Boom Goes The Dynamite: 01.28.10 EditionPosted by jstevrtc on January 28th, 2010
Did you think we’d forgotten? Oh, no, my friends. This is the biggest weeknight of hoops this week, so here we are again with another mid-week edition of BGTD. Last night brought us a LOT of upsets, and we’re sure some more are in store this evening. We’ll start off by filling our screens with the likes of St. John’s vs Pittsburgh, and of course that huge Big Ten matchup in Wisconsin vs Purdue. and there’s a darn good chance we’ll be enjoying a little Wake Forest vs Georgia Tech to begin, as well. Let’s hear what you’re watching, or what you’re thinking in general in the comments section. We know that refresh-button finger is nice and warmed up, so let’s get this thing going. See you in a few minutes…
7:02 PM ET: Evening everyone…JStev with you for the first part of this, then I’ll hand it off to rtmsf in a bit. But who cares about that right now…the guys on ESPN say that Jajuan Johnson showed up late and won’t start tonight. We all know he’ll be in after a couple of minutes, so I doubt this deserves the emphasis they’re putting on it early. God, look at this…there is NO team whose players move without the ball like Wisconsin. Purdue’s defense is exemplary over the first couple of possessions, but no way they can sustain it for the whole game, or even the whole half. Nobody ever does.
7:12: At the first TVTO at Purdue we can say that we’ve already seen a couple of perfect Wisconsin possessions, despite the tough Purdue defense, especially that three at the last moment before the shot clock expired by Jarred Berggren. Early checks elsewhere: Pitt/SJU tied at seven, Wake up 13-7 early, and we even have Seton Hall vs South Florida (SHU up by a few very early). Lots of good stuff tonight.
7:15: Interesting, here…Purdue’s Lewis Jackson has just checked in, his first action this season after suffering a foot injury on November 12 and undergoing surgery five days later. They’ve been holding him out, letting him get his wind back in practice, so Matt Painter must think he’s ready. Doesn’t look to have lost any quickness so far.
7:26: Jermaine Dixon’s been the guy for Pitt so far with 8/3 so far, but the Panthers are still only up a deuce on SJU at the under-8. Can I make a suggestion? How long have college basketball fans — myself, included, when I was in grade school — used that “air ball” taunt after a guy floats one? Time for something new, maybe? I’ll start thinking of alternatives, but would love suggestions on this. There hasn’t been a field goal in over four minutes…until that lay-up by Trevon Hughes. Wisconsin will take that pace all night long.
7:35: Wake/GT is still close with GT taking a one point lead, 25-24. Derrick Favors hasn’t scored but has three blocks already. Purdue is hitting the boards hard against Wisconsin and has earned themselves a 23-19 lead, on an 8-0 run. That three by Keaton Nankivil was, I think, Wisconsin’s first FG in about seven minutes. They’re tied after a mini-run of 4-0, themselves. Badgers have completely stolen control of the tempo in this one and the crowd is silent. Every Purdue bucket is reacted to as if it were another 8-0 run.
7:45: E’Twaun Moore gets to the rim for a lay-up and gives Purdue a 27-25 halftime lead. St. John’s has gone into the break AT Pittsburgh with a 28-24 lead. And Georgia Tech is by six at home at halftime against Wake Forest. I also checked in on Seton Hall against South Florida, and Jeremy Hazell has already hit three threes and a couple of FTs for 11 points late in the first half.
8:00: Back at the top of the hour, here, and we’ve just started back at Purdue. Musberger and Lavin are getting a little ticked at the refs, since after a six-foul first half we’ve had some quick whistles in the second, even before the first first TV timeout. And they also point out that the head honchos in terms of officiating from the NCAA are there tonight. Haha…Musberger in particular seems perturbed, but I guess it would be frustrating if you’re a player.
8:11: St. John’s is hanging around because Pitt is shooting a frigid 30% from the field. Johnnies still up four, but we haven’t gotten to the first TVTO in that one, yet. Back at Purdue, the story is still the officiating. Are these refs getting paid by the hour? Just kidding…Matt Painter and the Purdue crowd are livid about the increase in fouls this half, though it’s been evenly called. I think the ire is more because of the fact that the Badgers hit a couple of shots and got up by seven, and the Boilers have a mere two FGs and four turnovers this half.
8:21: For those of you who were watching SportsCenter before this game started, here’s the video of high school junior Deuce Bello’s through-the-legs dunk that he did IN A GAME. SportsCenter actually spoke with the kid live earlier tonight, and this is admittedly pretty sick:
8:23: Is there any doubt that this one will come down to the wire? We’re tied at 38. And no sooner do I type that, when the Badgers turn it over for the second straight possession and Purdue scores, and they’re back up by two. I just tweeted this out, but when it’s a Wisconsin game, no matter which team produces it, a 7-0 run is like a 14-0 run in any other game.
