November 15: The Day After
Posted by Zach on November 15, 2008
Headliner: You wouldn’t believe it, but the Kentucky Wildcats have done it again.
In 2007, it was unknown Gardner Webb marching into Rupp Arena and pulling off the shocking upset. In 2008, it’s the VMI Cadets doing the honors. Lexington, Kentucky is officially upset city.
Why Billy Gillespie and the Wildcats would schedule VMI, for their first game no less, is beyond belief. This is a team that scored 91.3 PPG last season to lead the nation. Their frantic style of no-limits press, quick possessions and three-point shooting is well known around college basketball, with the Keydets games frequently reaching high-scoring NBA contests. And yet, Billy Gillespie passes on the usual cupcake and schedules one of the most dangerous teams in all of mid-major land for a young Kentucky’s first game. Think about it: If you beat VMI, can you really evaluate/judge your players based on the radical opponent? Does that really tell you anything? If I’m coaching a high profile school, I go nowhere near a team like this in November at home. Nowhere near.
Of course this is all in hindsight. If Kentucky goes out and wins by 30 points, nobody is saying a peep, instead discussing if this Kentucky team has the ammo to stick with the Tar Heels next Tuesday. Now, Billy Gillespie is rolling around in his bed, his job security having taken a real hit, and the Wildcat faithful are hoping this season will turn around like it did following the Gardner Webb collapse of a year ago.
VMI scored 111 points altogether and had six players in double figures, led by the Holmes brothers combining for 46. Not since 1989 against North Carolina had a Kentucky team given up so many points. They received an outstanding performance from Jodie Meeks, who totaled 39 points on 13/27 FG. The real story was how VMI, even with the clear height disadvantage, kept all-SEC forward Patrick Patterson in check. He took just four shots and scored 8 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Kentucky was down 90-73 midway through the second half before a ferocious comeback reclaimed the lead, and most UK fans breathed a sigh of relief thinking they had dodged a huge bullet. After going ahead 104-103, VMI scored the next nine points to seal the deal.
Top 25 Action
- #2 Connecticut toppled Western Carolina 81-55 with Thabeet going for 23 points and 17 rebounds
- #6 Pittsburgh handled Farleigh Dickinson 86-63 behind 17 points and 13 rebounds for DeJuan Blair
- #8 Texas befuddled Stetson in a 68-38 win in Austin with A.J. Abrams scoring 21 points
- #10 Purdue led a balanced attack to a 82-50 win over Detroit, with E’Twaun Moore scoring 18
- #14 Oklahoma dominated potential NCAA team American. Blake Griffin: 24, 18, 9/11 FG, 5/14 FT
- #15 Arizona State beat Mississippi Valley State 80-64. James Harden with 24 points and 10 boards
- #18 Marquette won easily behind Wesley Matthews 27 points, 8 assists, 5 steals and 5 boards
- #19 Florida defeated Toledo with 19 from Dan Werner and 16 from gambling hound Nick Calathes
- #20 Davidson beat a D3 team led by- guess who- Stephen Curry: 29 points, 9 steals, 10 assists, 9/20
- #24 Wake Forest beat NC Central 94-48 behind 21 and 10 from stud frosh Al-Farouq Aminu
- #25 Villanova defeated Albany 78-60 with a balanced scoring attack. Reynolds with 13 and 6 dimes
News and Notes
- Villanova senior guard Dwayne Anderson is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left foot. This is a big loss for Nova in terms of defense and leadership. Anderson’s a projected starter that averaged 6.5 PPG last year, really emerging as a capable role player later in the campaign. Fellow Wildcat Shane Clark is already out for another few weeks after having surgery on his right knee.
- The injury bug is hitting North Carolina early this season (better than late, I guess) as Bobby Frasor suffered a sprained ankle in practice Monday. Frasor hasn’t practiced since then and may not play in Saturday’s opener vs. Pennsylvania. The Tar Heels don’t need Hansbrough or Frasor or Ginyard to beat Penn, or Kentucky for that matter, but they could be vulnerable in Maui if Hansbrough and Frasor are under 50% or even out.
- Boston College star guard Tyrese Rice was suspended for Friday’s win over Central Connecticut State due to a violation of team rules. We’ve seen this before in Chestnut Hill. It doesn’t look to be anything serious, but it’s not a good sign when your lone senior is making these kinds of off-court bonehead decisions. He should be back for the preseason NIT contests.
Also Of Note- Lester Hudson with 27/7/7/8 steals for Tennessee-Martin; Dionte Christmas with 26/11 for Temple, Lawrence Hill with 22/11 for Stanford, Maryland crushed Bucknell; Clemson crushed Hofstra; Howard defeats Oregon State; Loyola (IL) loses to D2 Rockhurst; Byron Eaton with 27 for Oklahoma State; Arkansas escapes SE Louisiana in OT.
NW Wins Horse Trailer of the Day- Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut: 23 points, 17 rebounds, 7/11 FG, 5 blocks in 33 minutes (if there’s an anti-horse trailer, it’s his teammate A.J. Price with 0 points and 5 turnovers in 25 minutes before being ejected for punching a Western Carolina player)
Saturday On The Tube
- Pennsylvania @ #1 North Carolina- 4pm (FSN South)
- San Diego @ UNLV- 530pm (MTN)
- Northwestern State @ Indiana- 7pm (BTN)
- MSU-Billings @ Gonzaga- 7pm (FSN Northwest)
- Charleston Classic Semifinals- 8pm (CSS)
Tommy: Another game of note last night was in Blacksburg, VA where Gardner-Webb was on the upset prowl again this season. Virginia Tech was up for a large majority of the game, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs came storming back and cut it down to 1 with 24 seconds to go thanks to a pair of Aaron Linn free throws. Gardner-Webb out-scored the Hokies 36-25 in the second half with a 9-0 run with about 5 minutes remaining in the contest. Tech did hold on for the 65-62 win, but I thought Tech’s strong defense and good coaching would keep them off upset alert. Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassallo each contributed 19 points, a good sign for the Hokies.