Chronicling the Georgetown-Syracuse and Duke-Carolina Rivalries

Posted by EJacoby on February 8th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor to RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

Two of the four or five greatest rivalries in college basketball resume this evening in one of the best nights of the regular season. Georgetown-Syracuse is the longest powerhouse rivalry of the Big East, while the battle for Tobacco Road is one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. Here’s a look at their histories:

Georgetown Hoyas vs. Syracuse Orange:

Georgetown and Syracuse Have Been Elite Rivals Since the Days of Patrick Ewing and Long Before (SI Photo/A. Hayt)

  • Last 5 Years – Recently, Syracuse holds a 6-4 edge in meetings since 2007. Each team has won at least once on the other’s home floor, with the road team actually winning the past three games of the series and the home team winning the previous seven. The Hoyas made the Final Four in 2007.
  • Last 10 Years – Going back further in the decade, the Orange were more dominant, holding a 12-7 total lead in the past 10 years of games. They won five in a row at one point from 2003-05, which includes their 2003 National Championship season.
  • Last 30 Years – Syracuse holds a 36-31 overall advantage in all matchups since 1980, with a total average score of 71-71 in those games. Pretty crazy. They are also in a 6-6 tie during this span in Big East Tournament matchups. Each team holds one National Championship during this time, as Georgetown got theirs in 1984. The Hoyas have four Final Four appearances, the Cuse with three. This is a truly juggernaut rivalry of Big East supremacy.

Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels:

Duke vs. Carolina: Rivalry, Defined (SI Vault)

  • Last 5 Years – North Carolina has a 6-5 edge in meetings since 2007, with each team having been crowned National Champions once during this recent history. Carolina made the Final Four in both 2008 and 2009, while Duke was the champion in 2010. Home court advantage is nearly a non-factor recently, as the road team is 5-6 in this period.
  • Last 10 Years – Duke was the much more dominant team earlier in the past decade, going 8-3 in the rivalry from 2002-06. Each team reached the Final Four, with UNC crowned as National Champions once again in 2005. Overall, Duke leads 13-11 in the past 10 years with each team taking four road games.
  • Last 30 Years – North Carolina holds a slight 38-36 edge in all matchups since 1980, with a total average score of 78-78 in the games. Again, an incredibly close matchup here. Duke has gotten the better of the Tar Heels during their ACC Tournament matchups, holding an 8-3 edge during this span. Incredibly, each team has made exactly 11 Final Four runs and won four National Titles during the past 30 years. That’s why this is the best rivalry in the game.

Tonight, Georgetown and Duke are the road teams in these games. Syracuse and Carolina are each the higher-ranked team and are expected to win, but things never go as planned in intense rivalries like these. This could be one of the final times that the Hoyas and Orange meet as Big East rivals, as Syracuse is headed to the ACC by the 2014 season and possibly before then. It will be awesome tonight, so tune in to the ESPN double-header starting at 7:00 PM ET.

Share this story

Tracking The Four: Syracuse Gets Melo & Its Swagger Back

Posted by EJacoby on February 7th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.

What made Syracuse look so beatable in the past three games? Perhaps the answer is as simple as we thought, and Orange big man Fab Melo is just that important to the team’s success. He returned on Saturday and the Orange completely ran St. John’s off the floor in a performance worthy of a number one team. Meanwhile, Indiana and UNLV each split their two-game schedules full of tough road matchups. Murray State continues to cruise along undefeated and is getting closer to its big matchup with St. Mary’s. Let’s see how each team got it done this week:

Syracuse Orange

Michael Carter-Williams Had the Memorable Highlight from Syracuse's Dominant Win Last Week (AP Photo)

