Posted on: January 20, 2010 1:53 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2010 1:53 pm
There are several interesting storylines tonight -- North Carolina trying to avoid another loss, Memphis trying to win a record 65th consecutive league game, Xavier and Temple in a showdown of teams with perfect A-10 records, etc., -- but the only game featuring two Top 15 teams is No. 12 Georgetown vs. No. 9 Pittsburgh.
The Panthers will have to control Greg Monroe if they want to improve to 5-0 in the Big East.
That'll be no easy task if Monroe plays the way he played Sunday against Villanova.
The Georgetown sophomore got 29 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon watched the film (probably 80 times).
He came way impressed.
"He's more aggressive [than he was last season]," Dixon said by phone Tuesday night as he drove home from practice. "He's creating more."
Monroe is averaging 14.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
Click this link to watch a video preview of the game I did with CBSSports.com's Jason Horowitz.
Posted on: December 12, 2009 8:01 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2009 8:09 pm
It was a year ago this weekend that Georgetown beat Memphis on national television, moved to 7-1 and seemed headed toward a possible top four finish in the Big East. The Hoyas subsequently recorded wins over Mt. Saint Mary's, Florida International, and Connecticut. They spent part of January with a 10-1 record and No. 9 national ranking.
In other words, everything was going well.
But then it all crumbled.
And that's why John Thompson III won't allow himself to get too excited about what's happening now, because what's happening now is basically the same thing that happened last season, and the Hoyas finished last season in the NIT. They went from 10-1 to 16-15 in a little more than two months, meaning they were 6-14 in their final 20 games, this after starting 10-1 with wins over three eventual NCAA tournament teams (Maryland, Memphis and UConn).
Fast-forward to this season, and Georgetown is 8-0, No. 15 in the AP poll and set to advance when the rankings update. There's no question about that. The only question is whether these Hoyas have staying power. And though I suspect they do -- especially after Saturday's impressive 74-66 victory over Washington -- some doubt will probably linger well into the Big East schedule just because of what happened last season.
Let's see where the Hoyas are after their Jan. 17 game at Villanova.
That'll be their sixth Big East game and first road test against a Top 25 opponent.
If they leave Philly with a 5-1 Big East record, they should be considered a threat to win the league. A 4-2 start in the Big East would likely mean Georgetown is a legitimate Top 25 team, but probably not a Big East contender. And 3-3 or worse would have people wondering whether a repeat of last season was unfolding before their eyes.
Honestly, I think Georgetown is closer to a contender than a pretender.
But until the Hoyas prove it through a third of the Big East schedule, it's probably fair to wonder.
Posted on: February 20, 2009 2:33 pm
Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...
Posted on: December 14, 2008 2:29 am
I'm not sure what's more amazing -- that John Calipari has taken two different and otherwise pedestrian basketball programs (UMass and Memphis) to the Final Four, or that one of the sport's best recruiters has somehow ended up with a roster featuring exactly zero good point guards and zero good shooters.
I mean, how does that happen?
The man secures one Top 10 recruiting class after another, and yet here he is, in the year after coming this close to a national title, trying to run his celebrated dribble-drive motion offense with no point guard, no shooter and no help in sight. That's the lesson from Saturday's loss to Georgetown, that even though Memphis did well to take the Hoyas to overtime, Calipari's team is fatally flawed because the roster has huge holes.
There are no team-runners.
There are no shot-makers.
Consequently, Memphis is shooting 29.1 percent from 3-point range and trying to get by with Wesley Witherspoon at the point, which is bad for a number of reasons, among them the fact that Witherspoon is not a point guard. In fact, the freshman has never really played point guard, and to anybody who thinks this is going to work, let me ask one question: How often do high school wings become good college point guards?
Answer: Almost never.
So that's why this problem will likely linger, and the worst part for Memphis is that it could linger into next season unless Calipari secures a commitment from John Wall. You see, the Tigers didn't sign any point guards in the early period, which means they will either get Wall late and next season have arguably the nation's best point guard, or not get Wall late and next season again have zero good point guards. There is almost no in-between; Memphis will either be great or terrible at the position, and it pretty much comes down to Wall.
But that's another post for another day.
For now, let's stick to the present, which is that Memphis should still win Conference USA, still win 25-plus games and still comfortably make the NCAA tournament. Don't get it twisted; the team is talented enough to do all that. But a fourth consecutive Elite Eight seems unlikely, another Final Four improbable, because though John Calipari has recruited one elite athlete after another, he's now stuck with a fatally flawed roster featuring zero good point guards and zero good shooters, which is like having a shiny car with no good tires and no good steering wheel.
It looks nice and all.
But sooner or later, it's bound to crash.
Posted on: November 28, 2008 5:58 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2008 6:10 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bruce Pearl didn't spend long celebrating Friday's win over Georgetown.
"Look at the size of those guys," Pearl said as he chatted courtside and stared into Gonzaga's huddle just before tip-off of the second semifinal here at the Old Spice Classic. So yeah, the Tennessee coach was already looking ahead, planning for Sunday's championship game. But the 12th-ranked Vols' 90-78 victory over No. 21 Georgetown deserves more attention than Pearl was willing to give it because it was a huge non-league win that came despite UT getting just 12 minutes from Wayne Chism, who is the team's second-leading scorer and top rebounder.
Credit depth as the reason.
