ATB: pre-Thanksgiving Pass/Fail

Posted by rtmsf on November 27th, 2008

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We’re really not in the mood for this tonight, so it’s going to be short/sweet.  Either you pass or fail, that’s the deal.

Game of the Night. UNC 102, Notre Dame 87.

  • Notre Dame. EPIC FAIL.  Carolina shot 58% on you.  Just.  Go.  Home.
  • Tyler Hansbrough. PASS.  He’s back (34/5 on 13-19 shooting).
  • Kyle McAlarney. PASS.  39 pts on 10 threes, many of which seemed from halfcourt.  The only ND player who came to play tonight.
  • Luke Harongody. FAIL.  13/7 and thoroughly outplayed by Psycho-T.
  • Rest of College Basketball. FAIL.  If Carolina is going to play like this…

Preseason NIT. Oklahoma 77, UAB 67 & Purdue 71, Boston College 64.

  • Blake Griffin. PASS.  Another 32/15 and an OU win.  POY.
  • Paul Delaney III. PASS.  23/6 on 10-14 shooting for UAB.
  • UAB Finishing. FAIL.  With 5:09 to go, UAB was ahead.  The Blazers scored two more relevant points.
  • Robbie Hummell and E’Twaun Moore. PASS.  29/11/8 assts combined.
  • Purdue Down the Stretch. FAIL.  A 19-pt lead with 6:30 to go shouldn’t go to two possessions that quickly.

Anything Else?

  • Oregon St. FAIL.  Another close loss 82-79 in overtime.  To Montana State.
  • Arkansas. PASS.  A solid win 79-77 at South Alabama for one of the worst SEC teams.
  • Indiana. PASS/FAIL.  A pass for getting another win (there won’t be many more).  A fail for barely skating by D2 Chaminade 81-79.
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Weekend Tourneylicious…

Posted by rtmsf on November 27th, 2008

So the Maui Invitational ends tonight in an early-season blockbuster game – Notre Dame vs. North Carolina – and the CBE Classic and Paradise Jam are already finished, but fear not, hoopheads, there’s plenty more on the way this week..

Continuing tonight in MSG, we have the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.  The finals will be on Friday night.  Although the marquee teams aren’t as illustrious as some of the other names we’ll see over the next few days, the PNIT still holds a certain aura in terms of its prestige and respect among college fans.  We like Purdue to wear down a spirited BC squad in the first game tonight, and Oklahoma to outlast Robert Vaden’s UAB team in the second game (Blake Griffin will have another monster game against UAB’s soft interior), setting up a top 10 showdown on Friday night between teams that you may not get to see much of this year (definitely  must-see tv on Black Friday night). Read the rest of this entry »

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Checking in on the… Big East

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2008

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.

The Big East is proving why it is the best conference in basketball, as the 16 teams in the conference have lost a grand total of five games. I mean, Seton Hall barely sneaks into the top 10 in the conference and they are 4-1 with wins over USC and Virginia Tech early on. To be fair, most of the games that have been played at this point in the season have come against cupcakes, but a Big East team has already knocked off a marquee team in every other major conference (UConn has beaten Wisconsin and Miami (FL), Syracuse beat Florida and Kansas, Notre Dame beat Texas, and Seton Hall beat USC).

Power Rankings (AP, Coaches):

CONTENDERS

1. UConn 5-0 (#2, #2) – It is pretty tough to argue with UConn atop the BIAH Big East Power Rankings. They are 5-0 and coming off of a victory in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. More on the Huskies in a bit.

2. Notre Dame 4-0 (#8, #8) – Notre Dame gets the nod at #2 because of their win over Texas in Maui. Now that Kyle McAlarney has found his stroke (13-23 from the floor, 11-20 from deep in his last two games after starting the season 2-13), it is clear that the Irish are going be able to put up points with anyone. Their biggest question mark right now is defense and rebounding. Against Texas, Notre Dame was out-rebounded 45-33 and gave up 15 on the offensive glass.

I know that the Irish have two first-team all-conference players on their roster, but PG Tory Jackson is just as, if not more, valuable than both McAlarney and Luke Harangody. He is the guy that makes the potent Irish offense run. He is as quick as they come and can get into the lane against just about anyone, but he plays under control and rarely picks up a charge. When he gets into the paint, he is just as good at finishing as he is at drawing a defender and finding an open man (he’s led the Big East in dimes the last two years). To top it off, he has been knocking down his perimeter shot this season.

