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Blog Entry

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Posted on: January 8, 2011 11:53 pm
 

Posted by MATT JONES

Five Lessons from Saturday’s crazy day of college basketball:

1.
     
 Upsets will be plentiful:  Outside of the top three teams in America that seem to have separated themselves (Duke, Ohio State and Kansas), the rest of the country is filled with good teams that will find difficulties when they hit the road.  Today we saw Missouri fall in Boulder to Colorado, Kentucky lose in Athens to Georgia and Central Florida drop its first game of the year in Houston.  In all cases, the teams that beat the three ranked squads were much more talented than the general public realizes, but the bigger issue is with the teams that were defeated.  All are good enough to be able to make noise in March, but none are good enough to roll roughshod over middle-tier teams in their leagues.  Thus Saturdays where they, and other similar conference powers, lose on the road to good teams will be commonplace.

2.
      
Michigan State is in trouble:  While most of the teams that lost today shouldn’t’ panic, Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team may be in a different situation.  Losing on the road in the Big Ten happens, but not on the road at Penn State when you are a team that began the season with national title aspirations.  The Spartans are not playing their usual defense, have trouble scoring in big spots and simply don’t have the look of a Tom Izzo club.  The optimist would say that Michigan State always struggles early in the season and there is nothing stopping them from yet another Final Four appearance.  But one begins to wonder if the actual Spartan squad is not the group that got hot at the end of the season last year and made a run to the Final Four, but instead is the team we saw throughout the year that underachieved and struggled.  If so, making another magic run may be too much to ask.

3.
      
Kemba Walker is the early Player of the Year:  If one looks at UCONN objectively, it is hard to see the Huskies as a team that would deserve national attention.  They have virtually no scoring weapons on the wing and their defense, while athletic, seems to lack toughness when faced with aggression, as in the game early this year versus Pittsburgh.  But Jim Calhoun does have Kemba Walker and when it matters most, that may be enough.  To go on the road today and win in Austin versus Texas, is the type of victory that will give UCONN the chance to get a top seed even if it struggles in the Big East.  As for Kemba, his poise on the last possession, in which it was clear that he wouldn’t be passing the ball, but would get a good shot, was a thing of beauty to watch and solidifies why he has been the best story in college basketball early this season.

4.
      
Tennessee is impossible to define:  No team has had a more bizarre week than the Vols, who looked like an SEC contender in their utter dismantling of Memphis early in the week, but then fell to a member of the embarrassing SEC West today against Arkansas.  With Bruce Pearl beginning his eight game SEC suspension, Tennessee was down the entire game to the Razorbacks and looked decidedly ordinary throughout.  While Arkansas now looks to be the top team in the SEC West, at this point that is as impressive as saying Robert Deniro is the bright spot in “Little Fockers.”  Losing to the Razorbacks starts Tennessee on a slide at the beginning of the Pearl suspension, and if it doesn’t stop, the Vols will find themselves potentially out of the NCAA Tournament conversation before he returns.

5.
      
The game of the year was in Birmingham:  If you missed the UTEP-UAB battle in Birmingham today, you could have been forgiven.  No one would have imagined that it would have been anything more than a mildly interesting story for college basketball diehards.  But after the 100-97 3 OT thriller, those that watched were able to say they saw what will likely be the game of the year.  Buzzer beaters were made at the end of regulation and the first overtime, and Cameron Moore’s three with time running down at the end of the third overtime sealed the game for the Blazers.  With Central Florida losing and Memphis down this season, Conference USA is up for grabs and this game showcases that both of these teams are conference contenders.  But more importantly, for one day they put on a show unlike any other and made Bartow Arena the place to be in college basketball..

Comments

Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:49 pm
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Fair enough.  If they keep winning, they deserve their high ranking.  By the tourney, those young guys won't be so young anymore.  Good luck.



Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2011 2:08 pm
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Gary,

How can you not put Syracuse in the category of separating themselves? If Duke "separated" themself with a 7 point win, how does Syracuse not deserve the same credit? 16-0 is 16-0... good teams find ways to win regardless of whether they win by 1 point or 100 points. Give credit where credit is due.


