ATB: Blowout Weekend

Posted by rtmsf on February 8th, 2010

Blowout Weekend.  On paper, it looked to be a dog of a weekend, and for the most part it turned out that way.  Among nearly 150 games, you’re bound to find some good ones, but among the Top 25 there were twelve games where the favorite won by 10+ points and of the six “upsets” involving ranked teams, even three of those were blowouts the other direction.  Maybe everyone knew that the sports world’s focus would be on the Super Bowl, so they figured they’d save some drama for the rest of the month.  Whatever the case, we’re expecting some much better games this week during ESPN’s self-described Rivalry Week.

Game of the WeekendIllinois 78, #5 Michigan State 73. For the second consecutive weekend, ESPN got lucky in that the best marquee matchup of teams happened to coincide with their Gameday game.  In a wild Orange Krush environment in Champaign on Saturday night, it was Demetri McCamey who brought the noise with a 22/11 assts night that included six threes, every one of which seemed to be of the timely variety.  Perhaps his biggest of the night was with less than a minute to go, a shot that effectively put the game away from the Illini.  MSU got a huge night from Draymond Green (17/16), but it seemed as if the Spartans lacked a little of their usual poise with their star point guard acting as an assistant due to his ankle injury (18 turnovers, six from his replacement, Korie Lucious).  It didn’t seem to bother the Illinois students who RTC’d afterward in a questionable display for a program of that caliber.  The win puts Illinois in a virtual tie with Wisconsin, Purdue and Ohio State just one game back in the loss column behind MSU, but we’re not sold on the long-term viability of that team as much as the others.  Still, they were the better team on this night, largely due to McCamey’s heroics, and we’re thankful that the Big Ten race has now gotten a lot more interesting.

Orange Krush Fail (AP/Heather Coit)

Notable Upsets This Weekend.   The theme here?  Home teams.

  • Oklahoma 80, #10 Texas 71.  It was Wayman Tisdale Day at Oklahoma, and the Sooners used the inspiration from the sweet-shooting big man and musician to jump out on the reeling Longhorns behind 20/10 from Cade Davis and 24/5 from Tommy Mason-Griffin.  The Horns once again looked indecisive and like a team without on offensive identity in this one, and it didn’t help that they were a putrid 10-27 from the foul line.  Can Texas find their mojo in time for a visit from #1 Kansas on Monday night?
  • UNLV 88, #12 BYU 74.  This was a good old-fashioned asskicking, as UNLV jumped out to a 47-18 first-half lead and never looked back.  Tre’Von Willis had a career-high 33 points as his team hit their first nine three-point attempts and effectively walloped the Cougars from their perch atop the conference.  BYU star Jimmer Fredette had 21 points, but he worked for it on 4-15 shooting.  The MWC might have three teams that are NCAA-worthy this year if you include New Mexico in that mix.
  • Richmond 71, #17 Temple 54.  It was Richmond that appeared to have one of the nation’s top defenses (and offenses!) on this night as the Spiders moved into a four-way tie in the loss column by torching Temple.  The Spiders shot 58% from the field and held Temple to just 32% behind Kevin Anderson’s 29/5/3 assts on 11-17 shooting.  With the Pac-10 looking like a one-bid league, could the A10 be a four-team league this year including some combination of UR, Temple, Rhode Island, Xavier, Dayton and Charlotte?

  • Georgia 72, #20 Vanderbilt 58.  Georgia took advantage of a poor shooting night by Vandy, including only 14 points from AJ Ogilvy and Jeffery Taylor, to get the Dawgs’ second win in the SEC this season.  With the loss, Vandy drops into a tie with Tennessee one game behind league-leading Kentucky in the SEC East.  The Commodores host those very Vols on Tuesday night in Nashville.
  • Texas A&M 78, #24 Baylor 71.  An upset in ranking only, as the Aggies are likely the better team.  They’re certainly playing better, with wins over Missouri and now Baylor in the last week.  Seniors Bryan Davis and Donald Sloan played great, combining for 42/13/6 and helping  hold key offensive players Tweety Carter and Ekpe Udoh to 10-28 shooting on the night.  Baylor’s a team we’re having trouble figuring out on a regular basis.

Conference Recaps.

