ATB: More Pac-10 FoolishnessPosted by rtmsf on November 18th, 2010
Your Watercooler Moment. The Pac-10 is once again finding new ways to embarrass itself. After what was arguably the league’s worst basketball season in decades in 2009-10, it seemed as if the western teams had perhaps turned a corner with a few more NCAA-caliber teams this year including the mothership program, UCLA. Coming into Tuesday night, the league had managed to avoid the embarrassingly ugly losses that had plagued it in the pre-conference last year. Then, Arizona State laid a foul 76-62 egg at the Pit versus New Mexico. Ok, that’s not terrible — even though ASU is a team that you can reasonably expect Herb Sendek to have competing for an NCAA berth, the Lobos are talented and very tough to beat at home. But tonight’s games once again exposed just how soft the underbelly of this league may be. First, USC got obliterated by Rider (yes, Rider) at home, 77-57. Think about that for a minute and wonder how on earth such a successful athletic program could lose a home basketball game to Rider. By twenty points! Then, in a game reminiscent of last year by winner and loser only, Oregon State traveled to Seattle and lost to the Redhawks again, this time 83-80. At least it wasn’t by 51 points this time around, but a loss to an Independent is still unacceptable for a team in a league with the resources that the Pac-10 has available. There will be a point in the very near future where Pac-10 coaches will need to realize that talking about NBA Draft losses in 2008 and 2009 no longer hold water, and that if they want to cease being held up as the national hoops laughingstock, then they need to recruit players who will be leaving early in 2012 and 2013. The same old excuses for these kinds of non-conference losses are getting tiresome. (aside: word-up to Cameron Dollar and his Seattle program — considering its lack of league affiliation and transition to D1, he’s doing a great job there).
Tonight’s Quick Hits…
- Kemba Walker’s 42. The UConn point guard put his team on his back with 42/8/3 assts in a performance that makes you wonder why he hasn’t been able to put it all together yet in his career. He blew his old career-high of 29 out of the water, and even hit four threes on the night, a total he’s only reached one other time as a Husky. It worries us a little bit that Walker seems to be the entire offense, but he might just be good enough to win a few games on his own this year.
- Tobias Harris. In a game that UT probably would have lost a week ago, the Vols gutted through a very tough game against Missouri State despite losing the battle of the boards and only hitting 64% from the line. Tobias Harris is quietly putting together an impressive start to the season, going for 16/7 on 60% shooting in UT’s first three games. He may not get tested Wednesday night by VCU’s front line in the PNIT semis, but either UCLA (Nelson, Smith, Honeycutt) or Villanova (Yarou, Pena) will be a formidable challenge for the 6’8 rookie.
- Tim Abromaitis. The Notre Dame forward had a near triple-double (21/10/7 assts) tonight in a blowout win against Chicago State. Between he and Ben Hansbrough, the Irish are capable of putting some points on the board.
- Perfect Game. Iowa State’s Scott Christopherson put up thirteen shots tonight and all thirteen hit the bottom of the net (11-11 FG, 2-2 FT for 29 pts). This guy has been all over the place this season. In his first game, he went 1-10 from the floor for five points; in the next game he was 6-11 for fifteen points; tonight he threw a perfect game. We’re not sure what he has in mind for the next game, but we’re pretty sure it will be nothing like the previous one.
- Ole Miss & Nick Williams. The Indiana transfer dropped 21/6 in his second game back in action against Murray State tonight, but what was more impressive was the relative ease with which the Rebels handled the NCAA-worthy Racers. Even though the game looked like it was shot in daguerrotype in front of about twelve fans, Ole Miss looked like a much stronger team.
- Memphis. Josh Pastner has proven he can recruit with anybody in the game. The question now is whether he can coach at that same elite level. As exhibited by the continuing problems and ultimate dismissal of Jelan Kendrick last weekend, coaching talent often has just as much to do with managing egos as it does drawing up plays. When we hear a player like star freshman Will Barton (22/8/3 stls) say that he relishes “when things are falling apart or we’re losing” so that he can “take over the game,” we wonder if there are more problems on the horizon. Memphis fell behind to Northwestern State midway through the second half before pulling away and winning 94-79 tonight.
- The Mountain Broadcast Production Quality for the BYU-Utah State Game. See TOTD, below.
- Alcorn State. Down 42 points at the half (59-17) is just unacceptable, we don’t care who you’re playing. Purdue is good, but they’re not the Lakers.
- Letdown, Much? Two days after a program-defining win against local rival Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State turned around and dropped its first game of the season to Chattanooga, 73-69. Of course, avoiding letdowns like this is part of the maturation process.
- Air Force. The Falcons may have hit a new low with its overtime loss tonight to Colorado… College, 60-57. As in, the Division III team, not the Buffaloes featuring two all-Big 12 players.
Dunk of the Night. This was the Sportscenter top play of the night, so we were able to find a clip of it… Marquette’s Darius-Johnson Odom says hello.
Tweet of the Night. Folks weren’t all that pleased with the Mountain’s low-definition quality of television picture this evening (even though we’re quite sure it wasn’t as terrible as the high-school news local television coverage of Ole Miss-Murray State).
RTC Live. We only had one game out there tonight, but it was a great one in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. We’ll see you tomorrow night from MSG at the Coaches vs. Cancer games.
BYU 78, Utah State 72. It was a big time college basketball atmosphere tonight in Provo as BYU was able to hold off instate rival Utah State in front of 17,303 fans in the Marriott Center. The game featured nine lead changes and seven ties and was up in the air until the last two minutes. Jimmer Fredette was the star of the show. The All-American guard finished with a game high 26 points, and had 5 assists and 3 steals to go along with the scoring. Fredette carried the Cougars for long stretches, especially in the first half when backcourt mate Jackson Emery was sitting on the bench with three fouls. For Utah State the game turned in the final two minutes when Tai Wesley fouled out for throwing his elbows after a steal. The referees decided that it was an intentional foul and it gave BYU two free throws and the ball in what was then a three-point game. It was a tough game to swallow for the Aggie coaches and players who came so close to beating a top 25 in-state rival on the road. Cougar fans however, can breathe a sigh of relief that they survived one of their toughest challenges in the non-conference season.