Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.20.10 EditionPosted by rtmsf on February 20th, 2010
Hello everybody, welcome back to another thrilling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite. If you haven’t noticed, we’re at the point of the season where every game has a little more intensity, a little more pressure, a little more edginess, as each team tries to attract the eye of the fickle Selection Committee. Whether in an attempt to lock up a high seed or simply to make the darn thing, the next three weeks will present ample opportunities for every team to make its case, for better or worse. As always, we’ll be right there with you throughout the day, checking in on the big games and others of varying importance. While today isn’t a blockbuster day in terms of key games, there are always going to be a good number at this time of year. Below are the ones we’ll be keeping an eye on…
11 AM: Siena @ #13 Butler on ESPN2 – RTC Live
12 PM: Florida @ Ole Miss on CBS
12 PM: Seton Hall @ #8 West Virginia on ESPN
12 PM: Morgan State @ Murray State on ESPNU
1 PM: Louisiana Tech @ Northeastern on ESPN2
1:30 PM: #22 Baylor @ Oklahoma State on ESPN360
2 PM: #17 Texas @ Texas Tech on ESPN
2 PM: Georgia Tech @ Maryland on ESPN360 – RTC Live
2 PM: Xavier @ Charlotte on CSS
4 PM: Illinois @ #4 Purdue on ESPN
4 PM: UTEP @ Tulsa on CBS CS – RTC Live
4 PM: Colorado @ #1 Kansas on ESPN360
6 PM: #2 Kentucky @ #19 Vanderbilt on ESPN
6 PM: #7 Kansas State @ Oklahoma on ESPNU
8 PM: Charleston @ George Mason on ESPN2
9 PM: UCLA @ Washington on ESPN
12 AM: Wichita State @ Utah State on ESPN2 – RTC Live
11:02: And we’re live with another BGTD. Interesting decision by ESPN to keep GameDay at 11 AM with the Siena-Butler game on ESPN2. We already have someone doing a RTC Live for the Siena-Butler game so we’ll focus more on GameDay than we otherwise would. Definitely check out our RTC Live of the game though.
11:07: The ESPN analysts are really going out on a limb saying the Big East Tournament will be the best of the conference tournament. Digger breaks with the group and goes with the Big Ten. Surprisingly Bobby Knight calls out the Big Ten saying the Big East would beat them head-to-head.
11:09: In another surprise, Jay Bilas goes against Coach K by saying that the conference tournaments effectively act as a huge NCAA Tournament and if you win you are into the real NCAA Tournament. Digger agrees with him while Hubert Davis attempts to make a ridiculous argument against the automatic bid saying it penalizes teams like Siena that dominate their conferences, but might choke in the conference tournament. Personally I think if you’re that good you can earn an at-large bid with your play throughout the season. Knight holds the coaching fraternity party line saying that he wants to expand the tournament. Translation: Nobody gets fired ever.
11:15: Just flipped over to ESPN2 where the announcers were comparing Gordon Hayward to Mike Dunleavy Jr. I’m not sure if they are talking about their games or the way they look. Where is the college basketball Spike Lee who will call out these announcers for comparing the two only because they are white guys who look fairly similar? For the record their games are pretty similar. Feel free to call me out in the comment section. . .
11:20: Knight wants “The Committee” to get an ex-coach on there (like him?) and the team’s last 18 games. I have no idea how he decided on 18. Why not 20? The other talking heads rip the RPI. Davis wants to take the strength of schedule component out of the RPI and wants to use an “eye test” to replace it. I’d like to see Professor Davis come up with a quantitative way to come up with the “eye test” score.
11:22: I’m beginning to think Hubert is just trying to give me an aneurysm today. He just criticized the strength of schedule component saying that you can manipulate by picking the teams you play against. That’s the entire point!!! Don’t schedule awful teams. Play decent teams instead and if you do relatively well you will get rewarded. I can’t wait for him to compliment a team on their strong out-of-conference schedule in a few minutes. If I happen to stop commenting for a long time between now and noon, please send an ambulance to my apartment because Hubert might have caused that aneurysm to burst.
11:35: Decent piece by Bilas on the Syracuse 2-3 zone with Jim Boeheim talking about his theory and why he uses it. I like the analysis by Boeheim about how his team positions itself with examples from games this year. Knight just informed us that there are 5 gaps in the zone, which happen to be where the 5 offensive players are. . .Wow. Knight actually responded to the crowd booing him crediting the Syracuse zone as the best defense in the country by mocking Washington’s defense. Overall a solid segment that I wish they would try to do more often instead of the usual fluff pieces they try to do on these type of shows.