8:31: Jajuan Johnson might have shown up late, but he’s here now, and he’s right on time with that jumper to put Purdue up by six, which is nothing small in this game. This isn’t exactly Loyola Marymount vs Southern U. This is when Wisconsin misses Jon Leuer, the most efficient player on a team whose calling card is efficiency. Gerorgia Tech is now up 15 on Wake Forest, but all of the other games are still close about midway through the second half. As you can see, commenter Howard says that the return of Lewis Jackson will lift Purdue to a national title. High praise indeed, but we’re going to wait until he gets his sea legs back before we consider that bold of a prediction. Meanwhile, there are six minutes left in this one and Purdue’s still up six and even though you wouldn’t know it because he’s shooting a chilly 3-10 tonight, Robbie Hummel still has 10/9/4 right now.
8:42: Make it 12/12/4 for Hummel, now. But that three by Nankivil is his FIFTH. The Wisconsin lead is just four at the under-4 TVTO. Here we go, folks.
8:53: Nankivil with his SIXTH and SEVENTH threes!! WOW. He’s out-Hummeling Robbie Hummel! Wisconsin is up one with 42 seconds left. Incredible performance by this kid.
8:56: Jeeeeez. E’Twaun Moore does the job for the Boilers by scoring almost at will in the lane, and Wisconsin held for the last possession. It suuure looked like Hummel got the elbow on the first miss by Hughes. But on the second, Johnson grabs the board and it looks like Purdue will survive at home, assuming no miracle court-length three in one second for Wisconsin.
9:00: Purdue did indeed survive 60-57, and in two other good games we’ve been ignoring because Purdue/Wisconsin was so good, Seton Hall and USF are in OT, tied at 71, and Pitt has just taken a slightly comfortable 7-point lead against the Johnnies. And I have to ask this…on ESPN News, I see that Max Bretos has been called up to the big leagues? He certainly put in his time over at FSC. Is that a permanent hire, or is he just on loan from FSC in preparation for and during the World Cup? Anyway, back to hoops…
9:10: For now, our main option is Mississippi hosting Auburn on the U. Tay Waller has picked up where Wisconsin’s Nankivil left off, hitting two straight threes, followed by one from DeWayne Reed, and the ‘Burn finds themselves up by seven early. I have to say, Jay Williams genuinely looks like he’s having fun doing color on this one. We hear so much about Kentucky and Vanderbilt (man, that’s going to be a war on Saturday), but Mississippi is a fine SEC team that seems to finding themselves now. Great guard combo in Terrico White and Chris Warren. And they will run, my friends.
9:19: Oh, man. The end of the USF-Seton Hall game was heartbreaking for Hall fans. USF had gone up 76-74 after a FT by Jarrid Famous, and the Hall’s Robert Mitchell was bringing it down in a hurry for a last chance effort to win or tie. At the halfcourt line, he dribbled off his knee, and it went right to a USF player. Ballgame. Mitchell didn’t cost them the game by any means, but he’ll feel bad tonight for at least not helping his team get up a final try.
9:34: Over on ESPN2, we have another SEC tilt in Arkansas vs Mississippi State. If you haven’t watched Rotnei Clarke launch threes for Arkansas, then stick right here, because he’d shoot from the classroom, if he could. And God help you if he gets hot. Of course you’ve got probably the best shot blocker in the business in Jarvis Varnado for MSU — who’s up four early.
9:45: Hi, Cassidy Caukin. This Campus Connection thing has been hit-and-miss so far, but so far, she’s the highlight. One thing we’ve noticed about the student reporters — and we’re talking EVERY one so far — they all overuse one word: “awesome.” Everything’s awesome. But we’ll excuse Cassidy. Tay Waller just drilled his fourth three of the half and he has 16 on the night (he averages 11), but Mississippi State is still up by four with about 2:28 left. All of Waller’s threes have been open looks, he’s barely had a hand in his face so far.
9:57: At the half, Auburn is now up 41-38 at home against the Rebels, and that’s because Auburn is shooting 8-19 from beyond the three point arc. And even the ESPN studio guys are talking about Cassidy Caukin. That’s it for me, I’m handing it off the rtmsf who’s now managed to extricate himself from the Mad About You marathon that his wife had him watching tonight. He’ll take you home…
10:06: Don’t blame the wife, that was all me. Love that Helen Hunt, baby. Looks like I’ve missed a few solid games but we’ve got more coming the rest of the night. On my queue it’s the second half of the SEC doubleheader, followed by some Pac-10 and WCC to finish out the night. Speaking of the SEC, I know this new ESPN contract mandates they show a LOT more SEC games this year, but man, could the league get a little better before we’re forced to swallow another year of Auburn and Georgia games?
