ATB: Flowers Blooming in Austin

Posted by rtmsf on December 29th, 2007

ATB v.4

12.29.07

Recap. ESPN2 stepped it up today with its sextuple-header from Noon to Midnight. And heck, at least half of those games were worth watching. Ok, maybe four of the six.

Games We Watched. Wisconsin 67, #7 Texas 66. We started the day with this game, which once again proved to us just how good of a coach Bo Ryan is. Every year we see all these methodical players in those Wisky uniforms, and every year we underrate them because of it – you watch, by March this will once again be a top 3 Big Ten squad. Lesson learned, as winning in Austin today was a fantastic win, and oh my, how they got it done! The Badgers’ Michael Flowers hit the game-winning three with two seconds remaining, and then proceeded to steal the inbounds pass in the corner while flying out of bounds. He then made the smartest play we’ve seen all year – 99% of players would have a) tried to call timeout; b) thrown the ball back into play; or c) simply landed with possession – in all three cases it’s a hustle play but Texas would get the ball back. Instead, Flowers had the presence of mind to launch the ball high into the air, knowing fully well that the last two seconds of the clock would expire while the ball floated out of reach of everyone on its way back to the ground. Brilliance. As with its previous game versus Michigan St., Texas once again showed that it has problems with beefy front lines (making its win against UCLA even more impressive, in retrospect). DJ Augustin (16/4/9 assts) and Damion James (21/15) had nice games for the Horns, while Brian Butch also added 21/11 for the Badgers.

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#11 Tennessee 82, Gonzaga 72. Every time we’ve watched the Zags lately, we have a lingering feeling that they should be better than they’re showing. Granted, Josh Heytvelt clearly isn’t himself yet, as he continues to recover from ankle surgery. But we just wonder if there aren’t issues beneath the surface on this team. In this game, Chris Lofton continued to struggle shooting the ball (4-13), but the rest of the Vols more than made up for his output, as the troika of Smiths combined for 39/14/10 assts. Tayshaun’s cousin, JP Prince, had another fine game, going for 12/3 in only 18 mins – he seems to have a knack for making timely plays. No doubt this is an impressive nonconference win for the Vols, but we still ultimately have questions about how deep a team playing this style can go into March.

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Oklahoma 88, #24 West Virginia 82 (2OT). This was the game of the day, no doubt. West Virginia probably should have won this game several times, but Oklahoma simply would not quit. Yes, we were impressed with OU’s frontline dominance (Longar – 22/4; Griffin – 18/16), but the guy who continually made big shots and dropped superb dimes down the stretch for the Sooners was Austin Johnson (13/4/9 assts). Color us impressed with his heady play and court vision tonight. One play in particular, where the camera from the baseline showed AJ never looked up yet still found Griffin right on the money flying to the hole for a lob, was sick. How did OU lose to Stephen F. Austin??? On the other side of things, WVU looked solid as well. They didn’t shoot that well (41%), but their players clearly remembered the Beilein backdoor cuts, as they used the play several times in the second half to get easy buckets. All the hallmarks of a classic Huggins team are already there – hustle, defense, scrappiness – the only thing missing is the Thuggins personnel that will start showing up in Morgantown next year.

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#1 Memphis 76, #18 Arizona 63. This was one of those games where Arizona was never really out of the game, but they were never really in it either. Not once did we ever have a suspicion that an upset was actually brewing, even though Arizona regularly cut the second-half lead to two possessions. Every time Memphis needed something, they’d get it from CDR (17/5) or Shawn Taggart (15/7) off the bench. Jerryd Bayless (knee) was sitting out for Zona, and the Cats clearly needed his offense, as Chase Budinger (20/6) and Nic Wise (10/4/5 assts) were left to their own devices most of the time. We’re still not sure what we think of Memphis – having defeated the toughest teams on their schedule (Oklahoma, UConn, USC, Georgetown and Arizona), and with only two home nonconference tests remaining (1/26 v. Gonzaga; 2/23 v. Tennessee), we could be looking at a strong possibility of an unbeaten regular season (31-0). Games at Houston (1/30) and at UAB (2/16) figure to be the toughest conference games on their schedule, but both are likely wins. We pretty much agree with Steve Lavin’s comment tonight during the broadcast, though. If Memphis goes into the NCAAs unbeaten, they will most definitely not win the national title.

