Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.06.10 EditionPosted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2010
Another weekend means that the RTC crew is back with another thrilling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite. This weekend’s games are not as strong as you might expect for an early February weekend, but that just means the rest of the month is going to be stuffed to the gills with great matchups. Still, any Saturday that has a total of 147 games on the slate is going to have quite a few goodies. Here are the games that we plan on trying to keep an eye on today…
12 PM: #2 Villanova @ #7 Georgetown on ESPN – RTC Live
12 PM: Xavier @ Dayton on ESPN2
12 PM: #6 West Virginia @ St. John’s on ESPNU
12 PM: Wake Forest @ Virginia on ESPN360
1:30 PM: Mississippi State @ Florida on ESPN360
2 PM: #10 Duke @ Boston College on ESPN
2 PM: #19 Temple @ Richmond on ESPNU
4 PM: #16 Wisconsin @ Michigan on CBS
4 PM: California @ UCLA on CBS
4 PM: #9 Texas @ Oklahoma on ESPN
4 PM: #17 Gonzaga @ Memphis on ESPN2
4 PM: #12 BYU @ UNLV on Versus
4 PM: #20 Baylor @ Texas A&M on ESPN360
6 PM: South Carolina @ #14 Tennessee on ESPN
6 PM: San Diego State @ #15 New Mexico on The Mtn.
6 PM: Seton Hall @ #22 Pittsburgh on ESPN360
9 PM: #5 Michigan State @ Illinois on ESPN
10 PM: Tulsa @ UTEP on ESPN2
10 PM: Nevada @ Utah State on ESPNU – RTC Live
We’re sure you know how the drill works — we’ll update accordingly throughout the day as we try to test the limits of our televisions’ channel-changing mechanisms — and we hope to see you around in the comments.
12 noon: Here we go. JStev to start out with you here, then rtmsf will guide you through the latter part of the day. Pretty good slate of early games, as you can see above. Looks like the ESPN Gameday guys are split on the evening game, with Digger the only one taking the Illini.
12:04: Also, as you can see from the link above, we have a man at Georgetown vs Villanova for RTC Live. Man, it looks like DC got walloped by this storm. I’ll be checking in quite often on Xavier at Dayton over on ESPN2. since we have live coverage in DC. I’m also thinking WVU at St. John’s could get interesting on the U.
12:13: I wasn’t aware of this 72-hour stretch for Villanova. AT Georgetown and then AT West Virginia. Yeesh. If they win both of those, it’d be hard to begrudge them the number one spot in the rankings, if Kansas/Texas on Monday is even CLOSE. Who was the last #1 to get demoted to #2 without losing? I think it was a Kentucky team in like 1986 or 1987, with Arizona taking #1. Verification pending…
12:20: Dayton has come out on fire at home against Xavier, already up by ten. They’ve hit 7-13 and 3-5. I was courtside at Dayton vs Creighton to start the season and let me you, folks…I was impressed by the passion brought to the table by the Dayton fans. I’ve seen many games in many places from media seats this year, and Dayton’s fans were some of the loudest. You know what? So were Xavier’s. One of the great things about A10 basketball. SO many great rivalries.
12:30: It’s obvious that Brian Gregory has made it clear to his team how important this game is. They are OWNING the Muskies right now. They’re on fire from everywhere on the floor. They have five times the assists (5-1), double the rebounds (14-7), and Xavier doesn’t have an assist yet. Five minutes left in the first half and Dayton is up 31-17.
12:40: Again, I’m keepin’ tabs on Dayton/Xavier since we have a guy at Villanova/Georgetown doing RTC Live. But, there’s a shocker happening there, too as Georgetown is thumping Villanova, 43-25, at the under-4 MTO.
12:47: Two things have happened, here. Dayton has slacked off a bit on the interior defense and allowed XU a couple of layups, and XU has showed a little more interest in hitting the boards, but Dayton maintains their lead because of a couple of XU turnovers. At the half, 39-26. Chris Wright has 10/4 for the Flyers but Devin Searcy has been great on the glass with six boards.