  • Trending UP Because… – They put together perhaps their best performance of the season on Saturday by scoring nearly 100 points on the road at St. John’s in their only game of the week. Center Fab Melo returned from suspension for the game and had a solid individual performance (14 points, two blocks, 5-6 shooting), but it’s the collective play of the team’s defense and transition offense that is more telling of his impact. The Orange (23-1, 10-1 Big East) held its opponent to 38% shooting on two-point attempts, whereas they were allowing an average of 44.4% in three games without him. Melo was on the receiving end of several lobs in transition as the team consistently found easy offense in the 95-70 win. The Cuse look to have their swagger back and will try to keep up this strong form with two home games this week.
  • This Week’s Key CogMichael Carter-Williams. This week was a reminder of how truly deep this team is. Carter-Williams is a McDonald’s All-American freshman averaging just 12 minutes per game this season, and he looked like the best player on the floor during his 17 minutes against St. Johns’s. The frosh had 13 points on 5-6 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, and just one turnover in limited playing time.
  • Play of the Week – This was a no-brainer, as our guy Carter-Williams throws down a vicious dunk in transition that was one of the top plays of the week.
  • Talking PointMelo talked about his return to the team after a three-game suspension: “I had fun. It felt good to be back on the court with my teammates. I felt a little rusty and I wanted to do everything at once but Coach told me to slow down and I did.”
  • Coaching Legend - Jim Boeheim continues his ascent up the coaching wins list. Saturday’s victory was the coach’s 879th career victory, tying him with Dean Smith for third all-time. The only men ahead of him are Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski, with Knight’s 902 victories a very passable number next year.
  • Stats Central – Although Kentucky owns a near unanimous top ranking, the Orange have the far more impressive overall resume. If the season ended today (which, of course, it doesn’t), then Cuse would be the top overall seed of the NCAA Tournament, boasting the #1 RPI ranking and 12 victories over RPI Top 100 teams. Kentucky has seven Top 100 wins, by comparison.
  • What’s Next? – Syracuse has two tough opponents this week, but both games are at home. First comes rival Georgetown on Wednesday (7:00 PM ET, ESPN), followed by struggling Connecticut on Saturday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The Hoyas look like the second best team in the Big East right now, and the Huskies could be playing for their postseason lives come this weekend. It’s never easy against these talented conference rivals.

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

  • Trending EVEN Because… – They did lose last week to a team in the mid-70’s of the RPI, but it was a two-point loss in Laramie against tough conference foe Wyoming. The Rebels had several chances to tie or win the game on their final possession of the game, and we can’t knock the team very much for this tight road game. They also easily disposed of Colorado State earlier in the week at home. UNLV (21-4, 5-2 MW) remains in good shape in the Mountain West and has a huge matchup coming up on Saturday.
Share this story

Tracking The Four: Cuse Get Juiced and Leaves One Unbeaten Team Standing

Posted by EJacoby on January 24th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is an RTC contributor & correspondent. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.

Welcome back to TT4, where the lowest ranked team of the four in this week’s RTC Top 25 also happens to be the only undefeated squad left in the country. Will Murray State lose a game before the Big Dance? They continue to win in impressive fashion and are now getting a key cog back in the lineup for the stretch run. Meanwhile, our two major-conference teams are coming off poor weeks and UNLV keeps quietly handling their business. All four TT4 teams remained ranked in the Top 20 and have important games this week. Let’s look at what’s new:

Murray State Racers

Isaiah Canaan and Murray State Continue Pushing Towards Perfection (AP Photo/S. Dennee)