Upset Alert. #25 Dayton 80, #8 Pittsburgh 55. Look at the A10 again. What an asskicking the Flyers put on Pitt tonight. Things really couldn’t have gone much worse for Pitt – Dayton’s Brian Roberts exploded for 31 pts on their vaunted perimeter defense, and Levance Fields went out with an ankle injury in the early second half. This was a statement game by Dayton, and we heard the message loud and clear. We bet they wish they could get that George Mason loss back now (67-56 in their second game of the year). Winthrop 76, #17 Miami (FL) 70. Was it an upset? Only in the sense that Miami was heretofore unbeaten this season, but Winthrop is undoubtedly the stronger program overall, so we’ll call this one a very minor upset. The Eagles haven’t had a great nonconference run (7-5) this year, but they have beaten two ACC teams (Ga Tech is the other). The question is what will happen to Frank Haith’s Hurricane team now that they’ve tasted their own blood? They get one more breather (v. Penn) before the ACC games start. There are now seven unbeatens remaining.

Other Ranked Teams.

  • #3 Kansas 86, Yale 53. KU continues to roll with 18 steals in this game.
  • #5 UCLA 76, UC Davis 48. Davis had 13 rebounds for the game. Thirteen!
  • #6 Michigan St. 93, Wisconsin-GB 75. Raymar Morgan with 24/8.
  • #9 Georgetown 78, American 51. Roy Hibbert isn’t getting any better, is he (one measly board)?
  • #12 Marquette 77, Savannah St. 37. There are too many D1 teams.
  • #13 Indiana 97, Chicago St. 59. DJ White with 21/15/4 blks. See above re: Marquette.
  • #14 Texas A&M 83, Florida A&M 54. DeAndre Jordan’s FG% actually dropped from this game (6-8 FG).
  • #16 Vanderbilt 92, UT-Martin 85. Surprisingly close home win for Vandy. AJ Ogilvy with 21/9.
  • #19 Villanova 71, Lasalle 58. Dante Cunningham with 12/12 and Scottie Reynolds with 19/4.
  • Boise St. 73, #21 BYU 70. Trent Plaisted held to 12/9. Is Boise (9-3) worth watching this year?
  • #22 Rhode Island 85, Georgia Southern 80. Will Daniels blew up for 28/8.
  • #23 Clemson 78, Samford 45. Before ESPN, were there any good games this time of year?

Other Notable Scores.

  • San Diego 81, Kentucky 72. Prepare for the full-scale mutiny in Lexington soon.
  • Washington 73, LSU 65. Another second-half meltdown for John Brady (LSU led 41-27 at halftime).
  • Florida Gulf Coast 60, Penn 30. Um, Penn had six points at the half in this one. Ugh.
  • Furman 67, Howard 62. The Purple Paladins earn their first win (1-11)!
  • Illinois St. 80, Creighton 67. Early MVC battle for primacy between good teams.
  • Drake 62, Wichita St. 54. Staying in the Valley, Drake is now 10-1.

On Tap Today (all times EST).

  • Mississippi St. (-3) v. Missouri (ESPN FC) 1:30pm – game of the day – MSU needs this one.
  • Wake Forest (-11.5) v. Air Force 2pm. nice intersectional contrast in styles of play.
  • Georgia Tech (-4) v. Florida St. (FSN) 5:30pm - ACC matchup pitting teams vying for 8-8 on Selection Sunday.
  • UNLV (NL) v. Minnesota 7pm - probably Tubby’s toughest test so far in GopherLand.
  • UNC (-24.5) v. Valparaiso (FSN) 7:30pm – Valpo is 10-2, but it won’t matter…
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ATB: Of Graves Importance

Posted by rtmsf on December 28th, 2007

We don’t have time to do a full ATB tonight, but we had to give a shout-out to any kid (Butler’s AJ Graves) who drops a 35-footer to win a game at the buzzer. Way to use every inch of the rim, young man!
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Blogpoll – Week 7

Posted by rtmsf on December 27th, 2007

While we’ve been out of pocket, we haven’t been able to produce a blogpoll ballot in several weeks, but our fearless basketblogging cabal went on without us in the interim, and we’re now at week seven. By virtue of its scintillating second half against Georgetown last weekend, Memphis proved worthy of earning the #1 spot in this week’s poll – the third #1 team of the season (UCLA and UNC were the others).

Blogpoll - Week 7

Quick thoughts. Pitt made the biggest leap of the week (from #15 to #8), thanks to Levance Fields’ game-winning deep three against the Dookies last week. Funny how one shot can make that much of a difference. By the same token, Duke fell from #5 to #10 as a consequence of that dagger. Duke is better than we thought, but Pitt exposed their relative weakness inside – they seemed to corral just about every rebound available down the stretch. Dejuan Blair (20 rebs) in particular damn near outrebounded the Devils by himself. Clemson also made a big drop by virtue of its loss to Ole Miss last week, who effectively took its spot higher up in the rankings. We didn’t submit a ballot this week, but had we done so, Clemson still wouldn’t be ranked. We refuse to rank those poseurs until they show us once and for all they won’t tank come ACC season. And look at Bobby Thuggins at #24 – he just gets it done (in the regular season) wherever he slithers, doesn’t he?

