NCAA Preview: Utah Utes

Posted by jstevrtc on March 18th, 2009

Utah (#5, Midwest, Miami pod)

vs Arizona (#12)
Fri., 3/20 at 7:10 pm
Vegas line:  -1

utahgraf

Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv).  If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.

General Profile
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Conference: Mountain West, automatic.
Coach: Jim Boylen, hired 2007.  Record at UU = 42-24
08-09 Record: 24-9 (12-4)
Last 12 Games: 10-2, won 4.
Best Win: vs Gonzaga, 66-65, on 12/31/08.
Worst Loss: Southwest Baptist (Div. 2), 79-80, on 11/15/08.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 110.5 (50th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 90.7 (21st)

Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Luke Nevill (16.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.7 bpg)
Unsung Hero: Luka Drca – 7.8 ppg and he leads team in assists (3.5 apg).
Potential NBA Draft Pick: Luke Nevill is currently listed at 60th (final pick of 2nd round) on mock draft at nbadraft.net.
Key Injuries: No significant injuries.
Depth: 21.8% (325th nationally); percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Aggression on defense.  UU forces opponents to only 10.4 turnovers/game, which is 338th of 341 D1 teams nationally.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: They shoot like they have been and they get to the line.  The Utes led the MWC in every shooting category, including a 78.2 FT%, which ranks third in the nation.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Nevill is left to do all of the work.  The supporting cast has to make its presence felt and make Arizona guard five people instead of one.

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 2005; lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
Streak: One year.
Best NCAA Finish: National Champion in 1944.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): +0.26

Other
Distance to First Round Site: 2539 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Playing host to many events in the 2002 Winter Olympics; renowned for contributions to the field of genetics/genealogy.
School Wishes It Could Forget: The University of Kentucky, to whom the Utes have lost a total of SIX TIMES in the NCAA Tournament, including the 1998 title game AND the preceding two tournaments in the Elite 8 and Sweet 16, respectively.  Also, two physicists there said they had achieved cold fusion back in 1989, but were quickly discredited.
Prediction: People will be salivating to pick Arizona as a 12 upsetting a 5 largely because they haven’t heard much about Utah this year.  But the Utes look like they’re peaking at the right time and should prevail at least in the first round in a great matchup.  If they continue to shoot well, the sky’s the limit after that.

Preview written by Rush The Court.

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Midwest Region Game-By-Game Previews – 1st Round

Posted by zhayes9 on March 18th, 2009

MIDWEST REGION PREVIEW (by Zach Hayes)

#1 Louisville vs. #16 Morehead State

For Louisville to win: It’s pretty simple for Louisville in this 1-16 matchup: do exactly what has gotten you to the point of receiving the #1 overall seed in the tournament. They shouldn’t have much problem playing their usual lockdown defense, employing their frantic press and letting the pure athletic ability of guys like Earl Clark and Terrence Williams completely overwhelm the star-struck Eagles.

For Morehead State to win: The triumphant winners of the inaugural Play-In game, Morehead State will need a God-delivered miracle to prevail over Louisville. They hope their stud big man Kenneth Faried (13.9 PPG, 13.1 RPG) can push around Clark, Williams and Samardo Samuels enough inside where it becomes a guard-oriented shooting contest. Hope that Edgar Sosa, Preston Knowles, Andre McGee and Co. reverts back to their November shooting woes and pull off the monumental upset.

#8 Ohio State vs. #9 Siena

For Ohio State to win: The Buckeyes will need to play steady, Big Ten-like team defense on Siena’s trio of scorers and run a bunch of isolation plays down the stretch for their superstar Evan Turner (17.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG). At times Turner can penetrate and score at will; Siena simply does not have that type of talent on their roster. They also need to utilize B.J. Mullens inside due to Siena’s lack of height.

