Category Archives: Fox Sports

Tuesday Night Hoopla: 1/21/09

North Carolina State vs. No. 2 DukeGerald Henderson

The low point was a two-point performance against Purdue in the ACC/Big-Ten challenge.  In Duke’s blow out win in West Lafayette, Gerald Henderson shot 1-for-8 from the field, o-for-0 from the foul and 0-for-3 from the behind the arc.

Then it started.  11 points in the first game, then 14, then two games of 19.  In his last ten games, Henderson has averaged 17.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 steals a game.  His has come through for Coach K when other Duke players have been struggling.

In Tuesday night’s game with North Carolina State, Henderson continued the recent trend and took the game over when No. 2 Duke stumbled past the Wolfpack 73-56 at Cameroon Indoor Stadium.

Henderson also has the Statline of the Night: 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting, seven rebounds (three offensive), four assists, five steals and one block.

Henderson has always been an elite athlete, and in this middle portion of his junior season, Henderson’s basketball skills seem to have caught-up with his physical gifts.  And if Duke is to be a serious contender and not have a another late-season collapses, Henderson will need maintain his level of play.

Kyle Singler had a slow start but came up big in the second half scoring 14 of his 17 points.

Big-Ten Run Down

Ohio State vs. No. 24 Illinois

Illinois was not a very nice host to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday night.  The Fighting Illini let the Buckeyes play around for about five minutes and then OSU was never within eight points the rest of the game as the Illini beat OSU 67-49 in the first game as a ranked team.

Bruce Weber’s team has played well of late, the still are looking for the leader to handle a game in a tough situation.  Demetri McCamey might be that person, but his play can be so up-and-down that I am not sure he can carry the team.  But against the Buckeyes, McCamey the had a solid game despite a below par shooting night.  He did finish with 13 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

The Fighting Illini had four players in double figures with 7’1″ Mike Tisdale scoring 15 – but only getting one rebound,guard Chester Frazier had 10, Dominique Keller had 12 points and six rebounds off the bench, and then McCamey with 13.

Ohio State looks like the most offensively inept team in the Big-Ten when they are not hitting from three the struggle to find buckets.  Some credit should given to Illini defense, but we have seen this Ohio State before.

Penn State vs. MichiganJamelle Cornley

Now I have long said that the Big-Ten is a deeper and a more talented conference than many were giving credit, but I never would have picked Penn State to beat Michigan.  But Penn State has a veteran team that returned all starters from last season and they worked over the ice cold Wolverine team.

6’5″ 240-pound beast, Jamelle Cornley, muscled his way to 17 points and 11 rebounds, beating up the Michigan post players.  But he was matched by Michigan’s DeShawn Sims as be scored 21 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds.  But Sims was the only player for Jon Bieliens team to reach double figures in either category.

The Big-Ten’s leading scorer, Penn State’s 5’11″ point guard Talor Battle finished with 15 points and xis assists, but did have four turnovers.

Manny Harris, the Big-Ten’s second leading scorer, was held to 1-for-9 shooting including 0-for-5 from deep.  Michigan as a team shot only 38 percent from the floor and 17 percent from three and was out-rebounded by nine.

Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt

Tyler Smith called a player only team meeting and it might just have worked as Tennessee went to Vanderbilt to revenge last seasons lose when Vandy the Volunteers in their first game ever with a No. 1 ranking.

Bruce Pearl started 6’10″ Brian Williams in place of Wayne Chism and they both played well in their new roles – even if for just one game.

Williams started the game with three rebounds and a great outlet pass to Smith for a breakaway dunk.  When Chism checked in the game, he hit two straight shots from deep and he took over in the first half.  Chism scored 16 of his 10 points and looked like he was locked into the game – something he lacks unless challenged.

The only bright spot for Vandy was George Drake.  The reserve guard played 26 minutes and scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and two steals.

Quick Hits

  • Homer Shoutout: North Dakota State destroyed Summit League opponent Utah Valley 98-71 with Ben Woodside scoring 28 points in 22 minutes.
  • In the battle for 0-2 Big 12 teams, Texas Tech beat Colorado 63-55.  Someone had to win.
  • Maryland won over ACC bottom feeder Virginia, 84-78.  Four of Maryland starters scored 10 or more while Virgina was lead by reserve Jamil Tucker’s 21 points.
  • DePaul was handed another lose in Big East play.  South Florida scored 35 in each half to beat the Blue Demons 70-61.
  • Creighton used a strong first half to get past Evansville 79-57.  Evansville strong shooting 38 percent from the field and 8 percent from deep.

