ATB: El Busto on Blockbuster Monday

Posted by rtmsf on February 9th, 2010

Not a Blockbuster Night — More Like Netflix.  Back in October, we wrote that tonight’s two featured games between West Virginia-Villanova and Kansas-Texas were two of the top twenty games of the year on the schedule.  At the time, we thought there was a good chance that the first game would feature the best two teams in the Big East, while the second game could involve the top two teams in the whole country.  As it turned out, the Big East game did in fact involve two of the top teams in the conference (but probably not the best, Syracuse), but the Big 12 game only got half of the equation right — the #1 Kansas part.  Still, the slate tonight held four of the top 14 teams in the latest polls, and we anticipated a great evening of college basketball ahead of us.  That assumption was wrong, as both games tonight were rather ugly affairs involving poor shooting and a bunch of turnovers.  All we can hope is that the rest of Rivalry Week looks nothing like tonight’s tandem of busts.

Scottie and Nova Move to the Top of the Big East (AP/David Smith)

  • #5 Villanova 82, #4 West Virginia 75.  Villanova and Scottie Reynolds continue to win games where on paper they appear to be at a disadvantage.  Tonight the Wildcats ran out to a quick lead in Morgantown behind a hot Corey Fisher, but it was (who else?) Scottie Reynolds who broke out with 19 of his 21 points (along with 4 rebs/5 assts/3 stls) in the second half to ensure that the Cats moved to 10-1 in the Big East race (tied at first with Syracuse).  To win at WVU, you need to do several things very well on both ends of the court, and Villanova did most of them, such as hitting 57% of their FGs, missing only three foul shots and going +10 on the boards.  Perhaps more importantly, VU also held Da’Sean Butler to a mere 13 points on 2-12 shooting, easily his worst game in over a month and a far cry from the 43 he dropped on Jay Wright’s team last season in a beatdown of the Wildcats.  Now that both Syracuse and Villanova have gone into Morgantown and gotten wins this year, we’re confident in stating that those are without question the best two teams in this league.  WVU and Georgetown are on the next tier, and then there’s a mess of about 4-6 teams that are largely equal but not serious threats this season.  The top of this league is better than any other conference by far, though.

Kansas Continues to Roll (AP/Harry Cabluck)

  • #1 Kansas 80, #14 Texas 68.  The second game of the night was even uglier and less exciting than the first.  After a good start for the home team to lead 14-8, Kansas went on a ridiculous 22-0 run over ten minutes to effectively put the game away very early.  It was a comedy of errors for the Horns as Kansas repeatedly stole the ball for easy runouts and three-pointers, and even though the halftime lead was only ten points, nobody in the building (including the Texas players) gave a sense that they were going to come back and win the game.  KU punched Texas in the mouth and the Longhorns didn’t like the sight of their own blood.  How bad was it for UT?  The two Kansas all-americans Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich combined to shoot 5-23 and yet this game was never in question after the second tv timeout.  Let that sink in for a moment… As for Texas, we’re starting to believe that this team is finished for the season.  There appear to be underlying problems that probably relate to definition of roles and teamwork, because the Horns appear to be a bunch of individuals playing out there.  Damion James had his typically strong night with 24/10 and J’Covan Brown had a strong second half (26 pts), but only three other Longhorns even scored tonight (Gary Johnson, Avery Bradley and Dexter Pittman combined for 16 points)!  With all of the individual talent on Rick Barnes’ team, that’s simply inexcusable.  Kansas moves to 9-0 in the Big 12 and Texas drops to 5-4, two teams clearly headed in opposite directions.

Other Games of National Interest.

  • #15 Butler 62, Loyola (IL) 47. Butler continued its quest to run the table in the Horizon League this year as the Bulldogs moved to 14-0 behind a strong second half led by Matt Howard’s 20/4.  With this win, Butler becomes the first team in the nation to clinch at least a share of a regular season title… on February 8!!  If the Bulldogs win against Youngstown State on Thursday night.
  • #23 Pittsburgh 77, Robert Morris 53.  An interesting OOC game for Pitt in the middle of the Big East slate resulted in a get-back-on-track win for the Panthers, who came into the game having lost four of six.  Pitt got 20/3 from Ashton Gibbs, 18/6 from Jermaine Dixon and 12/10/4 assts from Brad Wanamaker as the Panthers went to 28-0 all-time against their crosstown rival from the NEC.
rtmsf (3736 Posts)


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8 Responses to “ATB: El Busto on Blockbuster Monday”

  1. What Texas really needs to do is just make sure they finish .500 in the Big 12, but sort out who has what role. The ‘Horns should be able to coast backwards into the NCAAs, so they should spend the rest of February figuring out how to play as a team.

    Rick Barnes does that and he might atone for letting this team melt down midseason. Better now than March though, right?

  2. rtmsf says:

    Hemo – Right now they’re 5-4 and I’m not even sure they’re going to finish .500. The problem I see is that after years of watching college basketball teams develop, I find it pretty rare that a team like Texas recovers from a February meltdown. This is the time of year when players are tired of practice, tired of each other, tired of the coach, and if they’re particularly talented, they also have dollar signs in their eyes. In my experience, it takes a special team to figure things out this late in the season to where they actually recover and make a great run into March/April. I’m not sure Texas can get back there at this point.

  3. Eric says:

    For what it’s worth, Siena also clinched their regular-season conference championship tonight, and was the first team to lock in a #1 seed in their conference tournament, almost a full month in advance.

  4. alex says:

    I’m curious about why you think that Villanova is clearly a tier ahead of Georgetown after GU thoroughly dominated Nova last weekend.

  5. rtmsf says:

    Eric, you’re right! I missed that one. Congrats to the Saints!

  6. rtmsf says:

    Alex, it’s simple, actually. Because Georgetown has Ls to ODU, Marquette, Syracuse and S. Florida at home, plus a loss at Villanova on their resume. Villanova just has the two losses to Temple and Georgetown. Georgetown has less margin for error than Villanova does, in my estimation. If Chris Wright has an off game, they lose. That’s not true with VU.

  7. alex says:

    Yeah, that’s fair.

    I disagree that it’s clear though for two reasons. First is the shellacking Georgetown has put on Nova in the last 3 halves they have played (149-126 in favor of the Hoyas). Secondly, Georgetown won this past weekend with an awful game from Chris Wright (7 points, only 3 assists, Fouled out).

    I know I’m biased, but the fact that Nova barely seemed to put up a fight in the most recent game suggests that Georgetown has their number. I guess we’ll be able to compare when Georgetown plays WVU on the road in March.

  8. rtmsf says:

    Alex – good point on Wright. You’re right about that.

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