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Breakfast with Berndon: College Basketball Weekly

February 8, 2010

Thursday: Duke 86, Georgia Tech 67

I make no point in hiding my hatred of all things Duke. I can however be objective and give them their due when they play well. They definitely came out with a statement win in throttling the Yellow Jackets. 86-67. The contest was horribly officiated, at least from my comfortable vantage point in the guest suite at the Brody Hotel. In the first half, Duke was already in the double bonus with 10:50 still left to play.
The Devils took advantage of both Gani Lawal and Freshman stud Derrick Favors both having to sit down early with foul problems. Georgia Tech held it to a 12 point deficit at halftime, but got run out of the building of future doctors and lawyers after the break. Kyle Singler, he of the supposed wrist injury (just kidding I saw the Wake game when he fell), shook off a mini-slump with 30 points, going 8-10 from distance. Jon Scheyer, who isn’t even projected to be in the NBA next year according to nbadraft.net, had 21 with 7 assists. Duke looked great, but let’s see them win a big game on the road before we crown them champions of the ACC. Maryland also held on for a huge road win at FSU, despite 29 points from Derwin Kitchen and a Lebronesque block from Chris Singleton in the closing minutes. Gary’s boys climb to 5-2 and a 2nd place tie with UVA with the victory. UNC went down again to Va. Tech, 74-70. The Heels finally got some production from LCB whipping boy John Henson, who went for a career-high 14 points in the loss. It’s cool, we’re so going to dominate the NIT.

(Photo Courtesy of http://www.goduke.com/)

Man of the Match: Jon Scheyer (21 pts, 7 assts, 2 stls)

Saturday: Georgetown 103, Villanova 90

Live from Antarctica, better known as the nation’s capital, Georgetown had their second straight impressive home win against a top 10 opponent, knocking off Villanova in a halfway-filled Verizon Center. The story of the game was the Hoyas outside shooting, as Jason Clark and Austin Freeman lit it up for a combined 8 threes, with Clark hitting 6-7. The final outcome was 103-90, as Georgetown shot 56% from the field. NOVA’s own Scottie Reynolds caught fire in the beginning of the second half, making his first four shots, but his and Corey Fisher’s 24 points respectively weren’t enough for Villanova, who face another daunting road game on Big Monday when they head to the land of burning couches, Morgantown, WVA. Georgetown goes to 7-4 in conference play, shaking off a home loss to upstart South Florida earlier in the week.

(Photo courtesy of http://www.guhoyas.com/)


Man of the Match: Greg Monroe ( 19pts, 8 rbs, 4 asst, 3 blks)



Around the “Power” 6


ACC

Duke stayed atop the leaderboard with a blowout win over Georgia Tech at home, and a closer than expected win at Chestnut Hill. Maryland stayed within a half a game of the top, escaping with a 4 point win at Florida St. and a cripple kicking of the former national champs at home. Virginia Tech is quietly lurking at 5-3, 18-4, as they also beat Carolina, and Clemson at home.

Ascending: I’m impressed with the Hokies, but I’d have to give the slight nod to the Terpies here. Winning at FSU showed that Gary’s boys are jelling at the right time. It looks like the streaky and enigmatic Vazquez is about to go on one of those runs where he carries Maryland on his back with multiple 20 point games. They have more than Grevis however, as Eric Hayes is automatic from the outside, and Diaper Dandy Jordan Williams is exerting more an inside presence. They are 6-2 in the league and seem poised to jump into the Top 25. Even if they go 4-4 in the rest of their league games, they should still get into the tourney with about an 8 or a 9 seed.

Descending: Clemson has been ranked most of the year, and looked like a 4 or a 5 seed early on. Losing in Blacksburg isn’t that much of a blemish on their resume, but they shouldn’t be losing by 11 points. They are now 4-5 in league play, and Trevor Booker and the boys need to get some quality wins the rest of the way to stay out of the NIT.

Player of the Week: With apologies to Malcolm Delaney and Ishmael Smith, the nod goes to Grevis Vazquez. He averaged 24.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists in 2 games. Like I stated previously, he’s the leader of a surging Maryland squad that looks like they will be dangerous come March.

Games of the Week: Obviously there’s that game on Wednesday night between those two schools that I think play each other twice a year, Duke and North Carolina. I think there’s some kind of rivalry there or something. I’m not sure. Maryland at Duke gets the nod for the biggest game of the week, as the two teams will battle it out for first place in the league in Durham. I’m going to take off my objective writer badge here for a sentence, as I honestly hope Maryland beats the ever-loving shit out of them.