Tuesday Night Hoopla

Indiana vs. Ohio State

Thad Matta might not be the best coach in the Big-Ten, but he is an amazing recruiter.  Rivals.com ranked this season’s recruiting class as the fifth best in the country and in Matta’s last three classes, he brought in highly ranked big men, including Mr. Greg OdenJon Diebler.

The last two seasons Matta also brought in guards Jon Diebler and William Buford, both came to Ohio State and unfortunately were over-shadowed.

Diebler averaged 40 points and 13 rebounds a game his senior year of high school to became Ohio’s all-time leading scorer.  He also won Ohio’s Mr. Basketball.  Last season he was recruited by Thad Matta and was quickly over-looked for seven-footer Kosta Koufos.

Buford averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds a game his senior year of high school.  He also won Ohio’s Mr. Basketball.  This season he was recruited by Matta and was quickly over-looked for seven-footer B.J. Mullens.

Last nights 77-53 win against Indiana, Diebler started strong shooting 3 for 3 from distance and then finished the game with 17 points, five assists, three rebounds, two blocks and one steal. 

Buford lead the Buckeyes in scoring with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.  Between the two starting guards, they shot 9 for 16 from behind the arc and only committed one turnover.  For this team to be successful, Diebler and Buford have to continue to play at this recent level production. 

The Buckeyes will also need Mullens to live up to the hype, even coming off the bench.  His play has improve as of late and he conributed 14 points and eight rebounds in the win againist Indiana.  Mullens has scored in double figures four out fo the last seven games, but most of his points have come once the game was decided.  He has yet to have a double digit rebound game.

The game was never close.  It looked Ohio State had tipped-off  against a JV squad as Ohio State was able to get easy shots and the Hoosiers had to work for everything.  And while Indiana continues to improve, they will have to be content with moral victories and this season there will be plenty. 

But the rest of the Big-Ten better get their shots in now because Tom Creen has the third best recruiting class coming next season, according to Rivals.com.

Kentucky vs. Tennessee

Jodie MeeksStat Line of the Night: 54 points, 15 for 22 from the field, 10 for 22 from three, 14 for 14 from the charity stripe, eight rebounds, four assists, and one steal.

Jodie Meeks broke Dan Issel’s 39 year-old single game scoring record by scoring 54 points and lead the Kentucky Wildcats into Knoxville and beat N0. 24 Tennessee Volunteers 90-72.

I am not sure what is more distributing; the ease at which Meeks scored, the fact that no other Wildcat was in double figures, or the way Tennessee has completely fallen apart.

The typical Tennessee intensity was not present as the Volunteers were just as excited to watch Meeks break the record, opting not to play defense.

Meeks did put on an amazing show, shouting from everywhere but he did not force shots.  He hit all his free throws and hit shots far behind the three point line with defenders in his face. 

But it was too easy for Meeks and there was nothing Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers could have done.  But that could have at least tired a little harder.  Heads-up to Coach Pearl, Meeks wears #23 for the blue team.  Just thought you should know.

Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism did their best, scoring 19 and 18 respectively and did make the game interesting about midway through the second half before Meeks decided to remove all doubt and finish the game and record off.

Tulsa vs. Memphis

Tulsa turned in a solid performance and had the Tigers in a a cage until Antonio Anderson hit a driving lay-up as time expired to give Memphis the win on the road 55-54.

Memphis had lead the majority of the game until Tulsa made a comeback in the second half  behind juniors Jerome Jordan and Ben Uzoh and the game was at 39 points apiece with 12 minutes left in the second half.

The 6’3″ Uzoh had a strong game with 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and two blocks and hit two clutch free throws with 4.5 seconds to give Tulsa their last lead.

Tulsa’s Jordan is playing just his fourth year of organized basketball.  Jordan gave the Tigers trouble in the post and finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four blocks on Tuesday night.  The seven foot junior has come on strong this season, scoring in double figures in 13 of Tulsa’s last 15 games.

For Memphis, the freshmen Evans finally looked comfortable.  He was quick, decisive with the ball and shot well from the floor.  Evans got to the foul line eight times, was 2-2 from deep, but did have four turnovers.

Anderon might have carried the ball on the last play, but we won’t talk about that.

Quick Hits

  • Dunk of the Night: Florida State freshmen Chris Singleton had a clear path down the lane.  He went to the hole to grab a rebound on a missed shot that bounced straight at him.  Singleton stretched way back in mid air, grabbed the ball and threw it down hard.  It doesn’t sound as impressive as it was to watch it.  But it was ridiculous.  FSU won the game, beating North Carolina State 78-65.
  • The Kansas Jayhawks beat their instate rivals from Manhattan, Kansas 87-71 behind 24 points of Sherron Collins.  This “rivalry” was really good for one season.  This season, not so much.
  • After recently having the nation’s longest home winning streak snapped, the BYU Cougars defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 73-61 to stretch their new home winning streak to two games in a row.  Only 51 more to match the last one.
  • Homer Shout Out: The North Dakota Fighting Sioux needed over time to beat the University of Mary 84-78.  UND’s Daniel Harkins lead all scorers with 25 points.

