ATB: Snow Problem, Plenty of Hoops…Posted by rtmsf on December 20th, 2009
The Debacle in Hinkle. #17 Butler 69, Xavier 68. The story over the weekend was the bizarre and (some say) unconscionable ending to the Butler-Xavier game on Saturday afternoon. If you somehow missed it, check out our post on the subject from last night. We pretty much agree that the referee crew followed the rules as they’re written, but that the rules as they’re written pretty much suck in a situation such as this. RTC Live was there, and as our correspondent wrote at the time:
That would be one ballsy crew to take a full second OFF the clock against a visitor down by 1 point. HUGE controversy WOW…. I have been doing bball for years and I cannot believe that they just did that?!?!?!?!?!”
Ballsy they were, but also correct by the letter of the law. Unfortunately for Xavier and Chris Mack, the Musketeers were left holding the bag when a timing error led them to believe they’d have a final shot to win the game. The NCAA needs to step up and immediately clarify this rule, including what kind of stopwatch can and cannot be used to estimate the time so that we’re not faced with an equally ridiculous ending on a much bigger stage later this year.
Jerry’s Joint. #2 Texas 103, #10 UNC 90. The featured game of the weekend at Jerry’s World known as the new-and-improved-to-a-ridiculous-degree Cowboys Stadium showed why many people are very high on Rick Barnes’ Texas team to cut down the nets in April. UT put four players in the 20+ points column, including huge dub-dubs from seniors Damion James (25/15) and Dexter Pittman (23/15) to go along with Avery Bradley’s 20/4 assts/3 stls and J’Covan Brown’s 21/5/3 assts. Showing the depth that Barnes now has at his disposal, much ballyhooed transfer Jai Lucas (recently eligible) only played six minutes and recorded zero points. He’d start for most of the teams in the Top 25 from day one. UNC’s Ed Davis was the only Carolina player who seemed comfortable with the waves of Texas players inside, as he blew up for 21/9/4 blks for one of his best performances of the year. Texas will get another test on Tuesday of this week as Michigan State visits Austin, while UNC will head back home for a few easier games prior to the start of the ACC in early January. We’re still worried about UNC’s point guard play, but we’d imagine that Texas is going to make a lot of pretty good teams look bad over the course of this season. That team is loaded!
Gonz-awfulness. #7 Duke 76, #15 Gonzaga 41. In a game all too reminiscent of other early-season blowouts that Duke has administered on overrated teams, the Devils completely overwhelmed the Zags defensively to, as Mark Few put it after the game, “woodshed” his team on Saturday afternoon at MSG. Duke’s defense held Gonzaga to a mere fifteen FGs for the game, 28% shooting, a single three-pointer and a quarter-century team low of 41 points. Despite all the hype for the Duke bigs coming into the season, it’s been the backcourt play of Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, combining for 36 PPG, 7 RPG, and 10 APG that has truly driven this team to have the look as one of the best teams in America this year. Scheyer’s ridiculous A:TO ratio of 5.8 to 1 actually went down after two TOs in this one, but his 20/5/8 assts more than made up for the miscue. Smith added 24/3/3 assts, and we’re going to spare talking about the Gonzaga awfulness since not a single Zag got into double figures on the day.
Shot of the Weekend. Cornell 91, Davidson 88 (OT). Ryan Wittman’s 30-footer at the buzzer in overtime gave the Big Red its eighth win of the year and a shot at a Big East team (St. John’s) on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. Lost in the heroics and glee of Wittman’s shot was the fact that it wouldn’t have even been possible had Louis Dale not hit a driving layup with 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation. Cornell’s only two losses this year were against Big East teams (Seton Hall and Syracuse), so this will likely be the Ivy League favorite’s best chance to get a huge win this season (Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse is not realistic). We haven’t been able to locate a video of this shot yet, but if you see one, let us know.
SEC Sucktitude. A week ago, we were ready to start believing that the SEC is much-improved this year. Then the SEC East craps itself on Saturday and Sunday. We’re reserving judgment for now, which of course means we really think this league is terrible and deserves only one bid (ok, not really).
