Boom Goes The Dynamite: 02.08.10 EditionPosted by jstevrtc on February 8th, 2010
We couldn’t resist. This evening we’ll witness two of the biggest games of the year. I don’t have to tell you, but I’ll tell you anyway — we’re talking Villanova at West Virginia at 7 PM, then Kansas @ Texas at 9 PM. We’ll be commenting the whole evening on the games, so hit that refresh button and let’s hear what you have to say as well!
7:03 PM: Big Monday? Heck no, how about HUUUUUGE Monday?!? Two great games. Raftery has already given us a “mn-a-mn!!” Aside from the obvious excellent guard matchup, I’m interested to see how the refs are going to call this one. PLEASE, let these guys play.
7:12: First question…did the Pirates at least give a tryout to the kid who hit the Pittsburgh assistant coach with that coin? I’m not saying there was anything like that in the works, and we at RTC certainly don’t advocate such terrible behavior in spectators, but are you going to tell me that the Pirates’ outfield couldn’t use a guy who can throw a 500-foot strike with a nickel? Senators, maybe? Just a thought.
7:18: It led to free throws only, but Corey Fisher just put a Bozo the Clown suit on Da’Sean Butler. Took the ball on a long outlet pass, took a dribble, saw Butler in front of him, gave him a QUICK shimmy-shoulder fake, and went around Butler as if his feet were in cement. It even got a WOW and a WHOO! from Bilas and Raftery (respectively).
7:24: It has to be said: I like watching Taylor King play this game. The guy does everything. I dig the way’s he’s ALWAYS the first guy on the floor going after loose balls, he’s back-tapping balls, grabbing steals, snagging some offensive boards, blocking a couple of shots…and you can’t leave him open from anywhere on the floor. He’s a difference-maker.
7:31: No rhythm to this game at all, so far. Choppy pace because of the placement of media and team time-outs. Another important question is…is West Virginia here, mentally? I ask because they’ve had issues with that this year. SEVERAL times this year we’ve seen the Mountaineers have to play catch-up, even late into the second half, because they just didn’t seem interested in basketball for the first 20-35 minutes.
7:42: As soon as I say something positive about Taylor King, he shoots two threes — one an air ball, the other a brick. So far, 33% of WVU’s shots have been threes, and not all of them well-selected. Meanwhile, only five of ‘Nova’s shots have been treys, all of them pretty clean looks (even the King ones). And there’s your eleven-point lead.
7:52: Impressive half by Villanova. How do you come into a top-10 opponent’s gym and give yourself a chance to win? Good shot selection, good defense, win the rebounding battle, and keep buying into the role your coach has assigned for you. Villanova has done all of these things. That’s probably the coolest thing about this ‘Nova team, to me. They aren’t just exceptional athletes and good ballers both as a unit and as individuals; you can TELL that each player has listened to Jay Wright say what he wants from them, processed the information (sometimes that is the toughest part), and bought into that role.
8:00: Checking some other games…over on the 360, Siena is up on a pretty good Fairfield team 36-28 at the half. Don’t sleep on Siena, folks. Surely you learned that lesson last year. No other really compelling games on paper, to be honest. But this night is all about this one and KU vs UT.
8:10: Garik16…it’s so hard to say. WVU is a slow-breaking thoroughbred. You know? They are that horse you play that comes out of the gate last and comes BLAZING down the stretch…you just have to hope there’s enough track left. I know I had to work for that analogy, but I think it’s apt. WVU, though, has the talent to play with that big four that you mention. It’s just getting them all mentally in the same gym for two straight halves. My opinion, anyway. Yeah, I’m tweeting that horse racing analogy out…
8:23: Man, what an expression from Huggins after that heave at the end of the shot clock. Hilarous, but understandable.
8:28: Trouble for Villanova. Fisher with his fourth, and it wasn’t much of one. And then a bad charge called on Antonio Pena. Sorry, WVU fans…but those were bogus calls.
8:33: Scottie Reynolds may have just found that extra gear that most humans do not have. A CONFIDENT pull-up three, and a lightning-quick drive to the hole for an and-one. Villanova by double digits again. WVU better rev up that engine soon…
8:38: Wow. Another missed call at the Villanova end. Isaiah Armwood’s tip in was WELL out of the cylinder. Why can’t referees review that? There’s always a camera angle, why not use it? Then a four-point play by WVU at the other end and that’s a six-point swing!
8:45: Refs aside, you have to give WVU credit for hitting three straight threes and now a chance for an old-fashioned…which is missed. But they’re starting to heat up. Down to three on that MASSIVE tomohawk by Devin Ebanks!
8:53: Antonio Pena decides it’s time for pull-ups, so he gets two straight dunks on BEAUTIFUL feeds from Reggie Redding and Reynolds. Scottie Reynolds owned two WVU defenders on that last one to clear a lane for that pass.
