ATB: Notre Dame is a Little Overdone. Let’s Not Discuss Them Again.Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2009
It’s OV-UH. Villanova 77, Notre Dame 60. Unless Mike Brey’s Irish win four games in four days to get to the Big East finals, we don’t want to hear another word about this team’s NCAA Tournament chances. Sorry, but when you’re playing for your postseason life in an arena when you’ve won something like 48 of your last 50 games and you get ripped a new one in the second half by a team that has much less on the line, you’ve lost your standing to make your case. Villanova’s defense held the Irish to 39% shooting for the game, especially during a key 12-0 run in the middle of the second half that effectively salted the game away. Although ND’s Ryan Ayers blew up for seven threes and 25 pts, Villanova shadowed and harassed Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson into a combined 3-15 evening, while committing a season-low five turnovers on its end of the court. Scottie Reynolds added 23/6/5 assts on 8-12 shooting, including six threes. Villanova has surprised us all season long, and the Wildcats are now in a position to earn a top-four double-bye at the Big East Tourney should they beat Providence on Thursday and Marquette loses its final two games at Pitt and vs. Syracuse. How have they done it? Nova doesn’t particularly excel at any one thing offensively or defensively, but they don’t have a huge weakness either. The difference between this year and last has been the emergence of Dante Cunningham, who has given Villanova a legitimate post threat for the first time since Curtis Sumpter was buzzing around the Main Line. With wins over Pitt, Marquette, Syracuse and closes losses to Louisville and UConn, the Cats have proven they can play with just about anybody.
What Happened to Baylor? Texas 73, Baylor 57. Texas beat Baylor for the 24th consecutive time tonight behind 16 from Dexter Pittman off the bench and 14 pts each from AJ Abrams and Justin Mason. Baylor couldn’t throw it in the ocean, shooting 32% including a miserable 3-17 performance from Curtis Jerrells. Texas got a necessary win to move to 9-6 in the Big 12 race, with a game at Kansas this weekend to finish off the regular season. UT looks like a one-and-done team this year, but what happened to Baylor, a preseason top 25 team that, coming into conference play, looked every bit as good as the NCAA Tournament team from last season. While the Baylor defense is marginally worse than it was last year, we don’t think that’s the reason. Rather, somewhere along the way, the Bears forgot how to put the ball in the hole. In eight of their last eleven games, Baylor has shot 41% or less, and not coincidentally, they lost seven of those games. In the two games where they managed to hit 50%+, they won. The other factor is that the face of the Bear program, Jerrells, is slumping. In that same 11-game period, Jerrells has had three games of single figures and shot 30% from the field – without his production, Baylor has been a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team.
One Other Monday Game of Interest.
- Davidson 90, Elon 78. Stephen Curry had 25/5/4 stls tonight as he passed the 2,500 pt mark for his career. Now it’s on to the SoCon Tourney next weekend, and Curry’s team probably needs to win it.