11:45: Interesting interview for Erin Andrews with John Calipari. Seemed more extemporaneous than your typical interview with a coach. Isn’t she usually with the GameDay crew for their game or do they keep her in the southeast the entire season? I don’t think I have seen her at a game west of the Big Ten in a while.
11:50: There is no way he makes this…Awful form from a big guy.
11:55: ESPN majority picks: UK over Vanderbilt, South Carolina over Tennessee, Purdue over Illinois, and Washington over UCLA.
Noon: We didn’t feature it on our schedule, but an interesting game on The Big East Network with St. John’s at USF. They are starting to be mentioned as a bubble team. Dominique Jones will need to come up big today to get them to .500 in the Big East, which should be a strong argument to get them into the NCAA Tournament given how high everybody is on the conference although some people might criticize their unbalanced schedule.
12:06: A battle of two disappointing teams in Chestnut Hill and the crowd reflects it. It looks like it is about 50% full at Conte Forum, which is weak even for the SuperFans who have only really shown up for the Duke game this year. In case you forgot, BC beat UNC last year (better times for both schools) when they played at Conte in Chapel Hill then lost their next game to Harvard and a relatively unknown at the time Jeremy Lin. No sign of Tyler Zeller yet, but we are interested in seeing him return. It says a lot about how weak this UNC team is that Roy Williams had to bring him back this late in the year in order to get into the NIT.
12:10: Strong start from Zeller who just checked in. A pair of offensive rebounds and draws a foul and a technical on Boston College. Greg Anthony seems to think the Tar Heels can win the ACC tournament. They have the talent and the conference is down this year, but I just don’t see it happening.
12:20: Mississippi is out to a 13-6 lead at home against UF. It is beginning to look like this will be the third straight NIT trip for Billy Donovan. I bet coaching Dwight Howard seems pretty tempting right now. Has anybody had a more up-and-down coaching career than Donovan? 2 titles and 1 title game appearance surrounded by numerous underachieving teams. Personally I think he is extremely overrated due to having the good fortune of having a nucleus that stuck around longer than they had to–Joakim Noah and Al Horford have obviously proved to be elite talents now that they are in the NBA.
12:30: Wow. Senior Day at Butler? I knew it was late in the season, but I thought they had another home game. The Bulldogs are up by 8 midway through the 2nd half, but Matt Howard is on the bench with 4 fouls. Is there another player in the country who gets in as much foul trouble as Howard? It seems like he is in foul trouble every time we watch Butler play.
12:35: Jeremy Hazell has been very quiet so far for Seton Hall. Is it the 8 stitches on his shooting hand, the Mountaineer defense, or a little bit of both? Without Hazell’s offense the Pirates are in trouble. Already down by 8 with Devin Ebanks going to the line for a pair of FTs with 6:53 left in the half.
12:40: Huge 3 by Shelvin Mack to put Butler up 53-43 with a little over 6:30 left in the game. The Bulldogs are doing a great job maintaining their lead with Howard on the bench for the last 9 minutes of game-time. Siena can’t buy a bucket right now. Fran McCaffery might want to measure the height of the baskets and the distance from the free throw line after the game.
12:45: Slow start out of the USF Bulls in Tampa. They’re down by 8 with 2 minutes left in the first half. It’s very quiet in the Sun Dome right now. Dominique Jones needs to take over. A loss today might leave them on the outside looking in on Selection Sunday.
12:50: It looks like Butler has this one wrapped up. Siena is going to have to win their conference tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. I don’t think they deserve an at-large bid at this point and they don’t have any games left to convince me or the committee otherwise.
1:05: First time I have seen Northeastern play since Jose Juan Barea was there. Decent atmosphere for a CAA crowd. Boston fans will remember that pass on the fast break from Antoine Walker’s days in a Celtics uniform. Ugly start from both teams.
1:20: Hazell just hit his first show of the game with Seton Hall down 47-30 almost 5 minutes into the 2nd half. Not a good sign for the Pirates. Elsewhere in the Big East, USF has cut the lead to 4 against St. John’s with 12 minutes left in the game and the crowd is finally involved in the game.
1:30: Tight game at Conte with BC leading UNC by 1 with 11:43 left. Back in Boston, Northeastern is holding onto a 24-18 lead at Matthews Arena. It’s interesting to think that the game at Northeastern might have more of an impact on the NCAA Tournament.
