Game of the Day. BYU 78, #6 Louisville 76. Due to familial obligations, we didn’t get to see this game tonight, so chime in if you did, but the result here didn’t shock us. On Wed. night we caught a good portion of the Cards’ game with UNLV, and even though they ended up winning by 20, it was an ugly performance. BYU is significantly better than UNLV, and the tournament site of Las Vegas, while culturally a million miles away from Provo, is still familiar Mtn West country for the Cougars. So what happened? Well, BYU forward Jonathan Tavernari (29/7 with 5 threes) and center Trent Plaisted (21/12) essentially took over the game for the Cougs in the second half, accounting for all but six of BYU’s points. Louisville got twin dub-dubs from Derrick Caracter (24/11) and Terrence Williams, but the missing men tonight for the Cards were guards Andre McGee and Edgar Sosa (3 pts combined in 39 mins). UL just isn’t going to be the same team without some kind of inside presence besides Caracter. They need Palacios to come back healthy (at a minimum) if they expect to compete for a F4 berth this year. BYU, on the other hand, appears to be completely back from the nadir (9-21) it reached in 2005 – all credit to coach Bob Rose for their reconstruction to a legitimate MWC contender and national presence again. Oh, and this loss also ruined our most anticipated early-season matchup between Louisville and UNC – thanks for that, Brigham Youngsters.
Other Games We Saw. Texas A&M 70, Ohio St. 47. The most impressive win of the night was in the PNIT finals. TAMU put a defensive clinic on in the second half of this game to blow open a close halftime score (31-25) to a thirty-point evisceration with ten minutes remaining – the Aggies held OSU to only one FG in the first 11.5 mins of the second half! We haven’t seen a defensive shutdown against a quality opponent like that since Georgetown was willing itself into the F4 last year. If this is any indication of how A&M is going to play defense the rest of this year, then everyone (including us) has severly underrated Mark Turgeon’s team. Kosta Koufos, who on Wed. night looked fantastic against Syracuse, was held in check (10/5 on 4-16 FGs) and the whole Buckeye team shot a miserable 24% for the game. A&M was led by Derrick Roland (15 pts) off the bench, but the player who really caught our eye tonight was freshman center DeAndre Jordan (11/8). That beefy front line of Jordan, Josh Carter and Joseph Jones is going to present a lot of problems for people this year. Syracuse 91, Washington 85. In what was a pretty exciting game at times, the Syracuse freshmen showed up tonight to lead the Orange past Washington. Donte Greene had 25/10/4 assts/3 blks in an all-around showcase of skills, and Jonny Flynn got off the schneid with 16 pts in 21 minutes of play. For Washington, Quincy Pondexter had an array of nasty moves to get his 20/13, but poor D in the form of incessant fouling led to the Cuse taking 52 foul shots (v. UW’s 19 attempts). Washington had four players foul out of the game, but their rebounding advantage (+25) kept them in the game – UW nearly had as many offensive rebounds (24) as Syracuse had total rebounds (27). Guess this is how it’s going to go for Syracuse this season – when the freshmen play well, they win; when not, they don’t. As for Washington, we still can’t figure them out. We just have this sneaky feeling that they should always be a little better than they are.
Other Ranked Teams.
- #2 UCLA 81, Yale 47. Bruins shoot 55% in easy win.
- #3 UNC 99, Old Dominion 82. Roy’s technicolor tie distracted us, but we found it interesting that ODU missed two layups at the end that would have covered the spread (in Vegas). Lawson’s speed was sick this game.
- #7 Tennessee 74, West Virginia 72. Didn’t get to see this one, and sorry we missed it. It appears that Huggins’ guys took it right at UT’s softies, though.
- #8 Washington St. 66, Montana 55. Taylor Rochestie led Wazzu with 17.
- #9 Indiana 70, Illinois St. 57. E-Giddy with 31 in a nice win for the Hoosiers. DJ White only 4, though?
- #13 Texas 102, New Mexico St. 87. Abrams and Augustin combine for 56.
- Texas Tech 73, #15 Gonzaga 63. Didn’t see that one coming…
- #17 Butler 84, Virginia Tech 78. If Butler wants respect, it needs to do better than barely beating an ACC bottom-feeder.
- #18 S.Illinois 63, Mississippi St. 49. Paging SEC:TGTBTD, didn’t you guys predict 26-4 for MSU? You’ve got two left.
- #19 Kansas St. 73, UCF 71. Ho-hum, Beastley with another 30/13.
- #20 Pittsburgh 92, Buffalo 45. Pitt continues to roll early.
- #25 Villanova 84, George Mason 76. Great game – GMU will be dealt with in the CAA this year, but the Nova guards were too much today.
Other Scores of Note.
- Rider 82, Penn St. 73. Ugly loss for the Big 10 (Jason Thompson 21/10/3 blks).
- NC State 63, South Carolina 61. NC State is not a good team, people.
- Bradley 67, Iowa 56. Great MVC win v. a B10 team.
- Florida St. 65, Florida 51. This was in Gainesville – looks like Billy D’s team got a wakeup call with their worst loss in 3 yrs.
- Virginia 100, Penn 85. Another nice road win for UVa.
- Vanderbilt 77, Utah St. 56. Vandy might be the second best team in the SEC
- USC 57, Miami (OH) 53. USC looks bad again – Gibson with a mere 6 pts (Mayo w/ 21).
On Tap Today (all times EST). Mostly pigskin on the tube, but as always, there are a few jewels in the lineup.
- Air Force (-1) v. Montana 4:30pm – solid mid-major matchup.
- Tennessee (-5.5) v. Texas. this is a game worth watching – should be very uptempo.
- California (-6) v. San Diego St. 6pm – necessary win for SDSU if it’s thinking at-large (eh, M2M?)
- Wisconsin (-9) v. Georgia 6:30pm – odd non-tourney game between B10/SEC – could get ugly for Dennis Felton.
- Pacific v. St. Louis (-6.5) 8pm – another solid mid-major contest.
- Louisville (-9.5) v. Old Dominion 7:30pm. Based on what we saw tonight, ODU will beat Louisville unless the Cards play better than their previous two LV games.
- Indiana (-2.5) v. Xavier 8:30pm. IU’s first real test of the year.
- Vanderbilt (-4.5) v. Bradley 8:30pm. can Vandy keep it going so easily?
- Oregon (-18.5) v. San Francisco (ESPN FC) 10pm – Oregon gets a chance to take out its St. Mary’s loss on another WCC team.
- Nevada v. UNLV (-3) (ESPN FC) 10pm – intrastate rivalry!
- UNC (-8) v. BYU 10:30pm – not the preferred matchup, but still a very good one.
- Texas Tech v. Butler (-5) 12:30am. Butler could use this one in Alaska.