10:09: There’s a little Pac-10 happening right now on my FSN, actually. Cal is up ten and looking to go 6-2 in the league at Arizona State. I’ve had the chance to see an awful lot of the Bears this year, and I’ve yet to come away very impressed. To me, they define a one-and-done team in the NCAA Tournament. Good enough to get there, but not good enough to actually beat anybody once there.
10:14: Jerome Randle just hit for his 25th point of the game when it looked like ASU might be making a bit of a run. I’d love to see Devan Downey and Randle go at each other for about forty minutes. Probably the only way we’ll ever see that, though, is at the Portsmouth camp later this year. You want to know how little size California has inside? They’re making Eric Boateng look like a star – that’s how much.
10:18: ASU is now within two points heading into the last tv timeout, as the Sun Devils have stormed back from sixteen down. Boateng just had another and-1 inside, giving him 16/12 on the night. Quickly checking in on the SEC games, Auburn is still up three on Ole Miss with sixteen to go, and Mississippi State is up five on Arkansas with roughly the same amount of time left.
10:24: Now 1:05 left, and Patrick Christopher has been clutch here in the last couple of trips. He, Jamal Boykin and Randle have combined for 65 of their 72 points. The two other starters, Amoke and Robertson, have combined for zero. Ouch.
10:29: Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez hits a big corner three and then takes a charge on a driving Ty Abbott to basically seal this game for his team. A classic glue guy, much like Lance Thomas at Duke or Gary Johnson at Texas. And Cal will move to the top of the Pac-10 standings at 6-2 with Arizona right behind at 5-3. Those are the two best teams in the league in my opinion. But keep an eye on UCLA, who, if the Bruins can win tonight vs. Oregon, will also move to 5-3 in the conference. WOW – the game is over, but freshman forward Victor Rudd just about threw his arm out dunking the ball for ASU there. Big time dunk.
10:36: Ok, back to the SEC games. Ole Miss is tied with Auburn, and it looks like there are about twenty people in the building. Way to show up for a ranked team there, Tiger fans. Oh, there’s no football involved? Nevermind. Seriously, though, is there a less-supported major D1 basketball program in America than Auburn? Georgia is pretty bad. This is just embarrassing. Yeah, obviously they’ve given up on Jeff Lebo, but how can you expect to build a program where nobody cares to show up?
10:48: Ole Miss is still letting Auburn hang around here, and I can’t believe I just saw ESPNU list the top three ways of communication at Auburn — 1) Facebook; 2) email; 3) texting. Um. Yeah, that’s only true for just about everyone under 100 these days. What about the phone – do they not have phones at Auburn? Ole Miss’ Terrico White hit a big three to put the Rebels up by six – will that be enough separation for them to put this game away?
10:51: Just switched back over to Mississippi State vs. Arkansas and I’m greeted with another shot of a wall of empty seats. Courtney Fortson has 28/5/4 assts and the Hawgs are only down two points here. There’s really no excuse for Arkansas being so bad again this year. I don’t want to hear about the lost players, either. With Michael Washington, Fortson, Rotnei Clarke and Marshawn Powell in the lineup, this team should be at WORST a bubble team. From what I saw in St. Louis, though, John Pelphrey’s players just didn’t seem to care.
10:55: Ravern Johnson with a sick jam going baseline up and over Marshawn Powell. Tied again. Wow, MSU certainly cannot afford to lose this game. During the timeout, I looked back in and Ole Miss is now up eleven and should be able to finish this off. Apparently sixteen different Auburn students are helping out on this broadcast tonight. Some pretty thick accents around there – I feel like I’m watching that MTV show about the high school football program around there somewhere. What was that thing called?
11:01: At least the Arkansas empty seats are due to an ice/snowstorm around there tonight. Maybe that’s Auburn’s excuse too? You know how southern people are about snow — they run out and empty the grocery stores if someone spits on the ground. Auburn is a long way from Fayetteville, though, so I’m unsure about that. Very ugly three by MSU on that last possession. Courtney Fortson has 31 for the game, 29 of which has come in this half. Oh Tebow… Jimmy Dykes just made reference to the Almighty Tebow. Shoot me now.
11:06: Courtney Fortson with four more gives him 33 for the HALF. Considering his teammate Rotnei Clarke’s 51 is the best game total for the season, I’d guess that Fortson’s output is the best single half of the year. But see, if you have at least two guys capable of scoring like this, how is this Hawg team not any better? This team should be right at the top of the SEC West along with the Mississippis.
