 12-16 pt range deep into the second half. Jeremy Lin was the story, dropping 27/8/6 stls, and perhaps signaling to the rest of the Ivy League that Amaker’s influx of talent will be heard from this season. As for BC, Tyrese Rice, who was outstanding against Carolina, had a quiet 14-pt foul-out game. In the long run, this game won’t hurt BC too terribly much if they reboot and have a good ACC slate (8-8 or better, for example). But if they go 6-10 or even 7-9 in conference, this could end up being a bubble knockout game for the Eagles.
Curry Watch. Duke 79, Davidson 67. This game wasn’t as close as the floor, but we do have a few points to make about this one. First of all, the announcing trio of Tirico/Jackson/Van Gundy was soooooooooooooooooooo much better than it would have been listening to Dickie V. chortle about Curry and K, Duke and Carolina, Roy and Dean, and various other interludes for two hours. Secondly, COMPLETE AGREEMENT with Van Gundy and it took an NBA guy to point it out, but the charge call in the NCAA (perfected by Duke) where a player stands underneath the rim waiting on a driving player to run into him has got to end. College basketball needs the NBA block/charge semi-circle, we’ve been saying it for years – it would put an end to that gimmicky nonsense and avoid penalizing players who make fantastic drives to the rim without running through someone (standing under the basket Battier-style does not qualify). About the game, Stephen Curry was cold early, made some shots late, and turned the ball over a lot (but he still ended with 29/8/6 assts to go with his 7 tos). Davidson isn’t as good as they were last year, but heck, they lost all these type of games in the pre-conference season in 2008 too, so we won’t write them off for a March run just yet. Other than that, we’ll have to respectfully disagree with Mark Jackson’s assessment of Curry’s game as a PG – we’re more in concert with SVG’s thoughts – great shooter who has questionable decisionmaking skills. For Duke, Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer had twin 22-pt games.
Overtime Madness. There were two games tonight that went into OT and, in both cases, the home team outplayed the visitor for the majority of the contest, only to be shocked by furious comebacks which led to OT losses for Indiana and Tennessee.
- Gonzaga 89, Tennessee 79 (OT). This game probably shouldn’t have gone into overtime, as Matt Bouldin’s final shot in regulation should have counted due to a missed goaltending call where a UT player’s hand went up through the net and into the rim as the ball flew over the goal. Thanks, Jay Bilas. Nevertheless, Tennessee’s porous defense caught up with them tonight and ended their 37-game homecourt winning streak, as they allowed Gonzaga to get off the schneid and pull out a key road victory thanks to 53% shooting and Bouldin’s 26/4/5 assts. Austin Daye added 20/8, but more importantly for the Zags, they held UT to only 36% shooting, their worst home performance since late in the 06-07 season. Does this mean that the Zags we saw a month ago – the ones who played defense – are back? Obviously, it’s uncertain, but at least they appeared to be interested in the concept tonight. Or maybe they just know how to play Tennessee.
- Michigan 72, Indiana 66 (OT). We’ll give credit to Tom Crean’s kids – they’re playing extremely hard. They just don’t have the kind of talent to hold good teams down when they wake up and realize they’re down 20 pts to an inferior squad, as Michigan did in the second half tonight. We were sure this was going to be an L for the Wolverines when we saw the early score, but Manny Harris, Laval Lucas-Perry and DeShawn Sims (49 pts combined) didn’t allow that to happen. UM improves to 2-1 in the Big Ten.
Edgar Sosa Watch and Other Interesting Things.
- Louisville 71, S. Florida 57. Tonight’s Edgar Sosa Watch: 5-9 for 12 pts. Verdict: not invited to transfer after this road win for the Cards.
- Syracuse 85, Depaul 68. Andy Rautins hit five threes to continue his hot streak over the last few games (25-44). Cuse’s main six players all scored between 12-17 pts.
- Providence 87, Cincinnati 79. If PC is going to make a run at an at-large, it’s games like this on the road that they have to win. The Friars are now 3-0, but they’ve played three of the four bottom-feeders in the league so far (St. John’s and Depaul in addition to Cincy).
- Morgan St. 66, Maryland 65. Horrendous home loss to a MEAC team (albeit probably the best one in that conference). Very rough night for the ACC.
- Marquette 81, Rutgers 76. Rutgers is making it known they’ll not be a pushover in the RAC this year. Wes Matthews was perfect from the field (10-10) for 23/6 in a game where MU had to hold on down the stretch despite having a 21-pt lead earlier in the second half.
- Wisconsin 74, Northwestern 45. UW moved to 3-0 in the Big 10 in an easy home win over the Wildcats (now 0-3).
- UNC 108, Charleston 70. Carolina rebounded from its first loss of the year with a huge second half against Charleston, putting all five starters into double figures (led by TH’s 24/7, of course).