1:35: Ugly sequence out of UNC. If you want a sequence to describe their entire season that was it. Zeller misses an open lay-up (get his rebound and scores), but Corey Raji beats everyone down the floor for a lay-up and Zeller tries to throw a quick in-bounds to a UNC guard who doesn’t bother to look for the ball. BC ball and Raji hits a jumper from the corner. BC up by 6 with 8:50 left. This would be a nice win for Al Skinner to show to the boosters who probably won’t realize that UNC isn’t any good this season.
1:45: Interesting action out of the Big 5/Atlantic-10 with St. Joe’s up by 1 on Temple late in the 2nd half. Would be a big upset and a crushing blow to Temple’s chances of getting a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
1:50: On a day where most of the college basketball world will be focused on the BracketBuster match-ups, St. John’s beating USF might have the most immediate impact on the NCAA bubble. USF is down by 10 with only a few minutes left in the game. Jones is going to have to catch fire if the Bulls want to win this game and keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
2:00: Big shot by Rakim Sanders to give BC a 4 point lead with a little over a minute left. And the SuperFans finally wake up. Gus Johnson: “Carolina doesn’t want to foul. . .and they do.” It’s been that kind of year for Roy. Has anybody asked Roy if they have held a telethon for the basketball program yet? Reggie Jackson dominated this game today. Just a solid overall performance filling up every column in the box score. BC wins 71-67. UNC is 14-13 and has lost 9 of 11 since beating Virginia Tech.
2:05: Nice timing for the switch by CBS. UF up by 3 with 12 seconds left. I would say this is an elimination game from the NCAA bubble, but it seems like too many teams are getting eliminated recently.
2:07: Terrico White misses a good look at a 3 with less than 5 seconds left and the Rebels go down. Interesting stat: UF was 25/27 from the FT line on the road while Mississippi was 9/11. So much for the officials being intimidated by the road SEC crowd.
2:10: For those of you who are interested, we have a correspondent at the Georgia Tech-Maryland game for another RTC Live. We will be keeping an eye on that game here too, but if you want a closer focus on that game be sure to check it out.
2:15: Great start from Texas in Lubbock. They’re up 16-8 just 4 minutes into the game. Rick Barnes and the Longhorns need to turn things around and build some momentum for March if they are going to get to the 2nd weekend.
2:20: Nice job by Temple rallying to win against St. Joe’s in OT. They’re already in the tournament (barring a collapse), but it’s too late in the year to lose games they should win easily.
2:25: Dogus Balbay just went into the locker room with what appears to be a knee injury. He wasn’t putting any weight on that leg. Hopefully he is ok. The Longhorns could use some good news now. A physical game so far in Lubbock. Three guys have already went down just 7 minutes into the game.
2:40: Northeastern up by 2 with 4:20 left after Louisiana Tech hits three free throws. We will be sticking with this one until it finishes.
2:45: Northeastern up by 4 with 2:35 left and the Huskies have the ball. For some reason, they are insisting on taking NBA distance 3s the last few possessions. LA Tech responds with a 3 to cut it to 1 with less than 2 minutes left.
2:49: Huge 3 by DeAndre Brown with 24 seconds left. Banked it in from NBA range. The crowd at Northeastern is silent.
2:54: LA Tech pulls off the comeback as Northeastern misses several desperation 3s at the end of the game. Big win for the WAC. I still don’t think they will get an at-large, but they can still keep hopes alive now.
3:05: Hey folks, John S. here taking over for NVR, as the second leg in today’s Three-Man Weave. Let’s see what we’ve got going, here. Right now we have Tennessee up only a point on South Carolina 47-46 on the SEC Network and DePaul — yes, DePaul — AHEAD of Louisville 41-37 with about 14 minutes left in that one over on ESPN-U. And at 4pm, about a hundred other games tip off. Great afternoon of hoops ahead.
3:19: And since so many people seem to be into it, the US Men’s Curling team just beat Sweden in the 11th end. I cannot BELIEVE I just typed that, but my goodness, is it me or has that sport’s popularity taken off during these Olympics? Everybody’s talking about it — and the USA isn’t even in medal contention, it looks like. This’ll be a prime-time event in future winter games, jeez.
3:27: Anyway, back to the hoops — Devan Downey has 15 pts for SC right now with 5:33 left, but it’s a 4-17 (yeesh) shooting day. Jamal Mashburn’s definitely got some chops as a color commentator. This would be a nice road win for UT and put them in a tie for third with Florida if they can pull this out.
3:39: Wow, can’t believe South Florida dropped that home game to St. John’s. That’s going to take them off of bubble watch and they’re going to need a heck of a run in the conference tournament. Tennessee is barricading the inside against South Carolina. The Gamecocks can’t get ANYTHING in the paint and they’re not defending in the lane at all, seemingly content to foul. UT is separating themselves with 2 minutes left, up 60-49.