Tuesday Night Hoopla

Arkansas – Are You Serious?Michael Washington

I wonder what this seasons goals were for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  Having lost their five top scorers from a team that made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, I would bet probably not too lofty. 

  • Finish over .500 in conference
  • Be competitive enough to be more than a “bubble team”
  • Get at least one “statement” win to help previous goal.  After last night, they have two.

Just days after defeating then No. 4 ranked Oklahoma Sooners, the Arkansas Razorbacks come back with another win over a top ten ranked team defeating .

John Pelphrey’s young team thrived off the excitement of a packed house and a national audeince and went blow for blow with a veteran Longhorn team.  Led by junior forward Michael Washington’s 22 points and 9 rebounds, the Razorback were confident and not afraid of the Longhorns.

Arkansas guard Stefan Welsh drew the assignment of guarding Texas star A.J. Abrams and Welsh held the sharpshooter to seven points.  Abrams was 3 for 16 from the floor, hit one three point shot, and did not get to the foul line.  Welsh did a good job of riding Abram’s hip and making him into a dribbler and not allowing to be the shooter he is known for.  

Texas did not have an answer for Washington and his length and activity around the rim and that lead to Washington’s “and one” dunk with 30 seconds left over Texas’ Damian James to solidfy the win for the Razorbacks.

This game was not pretty, and should not have been as close as it was.  Arkansas was on 14-21 from the foul line and was out rebounded 32-45 with the Longhorns grabbing 18 offensive rebounds.

Big Ten ClashRaymar Morgan

Michigan State hosted Ohio State in what I call the first “measuring stick” game for the Big Ten.  Both teams have played the Minnesota Golden Gophers with MSU beating the Gophers 70-58, while OSU lost 68-59.  This also plays to my theory that the Big Ten will be a dog fight for the top five spots.

The game was tied 20-20 with under seven to go in the first half and then MSU went on a 16-4 scoring run to close the half.  Durning the run, Michigan State looked like a top-5 team.  The Spartans ran, moved the ball quickly and shoot well from deep.

Even with the win, my biggest concern for Tom Izzo and the Spartans is Raymar Morgan.

The junior forward was mentioned as a Big-Ten player of the year candidate and last night, he was not the best player on his own team.  That was sophomore guard Kalin Lucas.  Morgan is talented, no question, but he can become completely ineffective at times.

Morgan went 5-14 and finished with 13 points and ten rebounds matching up against OSU’s star Evan Turner and Dallas Lauderdale.  If Morgan is able to raise his game, and be consistent, the Spartans will have a strong chance of reaching the Final Four in Detroit. 

As far as the “measuring stick” aspect.  Purdue and MSU have the most talented players in the Big-Ten, but teams like  Minnesota, Illinois, OSU and Michigan are looking like better teams.  Penn State is tough, experienced team (see below).  This conference will be tight until the end. 

OSU is missing athletic forward David Lighty.  The last remaining player from the Buckeyes trip to the national championship game, is out for 6-12 weeks with a broken foot.

Quick Hits

Purdue lost to Penn State 67-64 with forward Robbie Hummel out with back issues and Chris Kramer out with a sprained left foot.  Penn State did take advantage of Hummel’s absence, out rebounding the Boilermakers 37-22.

Stat Line of the Night:  Clemson’s K.C Rivers had 12 points, nine rebounds - six offensive, three assists and four steals in the Tigers victory over Alabama. 

West Virginia had a chance to flip the Big East up side down with a victory over UConn.  But the starting front court for the Huskies of Jeff Adrien, Stanley Robinson and Hasheem Thabeet came up big finishing with 37 points and 35 rebounds, with 13 of Adrien’s 17 coming in the second half.

Villanova needed overtime and 40 points from Scottie Reybnolds to beat Seton Hall 89-85.  Dante Cunningham continues to imporive adding 21 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Homer Shout Out.  North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside is currently second in the nation in assists per game with 7.5.  He also recently became the Bison’s all-time leader scoring and is averaging 24 ppg and shooting 43 percent from deep.

Tuesday Night Hoopla

Main Event in Two Acts

SEC/Big East Invitational.

No. 18 Tennessee Vs. No. 24 Marquette.