For Siena to win: The Saints have been led all season by their own Big Three- Kenny Hansbrouck, Edwin Ubiles and Alex Franklin. Receive balanced scoring out of those three like they’ve perfected all season (all average between 14.8 and 13.6 PPG) and they could surely take down the Buckeyes. The Saints will also be shorthanded inside trying to box out bodies like Dallas Lauderdale and B.J. Mullens. They’ll need Ryan Rossiter and Franklin to pound the boards constantly.

#5 Utah vs. #12 Arizona

For Utah to win: Luke Nevill outplaying Jordan Hill would be nice. Seriously, this is one of the best first-round matchups in the entire tournament. If Nevill can get Hill into foul trouble, the entire complexity of this game changes. Nic Wise and Chase Budinger love shooting it from the outside and the Utes wouldn’t mind getting into a three-point contest with Shaun Green and Lawrence Borha both over 40% from downtown.

For Arizona to win: Even though Arizona is the 12-seed, not many would refute that the Wildcats have the superior talent in this game. They can escape all of the regular season’s distractions now and out-talent the Utes. Nic Wise needs to have a quality outing for Arizona to win; when he’s hitting threes and running the offense with ease, Budinger gets open shots, Hill gets touches inside and Arizona can beat anyone.

#4 Wake Forest vs. #13 Cleveland State

For Wake Forest to win: The Demon Deacons need to avoid underestimating a clearly inferior opponent. As with losses to Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia Tech, the young Deacons have played down to their competition. The Vikings went into the Carrier Dome and won this season when Syracuse did the same thing. Hopefully Jeff Teague and James Johnson come out right away with a fire in their collective bellies.

For Cleveland State to win: One thing Wake Forest does not do well at all is make threes. Their entire offensive game is generated by penetration and mid-range jump shooting. Coach Gary Waters should pop in the game film from Wake’s latest loss to Maryland and examine how the Terps chopped up the inconsistent Deacon defense. Cedric Jackson is the perfect point guard to lead the way.

#6 West Virginia vs. #11 Dayton

For West Virginia to win: The Mountaineers simply need to play like they did last weekend in the Big East tournament. Set screens to free deadeye shooter Alex Ruoff, let DaSean Butler work his multi-faceted offensive game, continue to witness Devin Ebanks mature into an elite scorer and rebounder and hope Darryl Bryant keeps distributing like a senior.

For Dayton to win: It’s going to be awfully difficult as West Virginia seems to be picking up steam lately and you know Bob Huggins will have them prepared and intense. Not only will stars Chris Wright and Marcus Johnson need to play outstanding games, but their deep bench must contribute offensively. It’s all about keeping West Virginia off the boards and hoping Ruoff has a bad day from the outside. If that happens, the Mountaineers can look very confused offensively.

#3 Kansas vs. #14 North Dakota State

For Kansas to win: Ben Woodside is not only the Bison’ top scorer, he’s the engine behind their incredibly efficient and unselfish offensive game plan. He’s quite a task for Sherron Collins in the first game of the tournament. If Collins can shut down Woodside on the defensive end, North Dakota State should have trouble scoring with the Morris twins, Cole Aldrich and others blocking shots inside. This young Jayhawk team will live and die with the play of their junior leader Collins.

For North Dakota State to win: They need to play some semblance of tough defense. We all know the Bison can score points in bunches and have some prolific offensive options, but the only way the Bison will be fitted for Cinderella’s slipper is if they can contain slashers Collins and Tyshawn Taylor and bang bodies with the Morris twins and Aldrich. If they fall behind early, it is imperative they stick with their offense that’s gotten them this far instead of panicking.

#7 Boston College vs. #10 Southern California

For Boston College to win: The Eagles can sometimes look really crappy on defense. The Trojans have so many weapons, BC needs to play inspired defense to win this game. The most arduous task will be to contain Taj Gibson inside with Joe Trapani and Josh Southern. Gibson has an NBA-body and tremendous scoring potential. Trapani and Southern must play defense inside similar to their effort in Chapel Hill when they knocked off the Tar Heels.

