Shawn Siegel's Blog
I already discussed half of Saturday's action in last evening's Dribble.. so check that out if there's something missing below.
Georgia picked up their biggest win in the Dennis Felton era by knocking off #19 Gonzaga. The game was played at a very high tempo.. which ended up being perfect for Georgia's athletes. Levi Stukes led all scorers with 25 and Sundiata Gaines also scored 21 as the 7-1 Bulldogs racked up 96 points. Gonzaga fell to 9-3 despite shooting 59% from the floor. The difference in the game was turnovers, as Georgia forced 21 turnovers while only giving it up 12 times. The only big wins under Dennis Felton have been in SEC play, as Georgia knocked off Kentucky in 04, and Bama last year, but this was probably the best one yet. Perhaps this will knock Gonzaga out of the Top 25.. but they have a chance to make a majro statement this week when they face the #9 Duke Blue Devils.
This is a rare Saturday evening edition of the Dribble.. including all the results from a jam packed Saturday afternoon.
The big "upset" was #2 Pittsburgh falling to #7 Wisconsin. But this isn't really a big deal.. Wisconsin is supposed to beat a Pitt team playing a Top 50 team all season. Yes, Aaron Gray wasn't feeling 100% with stre throat, but I don't think that really altered the outcome of the game. Brian Butch went off for 27 points and 12 boards, the type of numbers Wisconsin fans have been waiting for since the heralded Butch signed there. Perhaps a 100% Gray could have done a better job on Butch, but Butch's numbers have more to do with a hot shooting touch and a difference of style. Alando Tucker was rock solid as always with 32 and 10.
I took a slow Thursday of college hoops to watch some NBA Basketball on TNT. Adam Morrison and the Charlotte Bobcats faced JJ Redick and the Orlando Magic in the battle of the new white hopes (at least until Chase Budinger comes along). Morrison came through with 22 points off the bench to help lead Charlotte to a rare win. Morrison is coming off one of the worst shooting slumps of not just his young NBA career.. but of his life.. anybody's life for that matter. From December 3 to December 10, Morrison put up some the worst numbers I've seen in NBA history. December 3: 1-5 shooting, 2 points, 19 minutes. December 6: 1-10 shooting, 4 points, 35 minutes. December 8: 1-11 shooting, 2 points, 30 minutes. December 10: 1-8 shooting, 3 points, 26 minutes. Add it up.. 4 for 34 shooting (12%), 11 points, 110 minutes.. Awful. At least Morrison has shown flashes and is averaging 13 per game.
Oh Louisville.. what should we make of you? You have a big name and a hall of fame coach.. but I guess you're just not that good. Graduation losses and injuries have been too much to bare. There's no shame in losing to a 9-2 UMASS team, or an 8-1 Dayton team, or a 7-1 Arizona team either.. but ultimately you're running out of chances to prove your worth. You don't play a ranked team again until 10 games from now.. by then, perhaps with a loss to Kentucky this weekend or a loss to Notre Dame in a couple weeks.. you'll have blown your at-large chances. Sorry, David Padgett's not going to help you.. the fragile one is as reliable as my old 1980 Ford Fiesta. Juan Palacios is solid but not the star I'd thought he'd be. Derrick Caracter almost has more missed free throws than career points.. But perhaps our expectations are simply too high for you Louisville.. so many freshmen and sophomores is hard to deal with.. especially against more experienced teams like UMASS and Dayton. Perhaps you only need time.. but my patience is running thin.
Its nice to see college athletics programs limiting games played during finals period.. its the only time of the year there's even a fake veil of caring about academics. Not all teams had the day off though..
Hofstra barely escaped with a 67-64 win over lowly Saint Francis (NY). Hofstra's bounced back from a dismal 0-3 start.. but mainly because they've now played 6 bad teams in a row. Wins over Alsaka Anchorage and 0-11 SFNY don't necessarily point to a big Hofstra turnaround as much as a big drop in quality of opponent. Things pick up again for the Pride as they now go on the road to face Syracuse, Saint Joseph's, and UNCW in the next couple of weeks.
Not much going on in college basketball until next Saturday thanks to finals. There were some games of note on Monday.. but mostly I can take today's Dribble to discuss whatever nonsense I please.
The Games. New Top 25 member Oregon improved to 8-0 by blowing out Bethune- Cookman by 28. The big margin gave little used freshman Joevan (a potential All-first name pick) Catron a chance to shine. Catron, who had scored 9 points all season, poured in 15 on 6 of 6 shooting.
New Mexico State's won 5 in a row after a bad 1-3 start. The Aggies were supposed to be an NCAA Tournament contender, but they've still yet to win a game on the road. Senior Elijah Ingram has been hampered with achilles issues all year and has been coming off the bench. The point guard only played 11 minutes in Monday's easy win over UAPB. Transfer Fred Peete, who was supposed to be a major scoring force, has only been mediocre. Peete averaged 13 per game two years ago with Kansas State, but is only averaging 10 so far on a weak 38% from the floor. To make things worse, the shooting guard is just 15 of 27 from the line.
Sunday was rather tame compared to such a wild slate of games on Saturday. The big game of course was Texas vs LSU, which didn't disappoint by going to overtime. The Longhorns won 76-75 thanks in large part to DJ Augustin's ability to drive to the hoop, and AJ Abrams threes in overtime. The best freshman wasn't Kevin Durant, but Augustin who ended up with a career high 25 to go along with 5 assists. I found it a bit odd at the end of regulation that they gave the ball to Abrams at the top of the key in the closing seconds instead of Augustin. Augustin is clearly better at beating guys off the dribble, and it makes more sense to have Abrams, your best shooter out on the wing.
Wow.. what a day of college basketball.. big games, big wins, big performances.. this is what it's all about. I have so much to say.. I wont be able to give justice to any one game or team. Behold the power of stream of consciousness..
No need to see the #2 team in the country dancing around when they beat a 6-4 Buffalo team. I know people always say a win is a win, and Pitt is now 10-0.. but I have a hard time believing their close to the 2nd best team out there.
Texas A&M dropped their second game in a row.. but their 3 point loss at #1 UCLA was deserved of Top 10 respect. The aggies kept it close the whole, entertaining John Wooden and the rest of the large crowd. At 7-2, they'll probably drop to the 12-15 range, but their resume so far is certainly more impressive than higher ranked teams like Duke or Pitt.
Knock #5 Alabama off the list of unbeatens. We've seen this time and time again.. when college basketball teams finally go and play quality teams on the road.. they lose. #6 Texas A&M learned this rule a few days ago when they lost at LSU, and UCONN will learn the same fate if they ever leave Storrs.
Apparently Notre Dame and Bama were content not to play defense. The Irish ran off a whopping 95 points compared to Bama's 85. This played right in Notre Dame's hands.. they've now scored 90+ in 5 games this season. Colin Falls had 20 in the win and he managed to do it despite hitting only 3 field goals. For Notre Dame, after beating Maryland on the road and now knocking off another Top 25 team in the same week, the AP Poll could and probably should be in their future.