Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts from the Past Weekend

It was the first weekend of college basketball for the 2010-11 season.  Two hundred and thirty seven games played over three days.  And already there are a few things of note to talk about as hoops are "back in the saddle" again.

Watched the JMU vs Kansas State game last Friday night.  James Madison's JUCO transfer Rayshawn Goins is a load in the post.  He had a 17 points and 12 rebounds Friday night vs. Kansas State.  The problem is that the Dukes' Denzel Bowles, a preseason First Team CAA Player, has a similar post game and he seemed lost on Friday night.  Bowles who averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds per game last season only attempted seven shots, hit four of them and was 3 of 6 from the line for eleven points.  Bowles and Goins didn't mesh well together.  And it didn't help that JMU also had 26 turnovers, which was their biggest problem last season.   James Madison's offense seems to be a work in progress.  They may continue to struggle for a while.

ODU fans, I wouldn't worry about the loss against Georgetown.  Mike Litos of CAAHoops correctly notes the key stretch that cost the Monarchs the game vs. the Hoyas.  But the bright side for Old Dominion, good balance offensively - Frank Hassell, Ben Finney and Kent Bazemore each with 13 points. And the Monarchs did their usual dominance on the glass outrebounding Georgetown 38-27.  Monarchs will be just fine.

The question for yesterday was Fran McCaffery covering his eyes in disgust for his team's play or did his wife get tossed out of another basketball game? (McCaffery's wife was tossed out of a Siena vs Hofstra Bracketbuster game in 2006).  The Hawkeyes lost at home to the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State yesterday.

Best Coaching Move of the Night - After I watched the UVA- Hofstra women's basketball game last Friday night, I was listening on the drive home to the Brown vs. Fordham game on WFUV 90.7 FM, the Fordham U radio station.  Fordham had cut a 40-27 halftime deficit down to one, 49-48 in the second half with 9:14 remaining.  Bears coach Jesse Agel called timeout and inserted three point shooter Adrian Williams into the game.  Williams buried two threes in a row.  Good job by the Fordham announcers to point out how the Rams defense left the corner open for three pointers and that Agel noticed that and inserted Williams into the game.  Thus the two threes.  Brown eventually won 69-65.

After Wake Forest lost at home to Stetson on Friday, if you are VCU/Winthrop, are you licking your chops for a second round matchup vs. the Demon Deacons in the Preseason NIT Tipoff?  Especially now after Wake point guard Tony Chennault broke his foot and is out 8-10 weeks.  By the way, wonder how Wake fans feel after they lost their home opener. Might not have happened had their AD not fired a coach that led the Deacons to a first round NCAA Tournament win.

Well, when the next Mid Majors Baker's Dozen comes out, one team that will not be in the countdown is Iona.  They had a really tough weekend at the World Vision Classic at Cleveland State.  A one point loss to a Kent State team considered a favorite in the MAC, then a loss to Cleveland State, who went undefeated in the tournament.  Finally the Gaels lost on a buzzer beater to a Bryant team that won ONE game last season.  Yup 1-29.  Rough start for Coach Tim Cluess and the Maroon.

And when the next Mid Majors Baker's Dozen comes out, one team that I have a feeling will definitely be in the countdown is Cleveland State.  The Vikings ran the table in the World Vision Classic defeating two teams that were considered to finish at the top part of their leagues in Kent State and Iona.  That is due in large part to one Norris Cole.  Cole averaged 23 points for the three games and was 24 of 29 from the line.

A lot of the weekend hoops talk was about the slugfest between Georgetown over Old Dominion or the upsets by Stetson and South Dakota State over Wake and Iowa respectively.  But an under the radar game was the beatdown Western Kentucky gave to St Joe's on the Hawks home court 98-70.  Sergio Karush scored 31 points, Juan Pattilo and Stepphon Pettigrew each had 17 for the Hilltoppers.  WKU was 51 percent from beyond the arc (11 of 21).

The Hilltoppers are part of the killer group of teams playing in the Puerto Rico Tipoff (North Carolina, West Virginia, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Hofstra and Davidson are the other seven teams).  A couple of wins there and Western Kentucky will have a spot in the Tastiest Thirteen Mid Majors Team Countdown.

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