For Southern California to win: Stud freshman DeMar DeRozan played like a possessed man during the Pac-10 tournament and USC finally came together to play up to their potential. If DeRozan outplays Rakim Sanders and explodes to the rim with ease, the entire USC offense improves drastically. Defending Tyrese Rice will also clearly be imperative. Should Daniel Hackett hold Rice, the Trojans will win.

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Robert Morris

For Michigan State to win: The Spartans clearly have enough talent to win this 2-15 game easily. If only a couple of their many weapons are flowing offensively, they should be fine. Izzo’s boys are also in the top ten in defense and rebounding. Overwhelm the Colonials with the talent of Lucas, Morgan, Suton, Summers and they’ll prevail by 20+.

For Robert Morris to win: For the Colonials to pull another Duke-Belmont 2-15 scare, they’ll need to play their usually efficient offensive game. Their entire team shoots 48% from the floor and Jeremy Chappell is especially remarkable- 16.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 47% FG, 85% FT, 41% 3PT, 2.5 SPG as one of the most unheralded all-around players in the nation. If Chappell has a monster performance and Michigan State can’t get into any flow offensively, the Colonials have a shot.

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27 Down, 38 To Go…

Posted by rtmsf on March 14th, 2009

There are twelve automatic bids today, so we’ll be updating these as the day moves forward…

#16 – Binghamton (23-8, 16-3 Am East).  Binghamton took care of business today against upstart UMBC to win their eleventh in a row and earn the school’s first ever NCAA bid.  Reggie Fuller had 19/10 and alleged non-POY DJ Rivera added 16/5 in the RTC home win.  We had more coverage on today’s BGTD.

Projected Seed: #16

Something to Remember: Binghamton is um, size-challenged.  Their tallest starter is the 6’6 Fuller.  And have you heard that Tony Kornheiser has an affinity for this school for some reason?  Yeah, we hadn’t either.

tony-kornheiser-2

#17 – Memphis (31-3, 19-0 CUSA). 25 straight wins in a row.  61 CUSA wins in row.  Memphis just keeps on truckin’, with another stellar defensive performance in holding Tulsa to 26% from the field and 2-14 from three.  This was also the 135th win for the Tiger senior class, who is focused on getting to #141, according to Coach Calipari.  Robert Dozier had 18/14 and Tyreke Evans had 18/5/6 in the same-old, same-old for Memphis.

Projected Seed: #2

STR:  We’re going to be a little contrarian here, but we’re not buying that Memphis is a national title contender this year.  Are they better than anticipated?  Absolutely.  Are they on the same level as UConn, Pitt, Louisville, UNC, etc.?  No freakin’ way.  Their defense is outstanding, statistically the very best in the land.  And CUSA is a better league than people tend to think it is.  But the fact of the matter here is that Memphis is playing with house money right now.  They were beaten by Georgetown, Xavier and Syracuse in the pre-conference slate.  Tennessee took them down to the last possession.  They rolled up Gonzaga in their building, but the Zags wilted in the face of their athletic defenders.  Memphis is a very good team – but they’re not going back to the F4.  Remember that you heard it here first.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.14.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 14th, 2009

dynamiteWelcome back to the weekend edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite. First off I’d like to commend rtmsf for his strong work on yesterday’s BGtD. You guys really have no idea how exhausting it is doing a full day’s worth of this is and he managed to do it with only a short break although it almost caused me to give up working on the site after being forced to endure the American-Holy Cross game yesterday. As he outlined in his After the Buzzer post last night/this morning, there are 12 conference championship games today. For the sake of maintaining our sanity and having enough energy in the tank for our huge March Madness preview, we’ll be taking multiple shifts but we promise to coordinate it so you won’t miss anything during our handoffs.