- USC 77, #8 Tennessee 55. In what has to be the biggest surprise upset of the season so far (right?), given not only the relative talent but the actual margin of the game, USC thoroughly dominated UT from start to finish, keyed by brand-new USC transfer guard Mike Gerrity’s 12/5/10 assts. It was the worst loss in Bruce Pearl’s tenure at Tennessee, as they allowed the Trojans — who have home Ls to Loyola Marymount and Nebraska already this season — to shoot 56% from the field, grab seemingly every rebound (+25) and harass the Vols into a 2-22 night from deep. That’s 9%, folks. This had to have been particularly sweet for Kevin O’Neill, the former Tennessee coach who was unceremoniously dumped there after three losing years in the mid-90s. If you have any faith in the toughness or fortitude of Tennessee, may we suggest you keep this boxscore handy all season long.
- Richmond 56, #13 Florida 53. Florida was up 32-19 with a few minutes to go in the first half, but a 25-5 run by the Spiders over the next eleven minutes gave Richmond the confidence it needed to pull off this upset. The UR backcourt of David Gonzalvez (16/5) and Kevin Anderson (14/4/4 assts) was excellent with Gonzalvez in particular getting free to nail some deep second-half threes against the nation’s best 3-pt defense (coming into the game). Florida, who lost its second game in a row this week, had several chances to tie or lead down the stretch but nothing fell for the Gators. This is UR’s second win over an SEC school this year (Mississippi State also).
- Wofford 68, South Carolina 61. This is why BCS programs don’t like scheduling these games on the road. A close 1-point lead with two minutes left turned into a 9-0 run to put South Carolina away and give the Terriers their first win over the school in the last twenty-two tries. Wofford already has a win over Georgia this season as well, and is a team to keep an eye on despite six losses — they played Illinois, Michigan State, Bradley, Pitt and Western Carolina tough in every game.
- Sam Houston State 107, Auburn 89. Wow. Should an SEC team ever get run out of their own gym by a Southland team? Luckily for us, we play these games on the court, not paper. Auburn gave up the most points it has since the 40 Minutes of Hell Arkansas teams in the early 90s came into their place and dropped 117. Playing Corey Beck was Corey Allmond, who had 25/4, and in the role of Corliss Williamson was Gilberto Clavell and his 34/8 today. The Jeff Lebo early-retirement watch continues.
Other Significant Upsets.
- Old Dominion 61, #11 Georgetown 57. ODU repeated history as it went into Georgetown’s cozy on-campus McDonough Arena and won for the second time in four seasons, becoming the only team to beat the Hoyas there (where they play one game per season) in almost thirty years. Georgetown was due for a letdown given the hype they were getting last week after a big win over Washington at the Wooden Classic, and it came in spades in this one. Down 18 in the mid-second half, though, they finally woke up to get within a bucket of the Monarchs at just over a minute, but ODU answered with a tip-in by Frank Hassell and effectively salted the game away. ODU was the preseason favorite in the CAA, but came into the game with four losses and had lost to every decent team they’d played this year.
- Georgia 70, Illinois 67. Didn’t see this one coming, as the Illini dropped a bad one to Georgia in Duluth, GA, last night. This is what will happen to Bruce Weber’s squad when the freshman backcourt of DJ Richardson and Brandon Paul struggle. They combined for 3-13 shooting and a total of 10 points, more than half their season average.
- Florida State 66, #15 Georgia Tech 59 (OT). Ok, we’re going to say it. Georgia Tech is overrated. They have talent, but they had talent last year too and they finished 2-14 in the ACC. The problem is (ahem) not talent. FSU isn’t going to win the ACC either, but this was a great road win for the Seminoles tonight. Ryan Reid had 17/5 and Solomon Alabi contributed 9/12/4 blks in a peek at what the Noles can do defensively (33%) with their big and long frontline. Check back with us later this year, but it’s our strong belief that Tech will disappoint this season.
