After the Buzzer: Opening Night Doldrums

Posted by rtmsf on November 11th, 2008


Hello again, everyone.  For those of you who might be new to the site this season, we want to introduce you to a feature that we try to run most nights during the season.  We like to call this feature After the Buzzer (ATB) because it’ll be posted well after the witching hour in the East for your first perusal the next morning (make RTC your home page!  you won’t be disappointed…).  The format will change depending on what happened that night, but we’ll typically try to give some brief wrapups of the night’s biggest games and stories of interest with some commentary thrown in.  If we’re feeling particularly frisky, we may also take a look ahead to the next night’s games.  Note that we said most nights; there will inevitably be nights where the games that night were simply unwatchable, or we’re down at the Savoy because some Duke scrub hit a late three to cover the spread, or our better half threw the tv and/or computer out the window.  In any case, like Olbermann and O’Reilly, we’ll be there as many nights as we can muster, annoying the hell out of you with our smug banter. 

Game of the Night.  There was no Game of the Night because there really is no “Opening Night,” and this really irritates us.  Seriously, how stupid is the NCAA when it comes to how it starts the season?  MLB, the NFL, the NBA and even NCAA football have an opening day/night with significant fanfare – it’s something that fans and the media alike can get excited about.  Instead of a showcase night of several good ‘opening’ games, we get Duke vs. Presbyterian on ESPNU (was Methodist unavailable?  how about Baptist?).  Instead of Vitale/Bilas/Digger, we get the painfully monotonous Beth Mowins.  Instead of college basketball nation all at once reaching an orgasmic climax because hoops is finally back in action, we get a game that is hidden away on the least-watched channel in the ESPN suite of programming.  It’s ridiculous.  We’ll say that ESPN is at least thinking the right way with its 24 hour bonanza of coverage next week (Nov. 18), but the NCAA and ESPN need to work a deal out next year so that this happens on a true “opening night.” 

Other Games.  The only games tonight were in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in the Durham, NC, regional.  The first game wasn’t televised, but Georgia Southern pulled off a mild upset (6-pt dog) in defeating CUSA’s Houston Cougars 65-63Sleeper schmeeperTrumaine Pearson led GSU with 19/11, as the Eagles withstood a late three attempt that was off the mark.  Georgia Southern will now play host Duke, as the Devils got out to a large halftime lead against Presbyterian (24 pts) before mostly coasting in the second stanza to win 80-49.  We actually saw most of this game – here are some quick thoughts.

  • Presbyterian is nicknamed the Blue Hose – someone needs to explain this to us.
  • Coach K wasn’t very happy with his team’s performance, and with good reason.  The Devils committed 21 turnovers and only shot 3-11 (27%) from long range. 
  • Kyle Singler (19/10) and Nolan Smith (15/3 stls) looked solid, if not spectacular, but what was alarmingly apparent was how Coach K’s recruiting in recent years has led to lineups in the Duke lineup that look way too much like the SEC and ACC in the mid-50s.  A Duke ‘whiteout’ will not be an uncommon occurrence again this year.
  • Time and time again the Presbyterian offense was able dribble penetrate into the paint for decent looks at the rim.  They rarely finished these forays because they were often too small and intimidated by the Duke ‘bigs,’ but this is going to be a serious problem again for the Devils this year.  Incumbent center Brian Zoubek fouled out in seven minutes of play.  Against.  Presbyterian.  The other option, freshman 6’10 F/C Miles Plumlee had 0/2 in thirteen minutes.  Why can’t Coach K get big man studs anymore?
  • ESPN isn’t allowing embedded video on this game yet, so here is the link to the highlights.

On Tap Tuesday (all times EST).  Several more CvC games, but only a few of interest.

  • Northeastern (-6) v. IUPUI – 4pm
  • Michigan v. Michigan Tech (ESPNU) – 7pm
  • Duke (-25) v. Georgia Southern (ESPNU) – 9pm
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