Daily Dribble: 11/29

November 29th, 2006
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Nothing like a 54-51 snooze fest to highlight Tuesday's ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Duke eeked out an ugly victory over an Indiana team that deserves credit for hanging in there despite a very poor first half. This game featured a complete lack of frontcourt offense: Duke's three starting forwards combined for 3-12 shooting (Remind me again why McRoberts is a lottery pick?) while Indiana's two bigs were 4-17.

Glad to see Kelvin Sampson's decision to start playing the freshmen Shaw and Bassett more and more. In the long run, this should be a major help for the Hoosiers. Bassett had a career high 16 points, though he showed his inexperience in the closing minutes with one poor shot and then one poorer lack of shot. The lanky Shaw has played 24 minutes the last two games after being a non-factor in the first few.

Louisiana Monore 37 - Alabama 36. Nicholls State 45 - Auburn 38. These were the two shocking halftime scores of the night, though the SEC teams both ended up winning. Auburn actually trailed a whopping 17 points in the second half against 0-8 Nicholls State before pulling it out in OT. Nicholls State isn't quite as bad as their record suggests (though a win by the Colonels would have been shocking). They've played 7 of those 8 games on the road against teams like Texas, LSU, and Washington.. and their best player and leading scorer Stefan Blaszczynksi (27 points last night) only returned from injury two games ago.

Vanderbilt wasn't as lucky as its SEC brothers. The Commodores lost to Furman last night, their first lost to a Southern Conference team since 1968. Add this to the quickly growing list of Mid-Major upsets. The BCS teams are going down like obnoxious fireflies being snatched out of a dark sky.

Remember when Iona led 4th seed LSU 37-32 at the half in last year's NCAA Tournament? Remember when Iona won the MAAC with a 13-5 conference record and a 23-7 overall record? Remember when Steve Burtt Jr averaged 25 ppg? Remember when Iona started 7-0 last year including a win at then ranked Iowa State? If you dont, its okay, I forgot too. Gaels fans are quickly forgetting too as their now inexperienced team is off to an ugly 0-4 start. The Gaels lost by 25 at Rhode Island last night and still have 4 more games left on a brutal 7 game road trip. Then again, they only scored 38 points in their lone home game, a loss to Winthrop..

#19 Maryland's victory over Illinois could have locked up the ACC's win in this year's Challenge. The Terps did it without Ekene Ibekwe (ankle injury), getting 10 points and 8 boards out of Bombale Osby in his place. The freshman Vasquez poured in an inspiring 17 points. Perhaps Greivis only saves it for the national television cameras, because he's been money in the two games I've watched him play.

Looking at Maryland's schedule, its conceivable they could be 18-0 when they head to Virginia on January 16th. The only challenges they face in the next 10 games are a trip to BC and a home game against Clemson. After watching Duke struggle against IU, there's little to justify ranking the Blue Devils ahead of Maryland.

Tulsa spanked Oral Roberts by 18 last night. Oral Roberts of course upset Kansas, and Kansas of course upset former #1 and national champion Florida. The same Tulsa team that beat Oral Roberts has only lost to 5-1 North Texas, whose lone defeat was to Texas Arlingon. The point of this all being that Texas Arlington should obviously be considered the #1 team in the country.

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