ATB: Meeks Shall Inherit the EarthPosted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2009
Story of the Night. Jodie Meeks 90, Tennessee 72. Ok, so it was only 54 of the Wildcats’ 90 points, but it was without question one of the top two individual scoring performances we have ever witnessed at the college level (the other: in 2000, we saw Eddie House of Arizona St. drop a ridonkulous 61 in a double-OT win versus Cal). It seems as if there might be another one somewhere in the recesses of our mind, but we can’t draw it out right now. What made this performance better was that Meeks outscored House in regulation, he only missed seven total shots for the game (House was 18-30), he got his work done in a major rivalry game, and he plays for one of the truly regal programs in college basketball. Meeks was simply unconscious – several of the threes he nailed were well behind the line, and rarely did the net so much as shiver as the ball dropped through again and again. It got absurd – the UT crowd sat there in complete shock, having never witnessed such a prodigious explosion of the kind Meeks dropped in their house tonight. Seriously, during times in this game, we felt like we were watching a game at the Y where the former local college player comes over and completely destroys the regulars’ egos for an evening – the looks on the faces of Wayne Chism, Bobby Maze and the other Vols told a similar story. It was quite simply the most astonishing display of target practice we’ve seen this side of KB81.
So let’s talk about the game for a minute. The SEC is down, way down, but right now we have to believe that Kentucky is on track to become the best team in that league (nod to Florida as well). The turnovers that plagued the Cats earlier this season have gotten under control (down to 14 TO/game during the last seven games), and we’re not sure there are many teams in America that can boast a dynamic duo with the talent of Meeks (having an outstanding year well beyond this single game) and Patrick Patterson (note: we put PP on our midseason all-american team – perhaps we had the wrong Wildcat!). After those two players, it gets a little dicey on UK’s roster, but if the defense shores up and those two stay healthy, we could see UK playing NCAA spoiler come March. As for the Vols, could they look less inspired on defense? The way he was shooting the ball, Jodie Meeks would have gotten 40+ on any defense in America tonight, but the open looks and lackadaisical closeouts by Tennessee on Meeks belied their atrocious defense. This team is going nowhere fast with their 147th ranked defensive efficiency (11th in the SEC). We’ve always been impressed by Bruce Pearl’s ability to get his teams to play hard, but frankly, tonight was one of the few times in his career there where we didn’t see the typical level of effort – maybe they were too shellshocked by Meeks’ shooting like the rest of us.
45 in a Row. Memphis 55, Tulsa 54. We were just conversing with RTC correspondent Allen R. today about the likelihood of a CUSA team defeating Memphis this year, and while that conversation was occurring, Memphis was letting the Golden Hurricane hang around to the point where Memphis needed a buzzer-beating layup by Antonio Anderson to win their 45th Conference USA game in a row. Now it appears the next most likely opportunity for a CUSA team to pull the upset will be on Valentine’s Day at Southern Miss. What was also odd about this game was that Tyreke Evans with 23 pts was the only Memphis player in double figures.
Other Scores of Unremarkable Importance.
- BYU 73, TCU 61. The Cougars are off to a solid 2-0 start in the Mountain West. Nobody will want to face this team in the first round of the NCAA Tourney.
- Florida St. 78, NC State 65. FSU used a late 19-2 run to earn a key road win. Looks like another long year for Sidney Lowe at NCSU.
- Ohio St. 77, Indiana 53. It should be illegal to show IU games on Super Tuesday this year. OSU hit 13 threes in this game.
- Kansas 87, Kansas St. 71. We meant to watch some of this one, but we couldn’t take our eyes off the Jodie Meeks Show. Apparently KU started the game on an 18-0 run, and did you hear, Michael Beasley is no longer at K-State?
- N. Iowa 58, Evansville 47. UNI kept pace with Bradley and its MVC leading record (5-1) with a road win at Evansville.