ATB: Vandy is Dandy in Knoxville

Posted by rtmsf on January 28th, 2010

Wednesday Night of Upsets.  Although all four of these games were upsets using the Vegas sense of the word, only UT and UConn were what we’d call significant ones.  Still, it’s not often that we see three unranked teams pull wins over ranked teams on a random Wednesday night.

Is Kevin Stallings' Vandy Team the Most Underrated in America? (AP/Wade Payne)

  • #23 Vanderbilt 85, #14 Tennessee 76.  Behold, the value of senior leadership.  On a night when A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffrey Taylor could only combine for 22 points on 7-18 shooting, senior Jermaine Beal stepped up to lead Vanderbilt to a message-sending road win in one of the toughest places to play in America.  The Commodores earned their tenth straight win behind Beal’s 25 points on 8-12 from the field, which included 4-6 from beyond the arc.  Those four treys were half of Vandy’s total of eight, which came on 14 attempts (57.1%).  Tennessee, by contrast, could only manage 6-20 (30%) from three, often settling for shots from deep when there were better ones to be had.  J.P. Prince led UT with 22/4/3, and Wayne Chism owned the boards in this physical game, pulling down 16 boards in addition to his eight points.  Still, Vanderbilt was able to out-rebound the Vols, 37-35 — a major reason why Tennessee just suffered their first home loss of the season.  At the start of last night, Kentucky was the only undefeated team in the nation; now, Vanderbilt is the only undefeated team (5-0) in the SEC, a game ahead of UK in the East.  Eleven days ago, the Commodores did what Kentucky couldn’t — win at South Carolina — but they’ll visit Lexington this Saturday.
  • New Mexico 76, #10 BYU 72.  The two best teams in the underrated Mountain West Conference faced off tonight with more than just conference pride on the line.  BYU came into the game riding a 15-game winning streak, and New Mexico was trying to get its swagger back after starting 0-2 in the conference including an almost unheard-of loss at their home venue, The Pit.  The swagger might just be back, as the Lobos endured a horrid shooting night from their star Darington Hobson (5/14 on 1-11 FG) in giving the Cougars their first loss in conference play.  Stepping up in his place was Dairese Gary, who scored a career-high 25 points, including nine in the last minute-plus to seal the win.  BYU’s star Jimmer Fredette did his part for the visiting team, but the New Mexico defense made him work for it, resulting in an 8-21 shooting night for 27/7 assts.  New Mexico has shown this season that they can play with anybody — beating four ranked teams — but losses to Oral Roberts, SDSU and UNLV show that they sometimes lose their focus.  Expect to see both of these teams remain at the top of the MWC standings during the next month, with the rematch scheduled for February 27 in Provo.
  • Charlotte 74, #15 Temple 64.  In a great way, the A-10 is a mess.  Charlotte’s win over Temple on Wednesday means there are three teams (Temple, Charlotte, and Xavier) at the top of the league with identical 5-1 conference records, Richmond and Rhode Island just a game back at 4-2, and three other teams have three wins apiece.  The 49ers’ Derrio Green went nuts for 26 points on 9-15 shooting, including a three (one of his four) with two minutes left that lifted a four point lead up to seven, and quelled a last comeback attempt by the Owls.  An under-the-weather Juan Fernandez tallied just 3 points in only 24 minutes for Temple, although Lavoy Allen (12/14/2) and Ryan Brooks (20/3/2) did all they could against a Charlotte zone defense that threw up traps at any possible chance at any location on the floor.  Temple was up 32-38 at the half, but just couldn’t decipher that 49er zone which forced The Owls into a poor shooting night (34.8% FG, 31.4% 3FG).  Charlotte took their first lead with seven minutes left, lost it for thirty seconds, and never trailed again after regaining it.
  • Providence 81, #19 Connecticut 66. Someone needs to tell these schools that Connecticut 2010 is not Connecticut 2004 or even 2009, and they don’t need to be RTCing every time they beat the Huskies (see below).  Trust us, they’re going to lose several more games this year.  According to Gavin Edwards, once the Huskies got a ten-point lead in the first half, they thought the game was won.  Providence, however, had other ideas, and used old-fashioned hustle and grit to storm back and dominate the last eight minutes of the game to blow UConn out of the building.  Despite PC’s porous defense this season, they were able to hold Connecticut to 39% shooting and 4-18 from three.  Kemba Walker (17/8/7 assts) and Stanley Robinson (14/4) were able to get theirs, but Jerome Dyson was poor (3-14 FG) and nobody else stepped up.  For Providence, Jamine Peterson had 23/14/4 stls and Sharaud Curry chipped in with 18 points, but this game ultimately came down to the who-wanted-it-more factor, and that team tonight was clearly the Friars.  Now, about that RTC…

Other Games of National Interest.

