Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Archive for November 17th, 2008

Top Ten Games Of The Week (November 17-23)

Posted by Zach on November 17, 2008

The first week of the college hoops season was filled mostly with low-majors attempting to pull off miraculous upsets or two of the top mid-majors in the country doing battle. I’m not saying it was a snoozer seven days; there were certainly a fair share of thrilling games and nail biting finishes for the debut week of the season. But this week we start getting into the meat of November and the preseason tournaments. It’s not quite Old Spice/Maui time yet, but these matchups should keep your plate filled until Thanksgiving break.

1. Coaches vs. Cancer Semis/Finals (November 20, 21, ESPN2)
– I made the dire mistake last week of assuming Houston would beat Georgia Southern and advance to play Duke, so rather than place Duke vs. UCLA as my #1 game, I’ll lump the entire tournament together as my number one game. The semis are both very intriguing with Southern Illinois playing the mid-major that everyone will be rooting for to topple big bad Duke. In the second game, Michigan will need another virtuoso performance from Manny Harris to take down UCLA and their deep, talented squad. Seeing as Rhode Island nearly won at Cameron Sunday, it’d be foolish to write Duke-UCLA in pen. But I’d be shocked if you didn’t see that beautiful matchup Friday night at the Garden. Prediction: Duke 70, UCLA 66 in final

2. Puerto Rico Tip-Off (November 20-23, ESPNU/ESPN2)
– Plenty of quality contests in Puerto Rico beginning on Thursday with Missouri taking on Xavier in the afternoon in what should be a very close game. The winner of that gets to take on Virginia Tech Friday afternoon. On the other side of the bracket, Memphis should defeat Chattanooga while USC will likely handle Seton Hall, setting up an Evans vs. DeRozan battle on Friday night between two very athletic teams. The final could feature any of these teams on Sunday on ESPN. You know the tournament is strong when I’m looking forward to the consolation game, as well. Prediction: USC 75, Virginia Tech 69 in final

3. Paradise Jam Semifinals (November 23, FCS Pacific)
– Assuming we avoid some stunning upset like Southern Miss over Miami, the semis at the Paradise Jam on Sunday night should be Miami vs. Connecticut and San Diego vs. Wisconsin. You’re wondering the same thing I am: why are the two best teams in the tournament on the same side of the bracket? Maybe a nod of respect to Bo Ryan and his recent success in Madison. Regardless, Miami-Connecticut is a battle of top-15 caliber teams featuring Jack McClinton trying to score over Hasheem Thabeet, while San Diego nearly beat UNLV on the road with four key players suspended, so don’t count them out against the Badgers. Prediction: Connecticut vs. Wisconsin final

4. #21 Davidson at #12 Oklahoma (November 18, ESPN2)
– The premiere matchup of the College Hoops Tip-Off 24-hour marathon on the ESPN family is not Kentucky vs. North Carolina. The best game is Davidson vs. Oklahoma for a trip to New York. You all know what to expect from the Wildcats- plenty of Stephen Curry shooting threes. And we can all agree that’s not such a bad thing, right? Also not a bad thing: Watching Blake Griffin score and rebound in the post. Because I don’t see anyone containing my National Player of the Year pick, the Sooners advance. Also keep an eye on Tony Crocker and Austin Johnson trying to contain Curry for forty minutes. Prediction: Oklahoma 80, Davidson 72

5. Kentucky at #1 North Carolina (November 18, ESPN)
– Sure, this game has lost some of its luster. Kentucky is no longer a national powerhouse and lost Friday to VMI. North Carolina declared Tyler Hansbrough out for Tuesday’s contest. Still, College Gameday will be there, it’s a historic and entertaining rivalry, and we get to see great players like Pat Patterson and Wayne Ellington. So stop complaining. Why will North Carolina prevail? I expect Ty Lawson to exploit the Kentucky point guards and have a huge game. Prediction: North Carolina 83, Kentucky 70

6. UAB at Arizona (November 18, ESPN2)- The UAB Blazers are a dangerous team this year in Conference USA, folks. They feature an ultra-talented two headed monster in Paul Delaney and Robert Vaden and Mike Davis, for all of his past transgressions, is a fine basketball coach. They’ll travel to Tuscon fearless and primed for an upset over Chase Budinger, Nic Wise, Jordan Hill and the Wildcats. Unless Budinger asserts himself from the tip, I think an upset is very possible here, with Vaden showcasing his talents on national television much like he did last year in Freedom Hall. Prediction: UAB 69, Arizona 68