And what the nation is learning this weekend is that Pearl has assembled a deep and long roster capable of getting key baskets and rebounds from a variety of places. Tyler Smith looks like an All-American, Bobby Maze and Renaldo Woolridge are way better than most thought, Cameron Tatum was impressive against Georgetown, Scotty Hopson is an NBA prospect and J.P. Prince and Chism are veterans of an SEC championship team. Add it up, and you can see why UT has gone from the favorite to the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC again, and if the Vols can walk away with the Old Spice Classic trophy on Sunday they'll establish themselves as a legitimate top 10 team that won't miss Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith nearly as much as some expected.
"Our (starting five is) good, but our 10 are what makes us better," Pearl said. "We go to the bench and we don't fall off."
Posted on: October 9, 2008 2:34 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2008 11:33 am
I was going to try to get through the day without posting this blog.
But I knew I'd never make it.
Unfortunately, some of my readers -- not you reading this; just the stupid ones -- lack reading comprehension skills, which causes me to often times explain things over and over again as if I'm talking to my 5-year-old son. It's frustrating. But it comes with the territory. So let me use this space to further explain my column about "NBA talent" on college teams and address some emails I've received this morning.
Here we go!
Question: My favorite team (insert name here) has a great player named (insert name here) who is probably a lottery pick. How could you not count him as being drafted this year or next year?
Answer: As I clearly stated, whether prospects are considered "NBA talents" is not something I decided for the purposes of this column. I turned that over to DraftExpress.com. In other words, this was a simple process for me. If DraftExpress.com had a player listed as going in the first round or second round of the 2009 or 2010 NBA Draft, I listed him accordingly. If not, I didn't. So any questions about the status of prospects should be directed to DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony, not me.
Also, I explained in the column that this is not an exact science or an absolute predictor of which teams will and will not be great. One reason is because many players considered "NBA talents" in October won't be considered "NBA talents" in March, and vice versa. Another reason is because though I believe with every ounce of my brain that "NBA talents" are necessary to win the national title (just look at the recent history of national champions), I do not believe they are required to make an Elite Eight or even Final Four. For example, I think Notre Dame is going to be great this season, but (according to DraftExpress.com) there isn't a future first-round pick on the team. So while history suggests this suggests the Irish won't be our national champions, it doesn't mean they can't win the Big East and much more.
Question: My favorite team (insert name here) has committed (insert name here). He's ranked 10th in the Class of 2009 and will surely be a first-round pick. Why are you not counting him?
Answer: What on earth does a Class of 2009 prospect have to do with this season?
Regardless of where John Wall signs, he won't have anything to do with what happens on the court in the 2008-09 season because he won't play college basketball until the 2009-2010 season. Same goes for Abdul Gaddy. And Renardo Sidney. And Derrick Favors. And you get the idea, don't you?
Bottom line, only players on the current roster matter.
People who may or may not come in the future have nothing to do with this column.
Question: Why did you only list teams with at least eight points?
Answer: Because there were nine teams with at least eight points, and that took me to 1,500 words. That was plenty. But I did use the same exercise to go further down the list. In all, there were 16 teams with at least six points. So if you want to look at the rest of the list, well, here you go ...
-- Pittsburgh --
-- Oklahoma --
-- Tennessee --
-- Arizona State --
-- Georgetown --
-- Memphis --
-- Texas --
Posted on: October 8, 2008 3:11 pm
Ryan Kelly is going national.
Or at least going on national television.
The 6-10 power forward from Raleigh -- ranked as the 11th-best prospect in the Class of 2009 -- is expected to announce his college decision Thursday night on ESPNU, according to Scout.com's Dave Telep. Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Georgetown are the six schools still under consideration for John Wall' AAU teammate. Kelly has visited all six schools in either an official or unofficial capacity, and when he commits that will take six of the top 15 recruits in the Class of 2009 off the board.
Here's Scout.com's Top 15 ...
1. Derrick Favors (uncommitted)
2. John Wall (uncommitted)
3. John Henson (committed to North Carolina)
4. Xavier Henry (uncommitted)
5. Renardo Sidney (uncommitted)
6. DeMarcus Cousins (committed to UAB)
7. Lance Stephenson (uncommitted)
8. Kenny Boynton (uncommitted)
9. Abdul Gaddy (committed to Arizona)
10. Avery Bradley (committed to Texas)
11. Ryan Kelly (uncommitted)
12. Daniel Orton (uncommitted)
13. Jordan Hamilton (uncommitted)
14. Alex Oriakhi (committed to Connecticut)
15. Dominic Cheek (uncommitted)
Posted on: February 11, 2008 10:28 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2008 10:36 pm
AUSTIN, Texas -- I'm here at the Kansas-Texas game so I just saw a replay of the Villanova-Georgetown finish.
They've been playing basketball for many decades.
So I suppose there have been worse calls in the sport.
But I can tell you I have never seen a worse call that decided a game, and nobody here in the media room could remember one either. I mean, how do you call that type of foul in a tie game 70-feet from the basket with less than a second remaining? It wasn't only bad, it was inexcusable to the point where the official who made the call should have to issue a public apology to Villanova and college basketball fans in general just like Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther had to apologize to Indiana last week.
And if you're keeping count, that's twice this season that Villanova has lost a game in the final second because of a questionable call (the other was against North Carolina State) and twice this season that Georgetown has won a game in the final second because of a questionable call or no-call (the other was against West Virginia).
In other words, referees clearly hate Jay Wright and love John Thompson III.
There is no other explanation.