1:00: Halftime at Georgetown: GU 50, ‘Nova 31. Wow.
1:09: Dayton has continued playing well and Xavier has layup disease. Despite the 14 pt lead for UD, we have guys really GOING for plays, getting up for dunks, etc, lots of play ABOVE the rim. I think these fellows are aware that when you are 16-6 and 15-6 and you have about 7-10 games left, you’re at a season-determining point. Although you gotta figure Xavier’s in with their current 8-1 A10 record.
1:27: Georgetown is still putting the wood to Villanova by SEVENTEEN with 15 minutes to play, and before you accuse ‘Nova of looking ahead to the WVU game…over on ESPN-U, St. John’s is still up on WVU 45-40 early in the second half. Look out, though…Chris Wright just went out for G’Town with his 4th foul.
1:40: I was all ready to take huge credit for my prescience in this St. John’s/WVU game, but it looks like that dream is done. WVU has just hit two straight threes as part of a 32-9 run, and are now up 64-54. Xavier has been totally unable to make any real dent in this Dayton lead, showing little life this half. It’s 70-63 with less than seven minutes left. XU has been forced into 38% shooting but the story here is the board work. Dayton has shown MUCH more enthusiasm than their counterparts in that aspect of the game and it’s led to a 34-20 margin.
1:50: Chris Mack just got T’d up. I think that’s a result of overall frustration throughout the day, not so much because of the (admittedly tick-tack) foul call on Terrell Holloway just now.
1:58: My 360 feed was hit-and-miss at best, JR, so I haven’t been commenting on that game, but you are totally correct about that UVa/Wake game, and ESPN has just gone to a little bonus coverage of that game…
1:59: And then they switch almost immediately to Marquette/Providence, where we got to see a missed three to tie. Perhaps ESPN2 will go to Wake/UVa. Meanwhile, it just got interesting in DC, where we have a 10-point game with five minutes left and G’Town’s Chris Wright just fouled out. This is the time that guys like Scottie Reynolds find that extra gear.
2:08: Dayton waxed Xavier, 90-65. Chris Johnson led the Flyers with 18/6/3, and at this point in the season, 16-6 looks a LOT better than 15-7. Major help to the Flyers’ tournament hopes. I STILL cannot get a good 360 feed, but ESPN just updated Wake/UVa, where Wake is up four in OT.
2:17: Props to the folks in DC who showed up for the game there, almost 11,000. And I LOVE the move by the Georgetown players going into the student section before the game to say thanks. Still an 11-point game with 96 seconds left. Wake is up 64-61 on UVa with 20 seconds left; Sylven Landesberg has blown up for Virginia with 28 but Ish Smith (15/6/5) and Al-Farouq Aminu (13/10) have been phenomenal for Wake. That just went final with Wake pulling it out.
2:25: So, who predicted Georgetown would put up a hundy against Villanova? Well, claim your prize, my friend. The Hoyas take it 103-90, so we’ve had #2 go down already today. AND NOW, the second flight of games. Looks like the primary will be Duke/BC and we’ll definitely be checking in on Temple/Richmond on ESPN-U. Richmond is an underrated squad and they’re at home. Oh, and they’re up 31-17 on the Owls early.
2:35: Holy crap, Richmond is shooting 72% at the under-4 MTO. BC is hanging around against Duke, 29-26, with 2:26 left in the first. T.J. DiLeo just took a HARD foul on a steal and conversion, but Richmond nails a three and gets a HUGE block from Justin Harper at the other end…this is a DOMINATING performance so far by the Spiders.
2:45: At the half, it’s 44-26 in favor of the Spiders. Duke is up by ten, 35-25, and Kyle Singler barely has a hair out of place. Nolan Smith has 13 on 6-9 shooting, and Duke is a different team when he’s got his confidence.