  • ACC – Four of the six ACC games this weekend went down to the wire, and the most interesting one was probably Wake’s road win at Virginia on Saturday.  It seems that the only way to beat the Deacons is to do so in regulation, as Wake won it’s fourth overtime game of the season in Charlottesville behind a 15/7/5 asst game from Ish Smith.  After Duke, Maryland and Wake Forest appear most likely to take the league regular season crown should the Devils falter down the stretch.  And there could be reason to think that’ll happen, given how close Coach K’s team was to dropping another road game at BC on Saturday.  Their triple-S’s combined for 54/11/8 assts, but they had to sweat a Joe Trapani three at the buzzer that would have sent the game into OT.  Maryland continues to look impressive, with a second-half waxing of UNC on Sunday that looked a little bit like ‘name-your-score’ at certain points of the game.  Greivis Vasquez had 26/5/11 assts as he continues to make his case for ACC POY, while Ol’ Roy’s squad is heading straight to the NIT with six Ls in their last seven games.  Georgia Tech nearly blew a 16-pt lead with five minutes to go at home on Saturday before hanging on to beat NC State, while Virginia Tech and Florida State also got home wins over the weekend.  The conference race is still muddled, but the surprise team right now is the Hokies, now sitting at 5-3 and tied with rival (and media darling) Virginia at the moment.
  • Big East – The biggest game of the weekend — Georgetown vs. Villanova — is discussed below in RTC Live, but it’s amazing to us how good the Hoyas are when Chris Wright is on his game.  National title contender good… the problem is that he can’t do that for six straight games against quality competition.  The other two interesting games this weekend were both West Virginia and Syracuse using insane second-half runs to turn upset scenarios into easy wins.  WVU was down thirteen points in the second half when they finally put everything together and blew the Johnnies out of the building, finishing the game on a 47-15 run.  Da’Sean Butler had 33/6/4 assts on 7-7 shooting from three.  On Sunday, Syracuse found itself down six points with twelve minutes remaining in a hostile road environment before shutting down the Bearcats the rest of the way, using a 28-5 run to finish the game off.  How scary is it that the Orange were able to accomplish this despite Wes Johnson only scoring five points as he deals with soreness from his nasty fall last week against Providence?  Connecticut, Louisville, Pitt and Notre Dame all got much-needed home wins, and the most interesting aspect of those games was that USF’s scorching-hot Dominique Jones was held to 10 points on 3-17 FGs against, of all teams, the papier-mache Notre Dame defense.  It looks like a three-horse race for the Big East regular season title, and tomorrow night’s game between WVU and Villanova may go a long way toward deciding who has the advantage to take on Syracuse the rest of the way.
  • Big Ten – With Illinois’ win over Michigan State (discussed above) to move to 8-3 in the league, there are now five teams with a legitimate shot at the Big Ten regular season title.  Wisconsin shut down Michigan in Ann Arbor easily yesterday to move to 8-3, and Ohio State defeated Iowa today behind Evan Turner’s 33/7/4 to keep the pace.  Purdue didn’t play this weekend, but they’ll have MSU on Tuesday to try to make up the one-game gap the Spartans have on the others.  Minnesota and Northwestern both got key wins to keep their NCAA hopes alive, with the Gophers’ Lawrence Westbrook hitting perhaps the shot of the weekend with a contested fadeaway to win the game over Penn State (see below), while NU continues to win just enough games to keep people like us talking about their still-realistic chances of making the NCAA Tournament.

  • Big 12 – #1 Kansas didn’t play all that well again, but they did enough to win their 55th in a row at home behind Marcus Morris’ 20/11 despite Cole Aldrich once again only getting five shot attempts in the course of the game (by contrast, Sherron Collins and Morris had a combined 26 attempts).  The other two key games were discussed above, but K-State and Missouri managed to avoid letdown games against Colorado and Iowa State, respectively, while Texas Tech took care of the up-and-down Oklahoma State at home.  At 8-0, this league is clearly KU’s to lose, but there’s a logjam at second place with four teams having three losses right now.  KSU and A&M are playing the best ball, but there isn’t a team in this league that hasn’t been slightly schizophrenic so far, so we’re not making any kind of prediction as to the rest of the way in that regard.
  • Pac-10 – The dream 9-9 for every team scenario still has a shot to happen, but Cal’s win at UCLA on Saturday makes it a little less likely.  The Bears are at 7-4 with five teams now at 6-5 after both Washington schools swept the Arizonas on Saturday and Oregon State whipped Oregon in Corvallis.  Stanford, who was tied for the league lead a little over a week ago, is now in last place.  UW visits Cal on Thursday night which could ultimately decide whether the Bears are going to create separation from the rest of the pack or not.
  • SEC – Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins outscored LSU 15-14 in the first half of the Wildcats’ thrashing of the Tigers on Saturday.  John Wall?  2-9 FGs for a season-low 6 points.  Is it safe to say that Cousins has passed Wall as the FrOY yet?  In a huge comeback, Ole Miss came back from down 23 in the second half to get past Alabama, who has shown a propensity for running out of steam late this year, while Tennessee thrashed South Carolina and Florida outlasted Mississippi State.  The most interesting team over the past two weeks in the SEC has been the suddenly resurgent Arkansas Razorbacks, who gutted out another close win in overtime against Auburn on Saturday.  Courtney Fortson had 24/10/7 assts, and believe it or not, the Hawgs are leading the SEC West at 5-3 with four straight close wins.  Could John Pelphrey’s team be the best team in that crazy division this year?
  • Others – Charlotte now leads the A10 with an 8-1 record after the 49ers won at Fordham and Dayton ripped Xavier with the Musketeers’ worst loss of the year and Richmond’s impressive win over Temple, discussed above.  In the CAA, Northeastern now leads the league at 11-2 after defeating Hofstra in tandem with ODU’s loss to VCU and George Mason’s loss to Drexel on Saturday – this is one of the better conference races around this year.  In CUSA, UTEP now leads at 8-1 after handling Tulsa behind twin dub-dubs from Derrick Caracter and Arnett Moultrie.  UAB stayed one game back with a win at Rice, while Memphis’ interconference game with Gonzaga was discussed above.  Butler moved to 13-0 in the Horizon League with a win over Wright State on Saturday, while Cornell also stayed unbeaten in the Ivy at 6-0 with wins over Yale and Brown over the weekend.  Over in the Valley, Northern Iowa kept its three-game lead on the next best team with an ugly win over SIU, while St. Mary’s beat USF to move to 8-1 in the WCC in prep for their game at Gonzaga for the league lead this week.  With BYU’s loss, New Mexico won in overtime over SDSU to move into a three-way tie in first place of the Mountain West with the Cougars and UNLV.  In the WAC, Utah State won over Nevada (see RTC Live below) and moved a half-game ahead of Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State for the league lead.

