News, Notes and Highlighted Games for 12/22

News, Notes and Highlighted Games for 12/22
Dec 22, 2006, 01:38 am

-After being blown out twice by sub par teams, Virginia rebounded yesterday to win the 7th place game of the San Juan Shootout against the div2 host team Puerto Rico Mayaquez. Congratulations to them 59-52 victory. What in the world happened to Virginia?? This was a tournament they should have absolutely dominated. Instead they end up struggling against a div2 team in the 7th place game.

-The SMU vs TCU game was a classic that saw four lead changes in the final 17 seconds. TCU led by six at the half, but SMU came back in the second half and Tez Willingham hit a three point shot at the buzzer to give SMU the 64-62 win. It was his only points of the game, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. SMU has just one loss on the season and although TCU isn’t likely to end up being a strong NCAA Tournament team, this is still a big win for them on the road, because TCU was 7-3 coming into this one and they should get their share of wins in conference play. SMU has another big game at Oklahoma next week.

-Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State went into two overtimes. It was a great game that was close the whole way through regulation. If either team built up a lead bigger than three points, you felt like they were in complete control. Oklahoma State had a chance to win at the end of regulation and at the end of the first overtime, but couldn’t get it done. They pulled away in the second overtime and wound up getting a huge win 95-89. It is Pitt’s second loss in a row, but both were on the road against top ten caliber teams, so they are still in excellent shape.

-Duke’s defense is outstanding. I attributed many of their earlier performances to the cruddy offense of their opponents, but if they can shut Gonzaga down the way they did tonight, then they must be doing something right. To me, this is Duke’s best win of the year so far. They will certainly face challenges in conference, but they definitely look better than they did when they were playing in the CBE Classic, and will likely continue to improve. Gonzaga now has four losses on the season, including two in a row, but seeing how brutal their schedule is been they are still in good shape and can still make the pod system, especially if they blow through their conference like they do most seasons.

-I’m officially home for Christmas. Well, home at my parents’ house that is. I was watching the games with my dad, but because they don't have access to the ESPN Alternate channels through their cable service we missed most of the first half of the Duke game with Oklahoma State and Pitt going into double overtime.

Updates and articles may be a bit abbreviated over the Christmas Holidays because I’ll be busy with friends and family and probably won’t be watching as many games.


-USC VS KANSAS STATE (Las Vegas Classic). Both of these teams have good records, but not a whole lot of good wins, so that makes this game a match up between two teams who are trying to prove themselves.

-NEW MEXICO VS WICHITA STATE (Las Vegas Classic). Wichita State is unbeaten on the year and appears like they could be headed for the pod system. New Mexico has played great at home, but has struggled on the road and needs a big win away from home if they want to get the committee’s attention. Winning this game would definitely accomplish that, so this is one of their best opportunities to get a statement win. It’s a big game for Wichita State as well, but they already have a few big wins on their resume. New Mexico does not.

-NEVADA AT AKRON. Nevada’s schedule is pretty watered down and this is actually one of the tougher road games they play this season. Akron is 6-3 and many believe them to be one of the better teams in the MAC, although they really haven’t played as well as some of the others yet. Nevertheless, they still have a good team. This might not be a huge opponent for Nevada, but it’s one of the better teams they play on the road so it is a big game for them.

-TEXAS A&M AT AUBURN. Auburn has a nice record, but it’s because they’ve played weak competition. Expect TAMU to win this one rather easily. If Auburn were to pull off the upset it would be a huge win for them, but chances are TAMU will win this one going away.

-EVANSVILLE AT BUTLER. Yet another in-state opponent for Butler. They are on their home floor for this one though. Evansville can be hard to beat, but Butler shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one at home.

-GEORGIA AT GEORGIA TECH. This is a huge in-state rivalry, and the game actually means quite a bit on paper as well this year. Georgia has just one loss, but other than a big win over Gonzaga they don’t have much of a profile. Winning this would certainly change that, especially considering it’s a road game. Georgia Tech has a ton of talent, but they have been inconsistent early on, probably because of their youth. Expect them to be focused for this game though, seeing as how it’s a rivalry game.

-INDIANA AT IUPUI. I will give the Indiana schools credit. The bigger programs do step up and play some of the smaller ones on the road. IUPUI has a good team that appears to be one of the better teams in the MidCon, but they are way overmatched today. Indiana should win this one easily. IU has struggled, but they appear to be improving as the season progresses.

-MASSACHUSETTS AT KENTUCKY. Massachusetts already has a big win against Louisville and is an impressive 9-2 on the season. Kentucky is 8-3 and although they still have a lot of room for improvement, they have won four in a row and beaten Indiana, Louisville and Santa Clara (all respectable teams) in the process. This would be another good win for them. It would probably do more for U Mass than it would for Kentucky because they aren’t going to be facing the type of competition in conference that Kentucky will face, which will limit their chances at statement wins. This one will be a fun one to watch. Former Kentucky star Travis Ford is now the head coach at U Mass.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT SAINT LOUIS. This is a huge game for Saint Louis. It’s just unfortunate that most of their students have probably gone home for Christmas. SLU is 8-2 and although they were blown out by Texas A&M earlier this year, they did get a huge win against Missouri State, which clearly indicates to me that they are capable of being a tournament team. Tonight they get a shot at North Carolina on their home court, who isn’t the top ranked team, but is one of the best teams. North Carolina doesn’t have as much to gain from this as SLU does, but they are competing for a #1 seed and are trying to be placed in the Winston Salem Pod, so every game is a big game when you’re trying to obtain that. SLU is an excellent defensive team, and I’m very curious to see what they can do against UNC’s talent.

-MISSOURI STATE AT SOUTH FLORIDA. South Florida has a good record, but a poor schedule. Missouri State is very good and should be able to win this one despite the fact that they are on the road. If two teams are equally good, the team with the home court has the advantage, but in this case the teams are not equally good. Missouri State should win this one.

-HOFSTRA AT SYRACUSE. Hofstra had high expectations coming into this season, but lost their first three games. They have since kicked it into gear and won six in a row, so this will not be an easy game for Syracuse to win. Syracuse is also coming off a loss to Drexel, who happens to be in Hofstra’s conference, and also happens to be one of the favorites to win the league along with Hofstra. Because of that, I don’t expect Hofstra to sneak up on Syracuse. The Orange also need a win in order to avoid what could be considered a downward spiral. They should end up having a big year regardless, and this would be a huge victory on Hofstra’s resume if they can pull it off.

-DREXEL AT TEMPLE. Temple has won five of six after looking absolutely comatose in their first two games. Drexel is having a big year, and just defeated Syracuse on the road, but they need to come down from that and focus on beating their cross-town rival who is on a role.

-MINNESOTA AT UNLV. UNLV is having a big year. Minnesota is not. A win gets UNLV to 10-2, and should sustain what for now looks to be a solid NCAA Tournament resume.


-ORAL ROBERTS AT ARKANSAS. Arkansas has lost two straight, but both were to good teams. Oral Roberts is in a weak conference, but they are no bottom feeder and they even have a big win against Kansas, so this is a good opponent for Arkansas to rebound against.

-MORGAN STATE AT MARQUETTE. Marquette can improve to 11-2 with a win.

-ALABAMA A&M AT MISSISSIPPI. AAMU will likely be a force in the SWAC, but not in this game. A win gets Ole Miss to 10-2.

-HARVARD AT PROVIDENCE. I was ready to write Providence off after they lost to Brown early on, but they have won nine of ten since then and appear to be a good team.

-TX A&M CORPUS CHRISTI AT PURDUE. TAMUCC could be one of the better teams in the Southland, but they aren’t likely much of a match for Purdue. A win gets the Boilers to 10-2.

-WEBER STATE AT WASHINGTON. Washington just blew out LSU and should have little trouble disposing of Weber State tonight.

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop