UCONN takes a Husky on the Cards

February 2, 2009
We miss when he used to look like Jar Jar Binks with those corn rows

We miss when he used to look like Jar Jar Binks with those corn rows

UCONN took over as the top dawg in the NC2A on Monday.  Coincidently HUSKY NATION! was slated to test that #1 spot right away.  Now the test sounded daunting… on the road, versus arguably the hottest team in the nation, the #7 Louisville Cardinals.   The game brewed with anticipation and hype.  Would the #1 team only relish in the ironic glory of the top spot for less than 24 hours?

No.  That did not happen.  However, Jim Calhoun did get his own version of “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” at Rick Pitino’s expense.  Louisville jumped out to a 14-9 lead in the first 5 minutes but then went scoreless for seven minutes.  That allowed the Huskies to climb back into it, taking a 28-26 lead.  Then came the under 4 minutes-TV Timeout.  This is where it got interesting.

 “Round, round, round…I get around!”  What the hell target audience is ESPN going after?  Louisville could have used some of that freedom and mobility, as the Cards did not score for the final 5:12 of the first half.  HAHA, over 12 minutes of scoreless basketball.  That is not the only astonishingly awful statistic for the Louisville Cardinals…2…two free throw attempts, two free throw makes (100%, yes, go ahead and celebrate that).   With a 38-26 lead at halftime, the UConn Huskies would extend and keep the lead at a comfortable 10 to 15 points before closing it out for the 68-51 victory. Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant tells us, “Louisville fans began leaving with a just under four minutes remaining.”  UConn was led by Jeff Adrien’s 18 points.

If we were Louisville, we would blame the Hoveround and their  “free in-home-test-drive.”  Sadly, that was the most entertaining 2 minutes of the broadcast.


Big East tips off, Georgetown makes noise

December 29, 2008

Monroe looked like the better pro prospect in G'Town's win over UCONN

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.





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?


Quickie Recap 12.4: Even a “bag-tag” won’t slow down Griffin, 8 is greater than 9

December 5, 2008
Every man feels his pain

Every man feels his pain

Who would attack the “manhood” of arguably the strongest player in college basketball? Enter Leonard Washington…exit Leonard Washington. Not only is Leonard Washington mentally inferior, he also still believes it is acceptable to play the elementary school “bag-tag” game.

After Blake was able to get over that not-so-loving feeling, he was able to convert 11 of the Sooners final 21 points, leading them to a 73-72 victory. The Sooners are now 7-0 and looking very nice.

Texas was able to give UCLA their second loss in the early season, as part of yet another inter-conference series. AJ Abrams led all with 31, with a tie-breaking three ball with just under three minutes left.

UCONN quietly avoids a monumental upset from the Buffalo Bulls, their only true non-conference road game. This begs the question if the Huskies are ready for the Big East grind, which is sure to be tagged as ‘historical’ before this season is over.


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.



The Doug Wiggins Level of Embarrassment Test

November 25, 2008
Does Doug need a hug?

Does Doug need a hug?

Scenario #1: Caught alone, in a bathroom of a house, that you broke into? A bathroom, really?

Scenario #2: Caught alone in a car, parked, on the side of the road, with Jerome Dyson (pot and booze on hand)? Did we mention they were alone, parked on the side of the road?

Which one do you think is more embarrassing? Couldn’t decide? Good, we can’t either. Well, we could just ask Doug Wiggins, he lived them both. Don’t be confused by the two different schools in the articles, this isn’t one of those “one armed man” deja vu-type events. Doug Wiggins is currently sitting out his mandatory year, resulting from his transfer from UCONN to UMASS.

Don’t go down that road Doug!!! You could one day have a blog named after you!!!


Quickie Recap 11.23: Good Mornin’!!!!

November 23, 2008
johnmadden

Turducken!!!

Happy Monday! We’re excited…three day week then it’s T-GIVING!!! For our readers that actually know us, which is probably much larger than those that don’t know us, the better half of this blog will be in Maine for the long weekend. Matt has decided to jet to Happy Valley, PA, probably to continue lamenting that loss to Iowa. Nick will see the rest of you at “Bull Feeney’s”.

**Also note that we have taken that extra step and bought the domain name and dropped the .wordpress. It sounds easy but it wasn’t, and we hope to never have to ‘domain map’ ever again.**

Anyways, we had a fairly quiet weekend in the world of college basketball. Xavier did pull out a victory over Memphis, who is nowhere near the 12th best team in the country. They still need to determine their backcourt rotation and Tyreke Evans needs to realize that he’s got a lot to work on before he goes pro.