Uncertainty. Things have pretty much begun to settle in amongst the bloggers, as the top seven are largely the same on most ballots. Everyone has Memphis or UNC in the top two, followed by Kansas (every ballot had KU #3). For some reason #14 Texas A&M is showing a large amount of variance in its placement in the poll, ranking as high as sixth in one ballot to unranked in another. Weird. As usual, and we’re partially responsible for this, #23 Clemson is also showing wide variance in its poll position, ranking as high as eleventh to also being unranked.

Conference Call.

  • Big East – 5
  • ACC – 4
  • Big 12, Pac-10, SEC – 3 each
  • A10, Big 10 – 2 each
  • CUSA, Horizon, Mtn West – 1 each

Props to the A10 for stepping up and showing some game this year thus far. Dayton (@ Louisville) and URI (@ Syracuse) both have marquee road wins on their resumes, and UMass (also @ Syracuse) isn’t far behind either one. Throw in Xavier, and this could be the best A10 since the days of Chaney and Calipari – possibly a four-bid league if things break down the right way.

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Bill Russell’s Not Walking Through That Door

Posted by rtmsf on December 26th, 2007

Normally, a mid-year resignation at a mid-major school wouldn’t inspire us to blog about it, but normally, 71-yr old coaches with 798 wins on the resume aren’t taking over mid-majors on an interim basis either.

CBS Sportsline reported today that, after Jessie Evans’ stepdown at the University of San Francisco, Sutton will be taking over as the interim coach of the USF program, effective immediately. USF has gotten off to a moribund 4-8 start this year, losing five of its last six games.

Eddie Sutton

We really can’t figure this one out at all. How did USF even know that Sutton was available? Why is Sutton available? Didn’t he retire from Oklahoma St. two years ago? How effective can a 71-yr old coach with absolutely no ties to a program or region be? Did he already blow through the millions OSU paid him? We’re sitting here scratching our heads.

The only thing we can think is that Sutton is attracted to some of the great do-your-own-thing bars down in the Tenderloin district – the Bambuddha Lounge comes to mind – and with SF being a veritable parking nightmare, the likelihood of yet another embarrassing Sutton DUI is minimal. Or maybe Sutton was wanting for some of the cross-cultural delights that Baghdad by the Bay has to offer? We figure the dude’s totally gonna be rocking leather niprings at next year’s Folsom Street Fair.

Update: Apparently Sutton took the USF job sight-unseen, having never stepped foot on the campus. Sutton stated that he returned because he’s given up drinking and that he wanted to win 800 games before he retired.  Evans’ status is one of a leave of absence, with no further information given as to his future at the school.

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Unbeaten/Winless Watch (12.25.07)

Posted by rtmsf on December 26th, 2007

We really wanted to do this two weeks ago, but as you know, life got in the way.  So we’ll make do with what’s left.

As of Xmas Day, out of a total 341 D1 teams, there were a total of nine unbeaten teams and only four winless teams remaining (see table below).   Four of the nine unbeatens are unsurprising – #1 UNC, #2 Memphis, #4 Kansas, and #6 Wazzu were all preseason top ten teams.  Pittsburgh wasn’t ranked in the preseason, but they’re always pretty  good, so we’re not shocked by their inclusion (esp. once Levance Fields got himself unTazed).  That leaves us with three shockers from the SEC/ACC and one ridiculous Southland Conference inclusion (although… we had ‘em).

Unbeatens & Winless 12.25.07 v.5

From the SEC there are two unbeatens.  Florida?  Nope.  Kentucky?  Nope.  Tennessee?  Nope.  Mississippi State?  Nope.  Those four teams have about a baker’s dozen number of losses between them.  But if you had Ole Miss and Vandy at 22-0 heading into the last week of 2007, proceed directly to the Bellagio sports book.  Do not pass go.   Do not collect $200.  Ok, so Ole Miss’s 11-0 start smells an awful lot like the annual Clemson torridness (in a somewhat ironic twist, Ole Miss’s best win was at Clemson last week – 85-82), but we have to tip the hat to Andy Kennedy’s squad for beating all comers so far, and setting themselves up for a possible run at the SEC West title and an NCAA bid.  (memo to University of Cincinnati:  how’s bailing on Kennedy working out for ya?  Oh right, losses to Illinois St., Bowling Green and Belmont.  Good luck with that.)  As for Vandy, they’ve probably got a little more upside than Ole Miss due to the addition of a freshman stud who incomprehensibly gets almost no hype, AJ Ogilvy (19/7).  With senior guard Shan Foster, this inside-outside tandem plus Vandy’s home court nearly assures the ‘Dores of an NCAA berth, and given the relative state of the rest of the SEC this year, possible SEC title.

