Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

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

Archive for November 18th, 2008

Big Ten Week in Review (Nov. 10-17)

Posted by Patrick on November 18, 2008

Here is how the Big Ten teams fared in their first week of action:

Indiana (2-0): The Hoosiers should be excited that they won their first two games of the season, but not too excited. Their first game was against Northwestern State, and the Hoosiers took care of business winning 83-65. The next contest was not so one-sided as Indiana had major trouble with the Summit League’s IUPUI. In the end, Indiana would win by the score of 60-57 with a great performance from Tom Pritchard.

Hoosiers Player of the Week: Devan Dumes- 31 points (2 games)

This Week’s Slate:

Monday 11/24 vs. Notre Dame (1-0) in Maui

Penn State (2-0): The Nittany Lions also start the year with two wins against very mediocre opponents in William & Mary and NJIT, who was winless last season. On the brighter side, both games were blowouts and Penn State should continue to rack up wins with a very easy non-conference schedule.

Nittany Lions Player of the Week: Taylor Battle- 37 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists (2 games)

This Week’s Slate:

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

Sunday 11/23 vs. New Hampshire (1-0)

Iowa (2-0): How many sub-par Big Ten teams won two games this week? The Hawkeyes joined the club with wins over Charleston Southern and Texas-San Antonio. Again, good news for this team because the schedule doesn’t get much harder before conference play begins.

Hawkeyes Player of the Week: Cyrus Tate- 27 points 17 rebounds (2 games)

This Week’s Slate:

Thursday 11/20 vs. The Citadel (1-1)

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

Northwestern (1-0)- The Wildcats dominated their first opponent Central Arkansas 81-39. Northwestern looks like they should be much better this year than in the past few seasons and maybe even have a long shot at making the NIT.

Wildcats Player of the Week: Kevin Coble- 15 points, 8 rebounds

This Week’s Slate:

Wednesday 11/19 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (1-1)

Saturday 11/22 at Brown (0-2)

Illinois (2-0): Illinois got two wins in their first week, but they still have a very long way to go if they want to contend for the Big Ten title anytime this season.  The good news is that the Fighting Illini are getting contributions up and down the roster, with six players averaging at least five points in those two games. The bad news is that the schedule gets much tougher with a game at Vanderbilt on Thursday.

Fighting Illini Player of the Week: Trent Meachem- 32 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

This Week’s Slate:

Thursday 11/20 at Vanderbilt (1-0)

Sunday 11/23 vs. Jackson State (0-1)

Michigan (2-0): Michigan will play Thursday night against UCLA at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic. To get there the Wolverines needed to beat D2 opponent Michigan Tech and one of the top picks to contend for the CAA in Northeastern. Michigan won both games handily, and Manny Harris had huge nights, but in order to play with teams like UCLA, the Wolverines need to box out. Northeastern snagged 20 offensive rebounds in their contest.

Wolverines Player of the Week: Manny Harris- 56 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists

This Week’s Slate:

Thursday 11/20 vs. UCLA (2-0) in New York

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

Minnesota (3-0): The Golden Gophers had two very close games against the only Division-1 opponents they played this week. They won by just seven points against Bowling Green, and then sneaked by Georgia Southern 60-52. Minnesota really doesn’t have a test until they play Louisville at home on December 20th.

Golden Gophers Player of the Week: Lawrence Westbrook 48 points (3 games)

This Week’s Slate:

Saturday 11/22 at Colorado State (2-0)

Ohio State (0-0): DNP this week

This Week’s Slate:

Thursday 11/20 vs. Delaware State (1-2)

Monday 11/24 vs. Bowling Green (2-1)

Wisconsin (2-0): The Badgers had plenty of trouble taking care of business against Long Beach State, and then easily won their game against SIU-Edwardsville tonight. The Badgers looked slow against LBSU, and we should get a better look at them in the Paradise Jam this week.

Badgers Player of the Week: Marcus Landry- 46 points, 8 rebounds (2 games)

This Week’s Slate:

Friday 11/19 vs. Iona (1-0) at the Virgin Islands

Saturday 11/20-Sunday 11/21 Paradise Jam Semis/Finals

Purdue (3-0): Today the Boilermakers wrote their own ticket to Madison Square Garden where they will take on Boston College in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT. Purdue won all of their games by 30 or more points.

