Boom Goes the Dynamite: 12.19.09Posted by jstevrtc on December 19th, 2009
Welcome back! Another weekend means another edition of everyone’s favorite college basketball live blog. Assuming they all actually happen (there was, like, a huge snowstorm, you see), there are actually some pretty darn good games happening today (Michigan at Kansas, anyone? Maybe a little Xavier at Butler?), and since we know you’ll be watching, and we know we’ll be watching…why not watch with us? We’ll be commenting all day, but we want to know what your thoughts are on the games as they’re being played. So keep checking this space and hitting that refresh button, and let’s have your comments as well. It’ll start at noon and go all day long, so I suggest you grab some hot chocolate (or your beverage of choice), turn on your favorite game, and join us. Keep checking back every few minutes!
12:03 pm: So here we go. Starting off with Michigan at Kansas on ESPN as our principle (and as of right now, only noteworthy) game. This is a good but perplexing Michigan team. Their four losses are Marquette, Alabama, Boston College, and at Utah. Michigan was a tournament team last year and returned those two stars in Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, which would make me think they should have at least won a couple of those. BC is tough, but Michigan has to defend the home floor against a team like that if they want to be taken seriously. Quite a tall order they’ve got today. As I type this, Michigan’s last three shots have been threes, none of which went down. Meanwhile, Kansas has been getting the ball inside every trip down.
12:13: Evidently, this is the “Green Game.” So ESPN is going to give us day-to-day green-living tips every so often during the broadcast. That’s fine, I guess. The only thing will be to see if they give actual new information people can use, or if it’s a lot of info most people already know. Not sure about these green-tinged graphics, though. Seems more appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day.
12:19: Coming up at 2:00 PM we have a couple of RTC Live sessions, Xavier at Butler and Stanford at Northwestern. Boy, Stanford needs to make up for that home loss to Oklahoma State. We all know the Pac-10 won’t be contributing much in terms of conference RPI this year so Stanford has to be aware that their tournament chances are slipping away. Big game for them today against a good opponent. Back at our game, Michigan needs to be careful here. Down five with less than ten minutes left in the first half, but Michigan already shows signs of being wobbly on offense.
12:31: Yikes. ESPN just showed that graphic saying Michigan is 1-20 all-time against #1-ranked teams. Wow. I would have thought they’d have had a little more success with that, but I guess not. Kansas has gone up 36-18 and Michigan is just not playing any defense at all. Plus, Kansas is just on FIRE. This one looks like it might be over early. REAL early. Goodness, Kansas is making a statement in this first half with far superior athletes and amazingly good shot selection.
12:50: At halftime, now. Michigan came back a little at the end in two ways. They got the ball inside to Sims, and he actually got the best of Cole Aldrich on two straight possessions. Sims HAS the skills to play with almost anyone, I think. He just has to take good shots, and quite frankly, Michigan needs to get him more touches. Not just today but overall, like through the year. The other way Michigan came back was with a couple of open threes, but you can’t count on that if you’re the Wolverines. Kansas is so efficient you’d have to his a high percentage from there if you’re going to shoot a lot of them and use that as your means of making a comeback. I’m amazed at all the weapons Kansas has.
1:15: Three out of Michigan’s first four shots have been threes. Harris hit one just now, Douglass missed twice, and the other made basket was an inside move by Sims. I feel this sufficiently illustrates my point from earlier. If you’re a Michigan fan you’ve got to be wondering why Zack Novak is guarding the man on the baseline in Michigan’s zone defense. He can’t guard either of the Morrises. In fact, Markieff just got an and-one on him.
1:22: Michigan just missed two more, making it three straight. They’re 4-19. And to be honest, Kansas didn’t come out hustling on defense in this second half. This isn’t even a really crisp effort by the Jayhawks on either end, but yet they’ve added four to their halftime lead because Michigan’s shot selection has been so poor.
1:28: Ouch. Michigan just lost DeShawn Sims who picked up his 4th foul. He’s outplayed Cole Aldrich to this point. It’s gonna have to be all Harris for the Wolverines now. He just hit a three that Xaver Henry, as amazing a player as he is, had no interest in cloing out. He literally stood and watched Harris shoot it.
1:38: Henry just hit two in a row…a perfect-looking three, and a running one-hander he hit while avoiding a charge. A couple of possessions later on the other end, Novak puts back a missed dunk by Gibson and gets basically tackled by Thomas Robinson and no call was made.