3. Louisville 2-0 (#3, #3) – It is tough to gauge the Cardinals at this point in the season. They have played just two games, both cupcakes and both blow outs, and they won’t really be tested until mid-December. What we do know thus far is that freshman Samardo Samuels looks as good as advertised – he’s averaging 21 ppg and 5 rpg through two games. The ‘Ville also got good news when Terrence Williams was healthy enough to play in their first two games (he underwent minor surgery after tearing the meniscus in his knee). He’s not there yet offensively (6-17 from the floor, 14 points in two games), but he has been filling up the stat sheet as usual (9.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 3.5 spg, 1.5 bpg).

4. Pitt 5-0 (#4, #4) – The Panthers, like the Cardinals, are undefeated but have yet to really play anyone. They have, however, been getting phenomenal play out of their big three of DeJuan Blair (17.5 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 71%, but he missed the Belmont game on Tuesday with swelling in his knee), Sam Young (19.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 60% FG), and Levance Fields (13.6 ppg, 7.3 apg, 1.0 t/o’s). While Pitt lost Blair for the Belmont game, they got some good news with the return of wing Gilbert Brown.

The key to the season for this Pitt team is going to be their wing play, which is a big reason why Sam Young, the Panthers best perimeter shooter, is playing on the wing this year. It is still early, but the early indication is that after Fields (10-19) and Young (5-16). If someone can step up and knock down shots (back up PG Ashton Gibbs is trying to, he’s 5-11 from deep), they will see a lot of the court.

5. Syracuse 5-0 – The ‘Cuse are for real this year. They are 5-0 with wins against Florida and Kansas (in what was essentially a road game) and have looked unstoppable on offense at times. But they have also looked disinterested and lackadaisical at times as well, especially defensively. The Orange start and end with the play of Jonny Flynn, who has reinforced the notion that he is one of the best PGs in the country. Flynn is one of the most exciting players in the country to watch (and I am a UConn fan saying that). While Flynn may be the best player on Syracuse, he is far from all that they have. Paul Harris is just as tough as always, but has added a 15-17 foot jumper that you must defend. Arinze Onuaku has gone from a 275 lb fat boy to 275 lb of muscle (seriously, he looks like he should be on World’s Strongest Man). Kristoff Ongenaet, Rick Jackson and freshman Kris Joseph all are going to be able to provide hustle, rebounds, and defense inside. And they’ve gotten back the two things they were missing last year – perimeter shooting from the wings (Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins) and another guy that can penetrate and score or create shots for others (Devendorf). But the biggest change I see in this year’s team is that Jim Boeheim has them playing a lot of man-to-man, which makes it all-the-more difficult for a team to prepare for the Orange. Boeheim has himself a tough team that is going to make some noise this year. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Feasting on Feast Week

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2008

John Stevens is a featured columnist for RTC.  His columns will appear on Tuesdays throughout the season.

Ah, Thanksgiving week.  As if ESPN’s 24-hour binge of college basketball last week wasn’t enough, here comes the oh-so-appropriately-named Feast Week, another avalanche of hoops awesomeness spread out over seven days that not only launches college basketball right back into the middle of the sports radar where it belongs, but also goes great with Thanksgiving leftovers, paid days off of work, as well as pizza and garlic bread (in case you’re sick of all that turkey by Saturday’s games).  Aside from the month of March, it doesn’t get much better than this for college hoops fans.  The daytime games, the intriguing match-ups…good God, who would want to brave the lines on Black Friday?  THIS is the way to kick off the holiday season.

Maui Turkey

Maui Turkey

The holiday tournaments are a great time to familiarize oneself with the big boys of the game – see UNC in Maui, Georgetown in the Old Spice Classic (why are these tournaments called ‘classics’ when they’re 2-3 years old?), and so forth – since some of them might be making their first appearances on national television.  I’ve always thought one of the best things about the holiday onslaught of games was the opportunity to find a team that wasn’t getting much hype and, if they give one of the highly-ranked teams a game or even pull off an upset, follow them throughout the season and maybe use them in March when I’m doing way too much bracket-filling analysis, if there is such a thing.  I mean, we all know about Carolina and Oklahoma and Michigan State.  Who will we see that bears watching in these Thanksgiving tournaments that we haven’t been hearing a lot about?  Here, in my opinion, are a couple of squads to keep an eye on not just over this holiday weekend but also to see how they mature over the course of the season: Read the rest of this entry »