I'm not gonna try to bash my own team here, but Gary is right. We struggled on the road vs. Seton Hall. Didn't they shoot 0-17 from three point range in the first half and we were only up by a few points?

We also missed a ton of free throws. 

This was our first true road game, and it was against a bad Seton Hall team, missing their best player. 

Obviously some improvement is needed on the road, and I think it'll come but this story wasn't written for March, it was written for the beginning of January.




Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

You do understand we are more concerned bout the end of the year than midseason, right?  Sure, I wish we had won, too, but no one will care when Syracuse again makes it to The Sweet 16...Oh Goody.

Dude. You don't understand or know anything about our basketball team apparently. Even though you played against  us. 

Our team has young guards (outside of Scoop Jardine). 

We have young bigs outside of Rick Jackson.

Our best players have yet to get even a full year of experience. 

We lost to fluke Butler team in the sweet 16 last year by four points. The year before, we lost to an extremely dangerous Oklahoma team. 

The team will  be better at the end of the season, than it currently is at mid-season. We've beaten Michigan State (your team), Drexel, Notre Dame (who is having a really good year) and the teams we were supposed to beat. Not to mention, we have many chances to play other good team in the Big East and during the Big East Tourney. 

I understand Michigan State has almost been untouchable and has performed very well in the NCAA Tournament over the last decade, and I give them credit for that, and I also has a lot of respect for Tom Izzo and what he has done with MSU.  But lets not rip on a team that has won a NC and has been to the tournament almost every year as well over the last 10 years. 






Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:11 am
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

You do understand we are more concerned bout the end of the year than midseason, right?  Sure, I wish we had won, too, but no one will care when Syracuse again makes it to The Sweet 16...Oh Goody.



Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2011 10:26 am
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Are you serious?  Back to back Sweet 16 is good in your book?  That's a real shame and a loser's mentality.  "Oooh look mom, we made it to the Elite 8.  Goody, goody!  There are only 7 teams better than us!  Super duper!"  Must be nice to live in your world.  You can never be disappointed.
And I'm not sure what OSU has done, just sick of the Big East and their constant running mouths and underachieving basketball teams.  I heard how good the Big East was last year, and the year before.  How did THAT work out.


Didn't Syracuse beat your team this year pretty handily?   
STFU. Seriously.



Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2011 10:22 am
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Gary,

How can you not put Syracuse in the category of separating themselves? If Duke "separated" themself with a 7 point win, how does Syracuse not deserve the same credit? 16-0 is 16-0... good teams find ways to win regardless of whether they win by 1 point or 100 points. Give credit where credit is due.



Since: Oct 1, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2011 7:00 am
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Duke just separated itself that much further with a 7 point win?  Yeeaaaaaaaa..........



Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2011 11:45 pm
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Are you serious?  Back to back Sweet 16 is good in your book?  That's a real shame and a loser's mentality.  "Oooh look mom, we made it to the Elite 8.  Goody, goody!  There are only 7 teams better than us!  Super duper!"  Must be nice to live in your world.  You can never be disappointed.
And I'm not sure what OSU has done, just sick of the Big East and their constant running mouths and underachieving basketball teams.  I heard how good the Big East was last year, and the year before.  How did THAT work out.



Since: Nov 16, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Millpounder, your post makes absolutely no sense.  Care to explain how losing to a Blake Griffin lead Oklahoma team in the sweet 16 is such a bad loss.  Last year Cuse lost to Butler (that team that fought Duke down to the wire in the championship game) in the sweet 16.  The latter was shorthanded with their two year starting center hurt and unable to play.  Was that a bad loss?  No.  Last year the always respected Kansas was all but a lock to win the championship, at least according to most media outlets, correct?  How did that turn out?  Exactly, with a loss to Northern Iowa...in the round of 32!  Now that might leave a bad taste.  What has OSU done to earn respect?  NOTHING!  You have no point here at all.



Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2011 10:45 pm
 

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Action

Bad taste of the last 2 NCAA's for Syracuse?? Back to back Sweet 16s is an embarassment in the tourny??

Good input Millpounder. Know what you are talking about before you post dopey.


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