7. Nevada at San Diego (November 18, ESPN FC)
– This game isn’t part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon, but it very well should be. I’ll certainly be flipping over to ESPN Full Court to watch freshman phenom Luke Babbitt lead the charge for Nevada into San Diego to take on Brandon Johnson, Gyno Pomare and the Torreros. Credit San Diego coach Bill Grier for scheduling so many top mid-majors early in the season; a victory over Nevada, a tournament team, could prove vital on Selection Sunday.  Prediction: San Diego 70, Nevada 67

8. #15 Arizona State at San Diego State (November 18, CBS College Sports)
– Yet another tremendous basketball game on Tuesday, this one possibly resulting in Upset City. The Aztecs return 96% of their scoring and 84% of their rebounding from last season under head coach Steve Fisher, led by stars Lorrenzo Wade and Marquette transfer Ryan Amoroso. Kyle Spain and Tim Shelton also boost an outstanding frontcourt, meaning Jeff Pendergraph is going to have his hands full. I’m calling this one, folks. Prediction: San Diego State 70, Arizona State 68

9. Massachusetts at #13 Memphis (November 17, ESPN)
– I’ll be staying up late to watch this one on ESPNHD, with John Calipari coaching against his former assistant (Derek Kellogg) and school (Massachusetts, whom he coached to prominence in the 90’s). This will be my first look at Tyreke Evans and his ability to run the point for the Tigers. Chris Lowe, Anthony Gurley and Ricky Harris may be able to hang around with Memphis for a while, but the muscle of Taggart and Dozier down low will be too much to handle. Prediction: Memphis 84, Massachusetts 74

10. Illinois at Vanderbilt (November 20, ESPN FC)
– Both of these teams will likely end up in the NIT, but it’s still Big Ten vs. SEC in November, which means I’ll be tuning in. A.J. Ogilvy is one of the top players in the SEC while Chester Frazier and Robert Meachem lead the way for Bruce Weber’s Illini in a difficult road environment. If Demetri McCamey is shooting well from deep, Illinois has a chance.  Prediction: Vanderbilt 69, Illinois 64

Honorable Mention

  • Georgia at #11 Purdue (November 18)
  • Miami (OH) at #6 Pittsburgh (November 17)
  • Tennessee-Martin at #13 Tennessee (November 18)
  • Cleveland State at Washington (November 18)
  • Tulsa at Oklahoma State (November 20)
  • Vermont at Maryland (November 21)
  • UAB at Old Dominion (November 22)
  • VCU at Rhode Island (November 22)
  • Clemson at Charlotte (November 22)

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Pac-10 Week in Review (Nov. 10-16)

Posted by Patrick on November 17, 2008

Well, the first week of college basketball is over with, and here’s how the Pac-10 teams fared:

Oregon State(0-1): The Beavers got off to a terrible start losing to Howard University by the score of 47-45. I knew that OSU would have a lot of trouble this season, but to lose to a team from the MEAC is ridiculous. First year coach Craig Robinson better get this team ready for what will most likely be a very long season.

Beavers Player of the Week: Seth Tarver- 10 points, 5 assists

This Week’s Slate:

Saturday 11/22 at Nevada (1-0)

Oregon (1-0): More trouble for teams from the state of Oregon. Even though the Ducks won their opening game against North Colorado, it was only by two points. However, this could easily just have been one of those night where the better team can’t make their shots (33.8 FG%). TaJuan Porter had just five points and he’ll need to pick that up if the Ducks want to go anywhere in the Pac-10 and avoid close games with inferior teams.

Ducks Player of the Week: Michael Dunigan- 13 points, 7 rebounds

This Week’s Slate:

Monday 11/17 vs. Oakland (0-1)

Friday 11/21 at UC Irvine (0-1)

Stanford (1-0): The Cardinal fought off a feisty Yale team on the road 75-67 for a victory in their first game. The Big Three-Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods, and Lawrence Hill- all had huge nights combining for 62 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. If these players can lead their team like this all season, Stanford could be a surprise team in this conference.

Cardinal Player of the Week: Lawrence Hill- 22 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists

This Week’s Slate:

Tuesday 11/18 vs. Cal State Northridge (1-0)

California (1-0): The Bears got a nice win over Pacific 68-56 in their opener. Their two stars, Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher, had big nights and will both give opposing teams headaches while trying to defend them. The Bears are a formidable team that could pull off some upsets this season.