3:48: How well is Xavier playing late in the year? They’re up 61-46 against flailing Charlotte with 7:18 left. It’s coming in pretty badly on the satellite feed and it’s not much of a game right now, but it’ll probably end up being XU’s 19th win, their third straight and 9 out of 11, and it will pull them back into a tie for first in the A-10 with Temple and…yep, Richmond.
3:56: UTEP @ Tulsa is a biggee today, and we’ve got our guy there for RTC Live. Meanwhile, back on ESPN, Texas just had to call time out because Texas Tech has turned up the defense and scored a couple of baskets to cut it to 67-60. Gary Johnson has been a workhorse today. New career high for him with 22. But holy COW, Nick Okorie has decided to get nuts, hitting a three and responding to a Damion James silky jumper with a three-point play of his own. Okorie has 19 (before the FT attempt).
4:07: Turnover, Texas. Okorie gets 1 of 2, then Texas misses two FTs! With 21.6 left, TTU has it down by two.
4:15: Okorie had a ten-foot bank shot to tie it and it looked like he got a little cute with it, and it rimmed out. Texas held on to win by two on the road. But WHAT A FINISH in the Maryland-Georgia Tech game where Cliff Tucker drills a three to win it right after Greivis Vasquez had hit a half-court shot that was nullified by a Gary Williams time-out. WOW.
4:25: Mike Davis came to play for Illinois, man. Already has 6/5 and we’ve barely started this one. Purdue has been looking more and more like a one-seed recently. I have to say this — Illinois’ Mike Tisdale might be 7’1 but my boy has a STROKE from outside.
4:37: Great line from Demetri McCamey right now — zero points, EIGHT assists at the under-8 TVTO.
4:44: A quick check on one of our RTC Lives for today — UTEP is drilling Tulsa, 41-24 with 2:40 in the first half. Tulsa was a popular pick to win the CUSA — including us. At least we had UTEP second.
4:51: Illinois…hanging around, man. McCamey just dished his ELEVENTH ASSIST on that three from the corner, and still has no points, only two shot attempts. But still, a GREAT half. The Illini are going to go in up by three, here. They’ve done it with great defense and the selflessness of McCamey.
5:06: You have to wonder what did it at UNC this year. Coaches don’t just “lose” teams for no reason. Roy Williams lost this team after that Charleston/Clemson stretch. Team chemistry? Loss of respect by the players? Something with Roy? Oh, and this just in — no, Ed “Too Tall” Jones is not too tall. Quit asking me, Brothers McMullen guy. I’m vamping because UTEP/Tulsa isn’t exactly a game, still — 43-26. Randy Culpepper’s got 15 and UTEP is shooting 58% from the field…AT Tulsa.
5:20: McCamey’s first bucket comes with a minute gone in the second half. And he just racked up another assist to Mike Davis. That’s 12.
5:26: One reason Illinois is still in this is because JaJuan Johnson has been absent for Purdue. He’s got three points and five rebounds, and those five rebounds came in about the first five minutes of the game. Barely heard his name when he’s been out there. And Robbie Hummel’s 3-12.
5:30: A couple threes from Purdue don’t hurt. E’Twaun Moore’s decided to assert himself with a three and a nice drive, and the Boilers have gone up by four, but Illinois doesn’t look shaken.
5:41: You see what Illinois is doing, here. Clever stuff from Bruce Weber (who looks like he’s dropped about 25-30 pounds since this time last year). McCamey has so many assists because his teammates are doing a GREAT job of finding soft spots when he penetrates, specifically drifiting out a little to the 10-12 foot range. Davis and Tisdale have LIVED on that mid-range jumper today.
5:57: Incidentally, I’m not even checking on Kansas/Colorado on ESPN 360. KU’s up by about 30. Back here, THERE’S that man Tisdale again, from just inside the FT line. It’s been there ALL day — and they’ve taken it.
6:00: Whoa, don’t know about that one. That moving screen call on Davis is questionable. Kramer’s a big dude, but there was a little exaggeration there; Davis may have moved slightly to his right when he set it, but it didn’t give Kramer the hockey check that he made it out to be.
6:04: Purdue is starting to get to the loose balls and most rebounds. Illinois looks a tad fatigued, and Purdue’s gone up by 8 after that three by Keaton Grant. That might be the killing blow.
6:13: McCamey has 16 assists, tying this year’s national record for a single game. But Purdue holds on, 75-65. I’m going to be handing the ball off to rtmsf for the last part of the 3MW. Enjoy the late games, folks!