2:53: What is this, no Lowell Galindo and crew in the ESPN-U halftime show? I was kind of looking forward to that. I guess the guy’s got to sleep sometime (he’s always there in some capacity). I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears saying again. How much has THAT bunch improved as the season has progressed? I wasn’t very nice to them during/after that Midnight Madness show they did, but I think they fell victim to some bad timing issues (like long volleyball games) and the like during that broadcast, but since then they’ve really stepped it up. Galindo provides good insight and therefore brings it out in the discussion with his panel. It’s not just the usual platitudes or segueways between repeated highlight reels of other games. You get fresh analysis and — best of all — they look and sound like they’re having a LOT of fun. It’s a shame so many fewer people have the channel, because I’d put their halftime show and nightly roundup right up against anyone’s. Try it when you get a chance, and tell me what you think.
3:05: And we’re back in action. BC has started with a 6-0 run to cut it to 35-31, so that might get interesting. Richmond is throttling Temple, 53-30. We knew Richmond was a good squad and that it might be a tough game for the Owls, but JEEZ.
3:18: A little jawing at BC/Duke! To be honest, I think BC needs to cultivate that kind of atmosphere in this one. I don’t mean they have to be unsportsmanlike, but Duke is actually playing pretty well and is capable of exploding at any second and putting this away early. If I were BC, I’d make this as much of an up-and-down affair as I could, and I’d irritate the Devils in whatever way I could.
3:26: Gotta give props to commenter JR with those Wake/UVa updates since my 360 feed was spotty. And I think Duke’s tournament fortunes are SO altered when Nolan Smith plays confident basketball. He has a tendency to drift in games, but when he’s focused Duke is so much tougher.
3:35: Checking some of the 360 games, Florida is in a tough one at home against Mississippi State in a game that both of these soapy teams could REALLY use. 64-59 Gators with 36.8 seconds left.
3:44: Richmond has closed to within 57-49 and Florida’s going to close this one out against MSU. Duke has a little eight-point cushion against BC now, and, since he’s now gotten his full 16 hours of sleep, I’ll hand it off to rtmsf who will set the schedule and guide you through it for the rest of the day. Great day of hoops still to come!
3:52: One of these weeks he’s going to have some new material, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt – he’s pretty old. Anyway, I’ve got six games going on my “favorites” right now… well, I did, and then Florida finished off Mississippi State in the SEC, and Texas Tech is giving OSU’s Travis Ford a headache, as he just got teched up in Lubbock. That one appears to pretty much be over. I also have Minnesota in a must-win situation, up four on Penn State with 2:26 left on the BTN.
3:57: Duke remains in a comfort zone of around 6-10 points against BC. In years past, this has been a very tough place for teams to visit, but BC has already dropped five games there this year, including Ls to Harvard and Maine. The Eagles still have life, though, after Plumlee makes a silly foul on a rebound. If BC can get this to four… could be interesting.
4:00: Minnesota had the ball up three on Penn State with under a minute and drew a foul to push it up to five before Talor Battle nailed a top-of-the-key three to cut it back to two. This is an absolute must-get for Tubby’s Gophers. If they win today, they’ll be 5-5 in the league with a favorable home schedule in the last eight games. I think 10-8 would get the Gophers in.
4:05: Wow, Penn State just tied up Minnesota and got possession back! They’re going to have a shot to tie or win the game here in the final 35 seconds. Over in Boston, Duke is up four with 52 seconds, and I’ve got an eye on that one too.
4:07: WILD ending at Penn State. First, Talor Battle got rejected not once, but twice (!) before a loose ball that Minnesota thought it had ended up in the hands of Battle for a wide-open thir layup attempt, which he converted. Then Lawrence Westbrook came up for the Gophers and hit a stepback fadeaway at the buzzer to win the game. As I said, must-win for Minny, and they did just enough today to get it.
4:11: Duke just fouled Corey Raji to send BC to the line for two with the Eagles down four. He converted both and BC will have a chance at this if Duke doesn’t hit all their FTs.
4:13: Um, Reggie Jackson just hit a long three to cut it to ONE in the Duke-BC game. Really, Mike Patrick? Really? Could you suppress your adulation for Duke any less? Looks like Richmond finished off Temple – that’s a really nice win for that program. Ok, back to Duke, and Jon Scheyer will go to the line. Not who BC wanted to foul, but even when he hits both, they’re not sunk.
