Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Morning Wakeup Call

Good morning sports fans, Red Bull & Vodka drinkers and those in general who are asking yourself “who’s the hot chick in Talladega Nights playing Ricky Bobby’s wife” and hoping that you’ll soon see her in a late night skinemax movie! This weekend was, in my mind, the official introduction to the 2006-2007 college basketball season as most of the teams now have a few games under their belt and have been able to shake off the pre-season rust. There were plenty Top 25 match-ups, the typical “stars” played to expectations and the possible best freshman class of all-time introduced a few more stars to the national stage. Yours truly went 6-3 in my weekend predictions as Wichita State continues it’s improbable season with a convincing win over Wyoming, BC ran the flex offense to perfection beating the Terps at home and in a wonderful overtime victory, the diaper dandees of Texas showed the maturity of a seasoned prize fighter taking down “Big Baby” and the LSU tigers. Without further ado, forget that it’s Monday, blow off some of that paper work and dig into the very first Monday Morning Wakeup Call!

Big Wins, Bad Losses

Minnesota losing to Arkansas-Little Rock at home by a score of 67-66. The game wasn’t as big for UALR is it was disappointing to the Golden Gophers who fall to 4-7 on the year adding insult to injury following the resignation (forced resignation) of coach Dan Munson

Seton Hall winning by ten against a tough Penn State team behind freshman PG Eugene Harvey’s 27 points and 4 assists improving to 6-1 on the year. Beating Penn State gives the Pirates their first signature win on the year against a solid 6-1 Nittany Lions team who’ve had good wins against St. Joe’s and Bucknell.

Wisconsin, winning 70-66 at Marquette behind Alondo Tucker’s 28 points, was able to hold off a late surge by the golden eagles.

Purdue with a very convincing 79-62 win over Missouri behind Carl Landry’s 23 points and 12 rebounds. The Boilermakers (8-1) now have wins over the Sooners (at Oklahoma), DePaul and Virginia.

Vanderbilt upset a young but talented Georgia Tech squad, 73-64, behind Shane Foster’s 25 points. Vanderbilt has now won four in a row after and awful twelve point loss to Furman. For the game Vandy shot over 50% from the field and held the Yellow Jackets leading scorer, Lewis Clinch (18 PPG) to just 6pts.

Indiana State gave Butler it’s first loss of the year in a surprising 72-64 victory behind Gabe Moore’s 24 points while holding the Bulldogs to just 33% shooting.

Despite 31 points and 10 rebounds from fifth year senior, Curtis Sumpter, Villanova could not hold off Drexel losing at home 81-76. This loss coming after Nova ended Oklahoma’s 44 game non-conference home winning streak just last week.

Sophomore guard Brandon Johnson hit a short jumper in the lane with 19.8 second left and scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half, leading San Diego past California 72-67 in the championship game of the Golden Bear Classic on Saturday night. This is Cal’s second bad defeit of the year already having lost to San Diego State.

19th ranked Nevada was held to only 22 first half points and lost at home to UNLV by the score of 58-49. The Runnin’ Rebels improve to 7-2 while handing Nevada its first loss of the year despite Nick Fazekas’ seventh double-double of the season (16 points/17 rebounds while playing with bruised ribs).

Top Individual Performances

No, it wasn’t Kevin Durant’s performance earning praise in Texas’ most recent victory, there was a new star born in freshman point guard, D.J. Augustine posting 26 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in a stunning overtime win against the LSU tigers. As true a point guard you can find, Augustine just averages 9 points per game along with almost seven assists however he took complete control of the game using high screens and pick and rolls for easy lay-ups while the LSU defense stymied Durant.

Freshman SHU point guard Eugene Harvey netted 27 points and 4 assists in a win over Penn State. Despite miserable shooting by the Pirates for much of the game, Harvey sparked a 21-6 run in the final 7 minutes of play to overcome a twelve point second half deficit. For the year Harvey is averaging almost 16 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.

Senior combo-forward Alondo Tucker’s 28 points on 13 of 22 shooting, to go along with 5 boards, helped propel Wisconsin over Marquette. His points came on an array of post moves, dribble drives and mid-range jumpers and his performance certainly helps solidify his contention for college basketball’s player of the year candidacy. He’s averaging just over 20 points and 4 boards on the year.