  • Trending UP Because… – They are the only undefeated team left in the country! After being down at halftime, the Racers climbed back to defeat Morehead State on Wednesday, 66-60, in a huge road win that was their toughest remaining test. Please raise your hand and leave a comment below if you had Murray State as the last team to lose this season. Not only is MSU unbeaten but they are getting their third-leading scorer Ivan Aska back any day now, as the senior forward has been cleared to play by doctors. All things are looking up for the Racers (20-0, 8-0 OVC), and all of their remaining games have suddenly become must-watch, or at least must-follow action as they try to make history.
  • This Week’s Key CogIsaiah Canaan. The star guard was named Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week after going for 20 points in the win at Morehead State and 21 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals in a road win over SIU Edwardsville on Saturday night.
  • Play of the Week – The Racers were down by one against Morehead State until Canaan hit this deep three-pointer with 3:58 left to give Murray State a lead they would not relinquish.
  • Talking Point – The head coach of SIU-E, Lennox Forrester, was thoroughly impressed by the Racers on Saturday, and thinks they may have a special season ahead: “They carry a swagger about them. They’re at least a Sweet Sixteen team and maybe Elite Eight. They could be a so-called Butler.”
  • Coaching Tree of Life - The last time Murray State was ranked before this season (1998), Mark Gottfried was the head coach. The last Racers’ rookie head coach to win 20 games was Mick Cronin in 2003-04, and the in-jeopardy MSU single-season wins record of 31 came under Billy Kennedy’s watch in 2009-10. Gottfried, Cronin, and Kennedy are all major coaches at NC State, Cincinnati, and Texas A&M, respectively, today; perhaps coach Steve Prohm is next in line for a big-time job. Then again, Prohm could also be deserving of a major raise and extension there in Murray.
  • Stats Central – They’ve earned praise for proficient three-point shooting, but an underrated aspect of Murray State’s offensive game is their attacking prowess. The Racers have a season-long free throw rate (which measures FTA/FGA) of 45.1%, which ranks 19th nationally. But they’re even more outstanding in conference play, with a rate of 52.8% that ranks third in the country amongst all teams in their conference games.
  • What’s Next? – The Racers have just one game on tap for this week, at home against Eastern Illinois on Saturday (8:00 PM ET). EIU is 2-4 in OVC conference play and coming off three straight losses.

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

  • Trending EVEN Because… – They took care of business this week by thrashing TCU at home before then opening up a big second-half lead and defeating New Mexico at home as well on Saturday. The Runnin’ Rebels continue to look the part of a consistent, elite team and they’ve even slid into the Top 10 of this week’s RTC Top 25. UNLV (18-3, 2-1 MWC) has only lost on the road to three teams that are either ranked (SDSU) or receiving votes (Wisconsin, Wichita State) this week. They are ranked sixth in the RPI and should get a very strong look at a top three NCAA Tournament seed if they continue to play this well.
Share this story

Tracking The Four: Conference Play Begins

Posted by EJacoby on January 10th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is an RTC columnist and contributor. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.

Welcome to Tracking The Four! This new series reads just like it sounds, as we will be following four buzz-worthy teams across the country. Those lucky teams are Syracuse (current #1 team and a title favorite), Indiana (a feel-good contender), Murray State (undefeated dreams), and UNLV (the best of the West). With TT4, we hope to provide readers with interesting insights about each of the featured teams that helps capture the atmosphere of the programs throughout the rest of the season. Look for a full TT4 piece every Tuesday, as well as a shorter update later in the week. Each post will be loaded with highlights, lowlights, and tidbits about each team, as well as recaps from their recent play and a look ahead at their upcoming games. Conference play is well underway and there’s plenty of news to get to this week:

Kris Joseph & Syracuse are All Smiles Right Now (Getty Images/A. Lyons)

Syracuse Orange

  • Trending UP Because… – They’re looking like national title favorites. The undefeated Orange (17-0, 4-0 Big East) remain number one in every national poll, including the RTC Top 25, with its consistently dominant play. They’ve beaten their four conference opponents by an average of 16.5 points, which includes two road games and two home games against ranked teams (Seton Hall & Marquette). Seton Hall has proven to be a solid and cohesive offensive team, yet the Pirates were blown out of the gym by Syracuse in a 75-49 thrashing. The Orange are the deepest team in the country with 10 meaningful contributors, and their patented 2-3 zone is as strong as ever. Jim Boeheim‘s team is now making bigger headlines on the court than off it (the Bernie Fine sexual harassment allegation was a big story), a refreshing trend for the sake of all its fans.
  • This Week’s Key Cog – Brandon Triche. The junior guard led the team in scoring last week, going for 16 points at Providence on Wednesday and another 16 at home against Marquette on Saturday. He hit four three-pointers in each game with an impressive line of 16/7/4 assts and two steals in the victory over Marquette.
  • Play of the Week – Point guard Scoop Jardine finds his go-to guy Kris Joseph in transition for a thunderous dunk from several feet away from the basket against Providence.
  • Talking Point – Guard Dion Waiters, who comes off the bench, had this to say after the win over Providence: “I’ve never been on a team with subs like this. It’s crazy. We continue to get better and make each other better in practice every day. We’ve got some of the best guards in the country.’’
  • Stats Central – Syracuse leads the nation with 37.5 points per game from its bench, further proving that they’re the deepest team in America. Also, their zone defense has been truly elite this season, as the Orange lead the country in steals (10.9 per game), are third in blocks (7.4 per game), and fifth in forcing turnovers (18.7 per game).
  • What’s Next? – The Orange play at Villanova on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia (7:00 PM ET, ESPN2) against a struggling Wildcats team, but it’s still a rivalry game in which the Villanova crowd should be fired up and looking for the upset. Then, Cuse gets its second matchup with Providence, this time at home on Saturday (6:00 PM ET) as heavy favorites.
Share this story