11:10: Not sure how MSU doesn’t foul there and lets Arkansas waste so much time from the clock there. But whatever, the SEC is incredibly underwhelming again this year. Courtney Fortson’s 33 points in the second half is pretty amazing, though. Moving on… there are three games on right now. UCLA is up early on Oregon at Mac Court by ten. Portland is visiting San Francisco on the U, and ESPN2 is showing Gonzaga-Santa Clara. We’ll see how these three go.
11:16: It looks like Oregon is doing the pink shoes and trim for cancer as well. The unis actually look pretty good except for the annoying tendency of Oregon to do the slightly off-color lettering on the jerseys. You can barely read the Oregon on the front of these things. Light gray on white just isn’t a good idea. While I’ve been typing this, the Ducks must have heard me because they’re on a 9-0 run to pull within four of UCLA. Make that a 13-0 run.
11:25: Checking in on the Zags in Santa Clara, they’re down one early as Matt Bouldin hits a three. In some years, I’d give Santa Clara a shot at pulling this upset, but they’re just not a very good team this season. 1-4 in the WCC with the lone victory a one-point win over San Francisco. They’re going to commercial there so I’m heading back to Eugene just in time to see UCLA take a three-point lead into halftime. The wife just saw the unis and said, “those look a little gay.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
11:31: I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I enjoy listening to Stephen Bardo do these WCC games on Thursday nights. Maybe it’s the way he seems to come out of his seat when there are particularly athletic plays. He was a heckuva player at Illinois in the 80s, but there’s just something about his cadence that I enjoy. And yes, Santa Clara is still leading by two.
11:37: The Zags are sleepwalking right now, turning the ball over every other trip down the court. Down five right now, but they know when they need to turn it up that they can. The danger of being Gonzaga in a conference like the WCC is that there are games like these where GU doesn’t have to mentally show up and they can still win the game. Obviously that can contribute to bad habits and lack of improvement if players don’t remain disciplined.
11:41: Terrible call by the officials to wipe off Will Foster’s tip-in there – he was penalized for his height there. He relly does look a lot like a cross between the Unabomber and Sasquatch with all that hair. I doubt either of those guys can dunk, though. Foster just picked up his third as he fell on Ben Dowdell with all of his 273 lbs. He was like a falling tree on that one. Look at the Broncs! Now up nine on the Zags, 28-19.
11:48: Ten-point lead quickly countered by Robert Sacre for Gonzaga and a hard foul on Matt Bouldin. It looks like Gonzaga is going to have to actually earn this one tonight in the South Bay. Checking back in on Oregon-UCLA, we find the Bruins up four early in the second half. Nikola Dragovic is having one of his hot nights, with four threes already in the books.
11:55: There’s some kind of clock issue going on in Santa Clara, but they’re still up eight on the Zags. I’m pretty sure that Mark Few is going to light up his team for a lack of focus in the halftime talk. Over in Eugene, Oregon has opened up a five-point lead on the Bruins. I’ve said it before, but the pressure on Ben Howland to avoid a disastrous season in Westwood is enormous. UCLA fans don’t accept down years very well, and a down year for them is not making the Final Four. It may not be fair, but that’s how they look at it.
12:00: And it’s now Friday on the east coast. When I used to live back east, I loved FSN Thursday nights because it was an opportunity to see teams like UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, etc., who weren’t on tv all that much. This was the late 90s, so the chance to see players like Baron Davis, Jason Terry, Casey Jacobsen and others was phenomenal. Those days are long gone, but you have to figure that the league will be back with some new talent in a couple of years.
12:04: Santa Clara takes a five-point lead into the break, and the difference has been the 13 turnovers that Gonzaga has committed so far. I’d wager that they’ll finish at under-20. No one player is really killing Gonzaga, though, as the leading scorer for the Broncos, Robert Smith, only has eight points so far. Back to Oregon, and the Ducks are on a 31-11 scoring run spanning the two halves. This is nothing new, but Ernie Kent is assuredly on the hot seat this season with the product he’s putting on the floor. It’s hard to justify getting rid of someone who had two Elite Eight appearances last decade, but there’s been an awful lot of mediocrity mixed in as well.
12:12: Both UCLA and Oregon are playing zone defenses right now, which is just strange to see. The freshman forward for UCLA, Reeves Nelson, is an interesting player. He’s already one of the best rebounders in the country for his size, and he’s producing more than the other ballyhooed rookie, Tyler Honeycutt. I just realized that the score is 49-47 with only six minutes to go. I swear there has to be 12-15 minutes left in this one, right? Right?