6:20: Good evening, folks. I’m going to be taking over for the evening session, and it’s already been a pretty damn good day across the nation. The Maryland ending was ridiculous, there have been several good BracketBuster games, and the Big 5 battle in the Palestra was a great one. So what’s cooking for the six o’clock hour on my tv? I’ve got (obviously) the big SEC East battle between Kentucky and Vandy on ESPN, K-State at Oklahoma is on the, UNLV is already destroying Colorado State on CBS College Sports (20-3), and Michigan-Penn State is on the Big Ten Network. I’ll see what else I can find in a few minutes.
6:29: UK so far has quieted this raucous Vandy crowd, but it’ll take more than a four-pt lead to put them to sleep today. Hard to believe that Vandy has beaten UK four straight times in this building. K-State has its hands full in Norman, currently 20-20 mid-first half.
6:33: The agile/mobile/fragile thing that Vitale spouts off is a little tiresome after the twentieth straight year of hearing it. There was a time in his career when he was coming up with new material, and although it was always a little hokey, it was at least original. I honestly can’t remember the last time he had something original. The target of his phrase, DeMarcus Cousins, has already shown his worth, drop-stepping for an and-1 and then following it up with a nice block on Ogilvy. For my money, Cousins will be the reason (or not) that Kentucky wins it all this year. Nobody else has anything quite like him inside.
6:36: Since when does Vandy dunk all over a team like Kentucky?!?!!? That’s two pretty sick dunks in the last several plays for the ‘Dores!
6:39: Quick check-in on UNLV shows the Rebs up 22 now, which means that game is quickly going off my viewing list. Cal and Oregon are in a tight one, and Oklahoma is up eight on K-State. Definitely going to keep that one on my radar.
6:44: Interesting that the game is tied and Vandy is outrebounding UK by four yet only 1-8 from three so far in this one. Thanks to Cousins’ work inside, UK is the #1 offensive rebounding team in America, but only two so far tonight.
6:47: Checking in on the K-State-OU game, and it’s back to tied again. The downfall for Oklahoma this year has been their usually stalwart defense. They just can’t get stops. Whether that comes from a lack of buy-in, leadership or something else, I’m not sure about. But Jeff Capel’s teams have always gotten after it on the defensive end, so something went horribly wrong with this year’s Sooners. Denis Clemente just helped the ballboys clean up the floor with one of those round OU mop thingys. Foreshadowing?
6:54: Back to Nashville, and we’re still tied in this one. I forgot to mention the end of that LSU-Miss State game, which was almost as exciting as the Maryland-Ga Tech finish with about 10% of the hype. Back-t0-back dagger threes by each team led to MSU pulling out the one-point victory on the road. MSU couldn’t have afforded a loss to an 0-11 SEC team, and they survived to fight another day.
6:56: Nice mini-run by UK, with Wall throwing down a nasty dunk on the break and Eric Bledsoe with a great looking pass underneath for another dunk on the next play. For a moment it looked like Vandy was going to be in trouble, but the Commodores managed to crawl back within two at the half. I have to figure that Kevin Stallings is feeling ok. Vandy shot terribly (29%), hit one three and got only three points from AJ Ogilvy. Nothing much magical about that.
7:05: J-Will not making many new fans in the UK/UNC camps with this halftime. First he says UK is not elite b/c they don’t have a killer instinct, and then he clowns the Heels for not being NIT-eligible if they keep this losing up. Go J-Will.
7:07: Just flipping around and caught a glimpse of the UNLV cheerleaders on CBS College Sports. Um, their cheerleaders don’t look like other teams’ cheerleaders. I’m not sure what it is or how exactly to describe it, but they have a much closer likeness to NBA/NFL-style dance team members. There’s a word that’s on my tongue, but I can’t quite remember what it is.
7:12: I’m over on K-State-Oklahoma and it’s difficult to believe how bad OU has been this year given the talent they can put on the floor. But enough harping on that. K-State is up six now, and Denis Clemente is doing ridiculous things with the basketball. According to a for-fun-only site named after a southern European people, Vandy is a half-point favorite in the second half. Which means that Vegas thinks this game is going down to the wire.
7:20: Wow, Jeffery Taylor with his best John Wall impression on that dunk. Looked very similar. Bledsoe just pushed Taylor after that dunk, which makes me think that Taylor was woofing at him a little bit after that throwdown. This doesn’t bother me at all. I love the intensity of late-season college basketball. Is there anything better? Well, other than ice dancing, of course.
