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News, Notes, and Highlighted Matchups for 11/15
by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
November 15, 2006
BOBBY KNIGHT

-One of the things I really hate about most sports journalists is that they have a tabloid mentality; case and point, this past “incident” with Bobby Knight. In case you’ve been on Mars all day, Bobby Knight was getting on forward Michael Prince as the team came in for a time out. While he was talking to Prince, Prince looked at the ground, so Knight flipped the bottom of his chin with his hand and told him to look at him when he was talking to him. Of course multiple sportswriters and TV personalities decided to react to this as if Knight had strapped on some brass knuckles and given him a round house punch to the temple. Prince said Knight did nothing wrong. Princes’ parents said they felt Knight did nothing wrong. Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Meyers stated he felt Knight did nothing wrong. All of this was irrelevant to the media though. With some in the media, I guess it just doesn’t matter if something isn’t a big deal. They’ll just compensate for it by pretending it’s a big deal. It could be that they’re just upset because they realize Knight is much better at his job than they are at theirs. For the record, there is a lot more I like about Knight than I dislike, but that’s not the reason for me writing this. It’s just that there is a lot more about the media that I dislike than I like, particularly their ability to make the sports pages look like the tabloids as they blow nonsensical irrelevant things way out of proportion. That’s one of the reasons I like having my own blog.

Now, on to real basketball news…



EXEMPT TOURNAMENTS

CBE CLASSIC

-Marquette finally got their act together after two very unimpressive showings this season and blew out Detroit to advance to the semifinals. Detroit isn’t exactly a high caliber team, but they appear to be much better than the previous two teams Marquette had struggled against.

-Marquette will face Texas Tech, who blew out Arkansas Little Rock. Evidently all of the nonsense with the media harping on Bobby Knight didn’t affect his team’s focus. They looked very good tonight and that game against Marquette should be a good one.

-Air Force, who desperately needs to do well in this tournament, was almost bounced out by Long Beach in the opening round, but held on to win by one point. Still, it was not an impressive showing from a talented team who needs to be playing with a sense of urgency right now. It’s early in the season, but this is one of the few chances Air Force has to play against quality competition.

-Stanford had little trouble knocking off San Jose State. It is their second blowout win of the season, but it gets tougher tonight. Well, that is if Air Force plays up to their ability. The winner moves on to the semifinals to face Duke. The good news for a team like Air Force is that in addition to Duke, They’ll get to face either Marquette or Texas Tech in either the consolation game or the championship game, so it guarantees them two more games against quality opponents, which is something they really need, so this is HUGE for Air Force.


PRESEASON NIT

-Sacred Heart was within two at the beginning of the second half against North Carolina, but that was as close as they got. The Tarheels really turned it up and ended up winning in a blowout.

-North Carolina will face Winthrop, who blew out Iona in their game. North Carolina is clearly the superior team, but Winthrop is by no means a cupcake. They have most of their team back from last year that nearly upset Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament and may have a chance to get to the dance as an at large caliber team this year. A win against North Carolina and a trip to the NIT semifinals would go a long way in attaining that, but even if they lose today they’ll have their chances to get some statement wins that will impress the committee. North Carolina will have to play much better than they did in the first half to win this game tonight.

-Butler came from twelve points down in the second half to upset Indiana. It is a big win for Butler, who many thought would not be all that strong this year. They’re definitely off to a good start and will get to play in some high exposure games against quality competition in the NIT semifinals.

-Butler will face Tennessee, who struggled with UNC Wilmington for about a half, but pulled away in the second half. The game with Butler will be interesting. Tennessee loves an up-tempo transition game and Butler loves to slow it down and run a set half court offense.

-Baylor needed two overtimes to defeat Colorado State, but ended up getting it done 87-82. This is a big win for a team who has gone through hell. They had half their season cancelled last year due to probation. Doing well in this tournament is really a way to wipe the slate clean for them.

-Gonzaga, although unranked, continues to look more like a ranked team than many of the teams that are in the top 25. They blew out Rice and will face Baylor tonight.



HIGHLIGHTED MATCHUPS

-NORTHERN ARIZONA AT ARIZONA. Northern Arizona always gives Arizona and Arizona State fits. They defeated ASU the other night and can play for ultimate state bragging rights tonight. Arizona is a much tougher challenge though, especially considering they are looking to rebound from their season opening loss at Virginia. Northern Arizona is a good team and will likely be the favorite to win the Big Sky, but they will likely be overmatched today. If they could pull it off it would be a huge statement win on their NCAA Tournament resume though.

-NORTHWESTERN STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE. Northwestern State won this game a season ago. They ended up advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but lost a lot of contributors off of that team. Still, they blew out Utah State in their season opener, so this may not be a walk in the park for Oklahoma State, who blew out Florida Atlantic in their first game.

-NEVADA AT OREGON STATE. Oregon State is off to a pretty good 2-1 start, but if they could pull off the upset against Nevada it would really jumpstart their season. Nevada is a very good team who is already in the rankings and should end up being squarely in the NCAA Tournament picture, but their problem is they don’t have many games against top notch competition. Therefore, their margin of error is a little bit smaller. Oregon State is the first div1 opponent they’ve faced this season.

