Don’t (go to) sleep on the WCC

January 30, 2009
Zags fly high late night

Zags fly high late night

On Thursday at 11pm many peeps on the East Coast were either hopping into bed to prepare for another dress-down Friday, or were partaking in Thirsty Thursday because Jager bombs are generally six bucks.  Either way,  St. Mary’s – Gonzaga did not receive the exposure it deserved.

Do you come from a land down under?  St. Mary’s came into Spokane with the nation’s longest winning streak, 15, and they’ve done it with a handful of Aussies. Patty Mayonnaise Mills leads the unit and might be the best point guard in the country, a title he proved worthy of in the first half with six threes that gave him his scoring average in just the first 20 minutes of play…but that would be it for Mr. Mills.  

The all-world guard broke his hand early in the second half, and will be out for the next month according to Andy Katz. The ‘Zags came out salivating and took advantage of a Gaels team lacking a legit ball-handler and scoring threat. Mark Few’s teami initiated the attack with a 12-0 run and never looked back, picking up an important 69-62 victory.

The Zags got their points in “score by committee form,” with 4 players going for double digits, led by Matt Bouldin’s 17 (Dan Dickau wanna-be).  Bud Wither’s of the Seattle Times reports that Zags Coach Mark Few called it a “Morrison-like effort.”  We thought we would be rid of that guy, but he still haunts us.


Quickie Recap 12.24: Eggnog weighing some teams down

December 24, 2008
Santa Disguised

Santa Disguised

A #16 seed has never beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, so there’s some perspective here on Portland State’s win last night over Gonzaga. The Vikings are only 10 months removed from their first NCAA tournament, they were at 16 seed. On the Eve of Christmas Eve, not even a blizzard could stop the Viking’s conquest of Spokane to down the #7 Bulldogs– only the their 3rd loss at home since 2004.

These Vikings were not led by a burly, bearded 6 foot 8 dude. They were led by 5’6″ 150 lb. Jeremiah Dominguez and his seven trey bombs. Dominguez was the Big Sky Conference POY last year and teams might want to put him and his team on their radar in order to prevent a bracket buster loss. The Zags can’t blame this loss on “being drained from the UCONN game,” and all the snow in the world won’t cover up this monumental loss. Have fun shoveling.

Another team that will be lacking some holiday cheer is Xavier. After getting trounced by the Dukies on Saturday, the Butler Bulldogs came in and slapped the Muskies around on their own floor, 74 – 65. Butler was lead by a couple of underclassmen, Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward, contributing 19 a piece. After a 9-0 start Xavier has dropped their last two, bringing them back to reality after a deceiving national ranking of seven.

Kansas vs. Arizona. Normally this game would be some “must see TV,” but when these two teams got together in Tuscon late Tuesday night it got lost in between the Boise State-TCU game and “A Christmas Story.” Both teams came in unranked but with very respectful records, Arizona 7-3 and Kansas 8-2. ‘Zona looked good, well at least in the second half. Down 44-35 ‘Zona came out of the tunnel in the second half and delivered a flurry of knockout punches, in the form of a 29-6 run. Kansas never could claw back, exiting with a 84 – 67 loss.

Seattle hosts a basketball game, UCONN prevails

December 20, 2008
Yeah, you got that right

Yeah, you got that right

Are we getting to the point where college basketball can’t truly get interesting until Gus Johnson has his first “I CAN’T FEEL MY FACE!!!” call of the season?  Johnson’s 2008-09 debut was fantastic, as CBS sucessfully placed our favorite color commentator for the most enjoyable game as part of their Super Saturday.  UCONN won in a thriller, and Key Arena hosted a worthwhile event–something it doesn’t really do anymore.

Gonzaga had this game won but AJ Price wanted to keep playing, hitting an off-balance-no-business-going-in deep ball that sent the game to overtime, where UCONN ultimately cruised.

Today Price left no doubt he’s better than your team’s point guard, UNC aside.  He out shined Jeremy Pargo, with 24 points complimented with 10 assists.  As a team, the Huskies ability to take control of the extra session sans Hasheem Thabeet was quite impressive.  Throughout the game, Gongaza was apprehensive to attack the basket when the tall Tanzanian was patrolling the low post, but got wide-eyed when Calhoun had to sit him due to foul trouble.  We thought his absence would be fatal, but not so.

The Huskies are now unquestionalby the 2nd best team in the nation. Can they just play the Tar Heels now?

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.

Quickie Recap 11.30: Hilltoppers shock the ‘Ville, Zags win Old Spice

December 1, 2008

On Sunday while everyone was watching the home teams in the NFL go 2-10 , the Courtney Lee-less Western Kentucky Hilltoppers were doing their best to find their own identity, much like the genderless blob that is their mascot.

After taking down the #3 Louisville Cardinals 68-54 on a neutral court, this WKU team may have found what they were searching for.  The undersized Big Red took the lead from the beginning and never let go.  The ‘Ville looked like the kid in preschool trying to put a square block in a circle hole, shooting 27% and only hitting on 6 of 30 three point attempts.

What the hell is a “Hilltopper?” And why is it overweight?

In the championship of the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, #12 Tennessee took on #10 Gonzaga.  The game remained close until about 15 minutes remaining in the second half and then the Zags pulled away, at one point leading by 18 points.  The ‘Zags hit eleven from behind the new 3 point arc, and prevailed 83-74.  Five players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs, something we will come to expect from them as the season progresses.  They will now spend their next four games preparing for UCONN, who visit Spokane on December 20th.

Quickie Recap 11.28: Sooners win NIT, G’Town-UT shoot it out

November 29, 2008
Apparently other teams even have a Man Crush on Blake Griffin

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.

Quickie Recap 11.27: Spartans Tryptophaned

November 28, 2008
Turkey Hangover

Turkey Hangover

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.