1:44: I tell you, these Most Interesting Man in the World commercials still get me. I love that first description, “His reputation is expanding faster than the universe.” It hasn’t gotten old, yet…at least not to me.
1:54: Under 4, and Kansas is still up by 11. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s almost a pleasure to watch the unselfishness of Kansas. They almost never fail to find the open man. Bilas and O’Brien have done whaey can to make this one seem closer than it is, but Kansas hasn’t really been threatened here in the 2nd half.
2:01: Not that is wasn’t already, but that three by Marcus Morris to put KU up 15 is the knockout punch. We’re under two minutes. I must say, except for the short interview with Simran Sethi (heh), this Green Game thing was a little underwhelming.
2:04: Xavier at Butler has started. We’ve got a man there for RTC Live so by all means check out the live blog with our man on the scene. Because we have a man doing that one at courtside, I’m gonna be commenting on any other games that are on.
2:06: The Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant has completed and Kansas finishes up with Michigan, 75-64. Marcus Morris with an impressive double-double, leading with 23/10.
2:15: One of the “other” games on? Only the game of the weekend, known as UNC vs Texas. 35,000 people. Welcome back, Jai Lucas! This will be a great chance to see Avery Bradley if you haven’t, and of course the game itself should be a jewel. Great matchups all over this game. UNC up four early, but UT doesn’t look like they’ve totally arrived, yet.
2:23: My goodness, those before and after pictures of Dexter Pittman were amazing. He’s still a big boy, but now he’s a truck instead of a weeble. And WHAT A FINISH there! The battle inside is gonna be SO fun to watch, but so is the pace. The scoring has picked up…and ANOTHER finish by Pittman! Wow!
2:38: That shot comparing the big gigantic scoreboard with the SMALLER basketball court was hilarious. Man, another bucket for Pittman in semi-transition, and there’s actually my favorite Vitale-ism. “He’s agile! He’s mobile! And he’s not fragile!” He doesn’t get that one out too much, but it’s the best. Pittman is already on double-double watch with 9/6. There’s 7:49 left in the first half.
2:46: Is it just me, or has Tyler Zeller gotten noticeably better with each game? He’s deserted that half-hook turn-around sling shot he put up a lot earlier this year — seriously, that shot had about as much form as a greased amoeba — and overall the guy just looks more comfortable, as if he’s ready to be a leader even though just a sophomore. In the game, jeez, this thing’s turned into a block party. Two massive ones by two different UNC players (the first one on the Damion James shot should have been a goal-tend) then Pittman gets in on the act. This is high-level stuff.
2:58: Don’t know if you heard it earlier, but Vitale tried — poorly — to make excuses for his buddy Bob Knight earlier. He said that Knight was taking more of a shot at the NCAA than he was John Calipari. Not even close to being the truth. I think Vitale heard those words come out of his mouth and he dropped the subject.
3:03: Ed Davis joins the early double-double watch with 10/7. I thought Davis was a tad overrated before the season started, but he has rubbed it in my face so far this year. WHAT a finish by Texas to end the half! A steal after a made basket turns into ANOTHER basket and Texas goes into the locker room with a 13-point lead. Should be one amazing second half.
3:07: OK, John Stevens signing off, handing it over to NVR1983 who’ll take you into the early evening. Xavier at Butler looks like it’s gonna be interesting down the stretch and we know UNC will narrow this gap. Enjoy the second part of this great hoops day. And by all means, don’t go anywhere. We’re here ALL day.
3:15: Xavier just took the lead against Butler. The Bulldogs really need this game. It might not be fair, but if they lose this game I think we can discount the Ohio State win (minus Evan Turner). Needless to say if they lose this one you can forget about a 6 seed or above this season. They have to be one of the most disappointing teams so far this season even if it might be the media’s fault for giving them too much credit for returning everybody from a solid, but not spectacular team.
3:20: Speaking of disappointing…UCLA. Do I need to say more? Down by 10 at Notre Dame with 14 minutes left.
3:30: Can’t say I have ever been to Dallas, but Vitale sure is pumping the area a lot. I wonder how much the Dallas Visitors Bureau paid him.