Boilermakers Player of the Week: E’Twaun Moore- 49 points (3 games)

This Week’s Slate:

Saturday 11/22 vs. Coppin State (1-0)

Michigan State (1-0): The Spartans started with a very convincing win over Idaho, scoring 100 points in their first game. All of this is just preparation for the Old Spice Classic which takes place over Thanksgiving Weekend.

Spartans Player of the Week: Raymar Morgan 21 points

This Week’s Slate:

Wednesday 11/19 vs. IPFW (0-1)

Big Ten Team of the Week: Purdue Boilermakers

Big Ten Player of the Week: Manny Harris, Michigan

Posted in Big Ten Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Non-Conference Tournament Predictions/Preview

Posted by Patrick on November 18, 2008

Thursday night brings the Semi-Finals of the 2K sports classic in which all of the regional hosts moved on to Madison Square Garden.

Semifinals: UCLA will have trouble with Michigan but should end up winning because of their overall depth and poise in pressure situations. This will also be Manny Harris’ chance to show the nation what he’s all about on a huge stage, so expect a big night from him.

Duke should blow out Southern Illinois, but then again many people thought they should have blown out Rhode Island. SIU is a good team at home, but on the road against one of the better Duke teams in the past couple of years it’ll be no easy task. I expect Duke by 15+.

Finals: UCLA vs. Duke: Wow, what a match-up in the first tournament final. I want to say that Kyle Singler and Duke will win this game because they are a better team technically, but UCLA just has more talent. Darren Collison has been unstoppable and UCLA’s big men should dominate Duke inside.

Champion: UCLA

Regional Games: Certainly nothing is set in stone in terms of which teams will make the semifinals and play in New York. Arizona must beat UAB, Oklahoma plays Davidson, Boston College has to beat St. John’s, and Purdue needs to hold off Loyola. I predict that all regional hosts will advance except for Oklahoma who will lose tonight against Davidson.

Semifinals: Stephen Curry will prove to be too much for Arizona, although I expect Chase Budinger to have a big night.  Arizona needs to make sure they don’t become too hung up on stopping Curry and forget about players like Lovedale and Paulhaus-Gosselin. That could lead to their demise.

Purdue will suffer their first loss of the season against Boston College in this semifinal match-up. I love what Matt Painter has done with this program and think that they are still the favorites in the Big Ten, but Tyrese Rice will dominate in this game. Much like Curry will do against Arizona, Tyrese Rice can divert attention away from his teammates and confuse the Boilermakers all night.

Finals: Boston College vs. Davidson: This will be a match-up between two of the most dynamic guards in college basketball, and while Rice is going to be a force in this game he will be no match for Curry. As we all saw last season, Curry performs on the big stage. I don’t expect anything different from him in the final.

Champion: Davidson

Semifinals: I am not a fan of the fact that even in the unlikely event that there is an upset in the regional rounds, the hosts automatically move on to Kansas City. I think that for the true purity of a tournament format, winners should always advance.

Regardless, the first game will be between Florida and Syracuse. Florida has been surprising in their early games winning by very large margins, and most notably Nick Calathes is playing out of his mind. Although Syracuse is the more athletic team, they don’t play defense and Florida will take advantage of that. Florida will move on to the championship game.

The next semifinal is against Kansas and Washington. I would pick Washington in this game had they not just lost at Portland, a team that won just nine games the previous season. Kansas has the more well-rounded team and should move on with little trouble.

Finals: Florida vs. Kansas: Two programs that have won national championships in the past two seasons will go head to head in the CBE Classic final. While I like Kansas, Florida is the better team and Calathes will dominate once again. Kansas should hang close and make this a close game, but I expect the Gators to pull out a victory in the end.