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ATB: Stephen Curry “Held” Scoreless

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2008

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Indiana & Kelvin Sanctions (cont.). The big news of the day was of course that Indiana managed to avoid postseason sanctions even though they’ll formally be on probation for the next three seasons.  Kelvin Sampson, to his credit, took responsibility for the complete lack of oversight at Indiana ‘while on his watch,’ but at least once Tom Crean gets this program moving in the right direction again, the Hoosiers won’t also be burdened by the crimson scarlet letter of postseason sanctions.  Recruits can still be sold on the basis of playing in the postseason at Indiana (although admittedly, that seems farfetched at this point, even within three years).  Sampson is now working for the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant, but he’s now effectively barred from coaching in the NCAA for the next five years as part of a ‘show cause’ restriction (a school would have to show cause for the NCAA to allow it to hire him).  Frankly, this seems to us like a penalty that was ‘easy’ for the NCAA to prove, but one that doesn’t necessarily fit when we know of so many other obvious recruiting violations that are simply untidy for prosecution and therefore ignored.

Games of the Night. We had two great games today, for the first time all season.

  • Notre Dame 81, Texas 80. This game was nearly everything we expected, and a little more (featured by Justin Mason, below).  Notre Dame was led by Luke Harangody’s 29/13 and a 40-footer at the shot clock expiration to what seemed like a solid win with a minute to go, up 79-71.  Then the bricks started – Tory Jackson missed two from the line; Zach Hillesland missed two from the line; then Harongody missed both with five seconds left, leaving the door open for Texas to win the game with a two (ND was only up 81-80 at that time).  Luckily for Notre Dame, AJ Abrams’ 60-footer at the buzzer was just a bit short (but right online).  Good performances abound – ND’s Kyle McAlarney had 19/5 including five threes, and Texas’ was led by AJ Abrams’ 23/5 and Damion James 11/12.  Both of these teams are top ten worthy, in our opinion, and we expect Notre Dame to give Carolina all they want tomorrow evening.

  • Syracuse 89, Kansas 81 (OT). This was a phenomenal game with enough eye-popping plays to cause Beetlejuice to take notice.  Kansas appeared as if they were going to blow the game open in the mid-second half until Jim Boeheim changed his trapping defense up and seemingly stole the ball a dozen straight times for dunks and layups.  This 13-2 run led to a tight game down the stretch which was capped by Jonny Flynn’s (25/5 assts) dagger three with 6.4 seconds remaining (see below) to effectively send the game to overtime.  Cuse continued its hot shooting in the OT – Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf combined for six threes in the game – and KU appeared to lose its confidence in the extra period.  KU’s Cole Aldrich (15/14) and SU’s Arinze Onuaku (19/12) both showed a strong skill set in the post as each tried to one-up the other during the game.  Both of these teams are going to be very good this season.

What’s Wrong with Steph Curry? Davidson 78, Loyola (MD) 48. Nothing, that’s what.  As in Steph Curry put up a donut tonight in the points column (get a good look below because we doubt you’ll ever see it again).  The word is that Loyola head man Jimmy Patsos strategized to take Curry completely out of the game by double-teaming him on every offensive possession, anywhere he went on the court.  Curry, happy to let his teammates play every possession 4-on-3, stood in the corner and watched as they got open look after open look (14 threes went down).  Remember, Jimmy Patsos is the coach who decided to leave the bench last week during a game to sit in the stands.  We’re starting to seriously worry that he could be losing his mind.  We’re not sure if a player averaging over 35ppg has ever had a scoreless game, but jeez, Steph, what happened on the three shots you missed?

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Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.

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This Week in the A-10
By Christian Marge | November 24, 2008

PLAYER OF THE WEEKKeith Cothran, Junior, URI.  Quite simply, Keith Cothran had his best week as a collegiate player, leading URI to a 2-0 week with wins over Monmouth and Virginia Commonwealth.  In back to back games, Cothran set new career highs in points, as he poured in 18 against Monmouth, and 23 against the CAA favorites, VCU.  Cothran shot a blistering 17-26 (65%) from the field during the two-game stretch.  On the year, the junior is averaging 14.7 points and 1.7 steals per game, while also shooting 42.9% from three point range; up 19% on the young season, from his figure last season.