Morning Five: 10.07.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on October 7th, 2011

One week, people. One week.

  1. So many people are assuming threat postures over this so-called battle of words between John Calipari and Rick Pitino, but to us this is just a symptom that fans of college basketball just want something to talk about. We’ll never fault anyone for that, but it just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot in this. Here’s the deal: speaking in front of the tent village that pops up around Lexngton’s Memorial Coliseum annually as people camp out for Midnight Madness tickets, Calipari told an interviewer that Kentucky basketball was the biggest deal “throughout this whole state,” raising the ire of Louisville fans. Pitino responded with a little bit of name-calling without actually saying Calipari’s name. That’s it. There’s no feud here because what Calipari said is correct. There are thousands of UK fans who live in Louisville. Yes, there are thousands of U of L fans who live in non-Louisville Kentucky, but to us Calipari’s comments were meant to compliment UK fans and were centered on his program, and did not constitute an insult of the Louisville program or its fans.
  2. Grantland.com doesn’t need our help getting attention, but we’ll always link quality college basketball discussion wherever it is, and this qualifies: remember that brawl in the summer that happened when Georgetown took its trip to China and played an exhibition against the Bayi Rockets? No surprise, there’s much more to it than you’d think. The New York Times’ Jim Yardley was in China three years ago doing a story on another Chinese professional team but got the scoop on Bayi. The team is a former military propaganda showpiece and have been given every break by those who run that league, are the most hated squad in the country, but have lost relevance of late. The incident with Georgetown, as Yardley writes, may be the thing that puts the Rockets away for good. His history of that team and the Chinese pro league is a must-read, and provides considerable insight on the fracas with the Hoyas.
  3. With conference realignment buzzing along as it is and people talking about the eventual superconferences at some point seceding from the NCAA, college hoops fans are wondering what effect these changes will have on the holiest of holies, the NCAA Tournament. Inspired by a series of tweets last night from Bylaw Blog and SI.com’s Andy Glockner, Rock Chalk Talk has laid out one fantastic (though obviously remote) possibility: the establishment of a champion based on the UEFA Champions League model. Can you imagine, say, six Selection Sundays as opposed to one? True, the singularity of Selection Sunday is what makes it so special, but in this model each one would mean just as much. And the idea of certain Power Six conference programs getting relegated, you have to admit, is pretty intriguing. Interesting stuff whether you’re a soccer fan or not.
  4. “Ladies and gentlemen…Tone Loc!” Such an introduction would inspire exactly zero excitement in anyone currently enrolled at Syracuse. Frankly, it probably wouldn’t inspire much excitement in anyone who has children enrolled at Syracuse. But that’s who was slated to host the midnight madness festivities at the Carrier Dome. Unfortunately, it’s been a tough month for Tone, who recently pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge. That in mind, the ‘Cuse made went with a change of host, tapping Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill (no, really) as master of ceremonies. As the Syracuse site Troy Nunez Is An Absolute Magician points out, at least Julie Boeheim will still be there. By the way, the last two sentences in the linked article are great.
  5. One of the best (or worst, whatever you prefer) examples of a kid that was hyped to death and just never, ever panned out was Schea Cotton. This is no exaggeration; Cotton had been touted as a basketball messiah from the age of 15, and many pros — meaning no less than Baron Davis, Tyson Chandler, Ron Artest, Paul Pierce — compared both the style and skill level of Cotton’s game to that of LeBron James. And many, including those same pros, can’t explain why he never played a minute in the NBA. Cotton is the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled Manchild, and we cannot wait to see it. If you want to see the reason for the hype (and the opinions of the aforementioned pros), check out the trailer contained in the linked article. Oh. My. Goodness.
Share this story