3:35: A pretty disappointing performance from UNC so far. Roy Williams can’t be happy with their performance so far. By the way, I think I see a pair of Longhorn fans behind the UNC bench. Any chance Roy gets them kicked out too?
3:45: Solid stretch by Dexter Strickland. An offensive foul on Texas plus Dexter Pittman on the bench getting his ankle checked and it is starting to get interesting. Ugh. Why is Tyler Zeller getting the ball 25 feet from the basket??
3:50: Wow. I think my head just exploded. Dick Vitale is going to a Taylor Swift concert?
3:55: Solid effort by UCLA. They cut the lead to 6 with less than a minute left, but couldn’t get it closer and it looks like they will fall short. Not that impressive for Notre Dame though. I mean everybody has beat UCLA this year. The Irish are going to have a tough time in the Big East this year.
3:56: By the way, if you’re not watching the Butler-Xavier game or following it on RTC Live, we suggest you go there now. It’s a 1-point game with 1:51 left.
3:58: Wow. Pot calling kettle black. Knight tells Brad Stevens to sit down and not protest a call against his team.
3:59: Huge shot by Jordan Crawford puts Xavier up by 3, but it’s tempered by Terrell Holloway fouling out on a dumb foul.
4:02: Wow. Unbelievable sequence there. So much contact and no calls. Ball bounces to Gordon Hayward who makes a huge play getting what should be the game-winning layup with 1.2 seconds left. Just a phenomenal play. And as Knight points out the rebound was huge.
4:05: You know it looks like Hayward got a lot of arm when he forced that “jump ball”. Knight keeps on praising it, but I’m not so sure about it.
4:10: Awful job by the officials at the Xavier-Butler game. What is taking so long? They have killed all the energy in Hinkle.
4:15: And Knight takes a shot at Congress.
4:16: What an awful finish! That’s about as anticlimactic as you can get. The Xavier fans will not be happy with this. Kenny Frease just yelled at someone in the stands. A couple of Xavier players are yelling at the crowd. This is getting ugly.
4:20: Ok. Now back to basketball action. Texas is up by 14 with 1:28 left. They just cracked the century mark. Texas-KU should be a good one.
4:25: Shaky finish by Texas, but they hold on. They have Michigan State coming up, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem based on what I have seen of the Spartans. Still Kalin Lucas versus Avery Bradley should be a treat.
4:26: Ken Krayeske will not be happy when he finds out, but Jim Calhoun just got a 5-year extension with a pay raise (details on salary not out yet). I guess the UConn administration is about as interested in the Nate Miles investigation as the NCAA is.
4:30: Ugh. Just switched over to Gonzaga-Duke. It’s 6-6 with 11:30 left in the first half.
4:35: A combined 8/35 from the field today at MSG…
4:40: Wow. West Virginia barely survived an upset bid by Cleveland State. Is WVU overrated or did we just forget that Cleveland State knocked off Syracuse and Wake Forest? Probably the latter. The Vikings were only 4-7 coming into the game today.
4:55: Duke is destroying Gonzaga right now. 30-16 with less than a minute left. Coach K has to be pleased with their performance so far other than the ugly offensive display to start the game.
5:00: Quick roundup of the current games: Purdue by 23 at home against Ball State, Ohio State up by 8 at home against Delaware State (no Evan Turner = not ranked), Kentucky up by 14 at home against Austin Peay (John Wall with 13 points and 5 assists), and USC up 11-5 against Tennessee midway through the 1st half.
5:15: Apparently John Wall left the game for a few minutes after what appeared to be a minor injury. UK is only up by 6 now.
5:17: Duke is doubling up Gonzaga right now. Nolan Smith just made the 1st 3-pointer by either team. Other amazing stat, Zags with 7 FGs and 14 TOs.
5:40: This Duke game is mind numbingly boring. I can’t imagine what the people are thinking who paid top dollar to see Duke play today. At least they are winning, but man this is awful. Speaking of awful they just showed a graphic saying the Pac-10 is 0-10 against Top 25 teams today, but they might change that in about an hour. USC is up 33-20 at home against Tennessee.
5:55: Duke and UK have their games wrapped up. Haven’t said much because both have been excruciatingly boring. We’ll turn our attention to Tennessee falling apart against USC now.
6:00: If you want to know why Tennessee is losing just look at their 3-point shooting: 2 for 17. Yikes!