6:00 AM: Yes. That’s actually the time I’m starting this thanks to a “short nap” that ended up going from 9 PM to 5 AM. Obviously my posts will be infrequent in the early morning hours, but I’ll be passing along some news and links to you before the games start at 11 AM. The New York Times has been stepping it up with their college sports blog “The Quad” recently and has an interesting post on Louisville‘s Terrence Williams and his pre-game ritual of the giving himself a pep talk during the national anthem. Before anybody thinks this might be a Chris Jackson Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf situation, it should be noted that Williams actually stands during the anthem and is supposedly talking about family members that he has lost and asking that everyone on the court avoids injuries. Of course, we can’t verify this, but if we have any lip-readers in our vast legion of RTC readers, we would love hear your take on this particularly if you have seen this is in person.

7:00 AM: Before I head out for a few minutes to take care of some errands like stocking up on groceries for the coming storm where I probably won’t leave my apartment for 3 weeks. I thought I would pass along one of my favorite things we are doing at RTC right now. We enlisted the help of our correspondents and got them to send us their favorite March memories. We narrowed down the submissions to the 16 best entries and are counting down to #1, which will be revealed on Wednesday (the day before the tournament starts). I’d encourage you to check out the entries we have so far and keep on coming back throughout the day to see what they selected as their favorite March memories and then chime in with your memories on those moments.

8:45 AM: Ok. False alarm on that grocery run. Apparently Costco doesn’t open until 9:30 so after this post I’ll be on a short break. So today’s RTC East breakfast is brought to you by Flour Bakery and consists of their Bobby Flay-slaying “Sticky Buns” and a twice-baked brioche. Here’s a quick run-down of the games (title game in red–there’s a lot of red) that I will be focusing on today:

Early Games

  • UMBC vs. Binghamton at 11 AM on ESPN2 for the America East title
  • Memphis vs. #3 Tulsa at 11:35 AM on CBS for the Conference USA title

Afternoon Games

  • Mississippi State vs. #16 LSU at 1 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
  • #6 Michigan State vs. Ohio State at 1:30 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals
  • #1 UNC vs. #22 FSU at 1:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
  • Tennessee vs. Auburn at 3 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
  • Maryland vs. #8 Duke at 3:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
  • #25 Illinois vs. #24 Purdue at 4 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals

Evening Games

  • #23 Arizona State vs. USC at 6 PM on CBS for the Pac-10 title
  • Baylor vs. #15 Missouri at 6 PM on ESPN for the Big 12 title
  • Temple vs. Duquesne at 6 PM on ESPN2 for the Atlantic 10 title

Late Night Games

  • San Diego State vs. Utah at 7 PM on Versus for the Moutain West title
  • Morgan State vs. Norfolk State at 7 PM on ESPNU for the MEAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
  • Buffalo vs. Akron at 8 PM on ESPN2 for the MAC title
  • #5 Louisville vs. #20 Syracuse at 9 PM on ESPN for the Big East title
  • Jackson State vs. Alabama State at 9 PM on ESPNU for the SWAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
  • Utah State vs. Nevada at 10 PM on ESPN2 for the WAC title
  • Cal State-Northridge vs. Pacific at 11:59 PM on ESPN2 for the Big West title (This one is questionable)

10:55 AM: Ok. I’m back from my extended Costco run and have enough food to last me through the week. A quick summary on the early games. In the America East, Binghamton is a 5-6 point favorite (depending on your gambling establishment of choice). Honestly, I’m surprised that they aren’t bigger favorites since they come in at 22-8 while UMBC comes in 15-16 and the game is at Binghamton. It could be interesting though as they split the season series in the regular season with Binghamton winning the last game of the regular season at home against UMBC 71-51. I’m guessing the America East commissioner is rooting for UMBC to avoid the embarrassment of the CBS announcers having to explain why the conference’s regular season leading scorer (D.J Rivera) was left off the all-conference team. In Conference USA, Memphis is a 14-point favorite against Tulsa. Memphis might be playing for a #1 seed even with their ridiculously easy schedule. We’re hoping this game is more like the first time they met (a 55-54 Memphis win) rather the last time they met (a 63-37 Memphis win). I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be more like the latter, but we’ll be following it anyways to get a last look at Memphis before CBS’s new Billy Packer rips the NCAA selection committee for putting them over a Big East team.