Highlight of the First Act:  6’7″ Volunteer Scotty Hopson made a smooth back door cut that left his defender guarding air.  The bounce pass came on time and target.  Hopson caught the ball and elevated for the easy dunk.  The moment he started jump, so did Marquette’s Dominique James.  The went up together and met at the rim and James sent the shot away.  James is 5’11″.  Block of the Year!

The First half was close as the Volunteers looked and played hungover from the Temple game.  Tennessee was content to stand on the perimeter and launch from deep.  Marquette was OK with that as well.

Highlight of the Second Act:  6’9″ Junior Forward Wayne Chism and his 21 points.

wcWayne Chism must have reintroduced himself to his teammates at half time.  Because in the first half, the rest of the Volunteers did not get him the ball.  Maybe they forgot Chism was on their team.  How can you?  He is the only guy who wears his headband like that.

The first two plays in the second half were sets for Chism on the block and there was no looking back.  The Volunteers have talented wings, but Chism is the only viable post option.  If you don’t at least attempt to get the ball in the post, your offense is limited strictly to jumpers.  Chism finished with a career high 26 points and also grabbed ten rebounds.

For Chism, this is a game that Bruce Pearl has been waiting for.  Hopefully it is only the beginning.  If Tennessee wants to get back to the top of SEC quickly – and stay there - Chism needs to be a consistent double double player.  He is talented enough.

After watching the game, I looked at the box score and was surprised.  Tennesse’s Tyler Smith had 14 points on 6-6 shooting from the field and 4-6 from the foul line.  That is why I like him.  You don’t need to talk about him or have to force the ball to him, he just gets the job done.  

Marquette’s Wesley Matthew scored a career high 30 points in attempt to carry his team.  He also had four rebounds and three assists.

Texas Shooter

In basketball terms, Texas guard A.J. Abrams is short.  He stands only 5′11″.  But outside of Davidson’s Stephen Curry, there is no other player in the country who carries his teams success squarelyon their shoulders.  Now his name must be put into the Player of the Year conversation.

In No. 5 Texas’ 88-72 victory over Texas Southern, Abrams shot 59% from the floor, 3-3 from the charity stripe and 4-8 from distance.  His most important stat of the night: zero turnovers.

Texas again had Justin Mason run the point, and he did had four rebounds, six assists and zero turnovers. It seems Texas final found a solution for the “replacing D.J. Augustin” problem.

6’10″ big boy Dexter Pittman continued to show confidence and improvement.  Playing strong for the longhorns in the middle, he finished with a career high 19 points and added five rebounds and 3 blocks.

Texas is still a team that makes me nervous.  They seem to play up or down to their opponent – which can be be good and bad, but definitely frustrating.  If you take Abrams off this team, the Longhorns don’t make play in the NCAA Tournament.  

Texas forward Damion James is solid averaging 14 points and 7.8 rebounds a game.  I am still waiting for him to explode - in a good way.  James has yet to prove that he is any better than he was last season and that can’t be sitting well with NBA scouts. 

Bull in a China Shop

Both starting forwards for the South Florida Bulls fouled out.  Back-up center Alex Rivas Sanchez has four fouls in six minutes.  Vanderbilt center A.J. Ogilvy attempted 13 free throw, the Bulls made 12.

The 6’11″ Ogilvy was the dominate player in the lane and along with fouling out the starting post players, he finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds.  Ogilvy checked in and out of game many times, supposedly he is struggling with endurance.  Aren’t we all.

Note to Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings.  Burn that tie.

Fear the Ospreys?

No. 25 Clemson could have stopped at half.  If they had, they would have won the game by won point.  Clemson destroyed North Florida 76-36.  Clemson scored 37 in the first half.  The North Florida Ospreys enter the match-up 0-7 for the year.

An Osprey is a fish eating hawk that can have a wingspan up to a six feet wide.

The Clemson Tigers are good, North Florida Ospreys are not.  Even if they can fly.

I Told You So

Last week I said that North Dakota State’s point guard Ben Woodside should be a write-in candidate for National Player of the Year.  And look what happened.

He scored 60 points in a single game and then follows that up with a 31 point, 10 assist performance.  He is third in the nation in scoring at 26.9, third in assists at 7.6.  NDSU now ranks third in nation in total offense scoring 90.3 points a game and fourth in three point shooting at 45.7 percent a game.  Go Bison.

Annoyance of the Evening

In the middle of the Vanderbilt game – and at the end of the Tenn/Marq. game – certain commentators felt need to bring up Tyler Hansbrough.  No connection to what was happening in the game.

I have heard his name more this Holiday Season than Jesus.  Maybe Ricky Bobby will pray to baby Hansbrough.  Apparently, Hansbrough can shuffle his pivot foot on water too.