A Dentist’s Dream in Pittsburgh: As we were watching the early portion of this game we were hoping the Consol Energy Center had at least installed a blood bank somewhere in the wings. This was one heck of a physical battle from the opening tip, but we have to give respect to players from both sides, here. Already this year, we’ve seen a few physical games in which, as often happens, emotions got stirred up and something like a mini-scrap or at least a big verbal exchange happens. Not so, in this game. Both teams took what the refs gave them and it never got out of hand. No elbows, no punches, no shouting matches, nothing. There was one intentional foul in the first half (correctly called) and a tiny exchange of words in the second half, but nothing ever escalated.
Smacked Panthers: Please call the UT basketball offices if you find Scotty Hopson’s mind. Because he lost it agaisnt the Panthers. Everything the guy did (27 points on 10-13 shooting, including 3-3 from three point range) was gorgeous on Saturday. Powerful dunks, aggressive drives and finishes, silky outside jumpers from range…he found a groove that Miles Davis would have been proud of. Just as amazing was that, in the face of such a performance, Pitt showed little fightback and little interest until about 37 minutes had passed, as if the Panthers were just devastated by the Dave Wannstedt resignation.
Badgers Value the Rock: We wonder what Bo Ryan talked to his team about at halftime? First half…three offensive rebounds; second half…TWELVE?!? That’s an unreal glass-crashing effort on their own end. And efficiency, thy name is still Bo Ryan. Wisconsin’s first turnover of the second half didn’t happen until there was only 3:39 left!
Hard on the Huskies? There’s been a lot less talk about Washington over the last couple of weeks, mostly because they lost two games in Maui. They were to Kentucky and Michigan State…not exactly a couple of bran muffins. Right now they’re in a battle at Texas A&M, an incredibly tough place to be a visiting team. If they can pull this one out against the Aggies, look for the chatter to rev up for the Huskies again, and deservedly so.
Hoosiers Rising: The improvement in Indiana is obvious. They’re only down one at the half at Kentucky, though the Wildcats aren’t exactly helping themselves in the shot-selection department (1-7 from three). Indiana fans have been very patient, and the rewards are coming, we promise. What really irks us is that we heard that Scott Van Pelt was at Rupp Arena tonight. We were in Lexington last weekend and in Louisville on Wednesday, and we’ve been hoping to run into that guy on our travels at some point.
Primary Color Commentary: Dan Dakich’s breakdown of late-game strategy in the Wisconsin vs Marquette game was further evidence of why he’s a fantastic color guy, as everyone now knows. And we couldn’t agree more with Jay Bilas‘ mention, when speaking about Scotty Hopson, of how it’s actually OK to give a hot-shot high school recruit a few years to mature and develop his game at the college level.