News, Notes, Ramblings and Matchups for Wed, 11/22
|by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
|November 22, 2006
-Air Force looked impressive in their win against Texas Tech. I guess the jury is still out on how quality a team Texas Tech is, but it’s a big win for Air Force who needs wins like that. It was close in the first half, but AFA completely ran away from them in the second half.
-Marquette and Duke was nip and tuck the whole way, but in the final five minutes of the game Marquette pulled ahead to win the CBE Classic. They didn’t get off to all that impressive a start this season, but they’ve looked fantastic in their last three games. That will look very good on their resume come March when they are playing for seeding. Dominic James had a huge game for the Golden Eagles.
-Memphis jumped way ahead of Georgia Tech in the first half and it didn’t look as if it was even worth watching the rest of it. The second half was the complete opposite as Georgia Tech came from 19 points down to win the game. Memphis was just ice cold in the second half.
-UCLA jumped out way ahead of Kentucky, but the Wildcats chipped away at the lead and finally tied it about midway through the second half. UCLA’s defense buckled down and came up with some big stops in the final minutes to win. UCLA shot the ball poorly from the outside, but made big defensive plays and got some key transition baskets (and very impressive dunks) when they needed them.
Both the third place game and first place game are interesting matchups. The third place game isn’t for a trophy but it is still hugely important to both teams, especially Memphis, because if both teams’ rankings are indicative of how their seasons will go then this will count as a quality win for either team come March.
-The semifinal games are tonight, both of which are intriguing matchups. Butler beat both Indiana and Notre Dame to advance here. They are looking like the best team in the state of Indiana right now, but Tennessee is a better team than anyone they’ve faced so far. For that matter, so are Gonzaga and North Carolina. If Butler can win one game in either the semifinal or third place game it would be impressive.
-Gonzaga vs North Carolina is big. Both teams look fantastic, but this is really the first true test for either team. North Carolina did face a very good Winthrop team, but Gonzaga has looked much better. An early season quality win on a neutral floor will help one’s resume when it comes to being seeded.
NEWS, NOTES AND RAMBLINGS
-There were several games played yesterday that you won’t see on ESPN Classic. The scores should tell you why (and they’re all correct).
Florida–94, Prairie View A&M-33
Georgia-105, South Carolina State-60
Illinois-81, Savannah State-34
Sam Houston State-95, Louisiana College-31
I guess the winning teams figured they hadn’t been doing enough lay-up drills in practice and figured the best way to get more drills in was to schedule a very weak opponent.
-The game of the night was IPFW @ Western Illinois. It went into five overtimes. That’s the same as playing a third half and another overtime on top of that. IPFW wound up winning 97-95 and improve to 2-2 on the year.
-Several teams in the Big East are not exactly off to a roaring start. De Paul has lost to Bradley and Northwestern, and has just one div1 win so far and that was against Eastern Illinois.
Cincinnati lost to Wofford last night 91-90. They are 3-1 on the year, but the best team they’ve beaten is High Point, and they even struggled to pull that one out.
Rutgers lost to Jackson State 71-70. They also lost to Kansas State in their opener and their next div1 win will be their first.
Seton Hall lost to Fairleigh Dickinson, which is the only div1 team they’ve played so far.
Providence lost to Brown. To Brown’s credit they are arguably an up and coming team in the Ivy League, but they’re up and coming. They aren’t quite to the top yet. Not to mention, they’re in the Ivy League. Providence is down, but one would still expect them to defeat Brown.
The top of the league is extremely strong (although a lot of teams did struggle against weak competition in their season openers), but the bottom doesn’t appear to even be decent right now.
-Bucknell fell to Penn State in overtime, who will likely finish toward the bottom of the Big Ten. Bucknell has been to the second round two years in a row, but has yet to win a game this season despite having some good players back and facing some teams that aren’t exactly tournament caliber.
-I guess I cursed Albany by praising them as much as I did. My apologies to the Great Danes for doing that. They were beaten handily by Sacred Heart 90-71. They will face Connecticut next, and will likely lose, but the loss tonight to Sacred Heart is surprising, especially considering how well they’d played in their first two games. Then again, one of their wins was against Bucknell, who doesn’t appear to be as strong as people thought prior to the season starting.
-New Mexico blew out Kansas State 78-54, which is surprising considering they won so handily. Both teams were unbeaten and appeared to be playing well. I guess New Mexico is playing considerably better. New Mexico has blown out everyone they’ve faced so far. None of their opponents really jump out at you as being of high quality, but they don’t exactly stink either. The way they’ve been winning has been impressive and this could be a very dangerous team that no one really knows about yet. J.R. Giddens and Aaron Johnson both had double-doubles for New Mexico.
-GEORGETOWN AT FAIRFIELD. It isn’t very characteristic of Georgetown (or most Big East teams for that matter) to play a game like this on the road. Fairfield is just 1-5 on the year, but will have the chance to go nuts as a nationally ranked caliber team comes to their arena. Georgetown needs this win to rebound from a decisive loss to Old Dominion their last time out.
-BOSTON COLLEGE AT PROVIDENCE. These two teams are old rivals dating back to when both were in the Big East. Providence lost to Brown in their last game. They don’t look to have the best team this year, but a loss to Brown is still hard to believe. BC had a somewhat surprising loss of their own when they fell to Vermont, so both teams need to get a win to right the ship that is their season.
-CHARLOTTE AT SYRACUSE. The exciting thing about Charlotte is one never knows what they are going to do. They open the season with an impressive win against a good Hofstra team, and were then beaten handily by a mediocre (at best) North Texas team. Syracuse hasn’t faced any really tough opponents, but they’ve still looked impressive. This would still be one of their better wins so far if they can pull it off, but then again one never knows what Charlotte is going to do.
-SAMFORD AT ARIZONA. Samford’s brutal OOC schedule continues. Arizona has looked very strong in their last two games and can improve to 3-1 with a win.
-PORTLAND AT BYU. BYU can improve to 2-1 with a win. Other than a game against Michigan State they really aren’t challenged until conference play.
-SAINT FRANCIS, NY AT MASSACHUSETTS. U Mass continues to play well. A win in this one gets them to 4-1.
-YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT MICHIGAN. Unbeaten and untested Michigan will likely remain both of those things after this game. A win gets them to 6-0.
-UNC ASHEVILLE AT VIRGINIA. UVA can improve to 3-0 with a win. They’ve looked pretty good so far this season, but won’t really be tested in their next few games.
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