HONORABLE MENTION: Aaron Jackson, (Sr.) Duquesne; Dionte Christmas, (Sr.) Temple; Rodney Green, (Jr.) La Salle.

(Note: College Chalktalk’s week runs from the previous Monday through Sunday, given the release of ‘This Week in the A-10′ each Monday morning.)

GAME OF THE WEEK:  November 21st, 2008.  Xavier 63, Virginia Tech 62.

In a week full of close games, this one took the cake as Xavier’s Dante Jackson nailed a half-court buzzer beater to lead the Musketeers to a one-point win in the semifinal of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.  Jackson had been 0-8 from the field before he let his miraculous shot fly.  The win for Xavier marked the first blemish for Virginia Tech.  In fact, it marked the first game any ACC team had lost this season, as the conference had gone 29-0 til Jackson’s shot banked off the glass and dropped through the net.

HONORABLE MENTION: St. Bonaventure 64, Rutgers 63 (OT).

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: Ahmad Nivins (21.0 ppg., 12.5 rpg) leads Saint Joseph’s out to Maui to face a Texas Longhorns squad in the Maui Invitational.  Texas has excellent balance, led by A.J. Abrams and Damion James.  The Hawks’ Tasheed Carr, formerly of the Big 12 (Iowa State) will try to contain Abrams and frustrate the Longhorn attack, as SJU would prefer to keep this contest in the sixties.

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK: Xavier (Current RPI: No. 13)

A perfect 4-0 on the week with your lowest ranked opponent at RPI#119 (Missouri) will certainly boost team standing.  The Musketeers made a final jump, leaping fifteen spots by knocking off Memphis to claim the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Championship.

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK: Charlotte (Current RPI: No. 319)

It’s difficult to fall harder than the 49ers have to start the season.  Their lone win on the season came against RPI #337 UNC-Greensboro.  A strength of schedule at 299 and a 1-3 record hurts the ‘Niner cause.  RPI help is on the way if Charlotte can seize the opportunity in a loaded Anaheim Classic field this coming weekend.

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Checking in on the… SEC

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

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Kurt of SEC Hoops: The Good, The Bad, The Dirty is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

Okay, so the Southeastern Conference has…well…embarrassed itself. Kentucky got the party started with a home loss to VMI and as of this posting, only four unbeatens remain in what was formerly considered a “power conference.” This season is looking like a major reloading session for the SEC, as nearly every team is falling short of pre-season expectations. Stars like Shan Foster, Chris Lofton, Jamont Gordon and Marreese Speights have exited and the conference is feeling the losses in a big way.  Let’s get to this week’s SEC rankings…

Week One Power Rankings

  1. #12 Tennessee (3-0)
  2. Mississippi State (4-0)
  3. LSU (3-0)
  4. #17 Florida (3-1)
  5. South Carolina (3-0)
  6. Vanderbilt (1-1)
  7. Auburn (2-1)
  8. Alabama (1-1)
  9. Kentucky (2-2)
  10. Ole Miss (3-1)
  11. Georgia (3-1)
  12. Arkansas (2-1)

For now, we’ll classify the teams in terms of how they are performing versus how they were expected to before the season. This category will change pretty often, depending on the week, but each one will feature a short snippet of each team in the conference.

Surprise Teams

While “expectations” are subjective, these are teams that are playing above the level they were expected to at this point in the season.

Mississippi State – The Bulldogs’ offseason seemed to be one gigantic nightmare. The most potent duo in the conference in Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes departed for the NBA (or not) and a third starter in Ben Hansbrough to transfer. Instead of taking a step backward, the squad has meshed surprisingly well on the shoulders of reigning National Defensive Player of the Year Jarvis Varnado, who is thus far averaging just short of a triple-double with 10.3ppg, 13.0rpg, and 7.8bpg. Varnado again leads the nation in blocks and has helped State lead the SEC in seven statistical categories thus far. Freshman point guard Dee Bost has been outstanding in early play, currently leading the SEC in assists per game with 6.75apg. The competition has been weak, but while other league teams are dropping those games, the Bulldogs have been owning their opponents so far.

