Daily Dribble: 12/16
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.
The better game early on was Purdue heading down to Indianapolis to face #18 Butler. This game was neck and neck pretty much the whole way before Butler escaped with a 68-65 team. AJ Graves was the man once again with 25 points, including 4 long range bombs. Graves seems to play his best against the best competition. Besides his 25 today, he's scored 26 against Gonzaga, 28 at Notre Dame, and 20 against Indiana. The win solidifies Butler's place in the Top 25.
The #3 Tar Heels blitzed UNC Asheville by 31. The UNCA Bulldogs though feature two 7-footers, both 7-1 CJ Walker and 7-6 Kenny George. George is the tallest player in D1 basketball.. and the tallest in the last decade. Neither of these guys are good.. but the novelty of them playing was amusing.
#4 Ohio State's blow out win over Cincinnati was almost as bad as UNC's win. The Buckeyes went up 42-14 at the half before cruising to a 22 points victory. Greg Oden had 14, 11, and 5 blocks in only 27 minutes. This kid is the real deal. What's amazing, besides the fact he's playing with 1 healthy hand, is his foot speed. For a 7-footer, Oden looks so smooth running the floor and moving on defense. Even when he ends up guarding opposing forwards 10-15 feet away from the hoop, he holds his own. This team is looking like the best in the country right now.
It's amazing that OSU hadn't played Cincinnati since 1962. Based on the margin in this one, Cincy might be better off waiting another 30 years to face them again..
Kentucky was solid in a 12 point win at Louisville. What's amazing is how Kentucky won despite a horrific 2 point effort from Randolph Morris and just one starter in double digits. The Wildcats showed their depth getting great minutes from Jodie Meeks (18 in 21 minutes), Lukas Obrzut (playing 26 minutes with Morris in foul trouble), and freshman Micheal Porter (who impressed in 15 minutes of crunch-time play). For Louisville.. its just a matter of knocking down shots. The Cardinals shot a dismal 3-24 from three.. they had the looks, just couldn't knock em down. Still, barring a surprisingly good run in Big East play.. this team's tournament chances could be kaput.
Chris Lofton continued his blistering hot shooting by scoring 32 in Tennessee's win over Western Kentucky. Lofton has scored 30+ in 3 of 4 games, and has hit at least 4 threes in his last 5 games.
Like Lofton, DJ Augustin is hot down in Texas. Coming off a career high 25 against LSU, Augustin scored 24 in an easy win over Texas State. 2nd in scoring for Texas wasn't Kevin Durant.. but the Longhorns 3rd best freshman, Justin Mason. Mason scored a career best 18 in the win and added 7 boards.
Check off another upset for the little guys. Southeastern Louisiana went into Penn State and knocked off the Lions. Granted, PSU also lost a home game to Stony Brook earlier.. but its always fun to see BCS teams lose these games at home.
Another BCS loss today, though not a surprising one, was Bradley going into Iowa State and winning by a dozen. The Cyclones have lost 4 of 5, including home games to Bradley and Drake of the MVC. Coach McDermott, formerly of Northern Iowa probably wishes he was back in the MVC coaching 7-1 UNI right now..
Big win for Bob Knight to get #878 in Little Rock. The Red Raiders bursted out to an 18-3 lead and managed to hold off Arkansas for the win. Texas Tech is 9-3, but this is easily their best win of the season. The key for TTU seems to be getting a 3rd scoring option besides Jarrius Jackson and Martin Zeno. Junior guard Charlie Burgess was that 3rd guy today, scoring 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting. Burgess is an amazingly good 17 for 20 over the last two games.
- More to come later after the evening games are complete -