12:22: Oregon continues to make hustle plays for layups here, and they’ve got a four-point lead on the Bruins. We’re out of halftime in Santa Clara, and Gonzaga has cut the lead to five. I’m interested to see how the first five minutes of this half turn out.
12:26: Things are getting interesting with the Broncos using a 6-0 run to push the lead back up to nine. Quick look over at Oregon, and the Ducks have the ball up four with 2:30 left. In this kind of game a 4-0 run could put the game away. And a huge rebound by Singler to give Oregon another possession and a chance to waste a full minute of game-time.
12:30: Two offensive boards allows UCLA to stay within range of Oregon, now down two with 0:41 left. Both teams had bad possessions on their last two in terms of managing the shot clock. Of course I rip Tyler Honeycutt earlier, and he gets the big putback there (11/9 on the night).
12:33: UCLA chose to foul (or did they?) and they’ll play the FT game the rest of the way here. One of two means UCLA can tie… Where’s Mustafa Abdul-Hamid??
12:36: Roll ties it! 10.7 left, and Porter throws up an airball long… Huge shot by Mike Roll from about 25 feet on the right wing to send this thing into overtime. I’ll say it again, it’s not that UCLA is a serious threat to anyone this year, but Ben Howland needs to win these games so that he can at least get this team into the NIT this year.
12:43: Gonzaga is still down by eleven points – is this really going to happen against a team ranked in the mid-250s of the computer rankings? Still almost twelve minutes for the Zags to do their thing. Over in Eugene, Oregon is now up four after a big three by Matthew Humphrey (his second this half). The turnovers have calmed down considerably, but SC seems to now have their confidence and are hitting 56% for the game.
12:47: Kyle Singler’s little bro EJ may have just put this game away for his team, with a follow-up tip and a drive to the rim and-1 with just 0:52 left. Does UCLA have another couple of miracles? Well, Dragovic got one of them…
12:52: That was hilarious. One Oregon fan was all over Howland with cries of “Sit down, Coach!” It was so clear that it was like he was the only person in the arena. And let me tell you… the cameraman is absolutely in love with this one blonde Oregon cheerleader. He is all up in her grill for about the last hour (not that I’m complaining much).
12:55: Very strange call there in favor of UCLA on what Oregon thought should have been a foul (instead, it was a held ball). UCLA could potentially get this down to one point, but they missed the front end, so it’s a moot point unless EJ Singler misses both. Quick check-in on Gonzaga, and they’re still down six with about eight minutes left.
12:57: Wow, Malcolm Lee did his best Curly Neal coming upcourt and wasted about five of the seven remaining seconds there. Can’t imagine Howland is pleased with that. What can you say – another wild night in the Pac-10 this year. Ok, now I’m focusing exclusively on the SC-Gonzaga game. I agree with what Bardo is saying there. If Gonzaga is going to be a legit NCAA Tourney team, they have to gut through games like this and get a win.
1:04: 14-3 run for the Zags until Michael Santos gets an and-1 on a drive into the lane. I’m really kicking myself for not getting down there for an RTC Live tonight. Oh well. I’ll get another chance to see the Zags on Saturday night at USF. WOW. I’m not sure why the announcers didn’t get excited over that block, but to go up from behind Elias Harris and stuff him from behind is impressive. Usually he’s going to go right up and throw that down.
1:08: Gonzaga hasn’t led since it was 10-9 but they have the ball and a chance to get the lead back right now. This is where winning teams make plays, and losing teams don’t. And there it is. The offensive foul call followed by the tip-in. Will Santa Clara completely fold here?
1:12: Ouch. Bad turnover in the halfcourt by the Broncos. They really need a stop and something to go right for them on the other end to avoid the collapse. Gonzaga is now on a 20-6 run.
1:15: Santa Clara has a chance but their offense is sputtering right now. Remember my comment above about the turnover situation? Gonzaga has four this half. SC needs one more stop and pray for a miracle, as they can’t throw it in the Bay right now.
1:17: And the collapse is complete. A 26-6 run to finish the game, and I think it was something around the last 10-12 points to end the game. Strong finish by the better team here to win the game. But they can only get away with stuff like that against some of these lower WCC teams. A night like this, even in the SEC or Pac-10, and they probably end up losing.
1:29: And that’ll do it for tonight, folks. Even though the late games didn’t involve top-ranked teams other than Gonzaga, the games were pretty interesting. And we know that the early games were solid as well. Another BGTD in the books. We’ll be back on Saturday for a HUGE day of hoops, so check back then and join us. See you then…