Big East

Georgetown’s win over Villanova, coupled with Syracuse’s 2-0 week put the Orange on the top of the best conference in basketball for the time being. West Virginia stays in the 3rd spot, while Louisville, Notre Dame and Marquette all helped their causes with 2-0 weeks that left them with winning league marks and putting them in good spots for at-large bids.

Ascending: Notre Dame took care of Cincy by 18, then beat pesky South Florida by 3 on Sunday, holding stud Dominique Jones to 10 points. This is a decent Notre Dame team that hung with Nova the previous week until about 10 minutes left in the game.

Descending: Cincinnati has fallen out of the top 25 and now have a 5-6 record in the conference. It’s not just the fact that the Bearcats are losing, but they are losing big, having gotten blown out by the Irish and on their home court by Cuse. They can still right the ship, but with rumblings that potential one and done Lance Stephenson isn’t happy with coach Mick Cronin, the Cats are in trouble.

Player of the Week: My brother the Marquette alum may not be happy with this selection, but I give the slight nod to Luke Harangody over Lazar Hayward and Devin Ebanks of the Mountaineers. Gody hasn’t gotten much publicity with the Irish outside of the top 25 all year, but he had a monster week, averaging 28 points and 14.5 boards, trying to help the Irish forget about Charlie Weis ruining their once proud football program. But that’s a whole different topic of much I don’t want to get fired up about. Stick to the basketball Berndon.

Games of the Week: Earlier in the season, the UCONN-Syracuse rematch of the 6 OT endurance test would have been more note worthy. However, since the Huskies have fallen off the map, the Villanova-West Virginia game tonight looks to be the premiere game. West Virginia would go to a game back of the Wildcats with a win tonight, and would also help to cement a seed in the 2-3 range. DubV has to turn around and play in Pittsburgh on Thursday, which looks like a potential trap game.

Big 12

Kansas survived on the road at Colorado, avoiding a colossal upset and staying undefeated in the league with that win, and a win at home against doormat Nebraska. Kansas St. and Texas A&M stayed in a second place tie with 2 wins apiece.

Ascending: Texas A&M was ranked as high as #17, then fell out of the top 25 completely. The Aggies are now 6-3 in the conference and 17-6 overall, as they beat a decent Missouri team on the road, then followed it up with a victory at home against a ranked Baylor team.

Descending: Oklahoma St. could have very well beaten Texas at home, as one of my new favorite players, James Anderson was simply unconscious in the first half. To follow this up by losing to Texas Tech isn’t the momentum swing the Cowboys, now 4-5 in Big 12 play, need to go dancing in 6 weeks.

Player of the Week: Bryan Davis, although suffering from Greg Oden syndrome in looking like he’s 45 years old, played relatively Oden-like for the week, averaging 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as the Aggies won both their games.

Games of the Week: Obviously, the marquee game should be Kansas-Texas on Big Monday. If Texas comes to play like they had while establishing the number one ranking, this could be a classic. There are lots of other knockout games between bubble teams later on however, including Texas Tech-Oklahoma, Mizzou-Baylor, Oklahoma-Ok St. and A&M-Texas Tech. This should separate the middle pack a little more, giving us a clearer picture of how many of these teams can make the tourney.

Big 10

My father’s favorite conference of little athleticism and low scoring games went from Michigan St. being a runaway favorite to win the league with an undefeated record, to being a team with its franchise point guard nursing a sprained ankle. Now, it’s a 5-team race with Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio St. and Purdue all one game behind Sparty in the loss column.

Ascending: With apologies to Michael Wilbon’s favorite squad, the Northwestern Wildcats, who are one signature conference win away from punching their dance card for the first time in their history, I’m going to have to go with Wisconsin. Granted, Kalin Lucas didn’t play the whole game in their win over the Spartans in Madison, but the Badgers were still dominating the contest even when he was healthy. Sconsin then handily beat Michigan in Ann Arbor, and with Jon Leuer returning in the next couple of weeks, Wisconsin has a great chance to win the Big 10.

Descending: Remember when Michigan was ranked, having Wolveriene fans thinking that: “hey, at least one of the coaches we took away from West Virginia is panning out for us.” Well Michigan is now 11-12 overall, losing by 15 at home to Northwestern and getting boat raced by Wisconsin at home as well. At least they have football to look forward to. No wait, the football team is awful as well.