LSU - The other West standout is in a very similar situation as Mississippi State, except that expectations for the Tigers are high considering their high talent level and experience versus the rest of the Western Division. LSU’s competition level has been similarly weak, but LSU is defeating teams by an average of 25.7ppg and is looking to be the surprise team of the SEC. The Tigers are stacked with potent offensive players in Bo Spencer, Tasmin Mitchell and Marcus Thornton, but are surprisingly stingy on defense as well.  With the conference down, LSU could win enough conference games to make the NCAA Tournament as long as the squad stays healthy. LSU lacks depth, so any loss would be a disaster.

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Which One is Jamie, and Is She Single?*

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

Ray Floriani (pictured, center) of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.  A dilettante of the highest order, he attended the Coaches vs. Cancer final rounds in New York last week.

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*(ed. note: Ray wrote in to say that Jamie is the redhead on the far left – no, not the Bruin)

NEW YORK CITY – Part of the excitement and ambience of college basketball involves the fans. As in fanatic, passionate and devoted. Largely associated with them is the spirit groups, cheerleaders, dance teams, etc.

Coaches vs. Cancer last week in New York afforded the opportunity to meet with the UCLA Dance Team, the only team in town. “We appear at weddings, civic events and charity events,” coach Molly Vehling said. “But our most important job is cheering for our teams. We cheer at  football and basketball games and it makes me proud that we traveled the farthest and have the only (spirit) group here.”

Those chosen for teams as UCLA dancers go through tryouts. After being selected comes weekly practices punctuated by conditioning. The ladies on the dance teams, at UCLA and other schools, are athletes in their own right.

To a member, this was the first trip to Madison Square Garden for the team. They took in the obligatory sights from Central Park, Fifth Avenue to Ground Zero. Getting on the Garden floor brought added meaning to their performance.

“This (MSG) is a great place to cheer,” said Jamie, a senior. “I’ve cheered in the Staples Center which is similar but here there is so much history.” Jamie used the trip as a test. She’s a microbiology major hoping to go to law school. She’s looking at NYU Law so her first trip to the Big Apple had added significance. Her impression? “New York is a great city, just a little chilly.” Understandable since the region was hit with unseasonably cold temperatures in the low thirties.

Her teammate Michelle summed up the experience, ”this (Madison Square Garden and New York) is just an awesome place.”

After finishing the trip on a high note as the Bruins defeated Southern Illinois in the consolation game, the dance team was off to Broadway.  What show, I asked? ‘The Rockettes,” they answered in unison.  Makes sense one talented dance group seeing another.

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Checking in on the… Big 10

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

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Josh & Mike at Big Ten Geeks are the RTC correspondents for the Big Ten Conference.

Looking Back

The team that’s made the most noise in the Big Ten so far this season is Michigan.  The Wolverines defeated UCLA 55-52 on their way to the Coaches vs. Cancer final, where Duke ran away in the second half.  But it’s a long season, and we still can’t really say if Michigan is that good, or if UCLA is just that bad (probably a bit of both).  What is encouraging, however, was the turnover situation for Beilein’s crew.  The Wolverines have been forcing TOs while taking care of the ball on their end of the floor in this early part of the season, and what’s more, that trend continued against Duke, which is a difficult thing to do (last year, Duke was among the nation’s elite with respect to TOs on both sides of the ball).  This was a staple of Beilein-ball when he was at West Virginia, so it’s more evidence that the players are adjusting to his system.

Oh, and Manny Harris has been unstoppable.  He’s been taking about 29% of Michigan’s shots so far this season, and despite that high shot diet, he has maintained a superb efficiency (96 points on 49 shots).  He’s also been rebounding like a SF and dishing assists like Mike Conley.  He can’t, of course, keep this up.  But the Big Ten is on notice – Manny is now MANNY.

Wisconsin has had a rough go of it early in the season.  While they haven’t lost, they struggled more than they should have against Long Beach State, and Iona took them to overtime.  There hasn’t been a glaring root cause, so this is probably not something to get too worked up over, but this is probably not a 30-win team.

Purdue and Michigan State have coasted in their early season schedules, but things will get more interesting soon.

Illinois posted a road win against Vanderbilt, and while the Commodores likely aren’t an NCAA team, the Illini weren’t exactly flush with road wins last season.  One number that has been of great comfort to Illini fans is the 77% free throw shooting so far this season.