Morning Five: 01.21.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2011

  1. Syracuse and Villanova are making a habit of this, as the two schools will team up for another blockbuster game on Saturday in the Carrier Dome where more than 34,000 fans will be expected in attendance.  Last year’s game between the two drew 34,616 total fans and SU has put in more seating this year in an effort to break the record for an on-campus game again.  As for the actual game itself, Syracuse’s star forward Kris Joseph practiced on Thursday and is showing signs that he will be ready to play on Saturday.
  2. Speaking of Jay Wright’s team, former everywhere coach Larry Brown made a visit to Villanova’s practice on Thursday to get his “basketball fix” and enjoyed the experience.  The 70-year old former NCAA (Kansas) and NBA (Detroit) champion said that he hopes to coach again, and with his track record he’ll probably get some looks.  We’d like to see him take up residence at some mid-major somewhere in much the same way that Bobby Cremins (Charleston) and Steve Fisher (San Diego State) have done.
  3. USA Basketball selected its coaching staff for next summer’s World University Games (21 years old and under), and the group has a distinctly Indiana feel.  Not necessarily Hoosiers, though, more like Boiler Up…  The Head coach will be Purdue’s Matt Painter, while his assistants will be former Boilermaker and current Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin with Butler’s Brad Stevens thrown in for good measure.  For what it’s worth, the 2009 team coached by Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan finished in third place with a starting lineup of Nic Wise, Trevor Booker, Corey Fisher, James Anderson and Craig Brackins.
  4. Wednesday night a horrid out-of-bounds call by the officials gave Purdue the basketball back against Penn State, ultimately leading to a game-winning jumper by JaJuan Johnson with three seconds left.  As a proximate cause of that incident, the NCAA’s Officials Coordinator on Thursday said that he would consider allowing officials to go to the replay within the last minute on iffy situations such as those.  Generally, we’re anti-replay in non-game-ending cases but possession is incredibly important for obvious reasons exhibited in that game.  It literally changed the outcome of that game.  We think it’s certainly worth a look as an experimental rule next season.
  5. Xavier will honor former Musketeer All-American and NBA star Brian Grant on Saturday at halftime of its game against Temple by retiring his number 33.  Grant was an absolute beast at XU, leading the Muskies in rebounding all four seasons he was there (yes, lottery picks actually stuck around that long back then) before becoming an integral piece on some excellent teams in the NBA at Portland and Miami.  He recently revealed that he has early-onset Parkinson’s Disease (the same disease that Michael J. Fox has) and has used his fame and wealth to bring attention to the illness through his Brian Grant Foundation.  Good work, Xavier.
Share this story

Le Moyne Goes Into Carrier Dome, Gives Orange Le Boot

Posted by jstevrtc on November 3rd, 2009

Little Division II Le Moyne College got invited to the Carrier Dome for an exhibition game against the 25th-ranked Syracuse Orange earlier tonight, and most people probably figured this would be one of those common situations where the allegedly inferior little school walks out at the end of the night with some game experience against some top-quality players, a 50-point loss, and a nice big check.

Guess again…on that second part.

Credit: http://www.lemoynedolphins.com/

Credit: http://www.lemoynedolphins.com/

Despite being down as many as ten points in the second half, Le Moyne came back to stun the Orange this evening, 82-79, in a preseason exhibition.  Le Moyne’s Christopher Johnson drilled a three with 8.3 seconds left to give the Dolphins a 2-point lead, and they tacked on a free throw later.  Syracuse’s Wes Johnson had 34 for the Orange.