- UMass 73, Memphis 72. This was an ugly game with an appropriately ugly ending, as a poor entry pass, an even worse catch attempt and a bunch of hands batting around the ball resulted in a look-what-I-found bucket by UMass’ Terrell Vinson with 0.7 seconds remaining to give the Minutemen the upset victory. Doneal Mack (23/3) was the only Tiger who actually showed up for this one, while the aforementioned Vinson led the way for UMass with 21/9. One major point of emphasis for Josh Pastner’s team will have to be rebounding, as his Tigers were -17 on that stat.
Unbeaten No More. Ten teams came into the weekend with a zero in the loss column. Here are the two that now have a “1” there.
- Temple 71, Seton Hall 65. Even without Dionte Christmas this year, Temple continues to impress in the pre-conference slate. A tie game was broken for good when Scootie Randalls’ corner trey put the Owls up by three with two minutes remaining, but it was Ryan Brooks’ 24/3/3 assts and Juan Fernandez’s 21 that led the way. Seton Hall came into the game at 8-0, its best start since the 1989 run to the NCAA championship game. A sense of karmic justice surrounds Keon Lawrence’s return to the team coinciding with the Hall’s first loss of the year, as he contributed 11/4 in 28 minutes of action. Let’s hope he didn’t celebrate afterwards.
- Wichita State 85, #20 Texas Tech 83. The Shockers got off to an early double-figure lead (as much as 14 pts at the half) before enduring a 62-point second half by the previously-unbeaten Red Raiders to hold on for the win. Clevin Hannah (24/4/5 assts) and JT Durley (20/10) led the way for Wichita, who moves to 10-1 with this win against a largely cupcake schedule (Pitt was the sole loss). Pat Knight’s team deserves credit for battling back to briefly take the lead in a hostile environment such as this, and have several chances to pull it out, even though they ultimately came away with the loss.
Still Unbeaten. After this weekend, there are now eight teams with perfect records, and six of those teams are brand names (Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue, West Virginia, Syracuse). The other two? Here ya go…
- #19 New Mexico 66, Creighton 61. Creighton can’t seem to catch a break this season, as the Bluejays held unbeaten New Mexico to 30% shooting in the Pit and had as much as a 16-pt lead before faltering again down the stretch to take another heartbreaking loss. UNM got 22/16/6 assts from Darrington Hobson and 11/10 from Roman Martinez including a key play with a minute left where Martinez found Hobson for a dunk to open up a late 4-pt lead. The Lobos have an interesting game at Oral Roberts next to try to remain unbeaten (12-0) on the season.
- Missouri State 73, St. Louis 63. Missouri State moved to 10-0 on the season with a nice road win at St. Louis over the weekend. Away trips to Arkansas and Evansville loom, but there’s a reasonable shot for the Bears to move into the new year still unscathed. Missouri State got a balanced effort from four of its starters in terms of both points and rebounds. They are definitely the surprise team of the eight remaining undefeated teams, six of which are ranked in the top six in the nation.
RTC Live. We had three events over the weekend. In addtion to the Butler-Xavier game at Hinkle, we were also at Northwestern and Wake Forest this weekend.
- Northwestern 70, Stanford 62. Northwestern got 22 points and 8 rebounds from John Shurna and 15 points from Michael Thompson to improve to 9-1, tied for the second best start in school history. Since the best start in Wildcats history came in the 1930-31 season something special might be happening in Evanston. The Wildcats have now defeated teams from the Pac-10 (Stanford), ACC (NC State), Big East (Notre Dame) and Big 12 (Iowa State) even without Kevin Coble. This game was surprising because even though Northwestern didn’t make many threes, the Wildcats played tough defense and made key plays down the stretch to get the victory. Stanford was once again led by Landry Fields. He scored 24 points and grabbed 9 boards. Drew Shiller (12 points) and Jeremy Green (14 points) were also in double-figures for the Cardinal.