The last two unbeatens are probably the most surprising of all.  Miami (FL) was 12-20 last season, and the Hurricanes have already matched that win total this year.  A very soft schedule has made this record possible, but two solid road wins (@ Providence and @ Miss. St.) show that this team will be worth watching in the ACC race this year.   The final unbeaten, Sam Houston St., has an early win over Bob Knight and Texas Tech on their resume, but little else.  Still, it’s a great early-season story, and we’ll be rooting for them to keep it up through their west coast trip to SDSU and Loyola Marymount this coming weekend.

As for the four winless teams, we can’t say there are any real surprises.  Furman and Grambling will win soon enough, but we’re not sure about the disasters otherwise known as Ball St. and NJIT.   NJIT, probably the worst offensive team in the nation, has only broken sixty points once this year; and has been under fifty points four other times.  Ball St. is still feeling the aftershocks of the Ronny Thompson fiasco, and there’s no telling when they’ll come out of that tailspin.  Last year’s winless streak leader, Iona, didn’t get their first victory until Feb. 3 (0-22), and we think NJIT has a chance to match or exceed that this year.

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BCS Conference H2H (thru 12.25.07)

Posted by rtmsf on December 26th, 2007

We’d originally hoped to track this better than we have throughout the pre-conference slate, but sometimes life gets in the way. A little over a month ago, we noted that the ACC and Pac-10 were leading the early charge with several marquee wins over the other BCS conferences. How has that changed in the interim?

BCS h2h 12.25.07

 

Data Source: www.basketballstate.com

Thoughts:

  • The Pac-10 and ACC continue to lead the way, showing 1-2 in overall winning pct., with the ACC earning a commanding record against other BCS conferences (28-14), while every other league has struggled to reach .500. Most impressively, the ACC has a winning record against every other league but the Pac-10 so far this season (1-1). The Pac-10 has only lost eight games against mid- and low-major teams thus far. This comports with the RPI and Sagarin computer rankings, which has these two leagues in the top three in both measurements.
  • Overall, the SEC has proven to be a joke thus far. Sure, the league can beat the low-majors (it certainly plays enough of them), but a 13-20 record against the other BCS conferences shows that this league just isn’t very good this year. It currently holds only one winning record against a BCS opponent – 5-4 versus the Big East.
  • The other three leagues – Big 10, Big 12, Big East – all have shown to be various grades of average. The Big 12 has the advantage over the other two at this point, with its 21-20 record against the other leagues, but it tends to lose more often to mid-majors than the others.
  • Quick rankings based on solely this measure: 1) ACC (h2h record is impressive); 2) Pac-10 (only loses to BCS teams); 3) Big 12 (generally good across the board); 4) Big East (more teams = more bad teams to bring it down); 5) Big 10 (sigh… 3-10 v. the ACC, again); 6) SEC (may not be better than the MVC or A10 this year).

Marquee Win to date

  • ACC – Duke 77, Marquette 73.
  • Big East – Pittsburgh 65, Duke 64.
  • Big 10 – Michigan St. 78, Texas 72.
  • Big 12 – Texas 63, UCLA 61.
  • Pac-10 – UCLA 68, Michigan St. 63.
  • SEC – Ole Miss 85, Clemson 82.

Ugliest Loss to date

  • ACC – American 67, Maryland 59.
  • Big East – Dayton 70, Louisville 65.
  • Big 10 – Wofford 69, Purdue 66.
  • Big 12 – Stephen F. Austin 66, Oklahoma 62.
  • Pac-10 – Mercer 96, USC 81.
  • SEC – Gardner-Webb 84, Kentucky 68
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No Returns, Exchanges or Refunds

Posted by rtmsf on December 26th, 2007

…and we’re back.

Holiday Prozac

Suffice it to say that this year’s holidays haven’t been a personal best for us, but we’re back at it and ready to carry on with our lives (and consequently, the blog). Hope everyone out there had a great one.

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On Hiatus

Posted by rtmsf on December 13th, 2007

Just briefly wanted to take a moment to update the site.

It’s a good thing it’s Finals Week at most schools because there hasn’t been much worth talking about anyway. But the sad and regrettable truth is that we’re dealing with a serious family matter this week and simply haven’t had the energy and wherewithal to attend to the site in the meantime.

Hopefully we’ll be back at it soon enough, but things are tough around here right now and we appreciate the patience.

Best Regards.

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ATB: Weekend Recap

Posted by rtmsf on December 11th, 2007

ATB v.4

12.11.07

Recap. Apologies to everyone, but we’ve had a serious family matter to attend to in recent days, so we’ve lost a little of our mojo in keeping up with the blog. The good news is that Saturday was really the only decent day’s worth of games over the last four days. So here are the highlights (some of which we saw) from last weekend.

