Boom Goes the Dynamite: Evening GamesPosted by rtmsf on December 11th, 2010
The evening set of games wasn’t chock full of great matchups on paper, but there were a few good ones that we were able to catch so here are tonight’s thoughts…
- Washington: Nothing New to See Here. Through nine games, Washington has convincingly beaten the six teams that it’s clearly better than and found ways to lose close games against the three teams it’s not. KenPom loves this team because the Husky offense is regularly capable of throwing up triple-digits against bad teams, but unfortunately it doesn’t account for the ability to finish against similarly talented teams. Blame Lorenzo Romar’s coaching or the basketball IQ of the players, but we’ve seen this song and dance from Washington for a number of seasons now — this year appears to be no different. The Huskies are very talented, but they don’t perform well in the clutch. Witness today’s finish against Texas A&M — Isaiah Thomas made a brilliant defensive play to steal the ball in the backcourt with the Aggies leading by a single point and about six seconds remaining, but instead of using his ridiculous quickness and leaping ability to attack the basket, he instead inexplicably killed his dribble at the foul line and was forced into a fadeaway jumper that only got inches out of his hand (see below). TAMU’s David Loubeau immediately rejected it and saved the game for his team in the process. That’s not a winning decision, and Thomas, a vociferous jabberer on Twitter, has been getting killed for it this evening. Through the first quarter of the season, what do we know about the Huskies? Against nobodies, they can score and look spectacular doing so; but good teams can defend them, as both Kentucky (38.5%) and A&M have proven (37.7%). They’re probably still a co-favorite with Arizona in the Pac-10, but so what — until they learn how to make better decisions against good teams it won’t get them very far into the postseason.
- IU Progressing. Indiana is by no means ‘back,’ but for the first time in a while it didn’t appear in today’s game against Kentucky that they were completely outclassed in talent on the court. The Wildcats amped up its defense in the last part of the game and ultimately blew the Hoosiers out of the building, 81-62, but it was a close back-and-forth contest and IU actually still led the game at the 8:05 mark. With a solid core of Christian Watford (19/9), Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones continuing to develop and Cody Zeller joining the Hoosiers next season, it appears that Indiana is on the right track again. The next step in the progression is for Indiana to break through against one of these teams like Boston College or Kentucky — they’ve shown they can play with these teams, but they’re not yet capable of finishing those games.
- Fab Melo Can’t Even Score Against Colgate. Syracuse ran out to a 46-8 halftime lead and defeated winless Colgate 100-43, but freshman center Fab Melo still couldn’t get a point. The seven-footer only played six minutes, but in that time he missed his only shot and managed to put up his fifth donut in ten games this season. Considering the hype that Melo had coming into the season, we’re not sure that there’s been a bigger disappointment this season (2.1 PPG/2.2 RPG). Still, it doesn’t appear to affect Jim Boeheim’s team at all, as the Orange just keep trucking along (now at 10-0). Imagine if the big guy starts to figure it all out by midseason?
- RTC at Fordham! We’re still waiting to see photographic or video evidence of this, but we understand that Fordham fans RTC’d tonight to celebrate its first win over a Big East team (St. John’s) in ten years. Keep in mind that the Rams, 4-4 this year, had won a total of five games the last two seasons, so this was a huge victory for their program, and it was made all the better by coming back from 21 down in the second half (60-39). The Johnnies, hyped considerably this year with the hire of Steve Lavin, have now taken back-to-back losses to Atlantic 10 teams. Not exactly the best way to endear yourself to the NYC Big East-centric media, coach.
- Gonzaga With a Losing Record. Mark Few always loads up on quality opponents in the early going, but this year’s gauntlet has resulted in his team sporting a 4-5 record midway through December after tonight’s 83-79 loss at Notre Dame. Elias Harris and his injured Achilles looked good this evening (19/5/4 assts), but the reason the Zags continue to lose these games is that their defense is failing them. Gonzaga once again gave up a bunch of threes (11 tonight) and their three-point defense is among the worst in the nation this year (nearly 40%). It’s very difficult for them to find enough points against good teams when they’re matadoring everyone, especially on the perimeter. The Zags have one quality win over Marquette, but the opportunities for more are quickly dwindling. Could Butler and Gonzaga both miss the NCAAs this year?