So let’s give Le Moyne — and no, it’s not the capital of Iowa — some props:  Le Moyne College is a Jesuit school located in DeWitt, NY, a suburb of Syracuse.  Including both post- and undergraduates, it has about 3500 students.  It is named after Simon Le Moyne, a Canadian priest and missionary from the 1600s.  More information available in the place where I’m not afraid to admit I got the above tidbits — the school’s WikiPedia page.

It is most definitely a great night for the Le Moyne players, one that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.  This is a team that played in front of 5,889 people in their home gym last year…meaning for the whole year. That’s an average of 393 fans every home game.  The attendance for tonight’s exhibition was not listed on either team’s box score, but over 16,000 people attended last year’s game, also in the Carrier Dome.  Have fun with this, fellas.

Now, it’s true that this really doesn’t mean that much in terms of Syracuse’s season, and these things do indeed happen sometimes.  Michigan State’s loss to Grand Valley State to start the 2007-08 season comes to mind, but MSU went on to the Sweet 16 that year and then the national final the next season (last year).  We doubt Jim Boeheim will take it as lightly, though — and we predict that the Orange players will have a nice long date with their running shoes tomorrow.

Share this story

ATB: Syracuse Gets “Jacked” From 60 Feet

Posted by rtmsf on December 16th, 2008

afterbuzzer1

Upset of the Night. Cleveland St. 72, Syracuse 69. Cuse has been playing with fire at the Carrier Dome this season, needing comebacks to win against Richmond, Virginia and Cornell, and it appeared they were on track for another comeback, heading to OT after Arinze Onuaku’s putback of Andy Rautins’ missed three that tied the game with 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation.  Cleveland St.’s Cedric Jackson had other thoughts, as in… one sidestep dribble and a 60-foot heave at the rim that went glass and actually dropped for the three-point win – it was his first three of the night to fall (of five attempts).  CSU has now won their last three trips to the Carrier Dome (notably, their previous two were in the 1986 NCAA Tournament when they upset Indiana and St. Joe’s), and don’t sleep on the Vikings – this is a quality team that could win the Horizon and become a nightmare matchup for some unsuspecting power conference foe in the first round of the NCAAs.  J’Nathan Bullock laid an egg in the first half (zero pts), but stepped up for 18 in the second to lead the Vikings.  Jonny Flynn had 16/4/5 assts, but at least one Cuse blog thinks he sleptwalked through most of the game.

What Else You Weren’t Watching Tonight.

  • Connecticut 91, Stony Brook 57. Stanley Robinson came off the bench for 7/5 in sixteen solid minutes in his first game back after spending the last five months laboring in a sheet metal and recycling company.  If he can give UConn what he gave the Huskies last year (10/7), then they could be phenomenal.
  • Cincinnati 74, Charleston Southern 55. Mike Williams came off the bench to give 10/11 in a comeback win for the Bearcats.
  • Northwestern 77, UMKC 62. The boys from Evanston keep winning games, now 7-1.
  • Ole Miss 85, Alabama St. 81. David Huertas had 25/6/4 assts in the come-from-behind win for the Rebs.
  • Texas A&M 67, Florida A&M 57. Chinemelu Elonu dropped 17/14/6 blks on the Rattlers.
  • USC 91, Pepperdine 77. Taj Gibson dropped a career-high 25/11 as the Trojans shot a scorching 59% from the field.

On Tap Tuesday (all times EST). The SEC/Big East Invitational gets going in Nashville, but not much else.

