Posted on: February 5, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 2:50 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Wow, check out Marshon Brooks.
Odds are, the Providence senior will only remember that he dribbled the ball off his foot to kill his team's rally in a narrow 83-81 home win for the Hoyas, but anyone else who watched will remember that Brooks almost single-handedly upset Georgetown.
Check out this line: 43 points, 17-28 from the floor, 7-10 from the free throw line. 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block.
It's enough to make you feel bad that Brooks is getting so little help. Duke Mondy was the only other Friar in double-digits, scoring 19 while nominally coming off the bench, but playing 34 of 40 minutes. Vincent Council was 0-11 for the game. Gerard Coleman managed 3-13. If just one or two of shots had fallen true for either starter, this probably would have been an upset for the visiting team.
Brooks isn't your typical ball-hog, either. When G'town had a five-point lead with time running out, Brooks penetrated to the basket, where he could have had the easy two (seriously, the Hoyas could not stop him all day long), but chose to pass out to a wide-open Bryce Cotton, who drained a three-pointer that ended up being his only points of the game.
This performance by Brooks just points out how hard it is to win in the Big East. A superior scorer is not enough. You'd almost be better off with two or three really good scorers who can keep defenses honest.
The inability of Keno Davis to develop talent around his star is a big part of what holds Providence back from contention (in his defense, he's not the only one to have that problem at this school). Davis once upon a time had a line on Shabazz Napier, who has instead become a valuable contributor for a revitalized UConn team in his freshman year. Davis also got a verbal commitment from Naadir Tharpe during early recruiting, but the talented guard has since reconsidered and joined the next Kansas Jayhawks class. This past week, hometown guy Ricardo Ledo backed out of a commitment as well (though, in Keno's defense, that's pretty much what Ledo does to everyone).
Keno Davis seems to be a good enough guy, but he may be in over his head in the Big East. It ought to be killing this team and its head coach that they wasted such a masterful performance by Marshon Brooks.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 4:42 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
My colleague Matt Jones called Seton Hall over Syracuse the surprise of the season so far. I can't argue with that at all. It was the third loss for the team that was once 18-0. What on earth made them fall off the cliff so fast?
Defense. The Orange have been reasonably efficient on the offensive end, though hardly perfect, but the per-possession defensive numbers laid out by the Basketball State database show a dramatic increase in opponent points per possession (D-PPP) over the past three games.
Villanova put up a 1.289 D-PPP number despite a relatively low 68 possessions in the game, but Seton Hall did nearly the same -- 1.216 -- at a higher speed of 77 possessions in the upset. For contrast, Syracuse held the Pirates to a 0.810 D-PPP when they traveled to South Orange on January 8. This is why tempo-free statistics are so useful - you can take tempo into account if you want to, but it's very instructive to study a team's efficiency on either end of the floor without muddying the waters with speed. In this case, the numbers suggest that the 'Cuse D was able to hold scoring down in the first meeting by imposing its defensive will, and unable to do the same in the second.
The good news for the Orange is that Saturday's opponent, Marquette, suffers offensive outages fairly frequently. The Golden Eagles scored less than a point per possession and gave up more than a point on the other end in Tuesday's home loss to Connecticut.
The flipside of the coin -- at least in the Big East -- is the sudden turnaround experienced by the Providence Friars, who recently upset Louisville and Villanova in back to back games in part due to a sudden drop in D-PPP. The Friars were giving up well over a point per possession through the first six games of the season -- all losses -- then suddenly locked down, giving up 0.930 to tip Lousiville and lowering that number further to 0.900 to take down Villanova. The emergence of sophomore Kadeem Batts as a reliable rebounder has had something to do with the change.
'Cuse and Providence won't meet again in the regular season, so we won't be able to see how they fare in a head-to-head matchup unless one comes our way in the Big East tourney. Syracuse prepares to take on the roller-coaster ride that is Marquette on Saturday, and Providence plays at Seton Hall one day later. It would take a miracle run for the Friars to get over .500 after a six-game losing streak to start the season, but they could certainly end up much closer to the middle than the bottom of the Big East if this trend continues.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:20 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Some unexpected squeakers gave us this evening's bold-print headlines.
Pitt doesn't like pressure
Looking at this game beforehand, everything pointed Pitt's way. The top-5 national ranking and the advantage in size and athleticism was bad enough, but the fact that one of Keno Davis's former assistants, Pat Skerry, was sitting on the opposite bench after a summer job-hop was almost insult to presumed injury. Except that the Friars came out in a 2-3 zone that seemed to have the Panthers flummoxed. Only Gilbert Brown was able to shoot over the zone, hitting 5 of 6 treys, and the Providence pressure produced 22 turnovers on steals and passes that shot out of bounds. Pitt eventually found a way to hit Gary McGhee inside in the second half, and narrowly averted an upset at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Pittsburgh doesn't have an elite ballhandler these days, and they'll face much tougher zones than the one Providence threw at them. Syracuse comes to mind, for instance.
Minnesota's high-low game is in the tank
The departure of Devoe Joseph was a blow the Gophers did not need. While the starters did well enough to win, and four starters scored in double figures, there's a story between the stat lines. It took a heroic five blocks and 16 rebounds from Trevor Mbakwe -- nine of the boards on the defensive end -- to keep Minnesota in the game. At home. Against Indiana. Yeah, that's a problem.
The Crash Davis rule is still in effect
Arkansas forward Michael Sanchez doesn't see much court time, so perhaps he can be forgiven for not knowing all the rules. He got into the game early against Texas tonight, got tangled up with another player under the basket, and reacted poorly when the refs called a foul on him. Words were exchanged, and a technical foul was added to the personal. Television audiences couldn't hear what Sanchez said, but the announcers on press row pretty much repeated this line from Bull Durham verbatim.
I've never seen Crash so angry. And frankly, sports fans, he used a word that's a no-no with umpires.Then again, Sanchez didn't get thrown out of the game. He may have wished he had, because it was an ugly 79-46 road beatdown for the Razorbacks.
Posted on: December 26, 2010 10:38 am
Edited on: December 26, 2010 10:54 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
When Rick Pitino began talks with the Puerto Rico national team, pundits assumed that, in part, he hoped to gain an upper hand in recruiting. One of the primary targets he was after at the time was Ricardo "Ricky" Ledo, a top 2012 shooting guard from Rhode Island who is eligible to play for the island's squad due to his parentage.
Turns out, Ledo would rather play in front of his hometown fans and family, which is quite the Christmas gift for Keno Davis.
Davis has had a rough time in recent months, with Greedy Peterson and other players encountering legal troubles and being dismissed from the team. In addition, his leading recruiter, Pat Skerry, decamped to Big East rival Pitt. Keeping Ledo at home should go a long ways toward rehabbing the program's image, but Davis will probably need to win a fair number of games between now and 2012 in order to keep the wolves at bay.