Monday, February 04, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--Nearing the Half Way Point in Conference Play Edition

The Big East has two more teams in the just-released AP poll than does the Big Ten.
You can miss shots or you can miss rebounds…but you can’t do both.
Eight ranked teams lost Saturday.
Any conference road win is hard to come by.
Pitt was a four-point favorite going into their victory over Syracuse. All ten Panthers who played, scored…only Tray Woodall had double figures. Pitt’s bench outscored Syracuse 31-3. Yikes!
Pitt is 13-1 against Top-10-teams at The Petersen Events Center.
Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot. What happened to the teams in the Sunflower State? #2 Kansas was upset at home and Wichita State lost for the second time this week.
Oklahoma State (15-5) ended the 33-game home win streak for #2 Kansas. I was a mere lad of 15 the last time Oklahoma State won on the road against a top-five team. That one was against a #2 Kansas as well.
Oklahoma State played out of its mind on Saturday. Marcus Smart was incredible…25 points, 9 rebounds, five steals and three assists. He is aggressive (gets to the line 5.6 times per game) and a tenacious defender (2.9 steals per game)…and he is a leader.
Northern Iowa limited #15 Wichita State to 52 points---the least they have produced this season. WSU took just five foul shots.
Cal coach, Mike Montgomery is 23-0 vs. Oregon. Cal has defeated Oregon in ten consecutive games.
Before Saturday’s victory, Alabama had not won at Vandy in---wait for it---23 years.
It took a most fortuitous Reggie Johnson tip-in with less than a second on the clock for Miami (17-3, 9-0) to escape Raleigh with dramatic victory over NC State. Miami was down by as much as ten in the second half…then, the upperclassmen-loaded Canes went on a 16-2 run, and looked like the W was in the bag. NC State’s freshmen, Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis answered with a 12-1 run. Can’t ask for more excitement.
State’s Rodney Purvis had a first half dunk that brought back memories of Blake Griffin.
The Wolfpack are talented, fun to watch and frustrating. Case in point---they shot 53% and still lost.
Six of Miami’s final ten ACC games are at home. The Canes have the #1 Strength-of-Schedule…#2 is Duke.
Priceless quote from Miami coach, Jim Laranaga: “Playing at Cameron Indoor and the Dean Dome is not fun. Winning at Cameron Indoor and the Dean Dome…now that’s fun.”
With the Kansas loss and their victory, Akron now has the nation’s longest win streak at 13.
Air Force hit four free throws in the final 90 seconds in their upset win over San Diego State. Air Force made 12-threes and is now 5-2 in the Mountain West {tied for second}. The AFA was picked to finish last in the conference---they’ll play at New Mexico mid-week for a share of first place. Their bench played 57 minutes Saturday, and provided 22 points.
Remember this stat when filling out your brackets: San Diego State is shooting just 28% from three in conference play…like 2-for-19 vs. Air Force. Ugh!
Bad loss: Colorado getting nipped by Utah. Once upon a time Colorado was 10-2 overall…now they are 4-5 in the Pac-12.
Without point-guard Dominic Artis, #10 Oregon committed 22 turnovers and lost their second road game in a row at Cal…65 TOs in the three games without Artis.
Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter went for 38 against Old Dominion…the most for a D1 freshman this season.
Florida has won ten in a row. Mississippi gave them some competition, but the Gators won by 14. Florida took 62 shots---almost half (29) were threes. Even with all those attempts from long distance, they had 23 assists on 32 made baskets. In another box score anomaly, the Gators got to foul line exactly twice…going 3/3. It has got to nearly impossible to get 23 baskets with assists and draw only two fouls. Remarkable.
Ole Miss hasn’t beaten a top-five team since beating Florida in the 2001 SEC tournament.
Gator shooting guard, Michael Frazier is shooting 43.9% from three.
Indiana played like a #1 team in their victory over a game Michigan team. Indiana shot 52 percent from the field and outscored Michigan 22-6 from the foul line…taking 18 more free throws.
I’m glad that both teams played well…and my belief in Michigan was not diminished…my evaluation of Indiana leaped exponentially.
Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley was major league with 26 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in an Irish road-win over DePaul. ND held DePaul without a field goal in overtime. How often do you see that happen? Cooley also had 17 points and 16 rebounds in Wednesday's 65-60 victory against Villanova. Cooley has four double-doubles in his past five games.
Those Kentucky fans sure do travel…lots and lots of Blue at Texas A&M for an overtime UK victory. UK is holding on to get some important road wins…a marked improvement from just a month ago. Bracket players would be remiss to overlook the Cats’ improvement. Nerlens Noel continues to knock my socks off.
Cincinnati tried to blow a 20-point lead…but squeaked out a victory over Seton Hall.
Creighton knocked down a dozen 3-pointers at home over Bradley. Oh yes, Doug McDermott contributed another 25---just another day at the office.
In the ACC, home teams are 35-15 in conference games.
Only four ACC teams have even won twice on the road in conference.
Just three ACC teams remain unbeaten at home in ACC games: Duke, Miami and UVA.
Duke (19-2, 6-2) looked dominant for the first time without Ryan Kelly…in conference and on the road to boot. It was a big win, as Florida State has really had Duke’s number of late.
Duke played together with passion, intelligence and purpose. Don’t stop now.
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon was stellar as he shut down sharpshooter Michael Snaer (7-points on 3-13 shooting)…and dropped in 14 himself (6-of-11).
Duke shot 62.1% in the first half. I said there was no way they could keep that up in the second half. I was right---they hit just 59.1% in the second half.
No FSU starter scored more than seven points.
Duke got just seven points off the bench…in 52 minutes of play. Ouch!
I love it when Duke scores the first 11 points of the game.
The Duke women (20-1, 10-0) thrashed UNC by 21 yesterday. Nothing could be finer than beating Carolina at Carolina…and this victory was especially sweet since it prevented UNC’s Wicked Witch of the Carolinas coach Sylvia Hatchell from obtaining her 900th W.
The game was out of control before the late-arriving crowd was seated.
Duke started off with a 19-4 run and kept the pedal to the metal all the way…the 27-2 run in the first half was a thing of beauty.
In the past two game against good conference teams (Miami and UNC) Duke’s 6’3” center, Elizabeth Williams, has given away three inches to each opposing center…and simply dominated them.
Is there any team that gets from zero-to-sixty faster than Louisville? When they shift gears and their defense is clicking, the score can change in a hurry. They showed that versus Marquette…winning by 19. Marquette is not that easy to take down. Three of Marquette’s four losses were by a combined five points…the fourth; a 33-point beat down from Florida.
Detroit’s five starters all average in double figures.
In their loss at BC, Clemson was just 6-26 in the first half. Ooops!
UNC has a lot of raw talent…young, but talented. As many gifts as James Michael McAdoo has, judgment is not one of them. Almost silently, UNC has won five of six.
Looking ahead this week: Notre Dame at Syracuse, tonight.
Ohio State at Michigan, Tuesday, 9 PM.
Minnesota at Michigan State, Wednesday.
Creighton at Indiana State, Wednesday, 7 PM.
NC State at Duke, Thursday, 9 PM.
Belmont (19-4, 10-0 Ohio Valley) at Murray State (16-5, 7-2), Thursday 8 p.m., ESPN.
Not so fast: The entire SEC has only two victories against the RPI top 25. The league is 15-33 against the other five BCS conferences. Only four teams in the conference, including the Gators, rank in the RPI top 50.
One more thing: Charlotte is 17-4 overall and 5-2 in the A-10.

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