“Secret” Scrimmages Results and #HotTakes

Posted by Andrew Gripshover on November 13th, 2015

This post doesn’t matter. Scrimmages are poor man’s exhibition games; exhibition games are in the preseason; and the preseason is useless. The only people who watched these “secret” scrimmages are the participating coaches and players. And yet, information about them always gets out because nothing’s ever a secret on the Internet, allowing us to wildly overreact to games that don’t even count as not even counting. As we head into the opening weekend of the regular season, here are some such overreactions. Information herein is mostly courtesy of random message board posts and hearsay. #HotScrimmageTakes (miss you, Grantland) are my own and should definitely be saved to fill out your brackets in four months. Enjoy.

Scrimmage or note - Roy Williams and UNC will be expected to perform at a high level this season. (Getty)

Scrimmage or not – Roy Williams and UNC will be expected to perform at a high level this season. (Getty)

No. 1 North Carolina defeated No. 18 Vanderbilt by 12. The Heels stormed out to a 20-3 advantage and never looked back. Justin Jackson was their leading scorer and Isaiah Hicks was impressive off the bench. Joel Berry II started at point guard and ran the show most of the way. The Commodores got good performances from Camron Justice — Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball last year — and Riley LaChance, but those were not enough to prevent the nation’s No. 1 team from exacting some measure of revenge from previous scrimmages.

#HotScrimmageTakes – This UNC team is a hybrid of 2009 and 2005. Berry is Ty Lawson. Marcus Paige is Ray Felton. Kennedy Meeks is Sean May mixed with Tyler Hansbrough. Jackson is a bigger, less temperamental Rashad McCants. Hicks is a cross between Danny Green and Marvin Williams. 40-0 or bust. Vandy starts slowly and is shocked by Stony Brook before placing seventh in Maui (needing overtime to beat Chaminade) but goes 12-6 in SEC play thanks to Justice and LaChance averaging a combined 44 points per game. They’re one of the Last Four In and lose yet again in March to a mid-major as Dayton (yep, Dayton gets another home play-in game) completes the season sweep after winning in Memorial Gym on December 9.

No. 11 Villanova defeated No. 3 Maryland by 15. It was the Kris Jenkins show. The stretch-four was a nightmare for Terps transfer Robert Carter, running him ragged and sinking seven threes as the Wildcats drained a total of 20 on the day. Despite this, the Terps managed to hang around most of the way as Carter was dominant offensively, but poor free throw shooting in a tightly called game would ultimately sink them as the ‘Cats pulled away in the final five minutes.

No surprise here that Kris Jenkins reportedly played great against (USA TODAY Sports)

No surprise here that Kris Jenkins reportedly played great against the highly hyped Terps. (USA TODAY Sports)

#HotScrimmageTakes – Carter is a nightly sieve and not even taking over the scoring mantle from Dez Wells and sophomore-slumping Melo Trimble is enough to make up for it. The Terps disappoint, but luck their way into the #3 seed they deserved last year. There they get shocked by #14 seed Belmont, which hits a tournament record 25 threes with 10 coming from Amanze Egekeze. Villanova goes undefeated in the Big East, including a 108-62 victory at Creighton in which Jenkins “does a Ethan Wragge” by hitting eight threes in the first half, but loses in the Final Four — again — to eventual national champion and 40-0 UNC.

No. 22 Baylor defeated No. 9 Gonzaga in Salt Lake. In a battle of two of the biggest, baddest frontcourts in the country, the Bears beasted over the Bulldogs. Taurean Prince and Terry Maston carried the scoring load and Rico Gathers led the dominant effort on the boards. King McClure hit three early threes to get Baylor rolling and despite Prezemek Karnowski’s triple-double, the Zags were inferior on the interior and couldn’t overcome a poor shooting night from Kyle Wiltjer.

#HotScrimmageTakes – Baylor bullies everyone with the best front line in the country and “The King” is an even sharper marksman than Brady Heslip. Their clear neutral court prowess powers them to the Elite Eight where they are finally ready to conquer Kentucky… before realizing that Skal Labissiere is in fact eligible this season. He leads the Wildcats’ big men to outplay Baylor’s for the first time all year and “The King” goes 0-of-9 from three. You don’t need me to tell you what happens to Gonzaga; ho-hum first weekend flameout with Wiltjer shooting even worse than Blake Stepp did in that Nevada game.

