After the Buzzer: Sunday Doldrums

Posted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2009


Story of the Day. Are the Heels Overrated? Only at places like UNC would we be asking questions like this, but after UNC sleptwalked through a tougher-than-it-shoulda-been home win 88-77 against Valparaiso today, it begs the question — are they overrated?  Most of the top teams have been busy annihilating their opponents, but other than against North Carolina Central, UNC has allowed vastly inferior teams like FIU and Valpo to hang around much longer than they should.  One quote from point guard Larry Drew II really seemed to hit home with us: when asked about pre-game intensity, Drew said, “honestly, I thought everything was all good, but Coach kind of told us before the game, ‘It seems like you lacked a little intensity out there for the shootaround.'”  As the point guard and unofficial team leader, Drew should be able to read his team better than that, and it really makes us wonder whether he has the chops to become the leader this team ultimately needs.  Carolina was never seriously threatened with a loss, but the Heels allowed 7-10 shooting from deep in the second half, and Brandon Wood (30 pts with six threes) lit their perimeter defense up.  It seems that we’re not the only ones who realize that things in Carolina Nation aren’t quite up to snuff yet (and honestly, after losing what they lost, why would they be???), but this weekend’s twin tilts against Ohio State and either Syracuse or California will give us a better sense as to the answer to the above question.

Upset of the Day. UT-San Antonio 62, Iowa 50. It’s not often that a Southland team wins a game on a Big Ten team’s home floor, so even though it’s abundantly clear that Iowa is down (way down), this is still the choice.  UTSA used a 17-3 run to open the second half and their experience was able to hold off the much younger Hawkeyes down the stretch as they repeatedly made mini-runs.  Despite outrebounding the Roadrunners by twelve boards, Iowa had trouble finding the basket to the tune of 34% from the field and 19% from deep.  Not to sterotype or anything, but we thought this was Iowa, you know, where kids can shoot the ball.  Morris Smith, IV, led the way for UTSA with 16/4, but it was a balanced attack that did the trick for this team, as five of the seven players who saw playing time scored in double figures.  This is the second win over a BCS conference team this weekend for a Southland team, as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi nailed Oregon State on Friday night.

RTC Live. Tulsa 81, FIU 49.  This game was an impressive win for Tulsa, and Jerome Jordan is one of the most impressive big men I have ever seen in person, Simply a dominating presence on both ends of the court — 12 points on 7 shots and 6 blocks in 24 minutes. I would be shocked if he was not a first round pick, or even a lottery pick. Tulsa is hungry, disciplined, well-coached, and a force to be reckoned with in Conference USA. This is their year to capture the Conference title. FIU, in contrast, was abysmal, shooting 21% from the field and 15% from beyond the arc. Only Marvin Roberts had double figure points with 18, and that came off  of 4-16 shooting. They were undersized and not very physical on either end of the floor. At one point during the game, Isiah Thomas was upset and said loud enough for press row to hear that Tulsa had “no class” for continuing to play its stars, but afterwards in the media interview room, he backed off those comments.  Regardless, he has a lot of work to do before this team is even respectable, but I expect him to make this team much better in the coming years with his experience and incoming recruits (h/t RTC correspondent Eli Linton).

Other Games of National Interest.

  • #3 Texas 89, UC Irvine 42. Total obliteration from start to finish in this one, as seniors Damion James (21/15) and Dexter Pittman (21/7/3 blks) led the way.  UT’s ballyhooed freshman class combined for 35/12 (but 10 of their 13 turnovers) in their debut.
  • #9 West Virginia 83, Loyola (MD) 60.  Loyola played with the Devin Ebanks-less Mountaineers for a half , but Da’Sean Butler did a little bit of everything (26/7/5 assts) to ensure the win in a strong second half.  WVU’s starters took way too many threes (27), including three players with six or more attempts.  Ebanks was not on the bench and was missing for “undisclosed personal reasons,” according to Huggins.
  • #13 Washington 111, Portland State 55. No tired legs for UW or Quincy Pondexter, playing their third game in three days today.  Pondexter was nearly perfect, going for 29/13/3 assts on 11-12 shooting from the field and 7-8 from the line.  Isaiah Thomas also added 21/6.
  • Wake Forest 89, East Carolina 58. Wake got 23/8/3 stls from Al-Farouq Aminu and a career high from Tony Woods (12/6), but it was the Deacon defense that got the best of ECU, holding the Pirates to 25% from the field and a mere 14% from three.
  • Baylor 71, Hartford 69. Baylor held off the upset when Epke Udoh hit a long jumper at the buzzer to win the game, capping a comeback from as many as 12 pts down for the Bears who surely could not afford this kind of a loss in the nonconference slate.  LaceDarius Dunn had 29/5 in a high-volume shooting night (16 three attempts), but it was Udoh (21/7/3 assts/5 blks) who had the more efficient game.
  • Providence 79, Mercer 77.  Mercer nearly got themselves another BCS scalp tonight as they roared back late from a 19-pt deficit to get within a bucket, but EJ Kusnyer’s three attempt was badly off, and PC survived.  Marshon Brooks had 26/7/3 blks and Jamine Peterson had 10/22 in the effort.
  • Florida 74, Stetson 46.  It took the Gators 39:29 to make a three-pointer for the 580th consecutive game, but Chandler Parsons’ trey in the last minute saved the streak.  Alex Tyus had a dub-dub of 12/13, and Kenny Boynton came off the bench in his debut game for 12/2/2 assts.
  • Kansas State 82, Western Illinois 50.  K-State coasted in a dominant defensive effort behind Denis Clemente’s 13/3/5 assts, holding WIU to 29% shooting for the game.  Freshman star Wally Judge came off the bench for 11/5 in fifteen minutes.
  • Seton Hall 87, Monmouth 73. Jeremy Hazell and Herb Pope combined for 41/20/7 assts in a much crisper effort than the Hall had its last time out (where they won on a last-second shot).
  • Oregon 68, Colorado State 55. We’re not sold on Oregon as even a middle-pack Pac-10 team this year, but this is the kind of game they would have lost last season, so we’re withholding complete dismissal.  Tajuan Porter had 23/3/3 stls for the Ducks.
  • Iowa State 72, Chicago State 50.  Maybe the residual funk from Harrison Barnes is still impacting this team, because Craig Brackins had his second consecutive ‘just-ok’ game, with 7/8/6 blks on 2-12 shooting from the field.
  • Arizona 87, Northern Arizona 70.  Sean Miller won his debut in the desert as Solomon Hill had a very nice opening game himself off the bench: 17/8 in 25 minutes of action.  Nic Wise (15/4) and Jamelle Horne (14/11/3 blks) also had solid games for the Cats.
  • Texas Tech 64, Oregon State 60. An early BCS interconference matchup went to the home team, as late back-t0-back threes broke a 50-all tie and allowed Texas Tech to hang on down the stretch against Craig Robinson’s OSU team.  David Tairu had 19 pts and Mike Singletary 15 pts for the Red Raiders.

On Tap Monday (all times EST).

  • Miami (OH) @ #5 Kentucky (ESPN FC) – 7 pm– John Wall’s much-anticipated debut.  RTC Live will be there for it.
  • Pennsylvania @ #6 Villanova – 7 pm – a Big 5 clash is always a ton of fun.  Yep, RTC Live will be there too.
  • Coastal Carolina @ #8 Duke (ESPNU) – 7 pm – opening round game of the Preseason NIT, and yes, the winners actually advance in this one.
  • Colgate @ #10 UConn (ESPNU) – 9 pm – more PNIT action, but we’re most interested in keeping an eye on that UConn frontcourt.
  • Stephen F. Austin @ #18 Minnesota – 8 pm – given how the Southland is playing, Tubby should be worried about this game.
  • Jacksonville @ Florida State – 7 pm – the debut of Michael Snaer is exciting.
  • Virginia @ South Florida (ESPN FC) – 7:30 pm – this is the bastard stepchild of the ACC/Big East Challenge from a while back.
  • Prairie View @ Cincinnati – 7:30 pm – is Born Ready ready to lead UC back to the NCAA Tournament?
  • Lipscomb @ Vanderbilt – 8 pm – interesting crosstown game; we’re big fans of what Vandy has put together this year in Nashville.
  • San Diego @ Pacific – 10 pm – don’t sleep in this WCC/Big West tilt between programs with NCAA aspirations this year.
rtmsf (3954 Posts)

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4 responses to “After the Buzzer: Sunday Doldrums”

  1. Matt says:

    “Are the Heels overrated?”

    Definitely. This is a case of seeing a group of players who have the talent to be a top-5 team at the end of the season, but not the experience or maturity in January. Yesterday was a perfect example of this–up by 24 in the middle of the 2nd half, they don’t put a team like Valpo out–they don’t have that “go for the throat” thing down yet. UNC should be ranked more in the 12-16 range at the moment, and I think by the start of January we’ll see that.

  2. Wow, what is sad about Iowa’s loss is that it was part of the CBE classic games and Iowa still gets to go to Kansas City and take on Texas and Pitt/Wichita St. I wonder what the coach of Texas-San Antonio feels since he gets to pat his players on the back and say “Great job, now we get to play Arkansas-Montecello and not Texas. Aren’t you glad we took part in this ‘Tourney’?”

  3. rtmsf says:

    Good call, Patrick.

  4. rtmsf says:

    Matt – I was afraid I’d get hammered on this, but I pretty much agree with your assessment. Just because you’re not top five material now doesn’t mean they can’t be eventually, but I do have serious reservations about the Heels’ backcourt play this year.

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