7:25: Why is the ref letting Vitale know what the call is there? Is he the official scorekeeper that I don’t know about in this game?
7:26: I’m really not sure I agree that John Wall is as speedy as Ty Lawson, as the announcers mentioned earlier in this game. I want to be clear, he’s definitely better than Lawson, but as fast end-to-end? Seems a little ridiculous.
7:29: If Vandy continues to keep this close, and I think they’re going to, one of these threes is finally going to drop and Memorial is going to explode. UK has to really close out on the delayed-break threes to prevent that from occurring. As much as possible. The good news for the Cats is that Beal and Jenkins are a combined 0-7 right now. Wall was not happy about the last drive where he got hit pretty hard after the foul and ended up on his back under the basket. Let’s see if he tries to make up for it here.
7:33: Quick check of other scores, and K-State is up ten in Norman, UNLV is still bombing Colorado State and Cal is up five at Oregon. Mizzou is up about ten at Nebraska and same for BYU at Wyoming.
7:36: Wall hit hard again on a drive. It’s clear that Vandy is going to make him hit the floor ala Dwyane Wade to earn his keep here. I’m very interested to see the kid handle some physical play, though. It’ll show me a lot if he sticks it right back into Vandy’s eye.
7:39: This game is why players spend all summer in the weight room, boy. Someone is gonna get decked here in a minute. It may not be a matter of the more talented team as much as the tougher team this evening.
7:41: Cousins fires up the crowd and Calipari just about threw him into the stands for that display. It’s great that Cousins is having fun with it, but I certainly understand Calipari’s ire there. This is an intense game, fellas.
7:47: Wow, Shan Foster looks a little frightening in there. I keep waiting on that big three and here’s Vitale talking about it as well. Thet two teams have combined for 3-27, which is amazing considering how much of a shooters’ gym this place is considered.
7:49: Ogilvy picks up his fourth on a cheap one. Do we have a repeat of Tuesday in Starkville when Jarvis Varnado sat on the bench in foul trouble? And Cousins picked up a pretty cheap one himself. He was falling backwards as he was fouling? Couple of strange calls there.
7:54: Thought Vandy was going to hit a three that last possession, but UK was good at getting out into the shooting motion to force a pass-off each time. Still, I have a slight sense that Vandy is about to go on a small run. In this game 5-0 would be a run.
7:55: I’m still keeping an eye on the other games, but they’re not very compelling. K-State is up fifteen and finishing off Oklahoma. Same with Mizzou over Nebraska. This is the only thing worth really concentrating on right now.
7:58: I slowed that down a couple of times but I’m still uncertain that was a goaltend. Wish we could see an angle from underneath the basket. To me, it appeared the ball was already coming off the rim from the front.
8:00: Wall with 8 pts and 2-10 shooting… brings us back to this NPOY race that keeps getting discussed. Wall typically closes strong, so this would be his opportunity to try to get back in front of Evan Turner in front of a national audience heading into Gameday.
8:05: Cousins comes back in with Vandy up four. Danger time for the #2 team in America right now. Eric Bledsoe got bailed out with a foul call on what looked like a blocked shot there. Which fouls out Festus Ezeli with his fifth. Foul trouble stacking up right now.
8:08: Let me say it again. UK is doing a fantastic job at closing out on the three-point shooters. Credit to Vandy that they’re not still chucking up bad shots, but the Kentucky defense is the reason that VU has only hit one of those all night long.
8:10: Hmm… best big man since Shaquille O’Neall in the SEC? I think Antonio McDyess is probably a little better, but it’s a close call. WOW, look at P-Pat with the huge three from the corner. UK is on a 7-0 run right now. Shades of Miss St.
8:13: Less than three minutes to go here, and Vandy could not afford their last couple of mishandles near the basket on both ends. Two offensive mishandles would have resulted in layups, and the latest one would have secured a rebound instead of allowing Cousins to get it again and head back to the line.
8:16: Beal hits a two to stop the Kentucky 8-0 run, but I still feel like the only way Vandy is going to win this game is if they can find a three from someone. The emotional lift it would give the Dores would be huge. But who will it be? Beal is 0-5, Jenkins and Tinsley 0-4 each, and Walker 0-2.
8:20: 56.3 left and even-steven in Nashville. Kentucky has excelled in these situations all year long. The call is to give it to John Wall and let him create something. Even though he’s 3-11 with four assists so far.
8:22: Vandy finally got a wide-open three and it wasn’t close after Wall had put in a layup on the other end to give UK a two-point lead. It certainly wasn’t pretty and may not help his NPOY candidacy, but once again it’s John Wall who gets it done in the clutch.
