ATB: Shouldn’t We Just Call a Jumper a “Jimmer” From Now On?Posted by rtmsf on January 27th, 2011
The Lede. It’s really been a great week of college hoops, and tonight’s slate was no different. We were thrilled and bedazzled with another 40-point performance from the modern-day JJ/Chris Jackson/Steph Curry, depending on whom you ask; a Big East team that seems to have nine lives this season finding another one hanging around at the top of the backboard; and, an emotional evening in Oklahoma centering on a tragedy from a decade ago that people in that area still feel heavily in their hearts.
Your Watercooler Moment. Jimmer Carries BYU to Knock SDSU From Unbeatens. It wasn’t the prettiest game you’ll watch all season, but for many folks around the country it was their first chance to get a nationally-televised look at the one they call The Jimmer. And he didn’t disappoint, especially in a scorching first half of action where you may have wondered if he was ever going to miss a jimmer, er, jumper (20 points on 8-12 shooting including 3-3 from behind the arc). He ended the game with another ridiculous night — 43/4 on 14-24 shooting — in scoring over 60% of his team’s points and generally setting the crowd of 22,000+ at the Marriott Center and the millions more watching at home into apoplexy every time he appeared to face up to the rim for a look at the basket. With Kemba Walker in the east, Jared Sullinger in the midwest, and Jimmer Fredette in the west, the national college basketball landscape this season has a trio of NPOY candidates with completely different skill sets who add incredible value to their teams. It’s going to be a wild six weeks to finish out the season and determine who will take the award, but Fredette proved again tonight that despite playing in relative obscurity beyond the lights of a major conference and regular TV appearances, he deserves every bit as much attention as the other guys.
As for the game itself, San Diego State played well considering that the only real production Steve Fisher’s team had tonight was from a sick Kawhi Leonard (22/15). And we mean sick as in illness rather than our typical usage of that word. His frontcourt mates Malcolm Thomas and Billy White struggled shooting the ball (combined 7-20 FG) and the Aztecs’ lack of three-point bombers other than DJ Gay (who was cold as Utah snow tonight, 0-7 FG) really hurt them. Of course, nobody truly expected SDSU to run the regular season table undefeated, but from a long-term perspective, the Aztecs are not going to be able to beat three or even four good teams in the NCAA Tournament on neutral floors if they can’t find a way to regularly make some outside jumpers. They’re at 33% on the season out there, and they were even worse at 5-20 from beyond the arc tonight. Is it a fatal flaw? Yes, in the sense that when they play a really good team that can match their interior play, they’ll be forced to make some Js — when that doesn’t happen (we’re thinking back to the 2009 Oklahoma team with Blake Griffin), it’s lights out. Still, with the right matchups, SDSU can make a run to the Elite Eight — they’ll just need to play the right teams along the way.
Tonight’s Quick Hits…
- Just Go Ahead and Order It. You know you want to have one in your closet if or when Jimmer and BYU make a run in March just so you can wear it around and tell all your friends you’ve had it for “years.”
- Peyton Siva’s Layup, With a Helping of Extra Arch. As a true aficianado of trick shots, adding some reverse English and HORSE games that go on for hours, we are crushing on Peyton Siva’s driving layup to beat West Virginia tonight. With 4.5 seconds remaining, he drove the lane and found just enough space to scoop the ball high — and we mean HIGH — off the top of the window to drop through and give the Cards a one-point lead. For a team that we keep having little faith in, they keep finding ways to win. Sooner or later, we’re going to have to either eat our crow with these guys or give them their due and propers. Games at UConn and Georgetown are in the next five days — let’s see how those go.
- Here Come the Friars!!! We suppose Marshon Brooks knew what he was talking about when, after beating Louisville over the weekend for the Friars’ first Big East win of the season (vs. six losses), he said that he thought PC was about to go on a run. Most of us scoffed at that statement, but maybe we should have taken heed. After tonight’s drubbing of Villanova at the Dunk where Wildcat guards Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes were harassed into 4-26 shooting (1-13 from three), it’s clear that the Big East is the most insane conference in the country in addition to being the best. It’s simply amazing that a group of players who looked so poised and in control on Saturday at Syracuse could have been so ineffective tonight. And what about Providence? Prior to their 0-6 start, we believed they were one of the more improved teams in the country; maybe it just took Keno Davis’ team a little longer to get around to it, but we’ll see if they can keep it up at a resurgent Seton Hall on Sunday.
- Texas Passes Another Test on an Emotional Night. The Horns passed another road test in Stillwater tonight, using its superb defense to hold the Cowboys to a season-low 46 points in a fifteen-point win. Prior to the game and at halftime, OSU commemorated the anniversary of the plane crash that took ten lives on a trip back from Colorado a decade ago. Both teams wore “Remember the 10″ shirts in pregame warmups, and families of eight of the ten killed were in attendance. Even Eddie Sutton, coach of the Pokes at the time, returned and addressed the crowd (see below). According to this recount of the game, Gallagher-Iba was ready to explode tonight, but Texas’ defense was simply too stifling. Even on a night where the Horns didn’t have their best offensive game, the nation’s top defense was able to keep them comfortably in front throughout.
… and Misses.
- Hits Keep Coming for St. John’s & Northwestern. January hasn’t been kind to these two programs who had visions of March sugarplums in the form of an NCAA Tournament bid. The Johnnies lost their fifth in six outings to Georgetown tonight since coming out of a New Year’s weekend win over those same Hoyas that got everyone buzzing about a Queens renaissance. We knew that the next four weeks would tell the tale, but all is not lost yet for Steve Lavin’s team. Now at 4-5 in the Big East and with four games remaining against bottom-tier teams, SJU could still get to .500 in the league if they don’t lose confidence. Northwestern, on the other hand, appears completely screwed. After tonight’s road loss at Minnesota, the Wildcats stand at 3-6 in the Big Ten and they still have games versus Ohio State (next), Wisconsin, and Illinois/Minnesota again. There are five more games against lower-tier teams, but we just don’t trust that the Cats can get it done the way they’re playing.
Tweet of the Night. Very, very clever. And likely true!