9:00: I know everyone thought Kansas/Texas was going to be 1-versus-2, and now it’s 1-versus-14. But it still hasn’t lost any luster for me. Still extremely fired up, and still think Texas has more than “just a shot” at home.
9:05: Holy cow, Taylor King…making an idiot out of me. Fouls his second three-point shooter tonight who MADE the shot. That took it to five, but Villanova just extended it to eight after a lay-up and a pair of FTs by Reynolds (shocker there, right?). Look at that…a perfect 8-8 for Reynolds from the line. And Bilas echoes our sentiment about Reynolds…kid just doesn’t take bad shots.
9:15: Is it just me, or has WVU showed their highest intensity, greatest interest, and smartest basketball in the final minute of this game…after showing very little over the first 39, except for maybe two short stretches in the second half?
9:19: It’s over in Morgantown. 82-75, ‘Nova. Huge win for the Wildcats, and places them right back in the hunt for a #1-seed, not that they ever left it, really. And now…the main event.
9:24: At the under-16 MTO, Texas up by a deuce. The big question for me on this one is whether or not Texas will show up as a confident, capable basketball team or a team that knows they were supposed to be #1 or 2 instead of #14 in this one. So far, it’s the former. Good catch by Musberger there…Marcus Morris hurt his hand and is in some pain on the sideline.
9:33: Good to see Aldrich get a touch inside which led to an immediate kickout to Brady Morningstar for three. That’s why the big man has to get those touches — he wasn’t getting them on Saturday, so far as I could see. Ouch, Morris with a dislocated finger on that shot-block attempt a few plays ago. That’s gotta be painful.
9:40: A couple of poor post plays there by Cold Aldrich (his led to a forced airball) and Pittman (his led to a triple-team, a near-turnover, and a disorganized play). I’m not a post man and I never will be, but I can’t understand why players like that don’t utilize a quicker move immediately off the catch rather than waiting for the primary defender to stick right onto his hip? Can someone with some coaching experience explain that to me?
9:45: Ugh, the Texas offense is pathetic right now. 12-0 KU run in the last seven minutes or so. It’s not just offensive execution that’s lacking, either; it’s also just poor ball-handling leading to turnovers. It UT’s first sixteen games this year, they only had an offensive efficiency rating under 100.0 one time; in the last seven games, they’ve had five. That’s just a fancy way of saying that they’re not getting it done on offense. In all but the OU loss on Saturday, they turned the ball over >20% of the time, and they shot poorly. Right now UT is shooting 27% from the field, and they already have a boatload of TOs.
9:52: Wow, this arena couldn’t be any quieter right now. Meanwhile, Knight throws the media under the bus for selecting UNC in the preseason top ten, saying that people like that have no idea about anything relating to basketball. I’d be interested to know if Knight submitted a list of top ten teams that included North Carolina at the beginning of the year. I bet he did, actually. I mean, considering Roy Williams has gone to 21 straight NCAA Tourneys (in 21 tries), it wasn’t a great bet that UNC would implode this miserably with eight McD’s All-Americans on the team. Right?
9:57: Speaking of cold, wow, a 22-0 run by Kansas is finally ended when Damion James banks home a three. Kiffney-style as the kids are calling it these days. This is a gut-punch by Kansas right now. Bill Self’s team looks nothing like the lackadaisical squad I saw the last two games. Meanwhile, Texas looks like a shell of the team that it was even a month ago. Confidence-wise, they look like they have none. The passes aren’t crisp, the shots look a little rushed, and even the staid defense feels a little slower than usual.
10:02: Maybe Damion James is good enough to carry Texas until the rest of his team wakes up offensively, but I doubt it. He already has 15 pts, and the Horns are still down by ten points. A decent last-minute flurry would really give Texas some momentum heading into the second half. Avery Bradley did his part, with a long corner three, and they’ll have another chance here in a moment if they don’t turn it back over.
10:05: Wow, Musberger really got a kick out of Sherron Collins’ halfcourt attempt there for some reason. All I can think is that the O/U for the first half would have hit if that shot went in… he was quite giddy about that. Texas will go into the locker room down ten points, but it feels like a lot more. I actually think if they can figure out how to hold onto the ball (9 turnovers leading to 16 KU points) and get some offense from Bradley, Pittman and Jordan Hamilton, they will have a shot to win this game. Hmmm… Hubert Davis agrees with me apparently.
10:15: I guess you have to watch American Idol to understand that “Pants on the Ground” reference, or maybe SNL. Unfortunately, I haven’t watched either, so maybe someone else can fill me in. The Google tells me that both may be involved.
10:22: Back in action here, and let’s see what Rick Barnes came up with to get his other players involved here. J’Covan Brown is starting the second half for the Horns… and it immediately starts with another turnover! Xavier Henry follows that with a dunk, and things are not getting off to a favorable UT start so far this half.