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Checking in on the… Mountain West

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2008

Jordan Freemyer is the RTC correspondent for the Big Sky and Mountain West Conferences.

It has been an eventful and mostly successful week for teams in the Mountain West this week. Here’s a look at the three Mountain West teams that are still undefeated, along with a couple other contenders that have stumbled once so far.

BYU has gotten off to a 5-0 start so far, and only one opponent, Long Beach State, has really been able to keep the game close. None of the Cougars’ opponents are marquee names, but BYU is blowing out inferior teams as they should. Senior guard Lee Cummard leads the Cougars with 19.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game thus far, and junior forward Jonathan Tavernari has added 15.8 points and 7.4 boards per game.

This week’s schedule:

  • Saturday at Idaho State
  • Wednesday at Weber State

UNLV has also started 5-0. The Runnin’ Rebels are coming off an 80-67 victory at UTEP on Tuesday night. The other four wins for UNLV have come at home, with the toughest game coming against San Diego. Senior guard Wink Adams has carried the Runnin’ Rebels, averaging 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

This week’s schedule:

  • Friday vs California
  • Wednesday at Fresno State

The surprise undefeated in the Mountain West is Wyoming. The Cowboys are 3-0 on the season, taking advantage of five straight home games to start the season. Freshman forward Afam Muojeke has averaged 24 points in his first three college games and last year’s leading scorer, senior guard Brandon Ewing, is averaging 7 assists per game.

This week’s schedule:

  • Tonight vs Texas State
  • Saturday vs Denver
  • Wednesday at Boise State

Utah suffered a shocking opening night loss to Division II Southwest Baptist, but the Utes have bounced back to win their next three games, including an 82-73 victory at Ole Miss. Senior center Luke Nevill has averaged a double-double, with 18.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

This week’s schedule:

  • Friday at Missouri State
  • Wednesday vs Oregon

The lone loss for San Diego State was less shocking, a 59-52 setback at Arizona State. The Aztecs are 2-1 with blowout wins over UC San Diego and Fresno State. Senior forward Kyle Spain has led San Diego State with 17.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

This week’s schedule:

  • Thursday vs Western Carolina
  • Wednesday at Northern Colorado
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2008-09 Conference Primers: #9 – Mountain West

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2008

Jordan Freemeyer is the RTC correspondent for the Mountain West and Big Sky Conferences.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. BYU  (21-8, 13-3)
  2. UNLV  (20-9, 12-4)
  3. Utah  (18-11, 10-6)
  4. San Diego State  (18-11, 9-7)
  5. New Mexico  (16-13, 8-8)
  6. Air Force  (14-15, 7-9)
  7. Wyoming  (12-17, 6-10)
  8. Colorado State  (10-19, 5-11)
  9. TCU  (6-23, 2-14)

WYN2K.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Mountain West, which has been very successful in basketball. The conference stretches from San Diego to Dallas and as far north as Wyoming. The Mountain West has sent a team to the Sweet Sixteen in two of the last four years (Utah – 2005; UNLV – 2007).  Correspondingy, as programs, UNLV and Utah have had the most success of teams in the Mountain West. UNLV won the 1990 National Championship with coach Jerry Tarkanian and Rick Majerus took Utah to the championship game in 1998.  While often overlooked nationally, the MWC is rich in basketball history.

Predicted Champion.   BYU (NCAA #8). The Cougars won the Mountain West last season, going 14-2 in conference play, and return co-Mountain West Player of the Year Lee Cummard to their backcourt. Cummard led BYU with 15.8 points per game last year and also grabbed 6.3 rebounds on average. The Cougars return eight letterwinners from last year’s team and went 16-0 at home last season.  Here’s a Lee Cummard highlight.