Player of the Week: In a battle between former high school teammates from Chicago, Evan Turner gets the nod over Illinois’ Demetri McCamey. Turner coming back from his back injury has saved the Buckeyes, as he averaged 27.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists during the week, further cementing his status as potentially the best player in all of the land not named John Wall.

Games of the Week: Purdue traveling to East Lansing is the headliner, even if Lucas once again cannot go with the ankle injury. The underrated matchup the same night takes place in Madison, as the Illini look to continue to build momentum with a tilt against Wisconsin. They then get Ohio St. at home on Sunday. If Illinois wins both of these, they’d be 10-3 in the conference and essentially a lock for the field of 65.

SEC

Kentucky looks to be a couple of notches ahead of everyone else in the conference, but Tennessee and Vandy are only a game back in the standings, with the Vols getting their crack at the Cats and a tie for first in Lexington on Saturday. In the West, Arkansas leads Ole Miss by half a game.

Ascending: Arkansas won two games this week, including an overtime game vs. Auburn on Saturday. Tennessee looks like they can make a deep run in March, but Kentucky is taking the leap toward becoming a serious National title team. The freshmen are getting better and better, with DeMarcus Cousins leading the way as a double-double machine.

Descending: Mississippi St. ( I had to channel my inner elementary school student to remember how to spell that) started the year ranked in pretty much everybody’s top 25. Losing to Vandy and Florida on the road certainly isn’t anything to get too upset about, but at the same time the Bulldogs are now a mediocre 4-4 in league play, with a 16-7 record overall, and serious questions about whether they are dance-worthy.

Player of the Week: Cousins and Tennessee’s Wayne Chism both had huge weeks, but Cortney Forston of Arkansas led the Razorbacks to 2 wins, averaging 25.5 points, and putting up 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists on Saturday.

Games of the Week: Tennessee-Kentucky as the college gameday game will be close, but the Vols have to get by Vanderbilit on the road first on Tuesday. Mississippi and Mississippi St. could be a bubble-team elimination game, while Xavier comes to Florida on Saturday in non-conference action, giving the Gators a chance to enhance their street cred with the committee with a win.

Pac 10

The Pac-10 is terrible. I might change this to the Mountain West next week. That being said, places 1-10 in the league are only separated by 3 games, meaning this race is still anybody’s for the taking. I guess mediocrity is entertaining for some, especially if you live in the Pacific Time Zone.

Ascending: Washington was good last year, and was good at the beginning of this season. They beat Arizona and Arizona St. at home, heading into a good roll before they take on Cal in Berkley this Thursday.

Descending: This is like picking between the terrible jobs I’m sifting through in Lowell, Indiana right now. They all suck. Arizona would have to be the choice here, as they have slipped to 12-11 without early entry NBA players Chase Buddinger and Jordan Hill.

Player of the Week: In a terrible league, Washington’s Quincy Pondexter has had a great season. He posted averages of 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds for the week.

Games of the Week: Washington and Cal battle on Thursday night for first place in the conference in what probably will be a one bid league come tourney time. All the other matchups resemble a Jimmy versus Timmy standoff.

(Photo Coutesy of http://animatedtv.about.com/)

Mid-Majors

Gonzaga beat a decent Memphis team on the road Saturday, as they look to continue their dominance of the WCC and garner their usual spot as one of the teams no one wants to play come March. Butler continued its dominance in the Horizon League, as they went to 13-0 on Saturday by beating Wright St. Cornell will stay ranked in the Coaches’ poll at least one more week, as they stayed undefeated in the Ivy league with a 14-point win over Brown on Saturday.

Fun Fact: One more random observation before I depart. It blew my mind that both Scottie Reynolds and Daimon James originally committed to Oklahoma before Kelvin Sampson left and Jeff Capel came in. The Sooners could have potentially had James, Reynolds, Blake Griffin, and Willie Warren last year. I don’t know if the Heels would have cut the nets down if they had to face that squad last March.

2 comments:

Langston said...

Am I the only one who thinks Greg Monroe has Andray Blatche-syndrome or Tim Thomas Disorder? At moments he looks like he could be the next great big from Georgetown. In others he just looks lost.

February 8, 2010 at 3:00 PM
Iceman, AD said...

More to come on this later, but as a Duke fan, I am very much looking forward to Wednesday night.

February 8, 2010 at 3:37 PM

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