- Wake Forest 67, NC State 59. When a string of fouls and turnovers sent Al-Farouq Aminu to the bench in the first half, it seemed like NC State might pull even with Wake Forest if they could keep the sophomore star in foul trouble. Yet, Aminu (18/13) committed no fouls while playing all twenty minutes in the second half, and Sidney Lowe’s NC State team could never get close enough to truly threaten the Deacs. Javier Gonzalez led the Wolfpack with 18 pts, also grabbing 8 rebounds, but Wake Forest’s size was too much for the State big men. After Tracy Smith fouled out with only 11 points, NC State couldn’t match Wake in the post long enough get within a possession of Dino Gaudio’s team. Ishmael Smith helped the Demon Deacons picked up their first ACC win by contributing 10 points and 7 assists, and freshman CJ Harris had 10 points as well. The Pack showed potential for being better than an ACC bottom-dweller, but will need more than two strong players to have a winning record in conference play.
Other Games of National Interest.
- #1 Kansas 75, Michigan 64. KU has yet to truly wow us so far this season in their marquee games against Memphis, UCLA and Michigan (none of whom are ranked, btw). The Jayhawks shot 52% but were never able to put Michigan away despite 23/10 from Marcus Morris and 19 points from Sherron Collins. Michigan lost for the first time ever (5-1) against Kansas, but the Wolverines continue to struggle to find offense beyond Manny Harris (16/4/4 assts) and DeShawn Sims (19/7).
- #3 Kentucky 90, Austin Peay 69. John Calipari’s “5-5” team used a 12-0 run in the second half to put away this one to get the program’s 1,999th all-time victory. The forgotten Wildcat, Patrick Patterson, had 21/9/3 assts to supplement DeMarcus Cousins’ 19/8 and John Wall’s 17/4/6 assts (+6 TOs). Wall took a fright when he banged knees with AP’s Caleb Brown and slightly twisted his, but it was nothing serious.
- #4 Purdue 69, Ball State 49. Purdue didn’t shoot the ball well (40%) and got outrebounded (-1) by the Cardinals, but their trapping defense pressured BSU into 19 turnovers and the game was surprisingly never close. Purdue ran out to a 38-15 halftime lead and never looked back en route to its second 10-0 start since the Great Depression. Robbie Hummel had 19/9 and JaJuan Johnson contributed 16/8.
- #5 Syracuse 85, St. Bonaventure 72. The Bonnies’ Andrew Nicholson (18/5 on 9-10 FG) held his own with the powerful Syracuse frontline until he committed a flagrant foul on Andy Rautins with eight minutes remaining and was ejected from the game. The two Js – Rick Jackson (18/10) and Wesley Johnson (17/10) – had their second and fourth dub-dubs of the year, respectively, in a game where Cuse shot 56% but had trouble putting away the A10 foe.
- #6 West Virginia 80, Cleveland State 78. CSU’s pressure defense harassed WVU into eleven second-half turnovers, erasing a 17-pt lead and forcing the Mountaineers to the wire before Huggins’ team finally found a seam in the press to win the game on a layup with 1.1 seconds remaining. Kevin Jones had 23/4 and Da’Sean Butler 18/9/5 assts, while CSU was led by Norris Coles’ 29/5/4 assts.
- #9 Villanova 96, Fordham 58. VU’s Reggie Redding returned to give the Wildcats a 15/9 game after serving a ten-game suspension for marijuana possession. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher both added 17 pts, as the Cats used a dominating 50-21 second-half to run away in this one.
- #12 Michigan State 80, IPFW 58. In a prep game before visiting #2 Texas on Tuesday night, MSU did what MSU does best — use its lockdown defense to hold IPFW to 31% from the field and own the boards (+7) to frustrate its opponent. The Spartans have been steady since their loss at UNC a couple of weeks ago, but visiting Austin will be a much more difficult experience.
- #18 Ohio State 60, Delaware State 44. Thad Matta played three starters all forty minutes, which should tell you about OSU’s lack of available depth with Evan Turner’s injury and the transfer of Walter Offutt. It didn’t matter in this one, as the Bucks shot 60% and were led by William Buford’s 18/3/6 assts, but with road games looming against Big Ten teams in the next two weeks, they’re going to need to pace themselves.
- #21 Washington 89, Portland 54. And this is why we don’t anoint champions in November. Portland continued its post-Anaheim meltdown with an utterly embarrassing display in Seattle, getting behind 16-2 before waking up and generally letting UW dominate them in every facet of the game. Washington was led by Quincy Pondexter’s 17 pts and Isaiah Thomas’ 16/8.