  • Vanderbilt v. South Florida (ESPN2) – 7pm
  • Texas v. Texas Southern (ESPN FC & 360) – 8pm
  • Tennessee v. Marquette (ESPN) – 9:30pm

 

Share this story

ATB: Wed/Thurs Wrapup

Posted by rtmsf on November 30th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.28-29.07

ACC 8 – Big Ten 3. Wed. night was the second marquee night of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge, and the ACC carried a commanding 5-1 lead into the night’s games. After UNC (v. Ohio St.) and BC (v. Michigan) picked up road wins to go with Maryland’s home victory v. Illinois, the ACC had once again dominated this event (Penn St. and Michigan St. home wins made the final tally 8-3). What accounts for this annual decimation? One reason is that the ACC protects home court much better than the Big 10, going 28-1 in friendly venues during the last six years of this event (B10: 18-13 over the same period). Another reason is that the strength of the bottom of the ACC is consistently better than its Big 10 equivalent – ACC bottom-feeders throughout the series such as Clemson, Florida St. and Virginia have comprised an 18-8 record, while Big 10 equivalents Minnesota, Penn St. and Northwestern were 7-18 over the same timeframe. How thorough is the annual beatdown? Michigan St. is the only B10 school with a winning record in this event (5-3), while only four ACC schools have more losses than wins.

ACC/Big 10 Challenge. #13 Michigan St. 81, NC State 58. This was just a good old-fashioned whipping. Goran Suton scored all sixteen of his points in the first half en route to a dub-dub (16/12), as the Spartans rolled out to an early twenty-point margin and coasted home the rest of the way. MSU”s patented bruising defense held the Wolfpack to 35% shooting, which is showing signs of rising to the level of some of Izzo’s better defensive teams from the early 2000s. Through six games, the Spartans are holding teams to 38% from the field and 31% from three. #3 UNC 66, Ohio St. 55. In a brickfest game (UNC: 38%; OSU: 27%), Ohio St. ran into a looooong drought (missing 17 straight shots) in the second half that gave Carolina the boost they needed (w/o Ty Lawson) to avoid the upset bid. We watched this game in its entirety, and while we’d love to say great defense carried the day here, it just looked like sloppy basketball to us. Wayne Ellington looked great (23/8) for the Heels, but Psycho T struggled against the more athletic Othello Hunter inside (memo to NBA scouts: hustling 6’8 post men with limited range only gets you so far). There was one jawdropping sequence where Hansbrough simply could not get his shot up over Hunter (6 blks), who repeatedly threw it back into his face. By the same token, Kosta Koufos was a veritable no-show (4/3) for the Buckeyes. The other surprise of the night was the inspired play of OSU freshman Jon Diebler, whose four first half threes kept OSU in the game. Boston College 77, Michigan 64. This is a game that the Big 10 really needed to win, and UM couldn’t get it done at home against BC. A tight game opened up with about 8 mins remaining when BC went on a 12-2 run to essentially salt the game away. RTC whipping boy Tyrese Rice blew up for 28/8/5 assts (eff: 30), as Michigan simply had no answer for him. Maryland 69, Illinois 61. In a battle of two teams that will likely be up-and-down and hard-to-figure all year, the Terps were led by Eric Hayes’ career-high 18 pts in the win over the Illini. Penn St. 66, Virginia Tech 61. In a battle of conference bottom-feeders, Penn St. was led by Mike Walker’s 17 off the bench.

Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. #16 Oregon 80, Kansas St. 77. Notwithstanding the Bill Walker watersports moment, this was a really entertaining game. Both teams went back-and-forth throughout the second half, but K-State’s fate ultimately rode on their inability to make a foul shot in the OT. The Wildcats missed three straight front ends as Oregon pulled away in the overtime. The end-of-game sequence was a wild finish, as Oregon’s Maarty Leunen shot three times (and was fouled but not called on at least two of them) from point-blank range, rebounded his own misses, and finally received the foul call on the fourth attempt (6 seconds remaining). After hitting one of two FTs, KSU’s Jacob Pullen dribbled length of the court in four seconds, only to charge into an Oregon player as his made layin was waved off. Oregon then threw it length of the court, but the ball was intercepted by K-State at the opposite foul line. An immediate timeout led to the Bill Walker fiasco and a pretty good look that missed from Michael Beastley (24/12). Oregon’s big four combined for 53 pts, but we were most impressed last night by Joevan Catron (15/8), who took the key charge with two seconds left and showed a lot of heart and hustle for the Ducks last night. #25 USC 66, Oklahoma 55. The other B12/Pac-10 game of the night was at USC, and the Trojans are continuing to show improvement with their young freshmen leading the way. Davon Jefferson had 23/9 and OJ Mayo had 18/5 (but zero assts), but Mayo was the key player (scoring 11 in a row) during a second-half stretch that increased the USC lead from 2 to 12 and effectively put the game away. Where has Taj Gibson (2/3 in only 9 foul-plagued mins) gone?