6:15: Just an awful showing by the Vols so far. USC up 56-40 with 8:47 left. Alex Stepheson and Dwight Lewis are killing Bruce Pearl with 17 each.
6:22: Anybody left here this afternoon? Rtmsf is here taking you through the evening games, and right now Tennessee looks terrrrrrible. They’ve been stuck on 40 pts for seemingly about an hour. USC lost to Loyola Marymount at home earlier this year!
6:28: Switching over to UMass vs. Memphis in Boston now. We haven’t seen much out of Memphis since the HOF Classic game where they had a shot in the air to beat #1 Kansas. It’ll be interesting to see if they’ve improved from what we saw on that night.
6:33: USC is putting the finishing touches on this blowout win against Tennessee. This is a hallmark of Bruce Pearl’s teams – you can pretty much count on a horrible meltdown game against a poor opponent at least once a season.
6:38: Anthony Gurley looks good so far for UMass, a team that has been disappointing this season. Their best win is probably a road victory at Holy Cross. But Memphis is having trouble getting separation from the Minutemen thus far.
6:49: USC finishes off Tennessee in LA, and the Vols should be ashamed of themselves. Look at these numbers: 34.5% from the field (bad), 13-25 (52%) from the line (worse), and 2-22 (9%) from three (worst). Perhaps the worst stat for Bruce Pearl’s team is how they got manhandled on the boards today. USC 43, UT 17! And yet with all of UT’s depth of talent, they allowed a team basically playing six players to destroy them. Long flight back to Knoxville, I’d imagine (perhaps just as long as Gonzaga’s to Spokane).
7:05: So we’re at halftime of the UMass-Memphis game, but let’s see what else is going on out there in basketball-land tonight… ODU at Georgetown is starting on ESPN 360 and Georgia vs. Illinois is over on the U. We were hoping to have an RTC Live from Georgetown tonight, but it sounds like our correspondent in the area would have needed a team of sled dogs and a flamethrower to get there. So we’ll keep an eye on it via 360…
7:12: Jumping back to the UT-USC game for a moment, I just checked the spread on that game and it was Tennessee -11 at the tip, which means that there was a 33-pt turnaround from what Vegas was thinking. That might just be the biggest such example of the year so far.
7:15: We’re back in action at Boston, and the story of the first half was Memphis getting murdered by UMass on the boards, 24-11. Memphis looks out of sync offensively, and the longer they allow UMass to stay in this game, of course, the more confidence the Minutemen will have going down the stretch.
7:23: Doneal Mack is really showing his range with a couple of these recent shots. With he, Elliot Williams and Roburt Sallie in the backcourt bombing away, Memphis will have some nights where they blow a team out based on outside shooting. The problem, of course, is what will happen when they’re all cold at the same time.
7:37: UMass is feeling like they’re going to win this game right now. Their body language is completely different than Memphis’ right now. Foul trouble of Coleman (4) and Henderson-Niles (4) isn’t helping. Mack continues to impress, but where the hell is E-Williams? A quick look over at the ODU-Georgetown game in snowed-under DC shows that ODU is up ten with four minutes to go in the first half. Sorta figured this would be a good one.
7:44: Oh MY! Wesley Witherspoon takes the scrape and still had enough elevation and strongs to punch it down on the break. That’s an elite play right there. Still, UMass leads by four. Let’s see whether the habits of a winning team vs. those of a losing team take precedence here in the last nine minutes.
7:50: A series of bad possessions ensued for UMass immediately after I typed that, but they’ve managed to fend off Memphis a little to hold onto a two-point lead. Richmond is up four on Florida early in the second half, and Georgetown is still down double-digits at home to ODU.
7:58: Still tight in Boston, as we head into the final five minutes and Memphis has a two-point lead. Beautiful dribble-drive from the Steve Nash playbook to find his big man cutting for a tie game. Bad decision for UMass to foul on Mack’s steal though.
8:00: WHO WANTS THE BALL. Sean Carter just took that ball right away from Memphis to get the putback and pull UMass back within one point.
8:08: Memphis back up three thanks to Doneal Mack, but another UMass offensive rebound gives the Minutemen a chance to keep it close here. A 40-16 advantage in the paint for UMass. Wow, a terrible shot by Ricky Harris there. That’s the problem with him sometimes.