4:15: BC got a three off from Joe Trapani, but I think they made a mistake not penetrating and kicking out rather than dribbling around the perimeter hoping for a shot to open up. Duke survives to move to 7-2 in the ACC.
4:23: Ok, so now we’re working into the 4pm games today, and this is by far the best group of games. I’m going to keep an eye on all of them, and I’ll focus appropriately depending on how they’re going. For now I’m going to start with Memphis hosting Gonzaga and UCLA-Cal. The second game because I just can’t get enough Verne Lundquist. UCLA is already up 24-11 on the Bears. And you guys know my dream scenario is that every Pac-10 team ends up at 9-9 this season, so I’m definitely rooting for UCLA here.
4:30: Oklahoma is up early on Texas, 20-13, and Kentucky-LSU are in a 12-10 slogfest in Baton Rouge. I’m also trying to monitor Baylor-A&M on 360, and the Bears are up early 18-10 on that horrible A&M court.
4:31: Wow, another game I briefly forgot about in this time slot is UNLV up 30-11 on BYU in the Mountain West. That one is on Versus, and I haven’t found that on my package yet.
4:35: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a dunk attempt that never hits the rim before that one by Wesley Witherspoon. Granted, he got hammered, but it was strange to see someone tomahawk a ball six feet away from the rim. I love these kinds of games between the national programs that aren’t in major conferences. Can we add Butler, Davidson, St. Mary’s, BYU, Siena and Utah State into a basketball-only super-mid-conference?
4:43: Um, BYU is now down 45-18 in Vegas. Ya think that the Rebels were hyped for this one? Ok, it’s getting easier to tell which games are going to keep my interest. Oklahoma is playing well vs. Texas, up nine still, and Cal is back in the game, down two at UCLA. I’m putting UK-LSU off to the side for now, as the Cats are already up twenty. Baylor-A&M remains close.
4:48: I’m getting a good look at Texas here prior to Monday night’s showdown against Kansas. Do you guys feel like the Horns are missing something – one piece that would make this team almost unbeatable? The foul shooting is an obvious problem, but where do the Horns go when they absolutely need a basket? While James is a great piece to have, I don’t view him as a get-his-own-shot guy like I do Wall, Collins, Reynolds and others. I readily admit I could end up being wrong about this, but there’s something that bugs me about this team on the offensive end.
4:55: Memphis hit a three at the buzzer to cut an eight-point Gonzaga lead back to five. The Zags had a really nice push in the last couple of minutes before the half. Back to OU-Texas, and the Sooners look as good as I’ve seen them all year. Maybe the secret for Jeff Capel is to put orange unis on all of his opponents this year. Everyone knows that Oklahoma should be better than they are this year with the talent they’ve got on the floor. Willie Warren hasn’t been a leader, though, and when a player that good isn’t taking ownership, it presents a tough situation for Capel.
5:00: Egads, the one thing you should be able to expect from Texas is solid defense, but giving up 48 pts in a half to a pretty average offensive team in OU is incomprehensible. I know I was talking about their offense above, and that remains a problem as well (D. James has 4 pts), but Texas is right now looking like a team that is one-and-done come Tournament time. Barnes has to get their attention in the next couple of weeks.
5:03: A few other halftime scores here… Kentucky up 29 on LSU, holding the Tigers to a mere 14 first-half points… Wisconsin is up 14 at Michigan, and a mild surprise as NC State is leaing Georgia Tech in Atlanta by two at the half.
5:10: Ok, second halves are getting started… I suspect the Memphis-Gonzaga game is going down to the wire, and you’d have to figure that Texas will make some kind of a run on Oklahoma.
5:16: Robert Sacre of Gonzaga is a really intriguing prospect. He’s a legit 6’11 and he’s thick. He lacks explosiveness but he has a nice touch around the basket. DraftExpress has him as a second-rounder in the 2011 draft, and I think he can go higher than that with another year-plus of improvement.
5:22: Switching over to Texas-OU for a minute, and Avery Bradley came downcourt, chucked a jumper that missed, and nobody bothered to stay back to protect transition, which as you might expect resulted in an Oklahoma runout. To me, that’s just poor execution. How can a top-10 team make that kind of rotation mistake down fifteen points on the road?
