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LCB Recap: 24 Hours of Hoops

November 19, 2010

One thing I'm slowly starting to learn is that it's not good to just be reactionary, and that sometimes you need to take some time and let your thoughts go back and forth for a good 24-48 hours before responding to certain things. I wanted to type out what I thought about how certain teams looked immediately after the conclusion of the “Made for Brendan Brody” type event that was the College Basketball tipoff Marathon, but the combination of simple human weariness from watching a good 7 basketball games in 24 hours, coupled with my not wanting to overreact to games taking place in November caused me to hold off until now. Here now are some brief thoughts on the 12 teams I saw play, in order of how impressed I was.

Ohio St: The Buckeyes honestly looked like an NBA team in their ability to score, and score at will. They shot 63% from the field, due in most part to the play of David Lighty and Jared Sullinger. Sullinger put up a dominating 26 and 10, while Lighty also had 26 as he and William Buford broke Florida's press all day with ease. Aaron Craft looked like he can handle heavy minutes at point guard, and Buford had 8 assists to just 1 turnover, showing he can potentially handle the Evan Turner role. Depth could be a concern, with Dallas Lauderdale only playing 18 minutes because of foul trouble. Ohio St. looks like they aren't too far behind Michigan St. in the Big Ten, as their starting 5 is just as good if not better than Sparty.

Kansas St: The Wildcats grinded it out in the first 25-30 minutes against an over-hyped VT squad, then ran away with it at the end. I wasn't really as impressed with their efforts on Tuesday, but more by the fact that they were able to win like this with superstar Jacob Pullen only playing 2 minutes in the first half, and playing without Curtis Kelly, who is in calm and passive Coach Frank Martin's doghouse for some reason. Once they get everybody back, they will have 5 big men in Kelly, Wally Judge, Jamar Samuels, Freddy Asprilla, and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts that are interchangeable, so they should dominate on the boards all year long. Rodney McGruder and Nick Russell played well, and Freshman Will Spradling looked like he can run the point, not turning the ball over at all, and showing he's ready to step in at that spot, allowing the bearded wonder to play off the ball.

Baylor: Much like Kansas State, Baylor is simply huge inside. I did not know that Quincy Acy is 6'7 with a 7'2 wing span. And he plays the 3. Anthony Jones, Perry Jones, and J'Mison Morgan all are 6'10. Needless to say, they out rebounded Lasalle by 10, and caused all sorts of problems with their length in the back of the 2-3 zone they played. Acy looks like he's going to be a breakout star, and the Bears will get much better when LaceDarius Dunn comes back from suspension.

San Diego St: This was the first time I've really seen them play other than when they hung with Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA's. They have all their starters back, and beat Gonzaga in one of the best games of the day. Kawhi Leonard is the headliner, but Senior forward Billy White had a career-best of 30 points. I don't really like their guard play, but to get this win without any contributions from center Malcolm Thomas in Spokane, the Aztecs proved they might be the team to beat in what looks like another great race in the Mountain West.

Gonzaga: I mentioned that Jimmer Fredette is going to be a J.J. Redick-like “cultural phenomenon” in the podcast, but Steven Gray might also be rapidly making this leap. Gray dropped 35 in this one, as he was able to score at will. The Zags look to be about the same as they always are. Whether or not they go further than the 2nd round of the dance will depend on getting more out of Elias Harris, who didn't look healthy, and Robert Sacre down low. If it's just Steven Gray doing all the heavy lifting, Gonzaga won't go far. Random side note: David Stockton, son of John Stockton, is a bench player who didn't get into the game. No word on whether or not he rocks the nut-huggers like his pappy did in Utah)

Memphis: I wasn't sure what to think about Memphis, as their roster is made up of a ton of freshman. MickeyD's All-American point guard Joe Jackson looked poised and led the squad with 17 points. I also liked Charles Carmouche, a transfer from New Orleans. They have loads of depth, Will Barton and Chris Crawford will have their moments this season. I didn't like the fact that Wesley Witherspoon kind of floated in and out of things. He dominated in stretches. But for Memphis to have a great year, he needs to establish that this is his team and become the go-to superstar he can be for this extremely young Memphis team.