10:24: Three possessions for Texas, with two turnovers, a brick and a foul. Strong start, indeed.
10:27: Sherron Collins has been packed on at least 3-4 forays to the rim in this game so far. You have to wonder if that’s something NBA scouts will notice due to his size of roughly 5’11. Transitioning, I know that Texas hasn’t given their fans much to cheer about in this game, but they’re all just sitting around in stunned silence. They really need to start encouraging their team here before it gets too late and they’re down 25 points.
10:36: That’s the most aggressive move I’ve seen out of Dexter Pittman tonight. What a great block by Cole Aldrich on the ensuing shot attempt, though. He’s a deceptively good shot blocker.
10:41: Man, that was a nasty block by Pittman on Marcus Morris the last play. That’s what UT needs. Something that will create a spark, a little something to rally the fans and the team around. There’s still plenty of time, and KU isn’t exactly on fire. Sigh… as I type this, though, Texas commits two more turnovers and I’m not sure they can put enough possessions together without turning the ball over to make a decent run.
10:46: I’m not sure I would call that shot attempt by Aldrich that ended up going over the backboard “blocked.” It looked like it got scraped on the initial set for the shot, but Aldrich released it all by himself. I’m starting to feel the same way I felt when I had that second round of spicy wings yesterday — a little bit of buyer’s remorse on this game. This is really not very exciting at all.
10:51: Story of the night for Texas right there. Another turnover leading to a FOUR-ON-ZERO dunk for Kansas. At this point, I’m starting to question if Texas hasn’t packed it in for the season. It sometimes happens, esp. when you have a bunch of talent on a single team. Right now they look like an #8/#9 seed rather than a team that was competing for an overall #1 seed just a few short weeks ago.
10:55: Look at this! Texas had two looks at a layup on the last play and neither of them got near the rim after KU rejected both of them back at him. If KU holds on here tonight, and I think they will, I don’t see the Jayhawks dropping another game in the regular season. Their toughest games will be at the resurgent A&M and at Missouri, which are both winnable for a team of this caliber.
11:07: Wow, another tough defensive possession for the Horns. They got it down to ten, and could have been going the other way if they could have just secured the rebound. Instead, KU’s Morris throws in a ridiculous and-1 to push it back up to thirteen points. That was followed by the Aldrich elbow that didn’t look like it hit Damion James, but you don’t want to get this angry Longhorn crowd too riled up at this point. KU should just settle down, finish this one off, and get the hell outta Dodge.
11:11: Cole Aldrich got a tech for that ‘bow, which did appear to graze Damion James’ face, but didn’t cause any significant damage. I missed the Aldrich mea culpa, but what the hell was Brady Morningstar doing there? Some kind of switcheroo with Morningstar playing volleyball by himself at the foul line before falling into the lane and still missing the shot (that wasn’t his to begin with). Things have gotten really bizarre here in Austin the last few minutes.
11:15: Hahahahaa, really? A carry call when Texas has the ball down eight and their first real momentum of the entire night?!? What’s the adage? Can’t win for losing? The Texas ineptitude on offense tonight has been spectacular to watch and enjoy.
11:19: I was just thinking what Bob Knight said there. Most of the Texas passes have been pretty good, they’ve just been to the other team. Getting back to the rest of the season for Kansas… I said earlier that I think they’re going to finish the regular season with just one loss, but numerologists who believe in that sort of thing will remind me that there hasn’t been a one-loss team win the national title since the UCLA era. A handful of teams have gone into the Tourney with a single blemish, including the 1997 Jayhawks, who were 34-1 when they got upset by Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen. Something to remember if KU heads into March with just the one loss at Tennessee on their resume.
11:23: One more interminable minute here in Austin. This game has not been very fun to watch, especially given what everyone was hoping for. Damion James is going to end up with something like 25/10, and J’Covan Brown came up with a 21/5 night, but wow, only two other players other than Gary Johnson (10 pts) scored for UT tonight. With all that talent… whew.
11:28: Musberger says Xavier Henry needs one more year of college and Knight says he needs three more. My bet is that Henry will take both of their opinions into account for approximately 0.00001 seconds when it comes time to make his stay-or-go decision this spring.
11:30: Goodness, J’Covan Brown is filling up the scoring column here in garbage time, with 26 of his points coming in the second half and a good number of those here in the last two minutes. Nice comment as well by Knight about Jordan Hamilton’s body language tonight — Texas has some fundamental problems with juggling of roles and unhappy players, it seems. So that’ll do it for another evening of BGTD. What did we learn? Well, Kansas is #1 and Texas isn’t, but we already knew that. I also learned that Villanova was undaunted by a hostile road environment such as presents itself in Morgantown, and the Wildcats’ win there was simply huge, and one of the very best of the year by anyone, anywhere.
11:38: Stay safe out there, everyone. Enjoy the rest of Rivalry Week. We’ll be back with BGTD on Saturday, as always.