Others Considered/Bubble Teams.  The only other team from the Mountain West to make the NCAA Tournament last year was UNLV (NCAA #11). The Runnin’ Rebels return their top two scorers from last season in guard Wink Adams and forward Joe Darger. The biggest obstacle in UNLV’s road to the conference championship is the team’s ten newcomers. Utah (NIT) had a disappointing season last year, going just 7-9 in conference play, but the Utes return all five starters including senior center Luke Nevill, who led the team last season with 15.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. San Diego State (NIT) could also contend for an NCAA bid.  Here’s an amusing video of Wink Adams highlights vs. BYU put together by, quite clearly, a UNLV fan.

Important Games.

  • Utah @ San Diego State (01.10.09)
  • UNLV @ BYU (01.21.09)
  • BYU @ Utah (01.27.09)
  • UNLV @ Utah (02.25.09)
  • Mountain West Championship Game (03.14.09)

RPI Boosters.

  • San Diego State @ Arizona (12.10.08)
  • San Diego State v. St. Mary’s  (12.13.08) (Wooden Classic)
  • BYU @ Arizona State (12.20.08)
  • Gonzaga @ Utah (12.31.08)
  • UNLV @ Louisville (12.31.08)
  • Wake Forest @ BYU (01.03.09)

Neat-O Stat.  In nine years of Mountain West Conference play, 29 teams have had 20-win seasons going into Selection Sunday. All 29 of those teams were selected for the NCAA Tournament, including BYU and UNLV last year. Considering that a 25-win Utah State team from the WAC missed the tournament in 2007, that says a lot about the tournament committee’s respect for the strength of the Mountain West.

65 Team Era.  In the nine seasons of the Mountain West, the league has only had a single one-bid year (2001 – BYU).  In six years the MWC was a two-bid league (incl. the last four) and in 2002 and 2003, the league put three teams into the Big Dance.   An 8-20 (.289) record is a little lower than one might hope given an average seed of #10.4 for the era, but there have been two trips to the Sweet Sixteen, and every BCS team dreads a first-round matchup with a disciplined MWC squad because they know that they’ll be in for a brawl.  Since 2004, MWC first-round losses have been by an average of only 6.6 points. 

Final Thoughts.   NCAA Tournament office pools are won by people that picked Mountain West upsets seemingly every year, so keeping an eye on this conference is a good idea if you want to win your office pool come March. The conference is also very easy to follow because it has its own TV network, The Mtn., which shows nearly every conference game. There are some very good coaches and talented players in the MWC, so it is an entertaining conference to watch.

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ATB: David… so… close.

Posted by rtmsf on November 15th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.14.07

Story of the Night. Gotta be #20 Davidson giving #2 UNC all it could handle in a “neutral” (if neutral means a light blue haze falling over the proceedings) environment in Charlotte. When we did our SoCon preview, we mentioned that Davidson could position itself for an at-large NCAA bid with solid performances against the ACC troika of UNC, Duke and NC State + UCLA in its non-conference schedule. Consider tonight’s game Exh. A to the selection committee. It’s much easier said than done, but Davidson fans should try to keep their minds on the long-term benefits of playing well in a nationally-televised game v. UNC instead of bemoaning the loss of the game down the stretch. Now, about the game itself. Clearly Davidson had no answer for Psycho-T, that is, whenever Carolina decided to get him the ball (14/14 on only 3-6 shooting), but we find it downright criminal that the beef of UNC’s frontcourt (Hansbrough and Deon Thompson) only had eleven shots combined the entire game. We know Roy wants to run as much as possible, but he’s got to get his guards to understand where their strength really is – and it’s not with Danny Green chucking seven threes while the big guys set screens for him. As for Davidson, they played hard and put themselves in good position to win the game. Stephen Curry was really off on his outside game (2-12 from three), but what was really noticeable was just how easily he got to the rim on several occasions. The crossover in the open court on Quentin Thomas was particularly disgusting. Honestly, we didn’t know he had that, and color us impressed. So what does this game say about both teams? For Carolina, it showed a couple of things: 1) Wayne Ellington is ready for prime time this year (20 pts); and 2) at least right now, they miss the length and defense of Brandan Wright and Reyshawn Terry. For Davidson, they shot 39% and 18% from three, and yet they were within reach with a minute to go – that should be an encouraging sign for their other big games coming up. At least one DU blogger seems to have the proper perspective (UNC 72, Davidson 68).

