BGTD: BracketBuster SaturdayPosted by rtmsf on February 19th, 2011
RTC’s Kevin Doyle, writer of the weekly column, The Other 26, will be providing some BGTD-style analysis throughout Saturday’s BracketBuster games, mostly focusing on the evening sessions.
(ed. note: we’ll work our way backwards so the most recent update is always at the top of the post.)
8:34 PM – UNI is holding onto a slim lead against George Mason thanks in large part to the strong play of Kwadzo Ahelegbe. The senior from Minnesota already has 18 points as the Panthers are up on GMU 54-50 late in the second half. I have not seen Ahelegbe play once this year, but I love his pure stroke from beyond the arc and his quickness while attacking the basket. If Northern Iowa can hold on against GMU it would be a huge confidence booster heading into the MVC tournament.
7:58 PM – The Panthers are besting George Mason 36-32 at the half and are playing the kind of basketball they have failed to play lately in the Missouri Valley. UNI lost three straight in the MVC and are no longer contending with Missouri State and Wichita State, but seem to be peaking at the right time. George Mason, win or lose, will still be the favorite in the CAA going into the conference tournament, but a win in Iowa over the Panthers would certainly help their resume if they falter in the CAA tournament. Cam Long and Ryan Pearson are two of the CAA’s best and are a tough match up for any opponent. I’d argue that the outcome of this game means more for GMU than UNI for the sole reason that Mason is still in contention for an at-large berth.
7:15 PM – College of Charleston ended up defeating Vermont 85-70 in a game that was not as close as the score would indicate. The Cougars proved how dangerous of a threat they are due to the play of one player: Andrew Goudelock. The senior from Georgia tore apart Vermont and in doing so proved they are they class of the Southern Conference. Can Charleston do what Davidson did a few years ago? Probably not, but Goudelock is a very similar player to Stephen Curry in how he is able to take over a game.
As for the other 5:00 game, Valpo soundly defeated Missouri State 80-67. The Crusaders, along with Cleveland State who thoroughly defeated Hofstra earlier today, appear to be the clear favorites in the Horizon League.
George Mason and Northern Iowa are currently doing battle in a pivotal game for GMU. The Patriots have been one of the hottest teams in the nation and are in the running for an at-large berth assuming they fall in the CAA tournament. UNI is out of the discussion for an at-large, but are holding their own against the Patriots as they are tied 28-28 at the end of the first half.
6:20 PM – Missouri State looked like they were coming back in the early stages of the second half, but Valpo extended their lead back to 19 with roughly 10 minutes remaining. Kyle Weems, Missouri State’s best guy and arguably the best player in the MVC, has really struggled, shooting 3-14 from the field.
The Horizon League has represented itself well thus far. Wright State blew out Hofstra earlier today and Valpo is currently handling Missouri State. The HL is probably not a multi-bid league this year, but the team that wins the competitive league may reap the benefits of the Horizon’s strong performance down the stretch. The quality of play within the league certainly has caught my attention today.
5:51 PM – A combination of poor play from Missouri State and strong shooting from Valpo (16-27 from the field, 4-10 from three) has the Crusaders up by 15 at the half. I really like the play of Brandon Wood and Cory Johnson for Valpo; they are two players that can definitely lead them to a Horizon League title.
The real surprise score thus far of the nightcap games is what Charleston is doing to Vermont. The Cougars are more than doubling UVM’s score at halftime as Andrew Goudelock poured in 17 points. There is not a single player in the America East of Goudelock’s caliber, and that is showing against the Catamounts. I have been a fan of Goudelock and Charleston since the beginning of the season when the nearly defeated Maryland. Bobby Cremins really has something brewing down there in South Carolina.
5:15 PM – Aside from the Fairfield vs. Austin Peay game, the early BracketBuster games that were televised were by and large a disappointment. Hofstra had no answer for Vaughn Duggins of Wright State who dropped in 31 points in an 82-56 win. In looking at the box score of the game (unfortunately I was unable to tune into the game), Charles Jenkins took only eight shots. I am sure Wright State had a great defensive scheme to contain the Pride’s star, but Jenkins has to be taking at least double the shots he took this afternoon for Hofstra to be successful.
The nightcap looks to be a great one; better than the earlier games at least. Valparaiso is currently up on Missouri State early in a critical game for the Bears who have aspirations of an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament assuming they fall in the Missouri Valley tournament. Stay tuned as I’ll be providing instant analysis for the remainder of this game as well as others later into the evening.
12:38 PM – Start your engines ladies and gentlemen. If last night’s Wichita State and Virginia Commonwealth game is an indication of what is to come the rest of the weekend, then we are all in for a treat. Joey Rodriguez hit two free throws with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Rams a much needed victory as they were coming off of two straight losses in the CAA. There was a bit of controversy at the end of the game as many felt the referee should have swallowed his whistle in that situation, but a foul was called as Rodriguez drove to the basket, and the cool point guard calmly hit both free throws.
As for today’s games, Wright State has gotten out to an early lead on Charles Jenkins and the Hofstra Pride. Jenkins has 13 points, but the story of the game has been the play of Vaughn Duggins who has 21 points midway through the second half. In a battle of two teams in the top tier of their conference, the Horizon League is currently having its way with Hofstra of the CAA.