Sunday, December 30, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville--Happy New Year Edition



Ohio State’s Aaron Craft is averaging a career-best 8.9 points per game but shooting a career-low 36.0 percent from the field through 11 games. Even worse is the fact that in OSU's two losses -- at Duke and to Kansas at home -- Craft is a combined 5-of-24 from the field.
Kentucky has a positive assist/turnover ratio, is shooting 49% from the field and outrebounding its opponents.
Perhaps overlooked in Arizona’s overtime win over San Diego State was just eight turnovers for Arizona.
In Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett, Arizona has three potential first round draft picks. And, Nick Johnson is gluing it all together.
UNC played defense against UNLV---sure didn’t see that coming. UNC did force 17 turnovers, but got outrebounded, including 14-10 on the offensive boards. Give UNLV credit for making it a two possession game---they had a bit of a disadvantage traveling three time zones just to play in front of 21,000 antagonistic fans…thems the breaks. A most exciting game in any event.
I think this season’s VCU team is better than the 2010 model. They are creating turnovers at an incredible rate.
How do you manage to grab 21 offensive rebounds and force 25 turnovers and only score 57 points? If you are Syracuse, you shoot 37,5% from the field and go 12 of 28 from the foul line against 2-13 Alcorn State. I still say Syracuse is overrated.
Illinois scored 81 points, but gave up 79, while forcing 20 turnovers to 5-7 Auburn---now, that’s a problem. Illinois had to make 13-of-18 free throws in the final four and a half minutes to pull it out. Illinois---another overrated team. They are maybe the sixth or seventh best team in the Big-10.
I hope the three threes Florida’s Kenny Boynton had in the second half mean that he has shaken his slump that saw him hit just four of his last 32 3-point attempts.
Love the nickname for Evansville---The Aces. Ace Troy Taylor had a triple-double Saturday in a loss to Creighton…10/10/10 assists, plus two steals.
Now how do you remain tied with North Carolina Central with six minutes left while shooting 60% and hitting 22-of-27 from the foul line? Ask Marquette who turned it over 20 times at home.
BYU’s Tyler Haws had a big day Vs. Virginia Tech…42 points (29 in first half when he went 9-13). He hit on six of eight 3-point attempts. His dad hit 40 for BYU in 1989. BYU held the ACC’s leading scorer, Erick Green to 12 on 4-of17 shooting.
Virginia Tech is down to seven scholarship players and went 14 deep in the game. You don’t win many D1 games playing seven walk-ons.
To me, Louisville’s Russ Smith is looking like an All-American.
Louisville’s defense is as impressive as any in Division I.
Even when they were down by 17, I thought Kentucky still had the most talent on the floor. Ryan Harrow played 39 minutes without a turnover…and scored17 on 8-of-15 shooting. With all that talent, they still don’t have a true scorer in the post, no backcourt depth and still lack a leader on the floor.
Loved Oregon State’s ultimate choke job…blowing a 19-point lead at home against 5-8 Towson. Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon had a 20/21 double-double---the first 20/20 in D1 this season. Towson was 1-31 last season. That’s a brutal loss.
Another pretty bad loss goes to Cal at home. A well-coached, depleted Harvard team beat them.
How about Valpo hanging in there and defeating Murray State at Murray State? Valpo forced 17 turnovers and won the battle of the boards 38-25.
The #1 Stanford women entered Saturday with an 82-game home winning streak. They loss to #2 UConn and the 35 points Stanford scored were the fewest by a No. 1-ranked team against a No. 2-ranked team in women's Division I history.
Cincinnati is never going to be a dominant low-post scoring team. Their bigs may be functional enough to get by in the Big East. And, they have the player with my favorite name---Cashmere Wright.
Undefeated Wyoming plays in arguably the most balanced league in the country…The Mountain West. UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise Sate and Nevada. Wyoming has no easy games in conference play.
Louisville allows a mere 0.802 adjusted points per possession.
Unbeatens remaining: 3.
espn2 is the place to be for New Year’s Eve. At noon, #8 Cincinnati @ Pitt; 2 PM, #19 Michigan State @ #11 Minnesota; 4 PM, #5 Indiana @ Iowa; 6 PM #13 Gonzaga at #22 Oklahoma State; at 8, Harvard at St Mary’s.
Not so fast: This is the fourth time since 2003 that both the Duke men’s (12-0) and women’s (11-0) teams have started off at least 10-0 together.
One more thing: As the season heads into conference play, my Final Four picks: Kansas, Louisville, Michigan and Duke.

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