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Jimmy Connors Is Having None of Your Instructions

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

Somehow in the libational haze of last Friday night’s self-induced dystopia, we noted a strange factoid surfacing across the ESPN bottom-line crawler.  Tennis great Jimmy Connors, he of the former #1 ranking and a current Santa Barbara resident, had gotten into some kind of row with another fan outside the UCSB Thunderdome prior to the Gauchos’ game with #1 North Carolina, and found himself arrested.  The story got lost among all the football and hoops this weekend, but we wanted to make sure that we remembered it correctly.  Turns out, we did.  From the NY Daily News report:

Tennis giant Jimmy Connors was arrested outside a college basketball game in California for standing his ground, police said.  Connors, 56, was ordered to move away from the entrance of the Thunderdome just before UC Santa Barbara and top-ranked North Carolina were set to play Friday night.  The eight-time Grand Slam champ, known for his fiery temperament in his heyday, refused and was arrested, police said.

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(photo credit: MensVogue)

We can only speculate as to who the other guy must have been or what he must have done to elicit such rage in Connors so that he would miss the once-in-a-generation opportunity for the local school (of which he supposedly is a fan) to host the nation’s #1 ranked team.  Hmmm…

Just thinking out loud here, but who fits that description?  What nemesis is capable of eliciting such rage so that Connors would refuse to comply with police instructions and move his arse?  Who could that have been? 

Oh, right. 

john-mcenroe-unc-v3(photo credit: Ron Waite)

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ATB: Fresh Maui Breezes

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

afterbuzzer1

Maui Invitational. Texas vs. Notre Dame could be the best game of the first month of the new season.  UNC vs. Oregon could be interesting, but won’t be.

  • Texas 68, St. Joseph’s 50.  The Texas defense has been absolutely superb so far this season, holding its three opponents to an average of 46.3 ppg and 29% from the field.  St. Joe’s was no different, struggling to find open looks against the long arms and quick feet of the Longhorns.  Damion James and AJ Abrams combined for 31/8 for the Horns, who will hook up with Notre Dame tomorrow in a blockbuster contrast of styles (ND is averaging 82.3 ppg).
  • Notre Dame 88, Indiana 50. This was a complete mismatch from start to finish, as the experienced Golden Domers meticulously picked apart the green Hoosiers in nearly every way possible.  Notre Dame shot 51% as it brought back to the fore that Indiana simply isn’t going to be very good this season.  Tory Jackson had 21/5/6 assts and Kyle McAlarney contributed 18 (all threes) for the Irish.
  • UNC 115, Chaminade 70. UNC rode a 67-pt second half to the second-worst loss that host Chaminade has ever suffered in this tournament.  Roy Williams kept Tyler Hansbrough on the bench throughout, figuring it best to keep him fresh for what will be a much tougher next two days of games.  Danny Green had a career-high 26 pts, while Ty Lawson added 19/6 assts.  UNC will play a revived Oregon next, but we guarantee that the Heels will put up more of a fight defensively than Bama did.
  • Oregon 92, Alabama 69.  At times during this game, Alabama appeared to be the least prepared and worst coached team in America.  And they were playing a team in Oregon that often appears that way themselves, which should really tell you something.  If we had a coconut for every time Bill Raftery or Jay Bilas said the word “terrible,” our living room would smell like Maui right about now.  UO hit a blistering 54% from the floor while holding Bama to 36%.  In a sidenote, Ronald Steele shot 3-11 from the field and just doesn’t look like the same player he was two years ago (before all of his knee injuries).

CBE Classic. It’ll be Syracuse vs. Kansas in KC tomorrow night for the championship.

  • Syracuse 89, Florida 83. Florida’s ‘improved’ defense got exposed exploited, giving up 89 points and 52% shooting to the more athletic Orange in an entertaining up-and-down game that featured several nice performances on both sides.  Paul Harris contributed 18/11 for the Orange, while Alex Tyus chipped in 24/4 for the Gators.
  • Kansas 73, Washington 54. KU’s Cole Aldrich dominated the more ballyhooed Jon Brockman by dropping 16/9/6 blks (vs. Brockman’s 7/18 on 2-9 shooting) in the Jayhawks’ blowout victory in the semis of the CBE Classic.  The Kansas defense held the Huskies to 29% shooting for the game, and frankly, Washington largely looked out of sorts for much of this game.

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