As a XU alum (Nick) it’s tough not to give special attention to them, but it truly is a big win for the program. For the past few years their success has been in March, usually after slow starts and missed opportunities in early season tournaments. This win is significant for those close to the program and have watched the Musketeers take the steps to gain recognition over the years.

Another game we highlighted, but unfortunately missed out on was UCONN and Miami. While they will finish no better than 3rd in the ACC the Hurricanes are an intriguing team with Jack McClinton, a guard with ‘light it up’ potential. JM led all with 27, but the rest of his team shot a dismal 22 percent. UCONN was in control most of the game with 19 from Thabeet, and 36 combined points from that discusting backcourt (Price, Walker, Dyson).

Looking ahead, the Maui Invitiational and Old Spice Classic get underway this week. We’re can’t wait to get our first look at a pair of Big 10 teams, for very different reasons. The sure-to-be trainwreck that is the Indiana Hoosiers open up against Notre Dame in Hawaii…meanwhile, we’re guessing the rest of their coaching staff will be devising a way to beat Chaminade he 7th place game.

Also want to check out Michigan State, to see just how good Raymar Morgan can be as a leader this year. Drew Neitzel was the glue guy–he’s obviously gone–it will be interesting to see the early season chemistry on this team.


Quickie 11.17 Recap: Lot of Games, Little Action

November 17, 2008

Pitt's dominating win over Miami was like a girl _____________ Tower

So there was a bevy of games on the slate last night. For those of you looking for some drama and hoping for something like Miami of Ohio following up their effort against UCLA–well nothing of the like really happened. Pittsburgh turned it on in the 2nd half and steamrolled those Red Hawks, UCONN scored two more points in the 2nd half than their opponent put up in the entire game, and Stephen Curry is doing his best to extinguish any doubt that moving to point guard will prevent him from scoring points, dismantling a trifling JMU squad. Villanova also put up an impressive 107 points to annihilate Fordham. Er scratch that…Fordham would struggle against Division III teams, they’re atrocious

The closest game on the Top 25 scoreboard was Georgetown (probably on auto-pilot) with a nine point win over Jacksonville. Boring.

Yes, I (Nick) am aware that it appears I am purposely overlooking Sunday’s Duke-URI outcome, where Jimmy Baron nearly single-handedly snapped the Blue Devils 62 game home non-conference winning streak. My response…this time of the season is like Spring Training: If you win, great. If you lose…well it’s just Spring Training. Right? RIGHT? Anyone?

Anyways we’re looking forward to the first big matchup of the season…UNC and Kentucky. The Wildcats still suck but at least it’s a “brand-name.” Tyler Hansborough is still out with that injury, so we won’t need a big bottle of Aleve handy just to watch the entire 40 minutes of play.


Obligatory Preseason Top 10. #’s 5-1.

November 12, 2008

OK it’s just about that time. Baseball is finito, ESPN is in full on “NFL ALL DAY EVERYDAY UNTIL IT HURTS!!!” mode, and it’s getting effing cold in the Northeast. That can only mean one thing…National Novel Writing Month college basketball is about to finally tip-off. We’re not that into the whole preseason prediction crap–we’ll leave that to the talking heads. But even so we must post something. So we will stick to a quick top ten, as we finally get this blog rolling.

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#5 DUKE BLUE DEVILS

Elliot Williams might actually make the Dookies seem cool

Elliot Williams might actually make the Dookies seem cool

There’s a lot of Dukie haters out there, we fully understand that. Those haters are already piping off about how Kyle Singler and Greg Paulus have no business being in the discussion of All-Americans. They’re piping off about how Coach K will surely have an Olympic hangover, and they’re piping off about how Duke is a school for tools. We get that, but Duke is back.

Despite only three tournament wins in the past three seasons, the Blue Devils will have a swagger again, despite having the highest percentage of Caucasians in this top ten. That’s OK though, cause white boys can shoot and usually come from wealthy families that were able to pay for superior private education. This means they are smart and resourceful.

Expect an unbelievable season from Gerald Henderson. This guy is a poor (yes very poor) man’s version of Kobe Bryant, with his ability to slash and beat anyone off the dribble. Nolan Smith will see more minutes this year, and can play any guard position, as well as help out Paulus at the point.

Also take note of incoming freshman Elliot Williams. He’s drawing Jason Williams comparisons, which is good news for Cameron Crazies. He also has a nick name: E-Mail, we guess that kind of makes sense. They rumble with UNC on February 11th, and again on March 8th to close out the season. Hopefully the Dukies, and “E-Mail”, can fill the Tar Heels inbox with spam. ZING!!!!!!!

