January 31, 2009
Gut check time
Two preseason top 15 teams will finally exit the rankings this week, as Georgetown and Notre Dame are struggling so badly their conference affiliation can’t even save them as they continue to take on water.
Today, the Irish were taken care of by Pittsburgh, and Georgetown kept it close but never really made an effort to win, falling to Marquette. Both teams shouldn’t have been expected to win these games, but now that the two are 3-6 in conference play, it’s time to shed light on their faulty play.
First for Georgetown, they have the road victory over UCONN to hang their hat on, but nothing more. Since then they are 0-5 on the road and, on the whole, have no other impressive wins. If you want to counter with the “toughest schedule in the nation card,” then we’re going to say they lead the country in missed opportunities. Plus, they also lost to Tennessee earlier this season. At the time it was no big deal but as we’ve stated before–the Volunteers lack of fundamentals simply piss us off.
In South Bend, it starts with Luke and ends with Harangody. The reigning Big East player of the year accounts for 32 percent of the Irish’s offense. Sounds cool, but it’s never a winning formula for a team with aspirations of making a deep tournament run. His frontcourt running mate, Zach Hillesland ranks among the least talented, regular starters for any Division I college basketball team according to us. Yes, that’s harsh and not based around statistics, but it’s our interpretation of the situation, and proof of how short a rotation Mike Brey is working with.
So is it time to write these teams off? They currently sit 10th and 11th, (dis)respectfully in the conference, and it’s starting to be less conceivable that many teams will qualify for the field of 64.
January 17, 2009
Yeah, their togetherness pisses us off too
And so it begins…the debate for best conference. All along the east coast the debate for strongest conference has been fairly hostile among ACC supporters and Big East supporters. Before the season almost 100% of college basketball fans believed the Big East was the beast of the east but with team’s like Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke and UNC posting up in the Top 10 at the mid season mark, the argument gets a little hazy.
Saturday afternoon a lot of arguments got a little more heated when Georgetown, coming off an impressive home victory over Syracuse earlier that week, traveled into the Cameron Crazy Kingdom to take on the Dukies. Earlier in the week, even Coach K got into the mix, proclaiming that the ACC is better than the Big East. Well, his team responded, defeating the G’town Hoyas 76-67. The game remained tight until Duke went on an 11-0 run to finish the final 4:38 of the first half. Duke seemed to have it in cruise control for the remainder of the game. The debate will finally be settled in March when the dust settles and one by one teams are eliminated.
January 4, 2009
A lot of love in Pittsburgh, maybe too much
Georgetown received a giant reality check on Saturday afternoon, or maybe it was just the reality of how vicious the Big East will be this year. After going to Storrs and knocking off the #2 Huskies earlier in the week, they were rewarded with a match-up against the undefeated and energized Pittsburgh Panthers. The Hoyas kept it close in the first half, with DeJuan Summers putting the team on his back. However, the depth and toughness of the Panthers was too much for the Hoyas. Tied at 40 with just under 15 minutes to go in the game, Pittsburgh outscored the Hoyas (turned puppies) 30 – 14 down the stretch in order to prevail 70 – 54. DeJuan Blair may only be 6’7″ but he may be the second coming of “The Round Mound of Rebound.” Blair finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds and the Panthers out rebounded the Hoyas 46-21. Levance Fields dished out 8 assists with zero turnovers, improving his assist to turnover ratio to 4.8 : 1. The 16 point loss was the Hoya’s worst home loss since 2004.
Moving up I-95 a few hundred miles, there is a little something to jam about today in Jamaica, New York. The St. John’s Red Storm created a lot of havoc for a sharp shooting Notre Dame team, in order to get a major upset 71 – 65. Notre Dame came into Saturday’s game averaging slightly under 10 three balls a game. The Fightin’ Irish were not able to weather the Red Storm’s tenacious defense that only allowed the Irish to hit on 4 of their 17 three point attempts. DJ Kennedy aided on the offensive end with 20 points, he also collected 10 boards. Luke Harangody still “got his” in the form of 28 points and 14 rebounds. This is a bad loss for the Irish, who can’t afford to drop ones to the bottom feeders of the brutal Big East.
Wake Forest took their unblemished record to the Land of Latter Day Saints and were able to keep it perfect in downing the BYU Cougars 94 – 87. The loss ended a 53 game home win streak for the Cougars. In an ESPN recap it was stated, “Wake Forest had to rally from an eight-point deficit in the second half and an entire game of deafening taunts and chants from the home fans, who were loud and rowdy throughout the night.” Wrap your head around that. Mormons = sober, we’re awfully confused. Jeff Teague led the Demon Deacons with 30 points and James Johnson helped with 22 points and 15 rebounds. BYU was led by Jimmer Fredette’s 23 points and 9 rebounds, a majority coming from his first half performance. We’re guessing BYU will not be inviting anymore Demon Deacons into their church gym anytime soon. Wake now has a full week off before inviting the #1 UNC Tar Heels down Tobacco Road.
