Category Archives: Tuesday Night Hoopla

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.

Tuesday Night Hoopla: Recap of Last Night’s College Basketball Action

Ugly Until the End

In the first game of the Jimmy V Classic,  No. 20 Davidson defeated West Virginia 68-65 at the Madison Square Garden.  All the publicity leading up to this game was on Stephen Curry and his ability to score.  He did score 27 points but it took 27 shots to get there.  Davidsons’ whole team played poorly, to put it nicely, and this game was West Virginia’s to win – but they did not.

Stephen Curry

Let me paint you a picture of the ugliness that was this game.  Both teams shot 26% from three and 59% from the foul line.  West Virginia shot 33% from the floor, while Davidson shot 43%.  Ugliness all over.

Curry shoot 9 for 27, matching Texas’ A.J. Abrams for the most shots in a single game – I am not sure if that stat is true, but that is a lot of freakin’ shots.

And with all that mess, what puts Curry in a class by himself is that he is the most clutch player I have seen in my life time.  West Virginia throw many different players at Curry, sometimes matching him up with forwards six inches taller and that seemed to make him rush.

Curry missed shots he usually makes and forced passes when there were easier options.  Curry did finish with 10 assists, but he had did have eight turnovers.  Still Curry finished the game scoring 13 of Davidson’s last 14 points, hitting his last three shots.

The injured Mountaineers were lacking guards and the offense struggles.  But West Virginia did have two bright spots  who each finished with double-doubles.  6’9″ freshmen Devin Ebanks had 13 points and 17 rebounds and was always around the rim.  De’Sean Butler, a 6’7″ junior forward, scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and had to create the majority of his offense.

Davidson’s Andrew Lovedale and Ben Allison held the game close until Curry took over, scoring 15 and 10 respectively.

Dynamic Duo

A.J. Abrams

Every Batman needs a Robin – except when Batman is Christian Bale, then all he needs is Alfred and Morgan Freeman. 

For the No. 8 Texas Longhorns two things had to happen against the No. 16 Villinova Wildcats:  First,  Texas’ “Caped Crusader” A.J. Abrams, needed scoring support and it would help if it was a post player to force defenses to sag into the lane.  Second, someone had to step out and play point guard, not “lead guard”, but a pass-first point guard. 

Texas did beat ‘Nova 67 – 58 and both problems were taken care of.

First off, Damion James broke out the “Boy Wonder” cape and stepped up with 16 points and six rebounds, which was solid.  His efficiency is what was really impressive.  James shoot 7 for 11 from the floor and 2 for 3 from behind the arc and lead the Longhorns frontcourt in a physical battle against ‘Nova’s frountcourt lead by Dante Cunningham.

Secondly, in last nights game, Justin Mason only scored three points.  But that is not really important.  What is important?  Six assists and zero turnovers. Mason is a confident ball handler who does not hesitate to move the ball.  Ultimately, having Mason on the ball allows Abrams to run off picks and get to open areas for good looks.

Damion Jeams

‘Nova’s Cunningham continues to improve this season and for much of Tuesday night’s game, he was the best player on the court.  Like James, he made it look easy.  Cunningham shot 9 for 14 and was 5 for 7 for the charity stripe for 23 points.  He also had 12 rebounds and 3 blocks.

For Texas, this game was proof that Texas is very good.  Having already beaten UCLA , and now Villinova, and losing a close game to Notre Dame, we may not have seen the best of the Longhorns yet.  The defense is ready, the offense will get there.  Then watch-out.

Shortly after the game at the Madison Square Garden, Villanova coach Jay Wright had the NYPD issue a restraining order that will not allow ESPN’s Dick Vitale to speak about how good looking he is or how well he dresses for more than a combined 5.7 minutes a game.

Seriously, it was a bit awkward – Sean McDonough was uncomfortable.

Quick Hits

- In the match-up of teams from major conferences who will be playing in the NIT come March, A.D Vassallo scored 23 points shooting 4 for 6 from distance in Virginia Tech’s 66-67 lose to the balanced attack of Georgia.

-Following back-to-back loses to Oklahoma and Duke, The Purdue Boilermakers played the second game of the “Lick Our Wounds” tour by going to Ball State and winning 68-39 before they Davidson at home on Dec. 20th.  Purdue will not play a road until Jan. 6th when they head to Penn State to start conference play.

-The four teams of Iowa played last night to gain the crown of the Corn Palace State.  In the first game, Iowa beat out a less talented Northern Iowa team 65-46 lead by Jake Kelly’s 19 points and Jeff Peterson’s 18.

- Second game showcased Iowa State’s Lucca Staiger shooting 7 for 8 from distance, scoring 21 points in the first.  He then made one more basket and finished with 24 points.  Drake came back from 13 down to win 66-63.  The Bulldogs made 17 out of 25 free throws and the Cyclones only shot six.

- And now for the “write-in candidate for Player of the Year” portion of the show - North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside is sitting fifth in the country averaging 7.2 assists a game.  Woodside is also averaging 21 points a game and 53% from beyond the arc.

Tuesday Night Hoopla: College Basketball Recap

Basketball on the Beach with An Umbrella in Your Drink

When it comes to deciding what preseason tournament to play in, I wonder how difficult that choice must be.  You could play in locations you probably already know, scenery that is nothing too exciting, maybe even a little cold.  Or you can go to Hawaii.  Not much of a choice if you ask me.

Every year the Maui Invitational continues to gives us one really good match—if we are lucky, two.  Last night’s marquee matchup featured two highly ranked teams in No. 7 Texas losing to No. 8 Notre Dame 80-81.  Each team has its All-American players, but only one school played like a team.

lh
Luke Harangody

Luke Harangody is a beast on the block who finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds.  Texas did not have a player on their roster that could match him.  The Longhorns started with 6’10″, 299-pound center Dexter Pittman on Harangody.  Pittman’s sorry stat line for the game: five minutes, four points, three rebounds, and four fouls.

Now this is why Notre Dame is such a good team.  After getting run over by Harangody, you now have Kyle McAlarney and the rest of the Fighting Irish shooting 46 percent from distance.

From the tip-off, Notre Dame looked more comfortable in their offense.  When they needed a bucket, the team knew who needed the ball in what position on the court.  Meanwhile, Texas looked sloppy and very unorganized in their efforts.

Their defense has been top-notch, but the major problem spot for the Longhorns is their offense, more specifically at point guard.  A.J. Abrams is supposed to be the man for the job, but he finished with zero assists while Justin Mason led the team with seven. I think Mason is the single most important player in a Longhorn uniform.

Abrams shot 9-27 from the field.  27 shots, are you serious?  But with all the struggles Abrams and the Longhorns are going through, they were only six inches from winning the game when Abrams’ last-second shot hit the front of the iron.

OrangeMAN

Jonny Flynn has arrived.  Flynn endured a rough freshman year, when Syracuse asked a little too much of the 6’0″ point guard, but now he has led Syracuse to wins over two ranked teams in two days.

Jonny Flynn
Jonny Flynn

After beating No. 18 Florida on Monday, Syracuse needed overtime to drive the point home against the defending champion and 23rd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks 89-81 in the Championship game of the CBE Classic.

To further the theme of team, if you were to compare the Orange from last season to this season, you would see a bunch of individuals who turned into a team.  Granted, injuries and inexperience were a big part of the chaos that was the 2007-08 season.

Even losing freshman Donte Greene was a blessing in disguise.  Greene was never able to buy into the college game and was only looking to create a highlight reel for draft day.

Syracuse showed a handful of things in the CBE Classic.  First, the Big East is by far the deepest conference in the country.  Second, the Orange are a solid team with only a few weak spots that can be improved on.  Third, they will be in the top 25 come Monday.  Last, Flynn has taken over the leadership role for Jim Boeheim.

Flynn looked in control of the offense, and he affects every aspect of this team.  He is scoring 21 points per game, dishing out five assists, two rebounds, two steals, and shooting 46 percent from three-point range.  He has climbed my All-American list from not appearing on any team in the preseason to my second team.

And he still rocks the headband!

Quick Hits

Texas Tech pulled back the offense and only scored 74 in beating Southeastern Louisiana after scoring 167 against East Central.  Apparently they only play teams with two directions in the school name.

North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside scored 29 against Northern Arizona in a game where the Phoenix Suns had a scout drive two hours to look at Woodside.

Finally Sam Young decided to play and scored 33 points, shooting 12-17 and grabbing seven rebounds in No. 4 Pitt’s win over powerhouse Belmont.

Stephen Curry scored 0 points and Davidson beat Loyola (MD) 78-48!  Yes, you are not going insane—it actually happened.  Loyola ran the triangle and two, and Curry sat in the corner, letting the rest of his team play four against three.