8:24: Haha, a double-clutch three is the one Vandy finally hits with a man right in his face? Still not over even if UK hits their FTs here.
8:26: Eric Bledsoe is pulling his best Darius Washington, Jr., here at the line. Wouldn’t be something if Vandy hits another three here after whatever happens with Bledsoe to either tie or win after so long without one?
8:29: Why are Calipari teams such a disaster on the line?!!?!? Bledsoe bricks both and now Wall hits one of two. Vandy will still have time — 2.5 seconds — to get another shot up to tie or win. Like it or not, Wall hasn’t played all that well tonight but in the last minute, he’s for the most part come through. The block on the three on John Jenkins was nasty.
8:32: Wow. I bet that AJ Ogilvy will have nightmares about that play for a while. That was a very makeable shot, and I’m surprised he decided to shoot the runner rather than pull up for the J. The UK/Calipari haters have to live through another week of crowing.
8:36: Bilas just laid the blame on Jermaine Beal for going weak to the hole and putting John Jenkins into a situation as a freshman that he probably shouldn’t have been in. I can live with that, as Beal is the upperclassman, and it did appear that he had the lane if he had just gone stronger to the rack there.
8:44: Whew, I’m a little tired after that game. Does anyone in America believe that Vandy should have been hosting Gameday tonight rather than Washington? This is the problem with doing Gameday sites ahead of time. We end up with a garbage game like UCLA-Washington because it looked good on paper in September. I realize the issue is that they want to ensure that they’re actually covering the game they’re doing, but it seems with something like 30 games a week ESPN and their affiliates are covering, they could still pick a pretty good one on a weekly basis.
8:48: Digger at Pike’s Place Market catching fish. Y’know, he looked pretty comfortable in that role there. Other than the catching of the fish part. On 360, we have an interesting game between George Mason and College of Charleston right now. I’m going to keep an eye on that one until we reach the top of the hour.
9:08: We’re now live in Seattle and I’m just realizing that Vitale usually does this game but he was in Nashville instead. Does he just refuse to travel farther than the eastern and midwest time zones? I dunno what it is, but I really like the purple you see everywhere in this arena, although the giant W in the middle of the floor I could have a little smaller.
9:19: More west coast ball on various channels. Gonzaga is 8-8 already against Pepperdine on one of the FSNs, up 20-7 early. And Utah is taking on SDSU over on CBS CS. The game I can’t take my eyes off though is Charleston-George Mason, heading back east. The intensity of this one exceeds what I’m seeing elsewhere.
9:22: Some interesting scores while we were focused on other games… Texas A&M held on at Iowa State by four, Penn State won its sec0nd road game in a row with a win at Michigan today, UNLV blitzed Colorado State by 31, Auburn put a stop to the Arkansasa momentum, and Richmond kept up their hot streak with a win vs. GW. One game in progress, Minnesota is ripping Indiana in Minny.
9:27: I should probably focus a little more on this UCLA-Washington game, but it’s hard to do so given the status of these teams. They just showed the plights of UNC, UConn and UCLA this year, and I’m getting a little tired of hearing about all the players these teams have lost when we all know that they replace them with more studs. Carolina has seven on their team right now. UCLA has several more. UConn the same. We know that it takes a while for talent to come together and win consistently, but let’s not pretend that there’s no talent in these programs.
9:36: Washington up thirteen now, and I’m losing focus. Charleston is up eight on Mason on the Deuce. The CAA has been a very interesting league this year, with ODU, Northeastern, Mason and W&M all battling at or near the top of the league. Not a good weekend for the conference in the Bracketbuster, though, as every one of those teams lost (Mason pending). Haha. Way to beef up the RPI there, fellas.
9:40: This is getting ridiculous in Seattle. UW up 36-16 already. It’s amazing how much better the Huskies play at home, and I say that with the knowledge that they’ve already lost to USC and Oregon there this year. Not exactly Kansas and Kentucky. Among the biggest underachieving teams of the year, Washington clearly is on our list, but the three we just spoke of a few minutes ago overshadow the Huskies, who are at least an NIT team.
9:48: Mason with a Kiffney-three to cut it down to five as the pace has seriously picked up in this one in Fairfax. This is a much more interesting game so I’m sticking here for the next few. We expect to see Bobby Cremins’ team giving someone hell in a first-round matchup in about four weeks. They’re currently 13-3 in the SoCon, and their top competitor in terms of talent (W. Carolina) has fallen off considerably. Wofford is actually pushing them now, but it’d still be surprising to see them lose this conference.