Games We Watched. Arizona 78, Illinois 72 (OT). The big news surrounding this game was the re-emergence of Lute Olson on Friday long enough for his wife to notify everyone that she is a money-grubbing Republican operative and Olson are getting a divorce and he needs time (i.e., the rest of the season) away from the program to put his personal life back together. What we saw: for the second consecutive game, Kevin O’Neill’s Wildcats got themselves down big early (12-0 to start the game), only to gut out a second half comeback led by Jerryd Bayless (20/5 assts) to win against a tough opponent. Sure, it took a fortuitous no-call for UA guard Nic Wise, who quite obviously signalled for a timeout that his team didn’t have, to get them into OT, but a road (Chicago) win is a road win. Arizona sophomore forward Jordan Hill added 23/14 for the Cats, who we’re starting to think might have a little toughness in them this year after all. As for the Illini, they have only themselves to blame with their feeble 10-22 from the foul line for the game. #19 Pittsburgh 79, Washington 78. This was another fantastic game. Pitt picked up a hard-earned road win in a venue where UW simply doesn’t lose very often (33 straight against non-conference opponents). The game was close throughout, and it was ultimately decided with a five-minute video review of Washington’s Justin Dentmon’s runner at the buzzer that dropped through the net after bouncing around the rim several times. In the olden days before video review of buzzer beaters, UW walks off with that win and Pitt goes home 8-1, but not now. The officials concluded (rightly, although it was extremely close) that Dentmon’s shot was after the horn and therefore Pitt was the winner, much to the communal chagrin of the Washington crowd. Great non-conf win for Pitt. #14 Indiana 70, Kentucky 51. We watched this one out of a sense of history and tradition of the sport, but we wish we hadn’t, in retrospect. E-Giddy didn’t even play and still the Hoosiers rolled up the Cats and smoked them like a fat Cohiba. The story of the game was that IU guard Jordan Crawford (20 pts on 5-10 shooting) completely and totally outplayed his older UK brother, Joe Crawford (10 pts on 4-15), to the point where even Billy Packer was gushing. If any game encapsulated the frustratingly enigmatic career of former HS stud Joe, this was it. DJ White added 16/13 for the Hoosiers (his fifth straight dub-dub), while UK’s only legit player, Patrick Patterson, finished with 15/5. Oh, and we don’t have the time nor inclination to get into all the Alex Legion nonsense, but if you’re interested, he’s leaving UK (possible destination: Michigan?) and ASoB discusses it much more in-depth than we can.

Other Good Games. #15 Marquette 81, Wisconsin 76. Tremendous win for Marquette, because Wisconsin just does not lose in the Kohl Center (28 in a row prior to this game). Surprisingly, it was the undersized Marquette interior players who played with abandon on the boards and won that battle (37-29) against the taller, beefier Wisconsin front line. Marquette is awfully tough to beat when Dominic James (20/5/6 assts) plays well. #13 Michigan St. 68, #21 BYU 61. This battle of ranked teams had upset written all over it, but give credit to MSU, who was down ten at the half on the road but managed to regain its composure and stick it to the Cougars in the second half (67% shooting). If you want an upset specialist for March, keep an eye on BYU as a #5-#7 seed, especially if their draw is out west. They’ve played UNC, Louisville and Michigan St. very tough already (defeating UL), and Trent Plaisted (19/8) is an interior stud. #5 UCLA 75, Davidson 63. Davidson must be getting tired of this same old song and dance by now: play a top ten team extremely well for about 30-35 minutes, only to have the other teams’ size and strength win out in the end. They have a really good team, but they probably should have scheduled more teams ranked in the 25-50 range in order to pick up a few more Ws (we still think they’ll beat NC State later this month). In this one, Davidson roared out to an 18-pt lead in Pauley Pavilion (32-14) before the Bruins awakened from their slumber and led by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (21/8) and Kevin Love (12/12), took over the game. Davidson’s Stephen Curry didn’t shoot well (6-19) in a 15/4 performance. UCLA is showing signs of boredom, and their next really tough game isn’t until the Pac-10 schedule begins in January.

Upsets. It was a good upset Saturday. Dayton 70, #10 Louisville 65. The enigma known as Derrick Caracter signed a good behavior contract on Saturday morning, put up 16/7 in a home loss to Dayton, then proceeded to break said contract (curfew) that very night after the game. After getting busted by the coaches, he then stewed in his room for an hour before sneaking out AGAIN. Wow. So with Palacios and Padgett out injured until who knows when, and Caracter seemingly unable and unwilling to stay eligible, the word is that Pitino is tinkering with the idea of a five-guard lineup. A once promising season is bordering on the edge of disaster in Louisville these days. Dayton’s Brian Roberts lit up the Cards for 28 pts, as the Flyers (now 7-1) won against UL for the second straight year.