While Jermareo Davidson and Ronald Steele sat out of the game, sophomore power forward, Richard Hendrix took it upon himself to score 34 points and grab 10 rebounds on 15 of 19 shooting in a 92-58 victory over Alabama State. Hendrix is averaging almost 15 points 9 rebounds on the season.

Shout-outs

Behind Jarious Jackson’s 25 points, Texas Tech upended the powerhouse of Centenery, 98-64, bringin Bobby Knight within two wins of tying Dean Smith for the most wins in college basketball history – if he plans on passing Smith within the next 3 games it will be against formidable opponents (at Arkansas, Bucknell and UNLV).

Pittsburg wins at Buffalo, 70-67, to improve to 10-0 on the season behind Aaron Grey’s 19 points/11 rebounds; the Panthers were down for a good portion of the game and I was really hoping the Bison would pull this one out to confirm my belief that each year Pitt is the most overrated basketball team – Pitts will need to win at least one of the next two games (at Wisconsin and at Oklahoma State) for me to believe otherwise.

Roy Williams won his 500th game with a 94-69 victory over High Point lead by Tyler Hansbrough’s 24 points - No Division I coach reached the 500-win mark faster than Roy Williams. Fittingly, North Carolina used a quick start to give him that meaningful milestone.

Dayton improved to 8-1 with a 58-49 win over Grambling State; the flyers have already beaten the likes of Louisville and Creighton and will have very tough back to back games at Pitt and at UNC at the end of the month. Dayton is a trendy sleeper pick to win the A-10.

Predictions for the Week

Not much action this week among the nations’ elite, however two games of interest that will serve as a gut check for each of the teams:

UMass (8-2) at Louisville (4-2): An up and coming UMass team with tough losses coming at the hands of Pitt and BC face a very enigmatic Louisville team that, for the past couple of seasons, can’t seem to put it all together. UMass will find out if they can play with the big boys and enter A-10 play with a signature non-conference win, however I believe the overall depth and talent of the Cardinals willpropel them to a convincing win.

Wake Forest (5-2) at DePaul (4-5): After beginning the season with five straight wins, Wake Forest enters the game coming off a 94-58 beating by the service men of the Air Force Academy and a one point heartbreaker to Georgia. DePaul is probably a little more in need of a victory and need someone to step up on the offensive side of the ball as they only have two players in low double figures. I believe this will remain a close one to the end (remember DePaul upsetting Kansas) but I don't see a Skip Prosser team losing three in a row.


Quips, Quarrels, Querulous Inquiries

It’s a shame to hear that this weekend’s game between Gonzaga and, instate rival, Washington Huskies was the last in the annual series that has been played for over a decade. Washington is choosing not to renew the contract because it says it has no room on its national schedule next season. I’m not sure whether Washington is suffering from an enlarged cranium, but to end this series will be quite devastating to fans in the state. Both of these teams have endured a number of peaks and valley’s to finally achieve national recognition (Gonazaga until recently has always been considered a mid-major program and the Huskies were forever doormats of the Pac-10 conference) and now are regularly penciled into the field of 65, often times considered sexy Final Four picks – and the one constant: The fans. Little does the East Coast recognize such a rivalry as we are accustomed to the likes of Duke-Carolina, Kentucky-Louisville, Arizona-UCLA, and even the Big 5 typically played at the legendary Palestra (Villanova, St. Joe’s, Temple, UPenn and La Salle), but this is certainly one rivalry that should continue for decades to come. So come on Husky nation, beg, plead and cajole the university to continue the tradition – win or lose it’s great for basketball and it’s great for fans who could do without another blowout victory over Sacramento State just to guarantee a non-conference victory.

3 Comments:

Anonymous pbrods said...

First of all, it is Pittsburgh and not "Pittsburg". Pittsburg is in Kansas, Pittsburgh is the #2 ranked team in the country.

Interesting that you'd say that Pitt is overrated. They beat Florida State (the same FSU that beat the defending national champion Florida Gators) by 22 points. They won at Auburn. And Buffalo had already beaten Miami and Temple away from home.

The only teams in the Top 25 that will play more non-league games on the road are mid-majors Butler and Wichita State.

What exactly is overrated about that?

1:39 PM  
Anonymous pbrods said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention - U of Buffalo call themselves the Bulls, not the Bison. Maybe "Pittsburg" played "the Bison"?

1:44 PM  
Blogger JT & Deuce said...

pbrod - i love you

4:00 PM  

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