  • #3 Villanova 90, Notre Dame 72.  Villanova just keeps on truckin’, moving to its best start in school history at 19-1 and 8-0 in the Big East and looking at moving up to at least #2 in next week’s polls if Kansas can survive the weekend.  A tight first half progressively turned into a blowout as the Wildcat depth and shooting continually put pressure on the Notre Dame offense to match VU shot for shot.  Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher both had 17 points on a typically efficient 11-20 shooting night, and Antonio Pena continues to impress, with his fifth dub-dub of the season.  NPOY candidate Luke Harangody had 21/9 on 8-14 shooting, but he didn’t get the requisite help he needed to pull off the upset tonight.
  • #6 Texas 95, Texas Tech 83.  Texas bounced back from consecutive losses with a strong showing from its starters tonight, putting all five players into double figures as the team shot 55% from the floor and doubled up Texas Tech on the glass.  Is Rick Barnes shortening his bench?  Only eight players got double-figure minutes for Rick Barnes tonight, and he’s been playing ten guys all season long.  Damion James was dominant tonight with 28/13, scoring in a variety of ways to become the all-time Big 12 leader in dub-dubs with 48.  Odds he’ll get fifty before March?
  • #7 Duke 70, Florida State 56.  Duke ground out another home win at Cameron Indoor Stadium tonight behind 53 points from their big three of Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.  This game was in question until the last eight minutes when Duke was finally able to put together a few stops to put Leonard Hamilton’s squad away.  Too many turnovers (22) and poor foul shooting (6-14) doomed the Seminoles, who appear to be a year away from being a really good team (assuming Chris Singleton and Solomon Alabi stick around in Tallahassee next year).  Duke moves to 5-2 and with a home win versus Georgia Tech next week, would be in solid but not great position to win the ACC with five road games still on the slate.
  • #24 Ohio State 65, Iowa 57.  OSU scored all of 20 points in the first half…but only trailed by five.  Cue David Lighty, who scored 18 of his team-leading 20 points in the second half to lead the Buckeyes to only their second road win of the season.  POY candidate Evan Turner submitted his third straight double-double (16/12), also adding seven assists and thee steals.  Eric May (18/3) was the only double-figure scorer for a game Iowa squad (2-6) that leads only Penn State (0-8) in the Big Ten standings.
  • #25 Northern Iowa 67, Drake 51.  UNI out-rebounded Drake 31-24 and forced the Bulldogs into a miserable 19-50 (38%) shooting night, and put an end to Drake’s five-game winning streak.  The Panthers were led by Adam Koch’s 14/4/3, but the most useful UNI player out there tonight was probably Lucas O’Rear, who contributed 9 points and a team-leading 9 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.  UNI is now two games clear in the conference standings of Wichita State, only one of two teams to beat the Panthers this season.
  • Drexel 61, Northeastern 48. Now that William & Mary is faltering in the Colonial, Drexel has moved in as a competitor to the big three of George Mason, Old Dominion and the Huskies with its second win over Northeastern this season.  The Dragon defense held NE to 31% shooting and 3-17 from deep, while murdering them on the boards (+17).  How good was the Drexel defense tonight?  Only four players for the Huskies had more than a bucket.
  • Oklahoma State 76, Texas A&M 69. Is it yet time to call Oklahoma State the surprise team of the Big 12, as the Pokes moved to 4-2 in the conference with another solid win over Texas A&M tonight?  Travis Ford is playing a four-guard lineup and it’s working, as the duo of Obi Muonelo and James Anderson combined for 43/9/7 assts/3 stls on 13-22 shooting with a scorching six threes.  The Cowboys’ only reliable big man, Marshall Moses, didn’t even have a very good game offensively (5/11), but OSU was still able to own the boards (+12) and win the game.  Donald Sloan (27 pts) was the only major scorer for A&M tonight.
  • Memphis 75, Marshall 72. Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside had another monster game for the Thundering Herd, hitting 9-12 from the field and totalling 22/8/7 blks, but couldn’t overcome Memphis’ Elliot Williams and his 24 points as Memphis snagged a key CUSA road win.  This one was tight throughout, featuring seven ties and six lead changes; Marshall, down by ten at the half, had their chances late, but missed their last three shots from the field, and two free throw attempts that would have given them the lead with less than a minute remaining.
rtmsf (3992 Posts)

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3 responses to “ATB: Vandy is Dandy in Knoxville”

  1. merc says:

    Providence is rebuilding this year (read: sporadically awful) and the Nutmegs are our big rival.

    We’re going to go 14-18 with a first-round loss in the CBI.

    Our enterprising sophomores RTC’ed alofting giant head portraits of Snooki and Tiger Woods.

    Come on. Let us have one moment in the sun.

  2. Brian says:

    “Someone needs to tell these schools that Connecticut 2010 is not Connecticut 2004 or even 2009”

    Sorry I couldn’t resist. When we were discussing the Michigan/UConn event, you went into this whole thing about program history and how it matters so much. Now it doesn’t? I agree with the statement above but I’m surprised you’ve changed your opinion so quickly :) Connecticut 2010 is still a pretty good team.

    I still think if you’re an unranked team and you beat a ranked team you can rush the court. As the person who commented before me said, UConn/PC is a fairly big rivalry and PC is in major rebuilding mode. Let them have some fun.

  3. rtmsf says:

    Brian, I appreciate you calling me out, and I believe program history is the top criterion, but it’s not the only one (program perception and individual year also matter, imho). In fact, John has put together some of our thoughts on the matter and will be posting it later today.

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