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Rhode Island 91, Syracuse 89. Staying with the A10 over Big East theme, how did Syracuse shoot 54% at home and still lose? Well, it didn’t hurt that URI was 12-18 from three and made its FTs down the stretch. This might be one of those games that doesn’t look like much of an upset a month or two from now (URI is now 10-1. with the one loss at BC). Jonny Flynn had 21/10 for the Orange. Wright St. 43, #9 Butler 42. Butler just can’t get past these guys, especially in Dayton. Three of Butler’s last six losses were to Wright St., and the MO for each one has been the same – stop AJ Graves. Graves was held to 6 pts on 2-11 shooting in the high -scoring affair (only three players combined reached double figures). Butler may get all the hype, but Wright St. under Brad Brownell has once again announced that it will be a contender in the Horizon. Stephen F. Austin 66, Oklahoma 62. OU’s losses to Memphis and USC are understandable, but how does the same team that blitzed Tulsa by 26 and TCU by 24 in its previous two games turn around and lose to SFA at home?

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Other Ranked Teams.

  • #3 Texas 80, Rice 54. Abrams, Augustin and James each with 18 pts.
  • #4 Kansas 84, Depaul 66. Brandon Rush came off the bench for 13 pts and one bench warrant.
  • #6 Duke 95, Michigan 67. Please, please, please end this series soon.
  • #7 Georgetown 87, Jacksonville 55. steady as she goes for Georgetown (59% FG).
  • #8 Washington St. 72, Portland St. 60. even more steady for Wazzu (69% eFG)
  • #11 Texas A&M 109, Texas St. 73. We’re just amazed that A&M played 18 guys in this game.
  • #16 Oregon 75, Utah 64. Another solid home win for Oregon.
  • #17 Gonzaga 85, Cal St. Northridge 59. Micah Downs (19 pts) and Matt Bouldin (18) led the way.
  • #23 Vanderbilt 90, Lipscomb 67. 26/10 for AJ Ogilvy as Vandy remains unbeaten. Could he be the next Bogut?
  • #25 Villanova 101, Temple 93. Scottie Reynolds was huge (27/6/9) in this Big 5 matchup.

Other Notable Scores.

  • Boston College 81, Maryland 78. BC is much better than everyone thought, Maryland much worse.
  • Kansas St. 82, California 75. Cal shoots 51% and still loses their first game – three players with dub-dubs (Walker – 30/10; Beasley – 19/11; R. Anderson – 24/11).
  • Illinois St. 62, Cincinnati 52. Hard to argue Cincy is better off w/o Thuggins at this point.
  • Charlotte 71, S. Illinois 56. Make that three solid wins in a row for Charlotte.
  • East Carolina 75, NC State 69. Sam Hinnant dropped 30 on the incredibly overrated Wolfpack. Anybody still got NCSU third in the ACC?
  • St. Mary’s 69, San Diego St. 64. very nice road win for the Gaels (prior to tonight’s loss v. SIU)
  • Kent St. 73, George Mason 55. Another solid mid-major win for the Golden Flashes.
  • Georgia 72, Wake Forest 50. We still don’t think much of UGa, but Wake took it on the chin from the SEC last week.
  • Fordham 88, NJIT 44. Stony Brook 62, NJIT 53. NJIT’s quest for winlessness continues (0-12). Avg. margin of defeat = 25.0 ppg. Next game: Thurs. at Rutgers.

On Tap Today (all times EST).

  • Xavier (-19) v. Cincinnati (ESPN2) 7pm – we love the Crosstown Shootout – XU should roll this year, though.
  • Maryland (-8.5) v. Ohio 8pm. the way the Terps have been playing, this could be interesting…
  • Wisconsin (-13.5) v. Wisconsin-Milwaukee (ESPN FC) 8pm - the battle of Cheeseheads.
  • Vanderbilt (-3) v. Depaul (ESPN Classic) 8pm - winnable road game for Vandy to remain unbeaten.
  • Arkansas (NL) v. Texas-San Antonio (ESPN FC) 8pm - we still haven’t gotten a good feel for the Hawgs.
  • Colorado (-5) v. New Orleans 9pm – the Privateers with another shot at defeating a BCS team.
  • Boston College (-4) v. Massachusetts (ESPNU) 9pm – the battle of Chowderheads.
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ATB: John Brady’s Bunch (of losers)