9:58: Big, big three by Mason star Cam long to cut it to one, followed by a layup by Charleston. Ouch, Mason had a point-blanker that came off long, and it looks like it’s time for the fouling game for GMU. But missing the front end gives Mason a chance here to cut it back to one… could be interesting as we hit the last few seconds.
10:01: As we start our twelfth hour of BGTD today, Mason is killing themselves with missed FTs, once again bricking the front end of a 1-and-1 that would have cut the lead down to one if they hit both. Now they’re going to have to foul and hope at this point. WOW. Mason got a layup and then forced the turnover to get the ball back down two with 8.1 seconds remaining. Big turnover there.
10:07: Ouch! Mason’s Pearson charged into the lane on a shot he put in the bucket to tie the game. Fans are not happy with that call. Very tough call there, but probably the right one. Charleston knocked down the last two FTs to get the really nice win on the road tonight. Not at all a good weekend in BracketBusters for the CAA.
10:12: Back over to the Washington-UCLA second half, and UW shot 68% in the first half, which probably explains the 49-26 halftime score. Also on CBS CS, San Diego State, trying to make a run into the at-large conversation in the Mountain West, is up eleven on Utah in the second half. I’m going to keep an eye on both of these to see if they’re worth continuing to follow.
10:17: UCLA just getting embarrassed right now. Again. I was talking to a Bruin fan recently and he said that the alumni were willing to give Ben Howland a pass this year, no matter what. But he’d best get things moving in the right direction soon thereafter, or they’ll turn on him quickly. UCLA fans don’t do mediocre.
10:22: Just wanted to peek back over at Gonzaga and the Zags are still kicking Pepperdine all over the court, and this one at UW isn’t getting any better. Ok, looks like SDSU-Utah with the Aztecs up five with 12 minutes to go.
10:30: Man, there’s a nominee for Dunk of the Day as SDSU’s Billy White just extended his robo-arm for about ten yards to throw down over Utah. Incredible flush.
10:34: Funny game, basketball. Mere minutes after Billy White brought the house down with his nasty dunk, he takes it into the paint again only to have it rejected back into his face. Bring out the robo-arm, BW!
10:39: Utah’s Marshall Henderson is scorching from deep, 4-4 so far in this game. He only shoots 34% on the season from out there, but when he gets rolling, he’s difficult to stop. SDSU is still up four with about 5:40 remaining. The Aztecs are in a battle with UNLV for the third position in the underrated Mountain West, and fighting for their bubble lives here. Their best win was at home against New Mexico, but they’ll get another good chance at BYU this coming week.
10:44: Utah is all the way back, now leading by one. Well, they were. In the time I wrote that, SDSU has come back to go up by one themselves. This has turned out to be a pretty nice game here. A little over two minutes left, and we’re locked in until the end.
10:51: Btw, for any night owls still up for some hoops, we’re going to have a fourth RTC Live event tonight at Midnight ET with the final BracketBuster game of the day — Wichita State at Utah State. Could be a very good one — Wichita is solid if they’re not playing Evansville, and we know that USU is tough to beat at home.
10:53: SDSU has gone back up by four points and they have the ball after a big offensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is one of the nation’s best freshman that you may not have heard of. He averages 13/9, using his athleticism to lead the MWC in rebounding.
10:57: Another offensive rebound for SDSU and it’s going to take a couple of breaks for Utah to get back on top of this one. Amazing, Malcolm Thomas just missed the front end and airballed the second end of a two-shot foul. The airball looked about four feet short of the basket. Not sure what happened there, but he’s 7-14 for the game now.
11:00: Twelve hours of BGTD. You know you love it. Utah just made a drive into the lane that ended up as an airball layup that somehow ended up going back to Utah, but it isn’t going to matter much because the fouling game has already started.
11:06: A late three by Utah cuts it to five, but this one is probably in the books with 6.3 seconds remaining. With THIS word, we just passed 7,000 words on this post. Additional awesomeness. Twelve hours, 7,000 words, and where is everybody else, huh? Drinking those $2 PBRs, probably. Sorry, I’m just getting a little giddy myself and the spousal unit anxious.
11:09: That’ll do it for SDSU and Utah, with the Aztecs keeping hope alive for the NCAAs with a 7-pt win. Glad that one kept me busy instead of that dog over on ESPN with UCLA and Washington. And that’ll also do it for today’s edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite. It’s been a really fun day and for those of you who stopped by today, or those of you reading later, we appreciate it. We’ll try to have more of these as we march on into the last few weeks of the season. Take care everyone — stay safe out there tonight.