Bears Player of the Week: Jerome Randle- 24 points

This Week’s Slate:

Tuesday 11/18 vs. San Francisco (2-0)

Thursday 11/20 vs. UT-Pan American (1-0)

Washington State (1-0): Tony Bennett proved once again that he is all about defense when his Cougars beat the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils 76-25 in Pullman. Aron Baynes played tremendous basketball on the inside, and freshman Klay Thompson was a key factor in this game.

Cougars Player of the Week: Caleb Forrest- 13 points, 4 rebounds

This Week’s Slate:

Tuesday 11/18 vs. Farleigh Dickinson (0-1)

Friday 11/21 vs. Sacramento State (0-1)

Arizona (0-0): DNP this week

This Week’s Slate:

Monday 11/17 vs. Florida Atlantic (1-0)

USC (1-0): The Trojans looked very good in their first contest, making easy work of UC Irvine. The USC starters dominated this game and probably won’t come off the floor much this season. DeMar DeRozan looked good in his first NCAA game, but with a much tougher schedule this week it will be interesting to see how he adjusts.

Trojans Player of the Week: Dwight Lewis- 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists

This Week’s Slate:

Tuesday 11/18 vs. New Mexico State (1-0)

Thursday 11/20 at Seton Hall (2-0)

Washington (0-1): The Huskies lost to the Portland Pilots, a team that won just nine games last season and was looking at just about as bad of a year this season. I frequently watch WCC games and Portland is not a strong team team, not in the least bit, but this upset is very impressive. Washington should be ashamed that they would lose to this team, however in the world of college basketball you can’t dwell on any one loss and with a game against a decent Cleveland State team at home on Tuesday they better be ready to show their home crowd that they still have a chance to be a contending team this season.

Huskies Player of the Week: Jon Brockman- 30 points, 14 rebounds

This Week’s Slate:

Tuesday 11/18 vs. Cleveland State (1-0)

Thursday 11/20 vs. Florida International (1-0)

Arizona State (1-0): Arizona State also played MVSU just like Washington State, but they had a little more “trouble”. The Sun Devils still won by the score of 80-64, but I expected a bigger blowout from a team that I think will win the Pac-10. Ty Abbott had a huge night for ASU and will be a very key contributor to this team as the season progresses.

Sun Devils Player of the Week: James Harden- 24 points, 10 assists

This Week’s Slate:

Tuesday 11/18 at San Diego State (1-0)

Sunday 11/23 vs. Pepperdine (1-1)

UCLA (2-0): The Bruins moved on to the semifinals of the 2k Sports Classic where they will meet Michigan on Thursday night. However, they had a little more trouble getting there than many of us would have thought, only beating Miami (OH) by five points. I don’t see this as a tell tale sign that UCLA will not be as good as many people thought because they only had a rough night against a team they probably overlooked. The Bruins should show us what they’re really made of in a possible match-up against Duke on Friday.

Bruins Player of the Week: Darren Collison- 35 points, 7 assists (2 games)

This Week’s Slate:

Thursday 11/20 vs. Michigan (2-0)

Friday 11/21 vs. (Southern Illinois (2-0)/ Duke (3-0)

Pac-10 Team of the Week: Washington State Cougars

Pac-10 Player of the Week: Jon Brockman, Washington

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Monday’s Selections

Posted by Zach on November 17, 2008

Zach’s Picks: (Season Record: 12-15-0)

BOSTON COLLEGE (-13.5) over Loyola (MD)- WIN
Miami (OH) (+13.5) over PITTSBURGH- LOSS
St. John’s (-4.5) over Cornell– WIN
Massachusetts (+15) over MEMPHIS- LOSS

Tommy’s Picks (Season Record: 17-10-0)

BOSTON COLLEGE (-13.5) over Loyola (MD)- WIN
PITTSBURGH (-13.5) over Miami (OH)- WIN
St. John’s (-4.5) over Cornell– WIN
MEMPHIS (-15) over Massachusetts- WIN

Patrick’s Picks: (Season Record: 18-9-0)

BOSTON COLLEGE (-13.5) over Loyola (MD)- WIN
PITTSBURGH (-13.5) over Miami (OH)- WIN
St. John’s (-4.5) over Cornell– WIN
Massachusetts (+15) over MEMPHIS- LOSS

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