-KANSAS STATE AT RUTGERS. Important early season road game for Kansas State. It’s a pretty big game for Rutgers as well. These are two teams that are trying to build an NCAA Tournament resume, and a good way to do that is to win against another team that is trying to do the same. Kansas State beat William & Mary in their first game, but didn’t exactly look like an all world team while doing it. This is the season opener for Rutgers. All and all this is a pretty good test for both teams.

-BYU AT UCLA. This is a great opportunity for BYU. They appear to be among the best in the Mountain West, but this would really be a chance for them to get a statement win early. UCLA has most of their Final Four team back and will once again be a major force. They appear to have the better team, but they don’t always kick it into gear right away. This will likely turn out to be a quality win for whoever ends up winning. This is also the season opener for both teams.

-GEORGETOWN AT VANDERBILT. Georgetown struggled in their season opener against Hartford, but still managed to pull it out. Winning at Vanderbilt will be a lot harder than winning at home against Hartford. It’s the season opener for Vandy, and it’s a chance for them to get a very good win for themselves early on. That would go a long way in ending their absence in the NCAA Tournament, even though it is early in the season.

-WISCONSIN GREEN BAY AT WISCONSIN. This is probably technically a Buy Game, but Wisconsin Green Bay is an up and coming team in the Horizon League. They’ll be extremely pumped for this game and they could give Wisconsin some trouble. Wisconsin hasn’t really been challenged much by UW Milwaukee or UW Green Bay lately though. A win will get the Badgers to 2-0.

-WISCONSIN MILWAUKEE AT MICHIGAN. Wisconsin Milwaukee has had two very strong years in a row, but is rebuilding this year. They’re off to a 1-2 start. Michigan is unbeaten, but also unproven. A win will get them to 4-0 on the year.



BUY GAMES

-UTAH VALLEY STATE AT CALIFORNIA. This is the season opener for Cal. Utah Valley State is 2-0, but this is definitely a higher caliber opponent than what they’ve been playing.

-FURMAN AT CLEMSON. Clemson has looked pretty decent so far. They won all three games in the Coxcom Classic, including a close one over a pretty good Old Dominion team. A win here will get them to 4-0.

-JACKSON STATE AT ILLINOIS. Jackson State continues to play top programs on the road during their gauntlet of an OOC schedule. It pays the bills I guess. Illinois should improve to 2-0.

-ORAL ROBERTS AT KANSAS. Kansas should blow this team out and improve to 2-0. Oral Roberts won the MidCon last year and should be good in league play once again, but they are way overmatched in this one.

-MIAMI, OH AT KENTUCKY. Miami lost their season opener to Wright State, which was sort of a surprise. They will be competitive in the MAC and may be able to compete with Kentucky tonight. Kentucky should still win though. It’s their season opener.

-NORTHEASTERN AT SYRACUSE. Syracuse won all three games in the BCA Invitational and shouldn’t have too much trouble improving to 4-0 today.

-UC SAN DIEGO AT SAN DIEGO STATE. San Diego State won all three games in the Shamrock Invitational, but none of the teams were any good and none of the wins were decisive. They only managed a 76-73 win against div2 Seattle Pacific. A loss to a nondiv1 team would really hurt their profile. Despite their success last season they haven’t really shown themselves to be strong contenders for the NCAA this year yet.



NEWS AND NOTES

-Western Kentucky got a big win at Georgia. They trailed most of the game, but kept it close and ended up pulling it out 70-67. It’s very possible that this will being a very nice win for them come Selection Sunday. Georgia is a very talented team that should make a good case for themselves between now and the end of the year.

-Bucknell and Wake Forest combined for 80 freethrows, and missed nearly half of them. This game took forever to play because of all the fouls being called. It wasn’t necessarily a poorly officiated game, but when there are that many fouls it’s hard for either team to get into a rhythm. Bucknell led most of the way, but got into foul trouble and that helped allow Wake to get back into the game and force overtime. Wake Forest ended up getting a big win 86-83 in OT. Bucknell drops to 0-2. They are still a good team and will likely end up having a big year, but they have not gotten off to a roaring start and that could be problematic given the fact that none of their wins in conference play will impress the committee all that much.

-New Mexico blew out Colorado 106-65 to improve to 3-0 on the season. Colorado doesn’t appear to be anything special, and although New Mexico hasn’t beaten anyone special yet, they appear to be good enough to do so when they get their chance. Their next game is against Kansas State, who is currently unbeaten, but also unproven. Unfortunately the only teams on New Mexico’s schedule that appear to be tournament caliber opponents are Wichita State and Texas Tech. Still, these guys could be dangerous and could rack up a very high win total by the end of the year.

-Last but not least, SAVANNAH STATE WINS AGAIN!!! Javon Randolph had 28 points for them as they defeated Mercer 71-61 to improve to 3-0. They face a div2 team next, but their schedule gets tougher after that. Still, this is significant improvement for a team that was 8-101 against div1 competition since 2002, and had lost 54 out of 55 the last two years. There are several teams remaining on their schedule that they have a chance of beating.

NJIT also won their second game by defeating Rider. They’re 2-0 on the year, which is impressive (at least to me) considering I didn’t think they’d win two games all season. They’re having far less trouble with their transition into div1 than I thought they would, at least so far.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to drew.barnette@draftexpress.com .

 

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