Posted by rtmsf on December 6th, 2007

ATB v.4

12.06.07

Don’t Call it a Comeback.  #24 Villanova 68, LSU 67 “Any team that loses, doesn’t deserve to win.”  That profundity, uttered by LSU coach John Brady tonight after his team’s one-point loss to Villanova, clearly shows Brady’s eloquence, but it belies his indefatigable drive for success, his world-renowned coaching acumen, and his propensity for buxom blonde strippers named Misty Champagne.  Remember the Miracle in Baton Rouge (ca. 1994) when Kentucky came back from 31 down in the second half to beat Dale Brown’s boys – well tonight it was the Main Line Revival, as Villanova erased a 21-pt LSU lead with 8:51 remaining to win the game.  The Tigers were outscored 35-13 the rest of the way, culminating in a putback layup by Dante Cunningham (16/12) with six seconds left to give the Cats their first (and only) lead of the night.  Amazing comeback for Villanova, but an even more remarkable collapse for LSU, who ended up allowing Villanova more points in the final 9 minutes than in the previous 31.  We continue to be impressed with the coaching inabilities of ole John Brady down in Baton Rouge, but hey, at least Les Miles is sticking around, right?    

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Other Ranked Teams.

  • #11 Butler 53, Detroit 46.  Matt Howard with 20/11 in an ugly (but typical) Butler win.

Other Notable Scores.

  • South Carolina 68, Providence 67.  Well, at least the SEC/Big East Invitational had two good games tonight – surprised the hell outta us.  Oh, and the tally was 3-1 Big East (thanks John Brady!)  
  • Maryland 89, Morgan St. 65.  Maryland punches Todd Bozeman’s crew in the mouth.

On Tap Today(all times EST).  Nothing worthwhile.  Go out and have some fun.  There are some good games on Saturday.  

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ATB: Northwest Passage

Posted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2007

ATB v.4

12.05.07

Game of the Day. #7 Washington St. 51, #18 Gonzaga 47. How fun would it be to watch a game at the Kennel? It wasn’t too much fun for the Gonzaga fans tonight as they watched their Zags lose for only the second time in that building and in the process, score their lowest total of points in almost eleven years. Although the stats would lead someone to believe that this was an ugly game, we didn’t really see it that way. There were enough bricks on both sides (esp. Gonzaga) to build a smokestack, sure, but the game was intense, defensive-minded and filled with show-stopping plays. For the second time in a week (Baylor), Wazzu went into a veritable lion’s den and slugged its way to a close win. This team is experienced, doesn’t panic and makes smart decisions with the ball – its only real weakness is a style of play that allows teams to stay in the game with them (i.e., Gonzaga shot 26% but was still in the game until the last ten seconds). It didn’t hurt that Kyle Weaver (12/6) seemed to make every big play for the Cougars each time the Zags crept withing striking distance. His airball rebound-turn-putback sequence was sick. On the Gonzaga side, Matt Bouldin (0-9 FG), Jeremy Pargo (3-11) and Austin Daye (1-12) should be ashamed of themselves for their performances at home tonight. We were really high on the Zags early, even going so far as to pick them for the F4, but their inconsistent performances are making us a little wary – still, we’ll wait to pass ultimate judgment until we see how they play once Josh Heytvelt returns.

Other Good Games. Syracuse 70, Virginia 68. Regrettably, we didn’t get to see anything but the last four minutes of this game. This is a very good win for Syracuse, especially in light of its loss at home to UMass last week. From what we can tell, UVa’s Sean Singletary was ill, and it showed in his shooting numbers (10/9/5 assts on 3-14 FG and 2-8 FT) and cramping at the end of the game. Virginia isn’t a one-man team by any stretch (Adrian Joseph had 19/13), but they’re typically not going to beat quality opponents unless SS has a solid game. Tonight was no exception. The Cuse’s Donte Greene (20/10) and Paul Harris (10/14) each had dub-dubs in the road win.

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SEC/Big East Invitational. What a joke this thing is. Hey, here’s an idea, let’s copy the ACC/Big 10 Challenge, except instead of, like, matching up teams based on relative abilities, we’ll just throw a bunch of cannon-fodder SEC teams out there against some good-to-great Big East teams and see how it washes out. Who came up with this plan – the Big East RPI Improvement Committee? Ok, we give them one mulligan. Georgetown v. Alabama was supposed to be a game between two top 25 teams, but then Ronald Steele went and got hurt again. Still, Bama put up a solid fight tonight in Birmingham (#5 Georgetown 70, Alabama 60), which is more than we can say for their mortal enemies over on the Plains. Thuggins and his band of merry men stormed Auburn like Sherman coming back through the South – the Tigers were down 28-6 before they knew what hit them. West Virginia 88, Auburn 59. Now let’s all put our hands together and furiously clap with excitement over tomorrow night’s slate of South Carolina v. Providence and LSU v. Villanova. Anyone got the Big East to go 4-0 in this event? We do.

