Saturday, November 9, 2013

Quick Thoughts from the First Day of the College Basketball Season

So I watched a few games online last night, the first night of college basketball.  Also, I was on Twitter (@gmoore21566) and there were some definite highlights making the rounds on the Twitterverse.  Here's what I took from the first day of the college basketball season.
  • Perhaps it's the new NCAA hand check rule, but I saw two games that had VERY little defense in them - Monmouth vs. Hofstra (88-84) and Florida A&M vs. Rutgers (92-84).  If the intended result is that games are going to be more high scoring, well I am not sure if I am going to like this seemingly new brand of college basketball.  I like scoring as much as everyone else, but I want to see some defense.  I didn't see at all in these two games.
  • To further the point above, you had by my count twelve schools score over 100 points and twenty two teams score between 88 and 99 points last night.  Yes, you had some Division I teams like Charleston Southern (130) and Elon (114) defeat non Division I schools. But you also had Duke put 111 points on Davidson, winning by 34, Boise State lighting up for 116 on Texas Arlington, winning by 19 and VCU dropping 96 on Illinois State, winning by 38 (Thirty Eight!).
  • Final point you need to know about games being more high scoring this season.  Wisconsin scored 86 points on St John's.  That was the Badgers' first eighty point plus game since beating Samford 87-51 on December 29, 2012.  Wisconsin's previous game vs. a  Big East team was a 60-50 loss at Marquette on December 8, 2012.
  • The "guarantee game" has long been a part of early season non conference college basketball, as well as college football.  Big schools pay small schools significant money to play on the big school's campus.  It's a way for a big school to get a "guaranteed" win, while a small school gets much needed revenue for their athletic department budget.  For example, as noted in this article, Mississippi Valley State pocketed $700,000 in the 2010-11 college basketball season for playing a significant number of road "guarantee" games.

    Usually, the small school will lose and lose badly, as did Mississippi Valley State did last night at #8 Oklahoma State 117-62.  But there were a couple of games last night where the "guarantee game" small school pulled off an upset.  In Coral Gables, much to the delight of Defiantly Dutch on Twitter (See the Ren & Stimpy Happy Dance tweet), St. Francis of New York won at Miami in overtime 66-62.  Meanwhile, the Bruce Weber Watch is officially on in Manhattan, Kansas as Northern Colorado defeated Kansas State 60-58.   Memo to the Wildcats - You might want to work the ball inside instead of shooting 2 of 19 from beyond the arc.
  • #CAAHoops is off to a rough start.  Including a tough loss by Drexel at UCLA, the CAA lost six of their seven games last night. Only Towson won their non conference game, drubbing Navy at home 72-45.   UNCW had the worst loss of the night, getting beat down by Iowa 82-39.
  • Funniest Twitter Comment of the Night on a #CAAHoops Level - Josh Verlin, owner, writer for the terrific City of Basketball Love web site, which features Philadelphia college basketball, tweeted in the Drexel game that "Drexel yet to try and feed the post, settling for a lot of long jumpers. But for the most part they're getting open shots."  Dan Crain, a Drexel fan that I am friendly with, tweeted in response - "Drexel yet to feed the post...  Since Robert Battle played there."  Only Drexel fans and hardcore #CAAHoops fans will understand that hilarious comment.
  • In that 111-77 pasting of Davidson, Duke's six leading scorers - Rodney Hood, Quinn Cook, Jabari Parker, Rasheed Sulaimon, Amile Jefferson and Tyler Thornton were 30 of 36 from the field, including 12 of 16 from beyond the arc.  Those are Phil Simms Super Bowl XXI numbers (Google It!).
  • Two of the online games I watched, involved my alma mater.  First, Hofstra, under new head coach Joe Mihalich, blew a thirteen point second half lead and lost to Monmouth 88-84 yesterday.  The key stats to note for Hofstra; 3 of 15 from three in the second half, while 8 of 16 from two.  Perhaps the Pride should have worked the ball inside to Zeke Upshaw (22 points) and Moussa Kone (ten points) more.  They were a combined 9 of 19 from the field.

    Meanwhile in Piscataway, New Jersey, former Hofstra Head Coach Mo Cassara made his ESPN3 analyst debut in Rutgers' 92-84 win over Florida A&M.  I thought Mo did a great job last night and here's to a successful career in the broadcast booth (though I want you back coaching on the court).  
My first live college basketball game of the season is today, as the University of South Carolina hosts guarantee game/sacrificial lamb Longwood at 1:00 PM.   Nice to have college hoops back, even if I still have Little League Fall Baseball Playoffs (championship game is this Monday with a practice this morning before the game).

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