RTC Live.  It was a light weekend for RTC Live, but we still sent our correspondents through the blizzard conditions in DC to take in Georgetown’s waxing of the #2 Villanova Wildcats.

  • #8 Georgetown 103, #2 Villanova 90.  Just like they did against Duke last Saturday, Georgetown’s offense picked apart Villanova’s defense. They started by pounding the ball into Greg Monroe. After a couple of early buckets and a couple of early fouls on Antonio Pena, Villanova had to start collapsing inside. That allowed Georgetown’s shooters some daylight, and boy did they make the Wildcats pay, hitting 10-19 from deep. After digging themselves a 50-31 hole at the half, Villanova threw on a press in the second half, and while they got the lead down to ten on a couple of occasions, Nova was never able to string together enough stops to really ever make a threat. Perhaps the most telling stat of the day is that Georgetown shot 53% from the field while picking up an assist on 21 of their 27 field goals.  Jason Clark had a career high 24 points on 6-7 shooting from three, while Austin Freeman led the Hoyas with 25 points and Greg Monroe chipped in with 19 points, 8 boards, and a team-high six assists. Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds went for 24 points and 6 assists, but was just 6-17 from the field and turned the ball over six times.
  • Utah State 76, Nevada 65.  Tai Wesley scored 19 points to lead Utah State and the Aggies dominated the boards in route to a big win over rival Nevada. Nevada played great defense on Utah State, and Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson were spectacular as usual (scoring a combined 39), but Nevada could not close out defensive stops with rebounds when it counted in the second half. All in all Utah State finished with 21 offensive boards (compared to Nevada getting 22 defensive rebounds) leading to 20 second-chance points, and that proved to be the difference on a night when the Aggies only shot 40% from the field. Five Aggie players finished with at least five rebounds lead by Tai Wesley with nine (seven offensive) as Utah State used a balanced attack in the post to wear down the painfully thin Wolfpack. Nevada dropped to 5-4 in conference and is danger of falling out of the top tier in the WAC as Utah State (8-2), New Mexico State (7-2) and Louisiana Tech are all starting to separate themselves. Utah State has now won eight games in a row and will look to keep the momentum going when they head back out on the road Thursday at Boise State. Nevada will look to rebound Wednesday against a suddenly resurgent Idaho team.
rtmsf (3743 Posts)


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5 Responses to “ATB: Blowout Weekend”

  1. Brian says:

    Hate to get on you again about this stuff but that was Illinois first win over a top 5 Big Ten team in 9 years according to ESPN. That’s worthy of rushing the court.

  2. rtmsf says:

    We just have to agree to disagree on when it’s appropriate. Illinois was in the NCAA Finals as recently as 2005, and although they’ve dropped from that elite level it’s not like they’ve completely sh!t themselves in the interim (3 NCAA appearances since). And even if we go by your analysis of this year is the most important criteria, well, the Illini are now 8-3 in the B10 for Chrissakes – merely one game behind MSU. It’s not like they’re Penn State and can’t beat anyone worth a damn and this was some amazing game for them – in fact, they were a one-point underdog according to Vegas coming into the game. Is that RTC-worthy in your eyes?

  3. Brian says:

    2005 was 5 years ago. That’s not all that recent.

    Illinois was unranked and beat a team ranked #5 that day. That’s very worthy in my opinion. I think your standards are way too high for when to rush the court.

  4. rtmsf says:

    I’m probably older than you, which means five years isn’t that long to me. Nevertheless, I think we should just end it with agreeing to disagree. You think my standards are too high and I think yours are too low. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

  5. Brian says:

    Yeah, I graduated high school in 2005 haha. Doesn’t seem that recent to me. I will agree to disagree.

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