Some mid-week news and notes…
- One of the nation’s top prospects, 6’9 Derrick Favors, decided on his hometown school Georgia Tech today. He’ll join a long line of 1-and-dones at Ga Tech under Paul Hewitt. Speaking of recruits, Gary Parrish spoke with Sonny Vaccaro about the Brandon Jennings Experiment, and it appears more players are interested in testing the waters in Europe next season. What’s left unsaid in this article is how BJ’s year in Europe (where he’s not playing all that well) will impact his draft status.
- Kansas guard Mario Little will play out the remainder of the season rather than apply for a medical hardship due to his stress fracture (leg) and hand injuries.
- The MVC and Mountain West will start an ACC/Big 10-style Challenge next season. Great idea. Kyle Whelliston should be happy about this.
- Vegas Watch breaks down his Futures Watch with eight teams in Part 1 and another seven in Part 2.
- Seth Davis breaks down the non-conference strength of schedule RPIs to see who is in good shape and who is in trouble come Selection Sunday.
Tonight’s Big East Blockbuster (there’s seemingly one every night). Georgetown 88, Syracuse 74. Looks like nvr1983 may have been onto something earlier today in his SYT piece previewing this game when he ripped Syracuse’s schedule thus far. The bottom line about this game is this. When Georgetown shoots the ball from deep as well as they were today (12-21 from three), the Hoyas are nearly impossible to beat due to their system. The discipline they show on the offensive end limits their turnovers and their players are drilled to always move the ball to find the open man. The reason Georgetown isn’t the top national title contender, though, is because they don’t usually shoot it that well. They’re currently ranked #205 in 3fg% at 33%, which is below the national average of 34%. Tonight was a bit of an anomaly, but Syracuse looked significantly off its game tonight – the Orange shot the ball ok (48%) and outrebounded the Hoyas by seven (who doesn’t?), but their defense seemed a couple steps slow on their rotations and losing Andy Rautins to injury early in the game seemed to remove most of the wind from their sails (word is that Rautins will be ok). The thing about this conference that Syracuse must remember is that any one game is simply that – one game. Georgetown just finished a five-game stretch where they played four Top 10 teams and came out of it 3-2 – they’ll take that in spades. Cuse, on the other hand, played four bottom-dwellers (starting 4-0), and is about to play Notre Dame, Pitt and Louisville in succession – they’ll be lucky to get a split in this four-game stretch. Everyone in the Big East is going to lose games. The strongest teams in March will have learned from these wars and made the necessary adjustments – that’s what Syracuse needs to take away from tonight’s loss. Oh one final note – that Dajuan Summers and-one was unreal.
Upset of the Night. Colorado St. 71, UNLV 69. Ouch. CSU came into this game 5-11 overall. UNLV had better be careful, as they’ve now lost two in row in the Mountain West to teams they shouldn’t be losing to (TCU was the other). The Rebs had built a solid non-conference resume with wins over Arizona and Louisville, but all of that good will has disappeared with these last two losses.
Other Games Inducing General Malaise.
- Michigan St. 78, Penn St. 73. PSU used a furious second-half comeback to shave 16 pts off of a 17-pt lead and give MSU a huge scare, but the Spartans held on for their tenth in a row. Penn St. is becoming a place nobody in the Big Ten wants to play.
- Duke 70, Georgia Tech 56. Duke only hit 39% from the field but was able to completely shut down Tech’s scorers, holding Gani Lawal, Lewis Clinch and Alade Aminu well below their averages. Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson had 19 each.
- Pittsburgh 75, South Florida 62. The nation’s #1 team started slowly, but they pulled away in the second half – perhaps they were looking ahead to their battle with Louisville on Saturday night. DeJuan Blair singlehandedly outrebounded USF on the offensive end (9-8).
- Davidson 83, Elon 68. Stephen Curry dropped 6 threes en route to a 39-pt night. He must have seen that Jodie Meeks added 2 pts/game to his average in one night and needed to secure his national lead in scoring.
- Florida 68, Auburn 65. We caught a little of this one, and as usual, UF failed to impress.
- LSU 85, South Carolina 68. LSU is now 13-0 at home, 0-3 on the road. Tasmin Mitchell blew up for 30/14 tonight.
- Mississippi 74, Arkansas 65. Speaking of which, Arkansas has beaten Oklahoma and Texas at home, but is 1-2 on the road.
- Creighton 73, S. Illinois 72 (OT). P’Allen Stinnett dropped 29 pts in the late comeback win for Creighton at home, which SIU apparently was trying to give away (and they did).
- Illinois 66, Michigan 51. The Illini held Michigan to 32% shooting, including an ugly 3-14 night from DeShawn Sims.
- Wake Forest 83, Boston College 73. Wake improves to 15-0 behind Jeff Teague’s 29 pts, setting up a huge matchup of unbeatens at Clemson on Saturday. Check RTC’s liveblog of this game here.
- Miami (FL) 62, Maryland 60. Another gutpunch loss for the Terps, who led 52-35 with 12+ minutes to go in the game. Miami, behind five late threes from Jack McClinton and James Dews, roared back to take their first lead with 24 seconds remaining.
- Texas A&M 84, Baylor 73. A&M is quietly putting together an NCAA resume, and by watching the Aggies tonight, they have sufficient talent to get there this year and do some damage. All five starters for Texas A&M reached double figures, and they showed an array of ways to score. Baylor has to improve on the road in the Big 12 to ever make the leap to serious contender (4 wins in the last 33 trips).