Louisville: One would think I'd be a little bit more sold on Louisville's Big East chances after trouncing a Final Four team at home by 15. I'm not. Louisville played great pressure D in the first half, but then pretty much coasted through the whole rest of the game. I think Raheem Buckles and Tim Jennings will be hard to stop inside, but Peyton Siva is extremely erratic, much like last year's point, Edgar Sosa. They'll be able to shoot in streaks, but unless they force 17-20 turnovers a night they'll still be a middle of the road Big East team.

Florida: I'm not jumping off the bandwagon yet, and I still think this could be a Final Four team despite losing by 18 at home. Here's why. They hung with Ohio St. for the majority of this game, then kind of let things get away at the end. Offensively, they looked great at times, with Vernon Macklin providing inside scoring, and Kenny Boynton going for 21 on the outside. Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons had quiet games, but still loom as other weapons going forward. They need to figure out what kind of team they're going to be, but at least they have the option of pounding the ball inside, and making people pay from deep. But Coach Donovan, let's work on playing a little D and scrapping the press. Until then, we can't give you the SEC title, at least not yet.

Butler: I can honestly say I was getting pissed off watching this one, last year's run combined with my living in Indiana last winter has made Butler my second favorite team behind UNC. The Bulldogs looked lost offensively early, got a little better in the second half, but have a lot to work on. I still think they're a top 25 team, or at least they will be eventually. They need to get more from someone other than Shelvin Mack, who had 17 of their 23 points in the first half, as Matt Howard barely played because of fouls. Howard ended up with 23, but he needs to obviously stay on the floor and not get 2 fouls in the first 2 and a half minutes for them to succeed. Simply put, they need some other shooters to step forward, or they might not even win the Horizon League.

Miami: I'm putting Miami ahead of VT right now, simply because of one man, Reggie Johnson. I didn't know much about Miami until watching this one, but if they can get this hulk of a human being more involved, instead of playing like an 8 year old parks and rec team where the guards don't feed the post and take all the shots, the Canes can make some noise. Johnson had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and if Miami realizes they have a weapon down low to go along with the scoring they can get from guards Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant, I think they can have a decent little season.

Virginia Tech: I don't know what the injury situation is, and whether or not they'll get people back. But if they don't, then VT is in trouble. They don't have any frontcourt depth, despite the fact that Bobby Knight repeatedly said that they did throughout the broadcast. They have Jeff Allen, and that's about it. Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson had to do too much, and Tech got into all kinds of foul trouble leading to what should have been a worse loss if Kansas State would have made some free throws. I like UNC as the clear-cut number 2 team in the ACC a lot more now after watching this one.

La Salle: It warrants mentioning that they did only lose by 10 to Baylor on the road and hung with them for most of the contest. They might be a bubble team, but they need someone other than Arric Murray, a decent power forward, to step forward to come out of the middle of the pack in the A10.

3 comments:

Russ said...

0-12? I didn't watch it but obviously this is one of those games where the stats don't lie.

I was unimpressed with both K State and VT. Ohio State looks like the best team in the country. This is will all change by March.

November 20, 2010 at 10:46 AM
Teach said...

Russ: Just to keep you up to date on the Harrison Barnes watch...19 first half points...he can shoot.

I wasn't that impressed with K St. or VT either. Is it just me or does it seem like no matter who graduates from VT that they still have the same roster of players every year? I feel like I've been watching the same Seth Greenberg team over and over since they joined the ACC and that they're never better or worse than the year before...and that their making the tourney etc solely depends on whether everyone else is having an up or down year.

November 20, 2010 at 12:25 PM
Russ said...

After two weeks only Duke and Florida State are undefeated and nobody in the ACC has a legitimate win yet. Pathetic start.

November 21, 2010 at 10:08 PM

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