Who Won the Week? MCW, Chicago State, Not Jerry Jones…Posted by rtmsf on December 7th, 2012
Who Won the Week? is a regular column that will outline and discuss three winners and losers from the previous week. The author of this column is Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker), an Oregon-based sportswriter best known for his willingness to drive (or bike!) anywhere to watch a basketball game.
WINNER: Chicago State
The Cougars found themselves a home. Amid the constant turmoil found during this extended period of conference realignment, Chicago State has managed to go from the schedule conglomerate of the Great West to an actual conference in the WAC. (Let’s ignore the fact that the WAC would lose its automatic bid if the historically black university didn’t join its ranks.) Granted, the Cougars are 0-8 in Division I play this season, but their campus lies atop a recruiting hotbed, and they could easily snag many a player who falls through others’ cracks, especially now that they offer the same chance at an automatic NCAA Tournament bid that about 250 other schools promise every season. This move makes sense for both parties, but it should help save Chicago State from the fate of Winston-Salem State, another HBCU that tried to make the move to Division I but failed before retreating back to Division II.
(Related winners: The WAC. Related losers: None.)
LOSER: Florida State
The Seminoles have had an extended run of success in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one unseen for that program since the Hugh Durham era in Tallahassee, but that’s threatening to fall apart in Leonard Hamilton’s 11th season roaming the Florida State sidelines. FSU is currently riding a three-game losing streak, and last week’s losses to Mercer and Florida were both ugly in their own ways. Falling 61-56 to a team from the Atlantic Sun is ignominious in its own right, but especially so for a team riding a school-record four-year NCAA Tournament streak. Having only one player score more than seven points in the process is even worse. But the Seminoles actually managed to one-up that loss with an embarrassing 72-47 loss to rival Florida, this time where no Florida State player scored more than 10 points. Michael Snaer, the scoring guard who helped lead the team to three wins in the last two years in the NCAA Tournament, scored 17 points between the two games on 5-of-17 shooting while having five assists and seven turnovers. This is foreboding for a team many picked to finish in the top half of an ACC that has often looked lackluster during the start of the season.
(Related winners: Florida; Mercer, but more so had the Bears not gotten shelled by Denver later in the week. Related losers: The ACC, Snaer.)
WINNER: Greg Gantt
The Florida Atlantic guard who has led the Owls in scoring for each of his three seasons on campus, went off in his two games this week, both of which led to wins. In the first game, Gantt scored 29 points and grabbed six rebounds, shooting 8-of-13 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line as FAU won 72-65 in a home game against conference foe Arkansas State. Later in the week, Gantt found some way to top that, scoring 34 and grabbing seven boards as the Owls went on the road to down in-state foe Stetson, this time going 13-of-23 from the field. Florida Atlantic likely isn’t going far this season, but one should probably give due to a player who has had a fantastic offensive career already.
(Related winners: Florida Atlantic. Related losers: Arkansas State and Stetson, I guess.)
Michigan State, at the fore of challenging convention in its early-season scheduling, has found itself part of a proposal to play four different games at once on the floor of the palatial Cowboys Stadium near Dallas. It brings together all the bad aspects of AAU tournaments, basketball at football stadiums, and early-season over-the-top-ness, all the while presenting a product that wouldn’t capture well on TV. Nothing good can come of this, especially because the stadium is far too big to create watchable basketball and November is already swimming in captivating events. If it generates Cowboys Stadium-sized attention, or even Texas-sized attention, it’s going to detract from more worthy basketball elsewhere. Why waste fans’ time with an unwatchable gimmick?
(Related winners: Jerry Jones, whichever television station tries to make money off this. Related losers: Fans, especially those who attend this disasterpiece-to-be.)
WINNER: Michael Carter-Williams
Thanks to three consecutive double-doubles by its sophomore point guard, Syracuse managed to go 3-0 this week, taking down Arkansas in a visit to Fayetteville (and a rare non-conference road trip) before decimating Eastern Michigan and reigning Big West champions Long Beach State. Against the Orange’s SEC foe, Carter-Williams came within an assist of a triple-double, finishing with 17 points and 12 assists as well in a performance overshadowed by teammate James Southerland’s 35 points. Carter-Williams then followed that up with 11 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in an 84-48 win against the Eagles and 15 points and 10 assists against the 49ers. The 5.3 turnovers per game last week could stand to come down a bit, but with such great success without dominating possessions, coach Jim Boeheim will likely look past them for now. Considering the Orange are 7-0 and ranked fourth in the country, Carter-Williams has done a fantastic job of quarterbacking the team in his first season as a major contributor. On a Syracuse team with considerable other offensive talent, all the 6’6” burgeoning star has to do is pass the ball often for the Associated Press’ fourth-ranked team to have continued success in 2012-13.
(Related winners: Syracuse, James Southerland, C.J. Fair. Related losers: Look out Big East.)
LOSER: Danny Berger
The Utah State player and former North Medford (Oregon) standout collapsed at practice Tuesday, and is still hospitalized three days later, though he has gone from critical condition to fair as he remains in an intensive care unit after his heart stopped beating on the court. The Aggies postponed their game Wednesday with BYU after the accident. Basketball is the least of our concerns here. Here’s hoping this young man survives and gets healthy off the court, because that’s what really matters.
(Related loser: Utah State.)