ATB: Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up…Posted by rtmsf on December 7th, 2010
The Lede. Monday night was one of the lightest weekday nights you’ll see this season, with only a handful of games on the docket and only a couple that seemed to have any potential (they didn’t, as it turned out). So we’ll use this opportunity to prep for Tuesday night’s Jimmy V Classic, featuring four ranked teams: #4 Kansas, #6 Michigan State, #14 Syracuse and #18 Memphis. It’s an exceptional group of teams that should make for a double-header that will have the Garden rocking. But if you want breakdowns on the games, we encourage you to read tomorrow’s Set Your Tivo feature, where both contests will get their proper analytical treatment. No, in this space, we’d like to take a moment to remember the reason for the Classic in the first place: the V Foundation’s ongoing battle against the most insidious of diseases, cancer. In the eighteen years since its founding, the organization has raised over $100M for cancer research and funded grants throughout the nation. When we watched the original ESPY speech by Jim Valvano in 1993, we were moved by his courage, poise and humor in the face of a horrific personal situation. But given our youth, we were also somewhat inured to the harsh realities of life and the cruel punishments of the disease of which he was afflicted. Now that we’ve gotten older and had the painful experience of living through close family members and friends suffering at the hands of this disease, we understand even more the need for continued dollars for research and exploratory treatments. ESPN and Dick Vitale will hammer you over the head with commercials asking for donations throughout tomorrow night’s broadcast, but if you can take a moment to reflect on someone you know with the disease, or someone you hope won’t get cancer, then it becomes much easier to make the call (1-800-4JimmyV) or click the button. Every dollar counts.
“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.” — Jim Valvano, 1993
Your Watercooler Moment. Your watercooler moment from Monday was that after seemingly thirty consecutive days of basketball worth watching, Monday night was a brief respite in the schedule. Things will pick back up on Tuesday with the Jimmy V Classic, but the truth is that as teams gear up for exams and the bowl season kicks off, the next few weeks will generally be filled with cupcakes and time off.
Tonight Quick Hits...
- Luke Sikma. The Portland Pilot and son of former NBA great Jack, is putting together a nice senior season. After a 14-point, 16-rebound effort at Washington tonight in a loss, he’s now averaging a double-double with 12.3 PPG and 12.1 RPG and is among the very best rebounders on both ends of the floor according to KenPom. The Pilots have lost badly to each of the power conference teams they’ve faced — Kentucky, Washington State and Washington — but they’ve won all the others (7-3) and could ultimately play a nagging role in the WCC as both Gonzaga and St. Mary’s appear to be somewhat rebuilding this year.
- Marshon Brooks. There are so many good players in the Big East in any given year that it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of them all, especially on the worse teams. As PC has roared to a 9-1 start, though, Brooks has exploded onto the scene as the primary reason. Last night against Brown he dropped 33 points, pulled eight rebounds and ripped four steals, and his progression from run-of-the-mill guard to Big East star appears complete. He’s shooting the ball at a ridiculous 61% from inside the arc and contributing 21/9/2 SPG this year, considerable increases over his 14/4 averages from last season. An interesting game at BC on Wednesday may tell us whether Providence is for real this year.
… and Misses.
- K-State From the Line. Kansas State went 23-40 from the line it it easy win over Alcorn State tonight, but this is a season-long problem (54%). Only one other team in America throws up fewer bricks from the line, and they play in the SWAC (Alabama State). Depending on whom you ask, K-State is either extremely overrated or just working through some things before putting it together. We know one thing, though — Jacob Pullen dropping 24/5 against Alcorn is one thing, but he needs to find his game against real competition soon (19-61 FG against five other D1 opponents).
Tweet of the Night. Hoop Nerd Christmas Festivus came three weeks early for most of us, as Ken Pomeroy announced his player statistics are now active on his site.