5:26: Fran Fraschilla just referenced it, but you just saw what he called the “Ginobili step-through” on the fast break by OU there to avoid the charge. I was just thinking about how prevalent that move has become in the college game, and I was wondering when it really started to take off. My shoddy memory tells me it’s exploded in the last five years (sorta like how the jump stop got huge in the mid-90s). So where did that move come from? Did Manu Ginobili really popularize it, or is it from Europe? Somewhere else? Hoopheads want to know…
5:31: ESPN2 just informed us that BYU is getting pounded at UNLV, but the Cougars have actually cut the 30-pt lead in half. I’m back with Gonzaga-Memphis right now and Baylor-A&M on 360. Matt Bouldin is playing well today, and I’m actually noticing his production. More than any other player in the country, I feel that he’s the quietest really-good player in college basketball. In a normal game, you figure he’s got 6/4, and you look at his final stats only to learn he’s contributed 19/7/6. Right now he has 13/3.
5:37: With Elliot Williams quiet (7 pts), the fourth foul on Wesley Witherspoon is huge. He’s got 22 of Memphis’ 42 total points. I’ve seen Williams take over games this year, so look for the sophomore guard to start looking to score a little more.
5:41: On cue, Williams has taken it to the hole the last two trips. He charged on the first, but it’s clear that he’s being more aggressive with the ball now that Witherspoon is out of the game. Over in the Big 12, Texas has cut the Oklahoma lead to nine and are threatening to do more. From what I’m seeing, Rick Barnes has reminded his team of all the powerful players they have inside. They’ve gone in there the last several possessions, and guess what, it’s working.
5:48: Memphis is back within one point, so it’s split-screen time. DJ Stephens with an airball followed by a foul call on what appeared to be a pretty good block attempt. Shots aren’t falling anymore for the Zags, and they’re having trouble stopping the penetration of the Memphis guards. Elliot Williams had a nasty baseline drive where he seemed to float for about 20 feet before dropping it in.
5:57: Texas is just a disaster at the line. 9-24 today, and 62% on the season. Damion James is 4-12 by himself. In a seven-point game, that’s the equivalent of a couple of extra turnovers. Quick update on CBS – Cal is finishing off UCLA. The Bears’ late first-half run continued into the second, and so Cal is now 7-4 in the Pac-10. Not good for my chaos theory hopes. Gonzaga is now up three with a minute remaining and Matt Bouldin going to the line.
6:08: The Zags are closing out a solid OOC road win that will improve their seed a little bit. Memphis still has work to do. At 16-7 with an RPI in the 60s, they’re probably going to need to have a strong second half in the CUSA to position themselves well for Selection Sunday. Back to OU-Texas, and the Horns are back within five after a Gary Johnson three-point play (assuming he can make the upcoming FT).
6:12: A&M used a late run to knock off Baylor by seven in College Station. That team just continues to impress me – Mark Turgeon should be in contention for Big 12 COY along with Frank Martin of K-State, as the Aggies move to 6-3 in league play.
6:16: It looks like Texas is going to drop its fourth game in the last six here in Norman this afternoon. The Horns just never appeared all that together in this one, and it manifests as Oklahoma gets by far its best win of the year. Maybe this will get the Sooners off the “last four out” list on our NCAA96 Bracket analysis. Wayman Tisdale Day is going to be a good one for OU, and the question becomes whether Jeff Capel’s team can put enough together down the stretch to try to sneak into the back door of the NCAAs? The short answer is “unlikely,” but the next three games are winnable, and if they got all three they’d be sitting at 7-4 in the conference. The remainder of the schedule is a beast – K-State, Texas again, Kansas, Baylor and A&M to finish the year, but I’m not saying that it’s impossible. I’d give it about a 25% chance at this point, though.
6:22: A couple of other scores we were keeping an eye on… in the ACC, Georgia Tech survived its bout with NC State by a mere two points, and Virginia Tech is about to finish off Clemson up in Blacksburg. The two Virginia teams reach the halfway mark of the ACC with identical 5-3 records, and I don’t think anyone had that prediction before the season.