8:10: Will Coleman fouled Ricky Harris before he could do something stupid again. The one thing Harris has done well tonight is shoot from the FT line…
8:14: ODU is now shellacking Georgetown by 18 pts in the early part of the second half! The Hoyas have only ten FGs and have turned the ball over 13 times so far. As for UMass-Memphis, can UMass play defense for twenty second to get the ball for a shot to tie or win?
8:17: Wow, Ricky Harris got bailed out of a bad pass by the tie-ball arrow. If I’m Derek Kellogg, I would keep the ball as far away as possible from Harris for this last play. Make him the decoy or something…
8:18: Are you serious with that?!?!!? Talk about fortuitous. I was thinking, how did he not catch the ball initially, and then it appeared that DJ Stevens had corralled it, but UMass’ Vinson dropped it in after it landed in his hands.
8:20: This is clearly a huge win for the UMass program. I’m really not sold on Memphis as a top 25 team this year, but it’s a game they probably should have won, and as such, is a nice upset for Derek Kellog’s program to hang its hat on early this year.
8:28: Moving over to the Georgetown-ODU game on 360. The Hoyas are still down 15 pts (well, 12, now that they just hit a three and possible and-1). Do they have a run in them?
8:33: Greg Monroe just led the break for the Hoyas, passing it off to a cutting teammate to narrow the margin to ten points. Monroe looked very fluid last week when I saw him up close and personal in Anaheim, but it was Julian Vaughn who really impressed. Vaughn has 8/5 tonight.
8:38: ODU comes into this game 6-4, with those four losses against Missouri, Mississippi State, Richmond and Dayton. Four pretty good teams, but the Monarchs haven’t been able to break through against one of the marquee names on their schedule. A huge three cut the Hoya momentum and pushed the lead back up to 11. Georgetown isn’t the kind of team who can easily come back from that kind of a deficit in just four minutes.
8:43: Georgetown gets a boost from Julian Vaughn the last couple of possessions, and now the lead is only eight, which is the closest the Hoyas have been in quite some time. Um, make that a five-point lead as Greg Monroe knocks in a three!
8:45: “Ugliest fast break I’ve ever seen,” according to the tv announcer, and I have to agree. It ended up with Julian Vaughn (again) getting fouled on a dunk attempt, but Georgetown will nevertheless head to the line with two shots to cut it down below five points.
8:47: The Georgetown defense has been really impressive the last couple of minutes. I really didn’t think they could win this game, but now I’m convinced they’re going to do so! Greg Monroe cuts it to a 2-point lead with a 15-5 run.
8:49: Again, the Hoya D was really solid there, but Hassell with a nice offensive rebound tip-in to give ODU a little more breathing room. I think Georgetown should go to Monroe on the blocks and make ODU guard their talented big man.
8:51: Ouch. Chris Wright just threw the ball to nobody in the corner. ODU now has the ball and a 4-point lead, and they immediately turn the ball back over to GU. Another chance for the Hoyas here.
8:53: And that should be it, as a couple Hoya three-pointers were not close. ODU does the exact same thing it did three years ago – win at Georgetown in their tiny on-campus gym, McDonough Arena.
8:55: And looky here – one of ODU’s former CAA colleagues, Richmond (now in the A10), just got a big win at the Orange Bowl Classic by upsetting Florida 56-53. UR’s talented backcourt of David Gonzalvez and Kevin Anderson combined for 30/10/7 assts, while holding UF’s shooters to 3-16 from deep. Great win for the A10 tonight.
9:00: Heading into the late part of the evening now, and there are still actually a few pretty good games on the schedule. Wichita State is up 14 on Texas Tech at the half, and we’re about to tip off Creighton at New Mexico and K-State vs. Alabama at the Coors Classic. In an hour, Portland will visit Washington in a game I’d really like to see, but so far I’ve not been able to find any of these on tv anywhere.
9:14: Husband duties called for a few minutes (yes it only takes fourteen…), and I still haven’t found any broadcasts of those games. Apparently the New Mexico game is on the Mountain, but I don’t have access to that channel. So I guess that’s going to be it for today. It was a pretty solid day, all in all, but you already knew that if you’ve read this far. We probably won’t be back with BGTD until the first weekend of the new year, so we’ll see you then and hopefully every weekend remaining until March Madness arrives. Thanks to those of you who stopped by. Have a safe and happy holiday season, folks!