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Things We Saw. We also caught quite a bit of a pretty good Pac-10/Mtn. West matchup between Utah and Washington. The problem was that we spent most of the first half trying to figure out how every Utah player could coincidentally also have the last name “Utah.” We know Utahns have a tendency toward big families, but it still seemed a little much. We finally realized that some Nobel laureate adidas has decided to put the name of the team on both the front and the back of the jerseys. We’re not even sure how to respond to this other than to say this could be the most disturbing uniform trend since the late 80s NC State unitards. We were so confused by the uniform issue that we lost track of the game for a while, but when we got our head straight, we noticed that Utah appears to be on its way back to respectability. Center Luke Nevill provided 14/10/3 blks and two ridiculous fouls after a made basket that ended up fouling him out, but he could not match up with UW’s beast Jon Brockman (several inches shorter), who blew up for 31/18 and used his quick feet to do as he pleased inside. Still, new Utah head man Jim Boylen should be pleased that his Utes fought hard and showed promise, shooting 55% on the road in an arena where the home team simply does not lose non-conference games (29 in a row now) (Washington 83, Utah 77).

Big 12 Woes. Called it. Sam Houston St. at home defeated Knight and Texas Tech tonight by keeping Martin Zeno in check and killing TTU on the boards (42-29). We’re sure that Knight ripped some waitress/intern/ballboy staffer a new one after the game for some indiscretion or another – why won’t this guy just go away? His act was tired ten years ago, and he’s just not a very good coach anymore (Sam Houston St. 56, Texas Tech 54). Another Big 12 team went on the road in Texas and also came out of the evening with an L – Oklahoma St. Sean Sutton’s team allowed big nights from North Texas’ Keith Wooden and Josh White (combined for 50/14) while getting good production from only one of its own players, Marcus Dove (23/7). Could another .500 year be in store for the Pokes (North Texas 82, Oklahoma St. 73).

Ranked Teams.
#7 Tennessee 101, Ark-Monticello 44. We know it’s a D2 team, but whatsup with Lofton? 3-15 in two games.
#13 Michigan St. 83, UL-Monroe 65. Raymar Morgan is averaging 19/15 in two games this year.

#18 Texas A&M 81, UTEP 76. TAMU will meet Washington in the NIT semis.

On Tap Tonight (all times EST). Only 32 games, but a couple of good ones on the tube.

  • Houston (pick) v. VCU (ESPNU) 9am – PR Shootout features Eric Maynor.
  • Marist v. Miami (FL) (-7) (ESPNU) 11:30am – more PR shootout.
  • Temple v. Providence (-6) (ESPNU) 2pm – and still more (why do we feel like Borat in the cheese aisle?).
  • Arkansas (-15) v. Charleston (ESPNU) 5pm – we’d like to see how John Pelphrey handles this team.
  • Connecticut (-13.5) v. Gardner-Webb (ESPN2) 7pm – the GW story ends here.
  • Hampton (NL) v. Kent St. 7pm – fantastic mid-major matchup – give us Kent at home.
  • Georgetown (-15) v. Michigan (ESPN 360) 7:30pm - how is Beilein’s offense coming along?
  • Kansas (NL) v. Washburn (ESPN FC) 8pm – it’s on tv, so we put it on the list.
  • Mississippi St. (-4.5) v. Clemson (ESPN FC) 8pm – best game of the night potentially – we think one of these two is a fraud, but we’re not sure who yet.
  • Northwestern v. Stanford (-9.5) (ESPN FC) 9pm – the last 2 yrs, Stanford laid an egg in an early road game – this year?
  • Memphis (-8.5) v. Oklahoma (ESPN2) 9pm – early test for Calipari’s Tigers.

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