More Overtime Goodness. #18 Gonzaga 70, St. Joseph’s 65. We wish we could have seen this one, but again, this one was on the U and Comcast hates us. Supposedly St. Joe’s came storming back from a 17-pt first half deficit and led for most of the second half until a late Matt Bouldin three gave Gonzaga the lead again. In the overtime, both teams mostly traded FTs until Gonzaga secured the win late. This was a very good road win in a hostile environment for the Zags. St. Joe’s was led by Pat Calathes with 24/7 in the losing effort. Vanderbilt 91, South Alabama 88. This double-OT jewel of a game wasn’t on tv anywhere we could find, but it appears that Memorial was rocking last night when the Commodores stayed unbeaten at home. Vandy came back from an 8-pt deficit in the mid-second half to take the lead, but a Ronald Douglas tip-in with 0.8 left sent the game to OT. Vandy had a shot to win in the first OT, but good foul shooting in the second OT ultimately put the game away for the Dores. Andrew Ogilvy led VU with 19/8 while Shan Foster contributed 26/4.

Upset Special. Massachusetts 107, Syracuse 100. In a tremendous boost to the credibility of Travis Ford’s rising UMass program, the Minutemen went into the Carrier Dome on Wed. night and beat the Orange in a high-scoring affair that saw the opponent score more points than any other team in the Dome’s history. Gary Forber (23/6/7 assts) hit a key three with just over a minute remaining to give UMass a six-point lead and the Orange were finished. Big numbers from many players on both sides – for UMass, Ricky Harris had 25; for Syracuse, all five starters had double figures, led by Eric Devendorf with 23 and three other players with 20 each (Greene, Flynn, Onuaku).

Other Ranked Teams.

  • #2 UCLA 83, George Washington 60. Collison comes off the bench to give the Bruins 14/5. Love with another dub-dub (12/12).
  • #4 Kansas 87, Florida Atlantic 49. Another KU rout as B-Rush goes for 17 pts off the bench in 19 mins of action.
  • #5 Georgetown 66, Old Dominion 48. Georgetown returns favor from last year, holding ODU to 31% shooting. Gerald Lee (24/12) was the only bright spot for Old Dominion.
  • #8 Texas 98, Texas Southern 61. Texas continues to impress – DJ Augustin led with 20 pts.
  • #9 Texas A&M 76, Alabama 63. Another balanced, efficient performance from the Aggies. Bama is just so limited beyond Hendrix (19/12) and Gee (19/3).
  • #21 Xavier 93, Oakland 68. All five starters hit double figures for the Muskies.

Other Notable Scores.

  • California 74, Nevada 68. Great road win for Cal, as Ryan Anderson went for a career-high 36/13 to counteract Marcellus Kemp’s 26/5/4.
  • Seton Hall 65, Princeton 55. The Hall is off to its best start since The Beard was roaming the sidelines (19 yrs).
  • Kent St. 81, St. Louis 40. Wow – has Majerus ever lost by this much before? Statistical oddity – KSU was 100% from three (3-3), while SLU was 0% (0-11).
  • Wichita St. 62, Appalachian St. 53. App St. continues to struggle with another home loss.
  • Hampton 64, VCU 55. VCU has been extremely disappointing so far as well (Maynor – 22 pts).
  • Charlotte 63, Wake Forest 59. Solid CUSA win over an ACC team.
  • Colorado 60, Air Force 50. Jeff Bzedlik’s return to AFA as an opponent went much better than the game at CU (lost 84-46).
Share this story