- #22 Kansas State 87, Alabama 74. K-State’s Jacob Pullen (30/4 assts/3 stls tonight) is one of the best players nobody knows about, averaging 20/3/4 assts and leading his team to the most straight wins (7) in Frank Martin’s three-year tenure at the helm in the Little Apple. This win in Mobile, where the Wildcats shot 60% and were +16 on the boards is going to look pretty good at the end of the year, as Alabama improves under first-year coach Anthony Grant.
- #23 UNLV 88, USC Upstate 58. UNLV was without the services of their star Tre’Von Willis, but he wasn’t needed as USC Upstate was completely outmatched from start to finish of this one. Oscar Bellfield (16/5 assts) and Kendall Wallace (16 pts) led the charge for the Rebels.
- #24 Clemson 94, Charleston 55. Clemson hit 60% for the game and emptied the bench early as the Tigers overwhelmed Bobby Cremins’ Cougars prior to getting a very interesting home date against the surprising 10-1 Western Carolina Catamounts, who will visit Littlejohn on Tuesday night.
- #25 Ole Miss 108, Centenary 64. Ole Miss ran out to a commanding 24-2 lead and never looked back (hitting 68% of their shots) as Terrico White led the way with 17 pts and Eniel Polynice added 13/6 assts in the easy win. The Rebs are going to need a similar performance when they visit Morgantown and WVU on Wednesday night.
- Notre Dame 84, UCLA 73. UCLA continues to dig itself an early-season hole where the Bruins now would probably have to win 12-14 Pac-10 games or the Pac-10 Tourney to make the NCAA Tournament this year. Malcolm Lee continued to play better, giving his team 29/4, but the UCLA defense gave up 51% shooting and was -11 on the boards. ND’s Luke Harangody had 23/7 as all five Irish starters hit double-figures, but Mike Brey’s team (despite a record of 10-2) isn’t playing any defense again this year (#267 in def eff) and that will catch up to them sooner rather than later.
- Mississippi State 70, Houston 64. This is an impressive road win for the Bulldogs, who might be rounding into form with the assumption that the team they now can put on the floor is the team they’re going to have (i.e., no Renardo Sidney). Jarvis Varnado had 13/17/5 blks in another ridiculously athletic performance, while Dee Bost (15/6/6 assts) and Ravern Johnson (16 pts) counteracted Aubrey Coleman’s (28/12) high-volume shooting (10-31 FG) and they were able to put away the game in the last minute at the foul line.
- Louisville 102, Western Kentucky 75. Rick Pitino got the effort he was looking for defensively, as his Cardinals forced 25 turnovers and blew out WKU one year after the Hilltoppers had upset his team. WKU was playing without one of their best players, Sergio Kerusch, who broke his foot in practice on Friday. Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith each contributed 17 points and Samardo Samuels added 14/9.
- Illinois State 73, Utah 63. There comes a point where maybe we need to face the fact that perhaps Utah isn’t very good this year. ISU led from start to finish on the road behind Osiris Eldridge and Lloyd Phillips 17 points each, and handed the Utes their fourth home loss already on the young season this year.
- Arizona State 55, San Diego State 52. ASU held on for dear life down the stretch, blowing an 18-pt lead in the final eleven minutes of play, and despite poor shooting (37%) and on the glass (-18), the Sun Devils moved to 8-3 with this win. Rihards Kuksiks shot 44% from deep last season, but so far this year he’s only at 36% (2-10 in this game).
- #14 Connecticut 60, UCF 51. UConn got more of a test than it hoped for coming out of exams, as Ater Majok made a quiet debut (1/3 in 16 minutes) and the Huskies needed to rally from a nine-point second half deficit to win this one in Hartford. Stanley Robinson had 23 of his game-high 26 points after the half, and the Huskies held on down the stretch. A quick UCF note: MJ’s kid, Marcus Jordan, had a career-high 13 points in 28 minutes of action. He’s quickly becoming a viable scoring alternative for this team in his freshman year.