Posted by rtmsf on December 23rd, 2010
The Lede. If you’re anything like us, and we suspect that you are, you spent tonight stationed in front of your television (hopefully HD) for anywhere between four to six hours, munching on way too many Christmas cookies, filling your stomach with eggnog or some similar milky concoction, and watching game after game of college hoops. Now Texas, now Michigan State and Illinois! On, Mizzou! On Gonzaga, on Kansas and Cal! To the top of the polls! To the top of the key! Now get out on the break! Fill those lanes! Throw it down, all! It was Holiday Hoops at its best this evening, with several marquee matchups on the tube and nothing else on our agenda other than to nod knowingly when the Significant Other Unit started complaining about finishing the shopping. This guy pretty much nailed it when he said that having the holiday spirit combined with some great hoops on the TV tonight equaled one incomparable thing: bliss.
This is a Snapshot Image of MSU's Evening (DFP/J. Gonzalez)
Your Watercooler Moment. What the Hell is Wrong With Michigan State? Nothing. The Spartans are who they are. They were never the second-best team in America — not this year, not last year, nor the year before. In explaining why there’s nothing wrong with them, we got a little word-happy and decided to turn it into a separate post, which is located here. Just remember that March basketball is a different animal than December basketball and that Izzo knows and understands this, and you’ll be fine.
Tonight’s Quick Hits…
- Whelliston’s Red Line Upset Record. The Mid-Majority’s record of what he calls “red line upsets” was equaled tonight with ten teams from mid-major leagues defeating major-conference teams. The Las Vegas Classic was particularly inspiring for the little guys, as New Mexico dropped Colorado and Northern Iowa got past Indiana. The others: North Texas over LSU, Siena over Georgia Tech, Dayton over Seton Hall, Cleveland State over South Florida, Seattle over Virginia, Furman over South Carolina, Green Bay over Wyoming, Butler over Utah, and Northern Arizona over Air Force (note: Whelliston considers the Mountain West a major conference). And nice representation among the power leagues, with the MWC dropping three games and the ACC, Big East and SEC grabbing two a piece. Shockingly, the Pac-10 had none tonight (and yes, Oregon State played — see below).
- Tristan Thompson. The 6’8 freshman forward was seemingly everywhere for Texas tonight, dropping 17 points and grabbing 15 boards (six offensive) against the typically beefy Michigan State front line. He’s had his ups and downs this season, but tonight was his best performance of the year, and if Rick Barnes can convince this human pogo stick to crash the glass like this on a nightly basis, Texas suddenly becomes a darkhorse Final Four candidate this year.
- Jordanesque. Coming off the bench nursing a sprained ankle to hit several key FTs down the stretch to get a big road win? That’s what Marcus Jordan did tonight at UMass in a tight contest that could have gone either way, the first such exposure for UCF as a nationally-ranked team. We’re not going to oversell this — after all, he only scored seven points in fifteen minutes — but UCF is turning into one of the better stories of this college basketball season, and a large part of it due to Heir Jordan.