Who Else is Rooting for 12-0? The Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series started tonight (ok, officially it started Sunday when Nebraska defeated USC 52-49, but the bulk of games are over the next four days), and given just how horrible the Pac-10 has been so far this year, there is nothing at all surprising about the Big 12 sweeping tonight’s games to go to 4-0 in the Series. Can the Big 12 sweep this entire event? It would be one of the all-time PWNDs if the west coast ballers fail to win a single game, and from our quick analysis, this is a possible, if not plausible, scenario. In looking at the remaining schedule, there are a couple of sure losses (Kansas at UCLA; Oregon at Missouri), one likely loss (Washington State at Kansas State), three more games where (according to Sagarin’s predictor) the Big 12 team will be favored (Arizona at Oklahoma; Oklahoma State at Stanford; Colorado at Oregon State), and two other games where — admit it — you wouldn’t be shocked if the Big 12 team pulled out two road wins (Iowa State at California; Texas A&M at Washington). Our curiosity got the better of us thinking about this (see below), and using the Sagarin spreads (which we realize are not fully interrelated yet, but should still give a decent ballpark estimate), we determined that there’s a <1% chance of the Big 12 sweeping the remaining games. It’s the Iowa State and Texas A&M road games that really hurt, but honestly, we don’t have a lot of faith in any Pac-10 school at this point. Anyway, that’s the math, but our general sense is that the odds of a sweep are in reality a little greater than that.
Make Mine a Double (RTC). Texas Tech 99, #10 Washington 92. There weren’t many games tonight, but the matchup between Texas Tech and Washington in Lubbock tonight was a classic. The game was so nice, the students rushed it twice. Or something like that. After TTU’s Mike Singletary rebounded Elston Turner’s second straight miss at the foul line with five seconds remaining, he dribbled it upcourt and appeared to beat the horn with a running three-pointer (see the 1:50 mark in the below video). The students rushed the court and started celebrating only to be told by the refs that the shot would not count and we were heading to overtime. After a bizarre interlude waiting for the robotic vacuum to clean off the floor, the players reconvened for the extra period where Texas Tech used a late 6-0 run to pull away and finish off the previously unbeaten Huskies (the last team in the Pac-10 to lose a game), after which the students RTC’d again (good for them). John Roberson had 25/7 and Mike Singletary had 16/12/4 assts in the winning effort, while Quincy Pondexter dropped 31/5/3 stls for UW. Quick question — has anyone seen Abdul Gaddy this year? The freshman phenom had a ridiculously bad 0-point, foul-plagued 10-minute performance tonight, which dovetails nicely with his season averages of 5/3 on 28% shooting (10% from three). Ouch. Washington will not reach its goals this season without more production from this talented guard. As for Texas Tech, the Red Raiders are now 8-0, but tonight was by far their best win of the season. Still, the defense has been solid, and if they can get through several difficult road games coming up (@ TCU, @ Wichita State, @ New Mexico), then they could be well positioned from an NCAA bid standpoint heading into the Big 12 season.
Other Big 12/Pac-10 Games.
- #2 Texas 69, USC 50. Texas’ defense continue to impress, as the nation’s #1 stoppers (according to Pomeroy) held an obviously outmatched Trojan team to 30% from the floor and 10% from behind the line. Damion James had 19/9 and Dexter Pittman dominated the interior for 13/5/7 blks, including a complete emasculation of USC’s Alex Stepheson (0-8 FG). UT’s freshman corps didn’t even play well (6-23 FG), but they really weren’t needed tonight, which goes to show just how deep and talented this Longhorn team is.
- Baylor 64, Arizona State 61. Baylor’s Tweety Carter remains scorching hot from outside, as he nailed 7-9 threes tonight for 27/4/3 assts in an evenly-matched game between two middling major conference teams. This gives Carter thirteen treys in his last two games, as he hit six against Xavier the last time out. ASU led for much of the second half before a 4-minute drought at the 9-minute mark allowed Carter to do his thing, giving the Bears a lead that they would hold onto through the remainder of the game. Baylor leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn had only 7 pts on a poor 3-10 shooting night.
Was This Really Necessary? Marshall 119, Salem International 35. We know that it’s not Marshall’s fault that Salem Intl. is going through an especially tough season in terms of breaking in a new coach, suspended players and so on… but did Marshall really need to embarrass them by 84 points tonight? Even though the Marshall starters barely played, it may have been a good idea to run the clock on possessions after the lead blew up to, oh, say 70 or so. Can anyone defend this score? Why is a CUSA team playing a D2 team anyway? Color us unimpressed. If there’s any justice in this world, maybe UNC will beat the Thundering Herd by 60 when they visit Chapel Hill in three weeks.
Other Games of National Interest. After about 100 last night, we had one tonight.
- Seton Hall 89, Hartford 56. The Hall has been very quiet in the first month of the season, in part due to their weak schedule, but the Pirates stayed undefeated behind Robert Mitchell’s 15/9 and Jeremey Hazell’s 15/2.