6:31: Ok, we’re hitting the slow part of the day, but there are still a couple of games going that are interesting. Tennessee is taking on South Carolina on ESPN, Kansas hosts Nebraska on the U, and if you haven’t seen them this year, Northern Iowa has Southern Illinois in town on ESPN2. If you get the Mtn, there’s also a good New Mexico-SDSU game on that channel in this slot.
6:41: I know a lot has been said and written about Tennesse in the wake of their personnel losses after New Year’s Day. The Vols have gone 7-2 since the incident, and it does call into question whether Bruce Pearl might be better as a coach when he’s limited in options. It seems that when his teams are loaded with talent from 1-10 on the bench, there are problems with the definition of player roles. I’m not saying that I completely agree with that, but it is interesting how his team has responded in the last month to the crisis.
6:47: I just switched over to the U as Tennessee has jumped out to a double-digit lead over the Gamecocks, and Kansas is currently only up six on Nebraska. I think KU is the most complete team in America, and right now, I’d only put Syracuse and Kentucky as the two teams most likely to beat them, but they don’t have a killer instinct that I’d like to see against inferior opponents. I saw it the other night in the Colorado game, and we’re seeing it here again. If KU is clicking, the Huskers would have no business staying with twenty points of this team.
6:56: Some oddities from around the country right now – Alabama is doubling up Ole Miss at the half, 40-20. Tough day for the Mississippi schools. If they keep this up, the SEC may be looking at a four-bid year, all from the Eastern Division. Pitt is trying to avoid a meltdown at home, up five at the half on Seton Hall. I’m trying to find that one on my satellite package, but to no avail so far.
7:06: Can we fast-forward to Monday night already? The Big Monday games this upcoming week should be epic. WVU-Villanova followed by Kansas-Texas. The sheen has been slightly tarnished with Texas’ recent slide and today’s Villanova loss, but I’m pretty sure all four of these teams will be jazzed and show up for those two games.
7:11: I cannot locate that Pitt-Seton Hall game even though my guide says I have it on three separate channels. Oh well. I’ll have to settle for Kansas-Nebraska and the others. NU came right out of the half and cut the game to two. Kansas is clearly sleepwalking through this game.
7:14: And the Huskers now have the lead after a three drops for Doc Sadler’s team.
7:17: A 10-2 run for Nebraska now and the KU fans are in shock. Surely they thought after the lousy performance at Colorado the Jayhawks would come out like gangbusters in this one. Not so much. The problem as I’ve seen it in both games is their offense is getting bogged down, and Cole Aldrich needs to touch the ball more. Sherron Collins is 3-9 right now, Xavier Henry is 2-5, and Marcus Morris is 6-10. That’s 24 shot attempts between the three, and Aldrich has one. I repeat, the 6’11 all-america center has one shot attempt. I understand that Nebraska’s defense is taking that option away, but come on! One attempt!
7:24: And there he is. Finally. He had to get it off a rebound though. If I were Bill Self, I would demand that Aldrich get ten shot attempts this half, and if he doesn’t get it, then he makes people run. They simply cannot continue to forget about a player that good inside. Well, as I type this, Aldrich picks up his third foul, but again, if I’m Bill Self (and I’m clearly not), I would challenge my team and Aldrich to get it done even with he (and Morris) in foul trouble.
7:30: Quick check on other games… Tennessee is absolutely throttling South Carolina, doubling up the Devan Downeys 49-24. Northern Iowa and SIU are playing first-one-to-40 wins, with NIU up one with 12:32 left, and Pitt has opened up a double-digit lead on Seton Hall.
7:32: Thanks Hemoglobin. I tried to keep an eye on that one with the split-screen but the pace was so slow it looked like my right half of the tv froze. Or maybe that was me. So I’m sticking with KU-Nebraska until the Jayhawks have their inevitable run to put the Huskers away. Still can’t find the Pitt-SH game anywhere.
7:39: The KU defense has now held Nebraska without a field goal for the last seven minutes of action. This is completely expected in Lawrence. I’d give NU three minutes to make another run to give themselves a shot; otherwise, they lose this game by 15-20.
7:46: Ok, we just got an upset from ESPN on the Michigan State-Illinois game and Kalin Lucas will not play this evening. Korie Lucious is a more than capable backup, though, and I’m still not sold on the offensive capabilities of the Illini guards other than Demetri McCamey. We’ll see how it plays out, but I still like MSU in that one later tonight.
7:50: Why can’t these Big 12 teams make foul shots? KU missed 20 in the OT win at Colorado the other night, and they’ve missed ten today in the friendlier confines of Allen Fieldhouse. They’re at 69% for the year, way better than Texas at 62%, but they’ve not been good lately by any stretch. Speaking of lately, KU is now pushing it out to double-digits and Nebraska looks cooked.
7:53: Nebraska was ahead in this game 43-39. Since that time, they’ve scored five points while Kansas has dropped 27. This game is clearly over. On ESPN, Tennessee is up 25 on South Carolina, while Pitt is blowing out Seton Hall. Ohhh…. the other interesting game is that Ole Miss has come all the way back from 20 down vs. Alabama and now leads the game! So I’m going to flip back and forth between that one and the SIU-NIU game.
8:00: That’s right, eight straight hours with you so far today… I’m watching Ole Miss hang onto a 4-pt lead over Alabama right now, and this is definitely a game that the Rebels couldn’t afford to lose. Great second half comeback for Andy Kennedy’s team. A 5-4 record in the SEC West is awaiting if they can hang on. Over in the Valley, NIU is down five to SIU now. Still 3:32 left in that one, but NIU hasn’t lost at home all season, so this would be a pretty major upset against a 5-7 team in the MVC.
8:07: Tie game as Jake Koch lays it in at Northern Iowa with 1:36 to go… I just noticed that New Mexico beat SDSU by one point in the MWC as well, when the Aztecs missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with a second remaining. Ole Miss, Kansas and Tennessee all won. Remember when SIU was one of those teams mentioned above, like Gonzaga and Memphis, who you could count on being solid every single season? Not sure what’s happened to that program, but this is the third straight year that the Salukis have been “down.”
8:17: These last two minutes illustrate the difference between good teams and not-so-good teams. Good teams make the right plays in the last few minutes, while not-so-good teams don’t. UNI will keep their home unbeaten record intact, and are getting very close to salting away the MVC with several weeks left in conference play. Scratch that update from above about New Mexico and SDSU b/c apparently they’re now in OT even though the ESPN feed had that game as over. Must have been something weird going on down in the Southwest.
8:20: Digger’s favorite phrase is that some team, player or coach is “on a mission.” You’d think that the Franciscan monks were still traveling up and down the El Camino Real as much as he throws that phrase around. Well, folks, it’s been another great afternoon of games here on BGTD. But it’s not over. I’m going to shut it down for a bit, but we’ll be back for the 9pm showcase game between Illinois and the Kalin Lucas-less Michigan State. So check back when that one starts as we finish up the day…
9:10: Mike Tisdale and the Illini have decided to show up today, which is bad news for Tom Izzo and the Spartans who are already down 12-4 just 3 minutes into the game. If Lucas is out more than a week or two, the Spartans can forget about the Big Ten regular season title.
9:25: I’m all about school spirit, but that thing that Bruce Weber is wearing might give me an aneurysm. How about an orange tie? The Spartans have managed to tie it up at 16. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Butler is up by 14 despite relatively modest efforts out of Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard.
9:30: 23k for GameDay?!? Say what you want about the state of Kentucky, but they do love their basketball.
9:50: Interesting take from the coaches and analysts on ESPN2 covering the Wright State-Butler game where they don’t want to expand the NCAA tournament. Perhaps they read our 96-team tournament preview. . .
9:55: Michigan State has recovered from their awful start to go into half down by just 1, but that doesn’t seem to bother the Illinois students who are letting everyone know they are #1. In the state of Illinois?
10:07: Quick check of the scoreboard reveals a pretty big upset brewing as Georgia (9-11) is up by 10 with less than 90 seconds left against #20 Vanderbilt (17-4). In Storrs, UConn survived what would have been a humiliating home loss to Will Walker (24 points) and DePaul (8-14 coming into the game) thanks to a late run after trailing by 1 with less than 5 minutes left.
10:15: Vanderbilt goes down by 14. And the SEC will have 2 teams in the Top 25 next week. . .Meanwhile, it looks like we might have a legitimately great game at Illinois with the score tied at 41. Dan Shulman just complimented the Illinois student section while taking a shot at the much-criticized West Virginia student section. Have they become the media’s anti-Cameron Crazies?
10:25: Just as I was about to make a Big Ten offense joke, Dan Shulman chimes with a shot at them saying the score with 12 minutes looks a lot like the final score of many Big Ten games. Having said that both teams are really heating up now. The final score should be in the high 70s and maybe even the 80s. For each team.
10:37: Illinois is threatening to blow this game wide open. A series of open-court dunks has the Orange Crush going crazy. Izzo can sense this one getting out of hand. The Illini are up by 7 with 7:17 left. Demeteri McCamey is destroying the Spartans with 19 points and 10 assists so far.
10:55: Vitale ripping apart the 96-team tournament? I would have assumed he would want everybody to get to the postseason so all of his coaching buddies could keep their jobs instead of getting fired. . .and getting rehired somewhere else by some braindead AD who thinks hiring retreads is a great idea.
11:00: One minute and eight seconds left on ESPN with Illinois up by 2. Who will step up for the Spartans with Kalin Lucas on the bench? Draymond Green would be my guess. He seems to have stepped up tonight with Lucas in street clothes.
11:01: Onions!!! McCamey with a huge 3 to put the Illini up by 5 with 37 seconds left, but Green responds with a tip-in (17 points and 15 rebounds). Illinois up by 3. Now it’s just up to Illinois to hit their free throws and this game is theirs.
11:04: Hello Durrell Summers! A quick 3-pointer to cut it to 1 with 17.4 seconds left.
11:07: “Oh. You don’t rush the court!. . .I don’t buy this!” – Dick Vitale. Can we count that as an endorsement for the site? I mean he mentioned us, right? With some creative Michael Moore-style editing, we can spin this into an endorsement, right? By the way, that’s an unapproved RTC. Has West Virginia RTC’d this year? Normally I would know this, but everybody seems to be doing it this year so it is hard to keep track.
11:15: In what will probably be the final BGTD game of the night, Tulsa and UTEP are tied in basically every category at half. This should be an interesting match-up of Derrick Caracter and Jerome Jordan.
11:30: UTEP is using an 8-0 run to go up by 4 with 13:23 left in the game as Ben Uzoh picks up a dumb offensive foul. Are the Miners starting to pull away here?
11:40: UTEP up by 9 now off a 14-1 run. Caracter is starting to dominate. Tulsa is about to get run out of El Paso. Uzoh or Jordan need to step up here.
11:54: Normally I wouldn’t call a 13-point game with 6 minutes left, but the way Tulsa has been executing on offense this half I might be ready to call this one for the Miners.
12:00: I have to say it is a little weird to see the C-USA standings and not see Memphis at the top. It looks like UTEP will be on top of C-USA as we enter “Rivalry Week” unless Jerome Jordan can take over because Ben Uzoh is having an off-night.
12:10: Barring a huge collapse, the Miners will take over control of C-USA.
12:12: Ok. The Miners are attempting to collapse right now. This could be ugly.
12:13: Wow. The finish of this game is sloppier than the finish of today’s BGTD and they have only been playing for 2 hours. I don’t doubt that these teams have players with the athletic ability to compete with the big-time schools. I doubt that these teams have players with the basketball fundamentals to compete with those same schools.
12:17: Despite the sloppy finish, UTEP holds on for the victory to advance to 17-5 and are in 1st in C-USA at 8-1. That does it for another edition of BGTD. Thanks for following us and commenting. Keep checking in on RTC for the latest college basketball news and analysis.