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#4 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

He's got two left feet, but we still love Idong Ibok

He's got two left feet, but we still love Idong Ibok

It’s easy to forget about how consistent the Michigan State program has been under Tom Izzo. But hey, they play in the Big 10 and that conference can’t really be analogized with anything overly exciting.

Despite losing fan favorite Drew Neitzel, the Spartans return more experienced and more athletic. Kalin Lucas will take over the point. He’s a solid all-around player who will pose more of a scoring threat than Neitzel. Raymar Morgan is the league’s most versatile player and our darkhorse for national player of the year. And while he won’t make or break the season, Idong Ibok is back. He’s off the charts in terms of unintentional humor.

Keep an eye on incoming freshman Delvin Roe, who missed much of his senior year of high school after severely injuring his left knee. Tom Izzo is high on this kid who is from talent rich Ohio and could make an immediate impact once he’s 100 percent.

College basketball enthusiasts will get a good read on the Spartans early in the season, as they once again have some great match-ups against the likes of UNC and Kansas, and are playing in the Old Spice Classic with headliners Gonzaga, Tennessee and Georgetown.

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#3 UCONN HUSKIES

Loaded with NBA talent once again, UCONN is scary good

Loaded with NBA talent once again, UCONN is scary good

If incoming freshman Kemba Walker is as advertised, then Jim Calhoun will just have a ball with his backcourt rotation. Between him and team mainstays AJ Price, Craig Austrie and Jerome Dyson, this quartet could moonlight selling ball-handling instructional DVD’s to AAU coaches across the country.

Price will probably start the season off a little slow. Let’s not forget he suffered a torn ACL in the 1st round of last year’s tournament, which they were beaten at the buzzer by San Diego and bounced from the tourney. Another story line to keep an eye on: Jerome Dyson. He’s gonna have to stop pissing off Jim Calhoun if he wants to stay in the rotation. Hey UCONN fans, does it hurt thinking about all this? Should we cut deeper. OK we’ll stop.

On the flip side, Calhoun absloutely loves Hasheem Thabeet. The big man really came into his own last year, and we expect him to be the most imposing player in the country by the end of the season. Also, don’t forget about Jeff Adrien — “The Banger from Brookline, Mass” (We totally just coined that ourselves). If someone gave us three to one odds that he throws down at some point during the always grueling Big East schedule, we’d wager 50 bucks and expect a $150 payout. We’d also bet on them winning 30+ games, and making the Final Four.

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#2 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS

A lot of people get peeved at Rick Pitino, and a lot of people think he gets dressed in the dark, but we like him even though he made a mockery of the Boston Celtics by letting roughly 27 Kentucky Wildcat guys play for the green during his tumultuous tenure. Nonetheless, he’s a great recruiter who has put together a roster of upperclassmen and underclassmen who can all contribute, and will certainly compete for minutes throughout the season.

Earl Clark is back for his junior season, Terrence Williams is our choice for Big East Player of the year, and incoming freshman Samardo Samuels will easily fill the void of David Padgett and Juan Palacios. Thankfully, the negativity in Louisville doesn’t suck like it does in Boston, so their departure won’t lead to a Pitino rant justifying why his team is in shambles. No really we do forgive him, seriously.

Not a lot to complain about this team, except how we’re still not sure how to exactly pronounce Louisville (is it Lulville, Loulville, or Louisville). Whatever, we’re never going to live there so screw em. Just enjoy this team, and their fairly easy schedule even though they’re in the Big East. This team is destined for the Final Four, and a potential 2008 Elite Eight rematch with UNC, only this time it could be for the national title.

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#1 NORTH CAROLINA TARHEELS

Yeaaa Bobby Frasor, you're wicked sweet

Yeaaa Bobby Frasor, you are wicked sweet

Duke fans can bitch and moan all they want, so I (Nick) guess I will too, but this could become the season of the ubiquitous Tar Heels. Anyone not predicting UNC to tear down the nets on April 4, 2009 either wants attention, or is a complete and ignorant homer of one of these other nine teams.

We love attention and we hate UNC, but have to be rational and give them their props. Ty Lawson is back, Wayne Ellington is back and, oh yeah, that goon with limited NBA potential who has Medusa like powers when others look at his face, Tyler Hansborough, is back to patrol the middle and bother us tremendously.

The good news for the Tar Heels is obvious: there’s a wealth of talent and experience from top to bottom and that should allow them to overcome any and all obstacles thrown at them. The bad news is they will be expected to win nearly every game, and anything less than a title will certainly be labeled a failure. If they fail it will be awesome but, realistically, don’t expect it to happen.