Daily Dribble: 12/05
6-3 Winthrop gave it another good run against a ranked team.. falling in overtime to Wiscosnin. The Eagles pose an interesting problem for how we look at mid-major teams. For example, well-played, close losses at UNC, Maryland, and Wisconsin are impressive and have to count for something. But on the flip side, Winthrop's best win so far is at Mississippi State. We had Winthrop in our CHN Top 50 Ranking.. and I still believe they are a top 50 team.. but there gets to the point that they have to win a big game to warrant the ranking. If Purdue for example lost to those three teams and had only beaten Mississippi State and some nobodies, then it would seem perfectly normal not to put them in the Top 50. The difference though when comparing a Purdue and a Winthrop is that a Winthrop will never have the chance to play the likes of a UNC, Wisconsin, and Maryland on their home floor. Winthrop plays a 5th BCS team this year, Texas A&M, but also on the road. I'd say its an assumption that if a team goes on the road and takes a team to OT, that they would be the favored team at home. Unfortuntely, we may never know.
Kansas struggled to put away USC, eventually winning 72-62 in Lawrence. USC is a solid team, about average for a BCS school.. though arguably with out its best player in Gabe Pruitt.. so why cant Kansas simply put a team like this away? I think its getting to the point though that we have to realize Kansas' supposed stockpile of talent is overrated. And here I'm particularly talking about Brandon Rush.. who is a player I have hyped since high school as being a potential NBA star. That Rush is still averaging 12 ppg at this point in his career simply shocks me. More important for Kansas, if he can't be their go to player.. then they simply will not have a go to player on offense. No doubt, the Jayhawks will score their share of points.. but without a go to player on offense and without a suffocating defense.. I guess you just have to get used to Kansas underachieving against such supreme expectations.
You don't hear much about Charlotte these days. Coach Lutz almost always has his teams competing for a CUSA-now A10 title.. but the 49ers are just 3-4 after beating UNC Asheville. With a core of D'Angelo Alexander and Leemire Goldwire, this was supposed to a team capable of winning 15-20 games. The problem has been the lack of productivity from heralded newcomers. Transfer Carlos Williamson was supposed to be the answer at point, but he's averaging more turnovers (2.5) than assists per game (2.0). David Booker, a rare Top 150 recruit to go a non-BCS school, was supposed to make an impact as a freshman. The 6-7 forward though is averaging just 6 minutes per game so far this season.
Its nice to see players improve and play a bigger role as their career's progress. Herbert Hill of 6-1 Providence is one of those player. The Friars starting center has substantially increased his output every season. Year one: 1 ppg, 1 rpg. Year two: 5 ppg, 3 rpg. Year three: 9 ppg, 5 rpg. So far in year four: 15 ppg and 7 rpg. Hill added another 18 points and 7 boards in their easy victory over Fairfield.
You may remember Arizona AZ Reid from last year's All-Name team (the 06 version, by the way, will be out by the end of the month). Reid had 22 points and 9 boards to lead High Point over struggling Elon. High Point, like Winthrop above, is part of a Big South conference that was supposed to be one of the underrated mid-major leagues. But the conference is a disapppointing 13-27 overall against D1 teams. Granted, the league's teams, like Winthrop, have played tough schedules (9th best SOS so far) so the record is misleading. But greater things were expected out of teams like Coastal Carolina (just 1 D1 win so far.. and a bad loss to Campbell and a blow out against Xavier) and High Point (who lost to Tennessee Martin to start the season).
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