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Upset of the Day. Charlotte 75, Davidson 68. We love Davidson, but after their recent losses at Eastern Michigan and now at Charlotte, they’re going to need to win the SoCon to make the NCAA Tourney (we’re assuming they will not beat UCLA this weekend). Stephen Curry ripped off 31, but he’s just not getting any offensive help from his frontcourt (7-22 shooting). Charlotte’s Leemire Goldwire sensed a shootout with Curry and ultimately one-upped him with 34 of his own points. Charlotte, with two solid wins in a row, is a team to keep an eye on going forward.

Other Ranked Teams.

  • #4 Kansas 85, E. Washington 47. Too bad Rodney Stuckey is already in the NBA.
  • #8 Texas 88, North Texas 72. The DJ blew up with 29/10, representing our #1 vote well.
  • #17 Pittsburgh 73, Duquesne 68. Pitt really struggled to win this crosstown rivalry game.
  • #18 Clemson 82, East Carolina 67. We’re not voting for you Tigers until you win ACC games.
  • #21 Xavier 79, Creighton 66. Drew Lavender with 28/10 as Creighton takes its first loss.

Other Notable Scores.

  • Florida 91, Florida A&M 52. UF now 4-1 against other Florida teams.
  • Drake 79, Iowa St. 44. Wow, how do you win at Oregon St. then get drilled by Drake?
  • George Mason 57, Hampton 54. Mid-major nirvana in Fairfax.
  • Purdue 70, Ball St. 57. How’s that Ronny Thompson thing working out for Ball St.?
  • W. Kentucky 69, Nebraska 62 (OT). WKU couldn’t afford to drop this BCS win at home.
  • Oklahoma 81, Tulsa 55. OU had a thirty-pt lead at the half.
  • Vanderbilt 83, Wake Forest 80. Vandy remains unbeaten behind Shan Foster’s 26 and Andrew Ogilvy’s 23.
  • Georgia Tech 72, Georgia St. 67. From what little we saw, Ga Tech sleptwalk through this one.

On Tap Today(all times EST). Yeah, a few tv games, but um, good luck with that.

  • Providence (-3.5) v. South Carolina (ESPN2) 7pm – set your alarm for more of the thrilling Big East/SEC Showdown!
  • Connecticut (-17) v. Northeastern (ESPN FC) 7:30pm. ugh.
  • Ill-Chicago (-5.5) v. Wisconsin-Milwaukee (ESPN FC) 8pm - if you’re going to show mid-majors, pick GOOD teams!
  • Villanova (-9.5) v. LSU (ESPN) 9pm – we cannot get over the garbage the SEC trotted out for this event.
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ATB: Exhale, Hoosier Fans

Posted by rtmsf on December 4th, 2007

ATB v.4

12.03.07

Game of the Day.   None.  As one of  the commenters alluded to, tonight’s games were, um, lacking in interest.  What, you didn’t watch the Wisconsin-Wofford game either?  The only notable  piece of news from the night was that Indiana’s E-Giddy hurt his lower back on a foray to the rim, but x-rays proved negative.  No doubt there was considerable angst and concern in HoosierLand for a couple of hours tonight, though, because Gordon didn’t return to the IU bench after the nasty spill.   According to Kelvin Sanctions, he should be ready for the  Kentucky game on Saturday.  Oh, and in E-Giddy’s absence, DJ White showed he can still play (29/13/4 blks).  Indiana 84, Tennessee St. 72.

Notable Scores.

  • Florida 88, Jacksonville 72.  Calathes with 24; Speights with 16. 
  • Arkansas 70, Missouri St. 51.  Solid mid-major win for the Hawgs.
  • Wisconsin 70, Wofford 43.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..

On Tap Today (all times EST).  

  • Notre Dame (-5.5) v. Kansas St. (ESPN) 7pm – Michael Beastley in the Big Apple for Jimmy V.
  • Boston College (-8) v. St. Louis  7pm.  BC should expect a fight from SLU after their raping on Saturday.
  • UNC (-25) v. Penn (ESPN2) 7pm - this is not the year for Penn to host UNC at the Palestra.
  • Tennessee (-14.5) v. Chattanooga (ESPNU) 7pm – UT continues to underwhelm us – they could lose this road game if Lofton continues to sputter.
  • St. Joseph’s (NL) v. Holy Cross  7pm – this is a really compelling matchup that we won’t get to see.
  • Michigan St. (-3.5) v. Bradley (ESPNU) 9pm – we have a hunch MSU is going to drop this game.  Just a hunch…
  • New Mexico St. (-1) v. New Mexico (ESPN FC) 9pm – how important is home court in this series?  The 3-6 team is a one point favorite over the 7-1 team.
  • Memphis (-8) v. USC (ESPN) 9pm – USC is coming on lately – can Memphis be challenged?
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