Quickie Recap 12.20: Lesson One in Bracketology

December 20, 2008

We can learn a lot from Saturday’s action.  Not all Mormon prayers are answered.  Tubby Smith still loves beating Louisville teams.  Belmont can hang in there with the best.  And the ‘Cuse can actually make free throws.

Harden and ASU get the best of the Good ole' Boys

Harden and ASU got the best of the Good ole' Boys...barely

BYU almost got to “touch each other after the buzzer,” but when Charles Abouo’s bucket to beat the clock was overturned, Arizona State was able to avoid a detrimental loss.  BYU lead the whole second half until nine ticks remained when James Harden knocked in his sixteenth “freebie” from the charity stripe to give the Sun Devils the 76-75 edge.  Harden finished with 30.

Louisville may not be the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the season, falling to the (surprising) undefeated Golden Gophers of Minnesota, 70-64.  Tubby Smith still knows how to coach against that other team from Kentucky.  Pitino could of blamed a nine minute scoring drought on the bus company neglecting to pick the team up at the airport, but all credit should go to Tubby and his staff. He got the final laugh and his team is now 10-0.

The Bruins from Belmont put a huge scare into Bruce pearl’s Tennessee Volunteers, but Tennessee was able to hold on 79-77.  The Bruins returned four starters, all seniors, to a team that you remember nearly upset Duke in last years tournament.  Belmont got 30 from their slasher Alex Renfroe, and almost had us fooled they were capable of pulling off an upset.  Close but not close enough once again, as missed free throws prove costly. Vols win.

Syracuse overcame a wild week in order to pick up a massive “W” at the Pyramid in Memphis, 72-65.  With Devo preparing to pick up trash on I-81, the Orange were led by Jonny Flynn’s 24 points and 6 assists.  Flynn answered every run the Tigers could muster and in the end the Orange overcame their biggest problem this year and knocked down their free throws to seal the deal.

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Pac 10 party in the Desert Classic

December 14, 2008
Despite foul trouble, Hill scored 22 and outplayed the Mushroom Man

Despite foul trouble, Hill outplayed the Mushroom Man

College basketball on a Sunday night often goes unnoticed and we’re fairly reluctant to talk about the Desert Classic out in Phoenix, but the results of both games were noteworthy and could serve as indicators looking forward. So dammit we must blog…

Arizona got their first big win in the post Lute Olsen era, handing Gonzaga their first loss of the season, 69-64. The Wildcat junior trio of Nic Wise, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger combined for 57 points, with Wise making three crucial free throws down the stretch to ensure victory.

We had a hunch that Arizona would fall of the face of earth this season, but here they are at 7-2 (both losses coming by a single point) with a win over the Zags. Wise impressed tonight, looking like the heady-type point guard we are accustomed to seeing at this school. If he can replicate tonight’s output throughout the season, he may challenge Darren Collison as the league’s top PG…no joke.

Preceding Zona’s win, their intrastate rival needed OT to defeat IUPUI . The Sun Devils lone lead was the final score, and James Harden was essentially a non-factor– scoring only nine points. Instead it was Rihards Kuksiks’ six three pointers that got them out of a 16 point hole in the second half. The SFBE jury is still out on this team. Harden is supposed to play the role of unheralded All-American this season, but he’s shown to be inconsistent and his team can’t be struggling to defeat a school that serves as a crappy satellite campus for both Purdue and Indiana University.