December 29, 2008
Monroe looked like the better pro prospect last night in G'Town's win over UCONN
The Class of 2008 is a prime example of why David Stern finally decided to enforce an age requirement in the NBA. If he hadn’t there’s a pretty good chance BJ Mullens would already be a Robert Swift-type enigma or Jrue Holiday would be toiling in the NBDL.
This class has minimal NBA studs, but tonight Georgetown’s Greg Monroe might have established himself as its jewel.
Monroe, Jay Bilas’s new favorite “Long and Active Prospect,” dropped 16 and Dajaun Summers led all with 18 in a huge statement victory over UCONN, as the most important conference in college basketball started league play.
The ball was tipped, Jim Calhoun swore seven times, and then suddenly his team was down 15-1. Jerome Dyson played frighteningly awful: four points on 1 of 10 shooting, with the lone field goal coming in mop-up time. Also noteworthy, it was the first time this season the Huskies failed to make more free throws than their opponent even attempted. Quite a feat up until this game.
A tip for everyone: next time you get to play Hasheem Thabeet one-on-one, be sure to up-fake a few times in order to find a clear lane to the basket. Perimeter Defense 101, Thabeet hasn’t taken the class.
Calhoun wasn’t really chatty after the loss, as his post-game presser was brief and straightforward. Maybe he’s just still peeved the Red Sox didn’t sign Mark Teixeira.
November 29, 2008
Blake Griffin: All-American, bully who throws balls at his peers
It’s only the Preseason NIT, but it might carry more weight than its sister tournament held in March. Oklahoma took home the trophy tonight over Purdue. Blake Griffin adds more hardware to the Blake and Taylor Griffin trophy mantle, taking home Tournament MVP honors.
It’s no secret that freshman in Madison Square Garden can get a little caught up in the moment, and we saw that in this game. Down 83-80 with nine seconds left, Purdue’s Freshman PG Lewis Jackson froze in the middle of the lane like a early teenage boy forced to slow dance. He panicked and threw the ball directly out of bounds, which ensured victory for the Sooners.
We’ve got to think this infuriated Purdue’s Namanja Calasan, a guy we’re already handicapping as the “2031 Suburban Indianapolis Adult Men’s League MVP.” After playing his bum off the entire game and getting slapped around by the better Griffin, he has to settle for some sort of moral victory. For the record, since he’s really good, let’s note that Griffin put up 18 and more importantly had 21 “window cleans.”
Down in Disney Tennessee and Georgetown put on a shooting clinic, essentially playing 40 minutes of L-A-K-E-B-U-E-N-A-V-I-S-T-A-F-L-O-R-I-D-A (that’s ‘Horse’ but much longer, obviously) before the Vols finished off the Hoyas, 90-78. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field but the Vols just made more of ’em, and got the victory. Props to ESPN for breaking the Lane Kiffin new hire story during a Tennessee basketball game. Always love to have something like this provoke John Sciambi into a conversation with Fran Fraschilla about his Heisman favorite. We’d rather hear Dicky V talk about the Tampa Bay Rays, or even his analysis of President elect Barack Obama naming his cabinet. That’s just our take.
Tennessee now will meet Gonzaga in the finals. The Bulldogs brought Gary Williams and his Maryland Terrapins back down to earth, after they took down Sparty of Michigan State in the quarterfinals. Maryland never led in this game so there’s no point in overanalyzing. Maryland’s consolation prize: We’re not really sure.
November 28, 2008
Fear the Turtle? There’s been nothing of the kind for the latter part of this decade, but Gary Williams’ kids just raised their fans expectations for the season with a convincing T-Giving win over Michigan State. The game went back and forth until about midway through the 2nd half, right when we woke up from a nice nap. Maryland was running away with the game and Gervais Vasquez was running around desperately seeking attention and affirmation from anyone in the building. We love the enthusiasm, but frankly he’s annoying.
So should we expect this to serve as foreshadowing for what’s going to go down in the ACC / Big 10 Challenge next week? We were really looking forward to UNC – Michigan State, but that excitement is quickly dissipating. Anyone think there is an audience for ACC / MAC Challenge next season? Not to embarrass Raymar Morgan but Dave Neal, a four year Terripan bench warmer, had more points (17) than minutes Morgan logged in the game (14). Somewhere, Tom Izzo is scratching his head wondering what happens next.
In the second game of the night session down in Disney, Gonzaga showed their “length”–,said Jay Bilas, in a nice win over Oklahoma State. Kidding aside, this team has the personnel to outscore nearly any team in the country, and we probably should of included them in our preseason Top 10. Despite his reliance on the undershirt, Austin Daye is a pretty good player who can beat you in a number of different ways, and Jeremy Pargo dribbles around the court with the tenacity of an angry bull.
So Maryland now plays Gonzaga, with Tennessee meeting Georgetown on the other side of the bracket. Sorry though, we got nothing on the Vols and Hoyas, too busy eating. We’ll try and multi task better next time.