UCLA and Aaron Holiday handled same old San Diego State. “We weren’t very good and they were pretty good,” was Steve Fisher’s blunt take on the game.  He singled out Holiday — a four-star point guard from North Hollywood and Jrue’s younger brother — calling him “sensational” and “by far the best player on the floor.” As for the Aztecs, they missed their first 11 threes — all of which were wide open, according to Fisher — and got down by 19 before getting it back to five, but could not complete the comeback thanks to a succession of turnovers. Dakari Allen led San Diego State with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting and making all three of his threes.

#HotScrimmageTakes – Holiday sees that Ben Simmons has been named to the Preseason All-America squad and makes it his personal motivation to be named to the postseason one. He does so by averaging a 20/20, scoring and dishing out dimes to Bryce Alford to sink open threes and lobs to Tony Parker for easy jams. With the Lakers well on their way to the top of the lottery again, UCLA becomes “Showtime” in Los Angeles and Holiday achieves his most improbable feat of all — packing Pauley Pavilion on a nightly basis. Unfortunately the Basketball Gods smite them in the Sweet Sixteen and they’re bounced on a phantom goaltending call. San Diego State gets even more humiliated by true freshman when Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb engineer an 80-40 Cal beatdown and then Cheick Diallo puts up a 30/30 as Kansas gets brutal revenge for two years ago, dropping the Aztecs to 4-8. In January, Allen tears his ACL and the team goes game after game and soon week after week without making a single three-pointer. Members of The Show start going on hunger strikes until somebody knocks down a three. Finally, at hapless San Jose State on February 21, Dwayne Polee banks one in by accident and the nation rejoices. Despite all this, the Aztecs improbably win the Mountain West… but lose in the conference quarterfinals to Air Force thanks to 30 turnovers, and miss the NCAAs.

Aaron Holiday is the key player for UCLA this season. (247 Sports)

Aaron Holiday is the key player for UCLA this season. (247 Sports)

Wisconsin 71, Northern Iowa 57 at Dubuque College. Zak Showalter led the national runners up — rebuilding without most of that team’s core — with 19 points, Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown chipped in 14 each, and Bronson Koenig added 11. The Panthers, also retooling after the loss of Seth Tuttle and others, held their own, particularly during a six-minute stretch in which the “secret” scrimmage was “secretly” filmed on Periscope (all copies have since been destroyed) with West Washpun difficult to guard and Bennett Koch holding his own inside.

#HotScrimmageTakes – Wisconsin finishes in the top four of the Big Ten. STOP THE PRESSES! TURN ON THE AIR CONDITIONING BECAUSE THIS TAKE IS TOO HOT!!! Showalter is this season’s Sam Dekker and Vitto Brown is Kaminsky… lite. The offense takes a dip from one of the greatest in college basketball history to merely one of the greatest this season, with the notable exception of Bo Ryan’s final home game in which the Badgers sink 27 threes against Michigan. They make it to the Sweet Sixteen where soon-to-be 40-0 UNC flips the script from last season and Roy Williams gives a tearful press conference calling Bo, “a helluva dadgum coach.” UNI falls just short in an upset bid over Marcus Paige-less UNC — only fading down the stretch when there are technical difficulties and the TV cameras cut out — but rebounds to have a solid 22-8 season and a second round NCAA Tournament exit before Ben Jacobson is hired away by… Wisconsin.

West Virginia and Temple fouled each other. A lot. That’s 56 fouls and 68 free throws for those of you who don’t care to count. Fifty-six fouls. Sixty-eight free throws. Jaylen Bond committed seven fouls by himself! Who commits seven fouls in a scrimmage?!?

#HotScrimmageTakes — West Virginia is mercifully kicked out of Division I after a Hack-A-Cheick horror show in Allen Fieldhouse that makes the Clippers/Rockets series from last spring look like Loyola Marymount/LSU and leads to criminal proceedings against Devin Williams and Jonathan Holton. Bond is also kicked out of college basketball for pulling a Nehemiah Ingram against Jenkins and Villanova, having fouled out of 20 consecutive games previously. He is subsequently drafted in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks for the explicit purpose of hacking DeAndre Jordan.

Andrew Gripshover (15 Posts)

Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *