Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Games to keep an eye on the ESPN ticker for...

....because games to watch is all-too blog generic. And look for this feature on Monday's from now on. The caveat here would be that no game I pick from will be on the national TV schedule.

Charleston at Kentucky
UAB at Western Kentucky
Oral Roberts at Tulsa
New Mexico State at New Mexico
UNLV at Arizona

Oregon at Georgetown
Robert Morris at Pittsburgh
Old Dominion at Marist
North Texas at Nebraska
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Oklahoma State
Iowa State at Northern Iowa
Wake Forest at Air Force
Kansas State at California

Villanova at Stony Brook

Northern Iowa at Bucknell
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Mississippi State
Saint Louis at Southern Illinois
Fresno State at Oregon State
Wichita State at Syracuse (what ESPN genius forgot to schedule this one???)
Villanova at Penn (you know the season has began when we start getting Big Fived!)
Holy Cross at Dayton
Boston College at UMass
Charlotte at Indiana
Akron at Oral Roberts
Loyola Marymount at USC

Bradley at Michigan State
Evansville at Missouri
Bucknell at George Mason
Pittsburgh at Auburn
Virginia Tech vs. George Washington @MCI Center
Notre Dame vs. Maryland @MCI Center

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Observations About Last Night in Vegas

Now THAT game had a late-season atmosphere. I'm not going to just bandie around terms like 'March-like atmosphere', but it had all the intensity of a mid-February conference game between two powers ramping up for March. Oh who am I kidding... it was a great game and it doesn't need a corresponding month of importance. Even if it is at the poor-man's Allen Fieldhouse.

I could hear a collective "What the hell?" from my fellow college hoops fans when The Deuce had the proverbial "technical difficulties" with 1:30 left in a tie game. The next six and a half made up for it, and then some.

It was nice to see Darrell Arthur succeed on a national stage like that, as he could end up being the Dallas area's best product since Kenyon Martin.

For the first 30 minutes the game seemed like a soccer match where one team has repeated chances to extend their lead, but just can't because the team they are playing is so strong. In fact even in the first half, as Kansas played their best basketball all season, I felt the game would come down to the wire as the Jayhawks just couldn't pull away.

An extreme rarity in that game was that a team with a lead made ALL its free throws down the stretch and still managed to throw-away a two-possession lead. That's what happens when the leading team fouls for no reason.

I really questioned Florida's bench and the quality of their depth before this game. In the first half, they made my questions seem very viable. I'm still not impressed with Walter Hodge, but Chris Richard made some key defensive plays in the second half and down the stretch to ensure that Florida kept it real close. But now, teams know that they can make Florida look oh so mortal if they can get a couple of those 'Big Five', if you will, in foul trouble.

Thriller in Vegas

What an amazing game of basketball. What a classic nail-biter. I'll come back and organize my thoughts later (today).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Conference Champions

Here we go and very quickly in a quick-hit manner. And, by the way, these have nothing to do with results thus far.

America East – Albany
Atlantic Coast – North Carolina
Atlantic Sun – Lipscomb
Atlantic 10 – Xavier
Big East – Georgetown
Big Sky – Eastern Washington
Big South – Winthrop
Big Ten – Wisconsin
Big 12 – Kansas
Big West – Long Beach State
Colonial Athletic – Hofstra
Conference USA – Memphis
Horizon – Wisconsin-Green Bay
Ivy League – Penn
MAAC – Marist
Mid-American – Akron
Mid-Continent – Oral Roberts
MEAC – Delaware State
Missouri Valley – Southern Illinois
Mountain West – BYU
Northeast – Long Island
Ohio Valley – Tennessee Tech
Pac-10 – UCLA
Patriot – Holy Cross
SEC – Florida
Southern – Charleston
Southland – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
SWAC – Jackson State
Sun Belt – Western Kentucky
West Coast – Gonzaga
WAC – Nevada

Monday, November 20, 2006

Highlights of the First Full Week

And by far my favorite highlight of the first week was Rick Majerus abbreviating Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespides as P-Mac during the Gonzaga-Rice game.

Other highlights would have to include Winthrop nearly beating North Carolina, then taking it to Mississippi State, a team some think will surprise in the SEC this season. Up next for the Eagles is 5-0 Maryland tonight.

The two biggest upsets to this point happened as well in the past week with Oral Roberts over Kansas and Georgetown getting beat by an Old Dominion team that didn't realize that on-campus games for the Hoyas were supposed to be walkovers. Twenty-four years of walkovers in fact.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Michigan St.-Maryland Reaction

Ok, the officials screwed up twice. First, the obvious shot clock violation (what horrible shot as well) and secondly, Ibok was just controlling the ball, spawning the dive (I don't even think contact was made). You see that kind of play in so many games and it is correctly no-called.

Gary Williams chose a very savvy move to foul the on-fire Drew Neitzel in the final seconds, though.

Speaking of Neitzel, I can't believe that this is the same guy from the February and March of last year. It's almost like he morphed into Gerry McNamara. Michigan State will be absolutely fine this season if that solid play can continue.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Knight Controversy? Oh goodie...

The thing is it shouldn't really be much of a controversy at all. In fact, just in covering high school games in the DFW area last season, I saw the same type of thing happening from a hard-nosed girls' coach. Perhaps it would have been news if she had more career wins (but likely not).

Besides, when Bob Knight is talking to you, Michael Prince, you might want to look at him. He's won more games at this level than you have played in just about your entire life. He knows what he's doing.

Another thing I'd like to mention is how pleased I've been with the media on this one, as (for the most part) the consensus seems to be that this is not a big deal. Another good thing has been their mention of Knight's kicking Jarrius Jackson off the team for a couple weeks to get his grades up as a very refreshing thing Knight has done thus far in the fetal stages of this season. That's what we call fair, ladies and gentlemen.

As for the actual games, pretty much everything (from a national scale) has held serve, except for Virginia opening up their new barn against 'Zona's highly-touted team. And while that may seem like a big upset, it's truly not. Virginia has a very talented team, a superb backcourt and should be a force in the ACC.

The bigger upset, by far, was the good ol' Catamounts beating 30-percent shooters Boston College by 14 on the road in what could start out another America East championship campaign.

More is coming in the next few days, with my makeshift season predictions and other good stuff.