Champion: Florida

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Quarterfinals: In the past these quarterfinal Maui games have provided much better match-ups, but this season the top seeds look like they should get out of the first round pretty easily. Don’t expect Chaminade to upset #1 UNC like they did to Ralph Sampson’s Virginia team way back when, and Indiana won’t stand much of a chance against Notre Dame. Saint Joseph’s can give Texas trouble, but the Longhorns are without a doubt the much better team. Oregon will defeat Alabama in a mild upset.

Semifinals: The Texas and Notre Dame game should go back and forth all night with great match-ups at the guard (A.J. Abrams vs. Kyle McAlarney) and forward (Luke Harangody vs. Damion James) positions. Harangody should dominate like usual, and carry the Fighting Irish to a resume building victory.

North Carolina will dominate Oregon, and it shouldn’t even be close.

Finals: North Carolina vs. Notre Dame: This game will depend on whether on not Tyler Hansbrough is ready to play at a high level, because if he is sitting out Harangody will have free reign down low. However, I expect that Hansbrough won’t miss such an important game and North Carolina will show why they are the best team in the nation beating Notre Dame by more than ten points.

Champion: North Carolina

Quarterfinals: By far the most complete tournament from top to bottom is the Old Spice Classic being played over Thanksgiving weekend in Orlando. In the first game, Siena will play Tennessee. I think that Siena will win this game much like they did against Vanderbilt in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. The second match-up won’t be nearly as compelling as the first, and Georgetown should roll over Wichita State. Michigan State will have a lot of trouble with an underrated Maryland team, but should get by to the next round. Finally, Gonzaga shouldn’t have any trouble at all with inconsistent Oklahoma State.

Semifinals: Siena will continue to play Cinderella and upset Georgetown the day after beating Tennessee. Georgetown isn’t nearly as good as their ranking and Siena is a very experienced and poised basketball team that will take advantage of the younger Hoyas.

Gonzaga will prove to have too much depth for Michigan State, and the inside-outside combination of Austin Daye and Jeremy Pargo can put up tremendous numbers. These two teams match up very well against each other, but I expect the Zags to continue their trend of performing well in non-conference tournaments.

Finals: Gonzaga vs. Siena: Two teams from mid-major conferences that are both looking to get back to the NCAA tournament and make plenty of noise in their brackets. I think that after two big upsets, trying to get three in a row will too big of a task for the Saints and Gonzaga will roll to victory.

Champion: Gonzaga

Quarterfinals: St. Mary’s should have no trouble with UTEP and move on to the second round. Cal State Fullerton will be very scrappy and keep their game close, but Wake Forest will prove to be too much for the Titans. Arizona State will walk over Charlotte, and Baylor will sneak by Providence.

Semifinals: St. Mary’s is a tremendous team that will make noise in their conference this season and probably get back to the NCAA tournament, but Wake is more athletic and should run up and down the court with ease. Al Farouq-Aminu will have one of the better games in his college career scoring more than 25 points.

Arizona State may have some trouble with Baylor, but James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph are going to lead the Sun Devils to victory and on to the finals.

Finals: Arizona State vs. Wake Forest: Harden will show why he is the best player in the Pac-10 and take over in a very important game for ASU. Supporting players such as Pendergraph, Ty Abbott, and Derek Glasser will also have great games to crush the Demon Deacons hopes of winning this tournament.

Champion: Arizona State

Other Tournaments to Check Out:

Paradise Jam: Possible match-up between UConn and Wisconsin/San Diego

Legends Classic: Pittsburgh, Washington State, Texas Tech, and Mississippi State highlight this field.

Posted in Non-Conference Tournaments, Predictions | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Xavier Henry Picks Memphis

Posted by Zach on November 18, 2008

The battle for the #1 player in the ESPN 150 came down to the Memphis Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks.

Kind of like something else I faintly remember.

Only this time the Tigers prevailed. After celebrating a midnight win over his disciple Derek Kellogg and Massachusetts, Calipari was informed this morning that Xavier Henry, a 6’7 forward from Oklahoma, will attend Memphis next season.

The decision came down to two main factors: 1) Henry loves the up-tempo style that Calipari employs and has resulted in deep tournament runs recently, and 2) Henry wanted to be at school with his brother, C.J., who is currently on the Memphis basketball team but sidelined with an injury. Both of Henry’s parents played at Kansas, so the decision was a difficult one that took much deliberation.

“What separates him [Henry] are physical tools and talent,” ESPNU National Recruiting Coordinator Paul Biancardi said. “He has consistently dominated the opposition and doesn’t take bad shots; he operates within the framework of his team.”

The start to Henry’s senior season will be delayed up to six weeks following surgery to repair a broken cheekbone suffered in an automobile accident on October 22. He is expected to be cleared for game action in late December. The Tigers will lose seniors Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier and likely freshman Tyreke Evans after this season, so the commitment of Henry is huge for Memphis. He’ll team up with Shawn Taggart, Willie Kemp, Angel Garcia, Roburt Sallie, Wesley Witherspoon, his brother C.J, and the rest of a solid 2009 recruiting class next season which could include both John Wall and Dominic Cheek.

Posted in Quick Posts | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

November 18: The Day After

Posted by Tommy on November 18, 2008

ESPN Tip-off Marathon

The inaugural College Hoops Tip-off Marathon kicked off last night on ESPN after Monday Night Football. For myself, it was the first opportunity to watch college hoops in HD since the National Championship. I must say, there is nothing better than Hi-Def college basketball. The opening matchup pitted two coaches and programs with plenty of ties in Memphis and UMass. John Calipari, the former coach at UMass, coached against his former team captain and disciple in Derek Kellogg.  The game itself started off like a playground match with plenty of cherry-picking and more turnovers than field goals. Once the nerves settled it was all Memphis. After the 8-minute media timeout, the Tigers never looked back. Neither team broke 40% from the field and Memphis was just 2-19 from deep, but the Tigers forced UMass into 23 turnovers. After watching last night’s game, it looks like Calipari needs to slow his kids down a bit. They don’t have a point guard the caliber of Derrick Rose to reign free in the open court. Taggart and Dozier are great defenders and rebounders, but can’t score on the break like Dorsey could last season. I know Calipari has his coaching identity, but I think the Tigers would benefit from slowing their pace, especially with a pretty short bench.

The next game, a 2 AM tip for those on the east coast, was Saint Mary’s and Fresno State. Pat Mills put on a 27 point, 6 steal and 5 assist display against the Bulldogs. One blemish in Mills’ game last night was his four turnovers. Omar Samhan added 18 points and snatched 13 rebounds for the Gaels. Diamon Simpson also had a double double with 10 points and 10 boards. He also negated 3 shots. In their second game of the season, Saint Mary’s already seems to be living up to their expectations as a contender in the WCC. Saint Mary’s was efficient, shooting 44.6% from the field and 40.9% from deep. They out-rebounded the Bulldogs by 9 and were +9 in the turnover column.

The third game of the marathon tipped at 4 AM this morning. For you insomniacs/unbelievably die-hard basketball fans who did watch this game, you caught a dandy. Idaho State traveled down to Hawaii to square off against the Rainbow Warriors. The largest lead of the game for either team was seven and it fittingly went into overtime. Hawaii held on 67-64 as Bill Amis intercepted the inbound after Adhar Mayen hit the second free throw with less than a second left.

Stars are Shining: Stephen Curry is playing like, well, Stephen Curry. Curry contributed 33 points, 9 assists and 4 steals in Davidson’s rout of James Madison. He was 14-19 from the field and 4-6 from beyond the arc. He seems to be settling into the point pretty quickly, but we’ll really get a gauge of what Curry is like at the point tonight against Oklahoma.

Blake Griffin looked to be in peak form with 20 points and 19 rebounds. He also contributed 6 steals in the Sooners’ rout of Mississippi Valley State. It’ll really be something to see Griffin and Curry square off tonight on ESPN2.

Top-25 Action:

  • #2 UConn blew Hartford out of the water late 99-56 despite the absence of AJ Price
  • #6 Pitt outscored Miami (OH) 47-23 in the 2nd half on their way to a 82-53 victory
  • #10 Purdue used great defense to break down Eastern Michigan in a 87-58 “W”. Hummel led the way with 18.
  • #12 Memphis opened the game sloppily, but pulled away and won 80-58 win.
  • # 14 Oklahoma dismantled the Sun Devils, Griffin was a rebound away from a 20-20 game.
  • # 17 Marquette rolled at home behind a 26 point performance from Wes Matthews.
  • #18 Georgetown held on against Jacksonville 71-62, despite being out-scored in the second half.
  • #21 Davidson dominated James Madison, Curry was an assist away from a double-double.
  • #23 Villanova’s Dante Cunningham scored 31, leading the Cats to a 107-68 victory over Fordham.

NW Wins Horse Trailer Player of the Day: Stephen Curry, Davidson.

Tuesday on the Tube:

  • Liberty @ UNC-Asheville, 2 ET (ESPN)
  • Centenary @ Baylor, 4 ET (ESPN)
  • Richmond @ Syracuse, 6 ET (ESPN)
  • Loyola (IL) @ #10 Purdure, 7 ET (ESPNU)
  • Tennesee-Martin @ #13 Tennessee, 7 ET (ESPN FC)
  • St. John’s @ Boston College, 7:30 ET (ESPN2)
  • Tulane @ #8 Texas, 8 ET
  • Kentucky @ #1 North Carolina, 9 ET (ESPN)
  • Florida Gulf Coast @ #24 Kansas, 9 ET (ESPNU)
  • #21 Davidson @ #14 Oklahoma, 9:30 ET (ESPN2)
  • Nevada @ San Diego, 10 ET (ESPN FC)
  • UAB @ Arizona, 11:30 ET (ESPN2)

Zach: Couple other notes from last night:

  1. How about Virginia Tech struggling again at home? Mount St. Mary’s led most of the game in Blacksburg before the Hokies used a late run to win 62-57. Three VT players scored in double figures, led by Malcolm Delaney at 17 points. Virginia Tech isn’t known as a high-scoring team, but only 62 points against MSM has to be troubling. Look for coach Greenberg to push these guys into shape sooner than later.
  2. Could be a very long year in Eugene. After dodging the upset bullet in their first game, Oregon lost at home to Oakland 82-79 in overtime last night. That extension giving you some nice security, Ernie? Johnathon Jones stole the show for Oakland with 32 points on 13/23 FG, including 10 in overtime. The Ducks had a 16-game non conference home winning streak snapped.
  3. Also upset last night was Georgia, losing at home to Loyola (IL) of the Horizon League. The same Loyola that lost to Division II Rockhurst last week. And the game wasn’t particularly competitive either, with the final scoring being 74-53 in favor of the Ramblers. J.R. Blount led the way with 16 points. They’ll advance to play Purdue while Georgia faces Eastern Michigan. You have to be thinking Dennis Felton may be on the way out soon.
  4. Marquette gave up 87 points to Chicago State at home. This has to be of concern to coach Buzz Williams. The Golden Eagles must step up the defense if they expect to finish in the top five of a loaded Big East this year. Luckily for Williams, Marquette scored the most points in a game since 1980 and won 106-87 with Wes Matthews having another huge night. Domnic James: 2-9 FT.

Posted in The Day After | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Tuesday’s Selections

Posted by Zach on November 18, 2008

Zach’s Picks: (Season Record: 18-21-0)

SYRACUSE (-16.5) over Richmond- LOSS
Florida State (-3) over LA SALLE- WIN
St. John’s (+7.5) over BOSTON COLLEGE- LOSS
South Alabama (+10) over MISSISSIPPI- LOSS
Kentucky (+17) over NORTH CAROLINA- LOSS
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (-15.5) over New Mexico State- LOSS
OKLAHOMA (-3.5) over Davidson- WIN
WASHINGTON (-10.5) over Cleveland State- WIN
Nevada (+5.5) over SAN DIEGO- LOSS
San Francisco (+14) over CALIFORNIA- WIN
Arizona State (-3.5) over SAN DIEGO STATE- WIN
UAB (+4) over ARIZONA- WIN

Tommy’s Picks: (Season Record: 23-16-0)

SYRACUSE (-16.5) over Richmond- LOSS
Florida State (-3) over LA SALLE- WIN
BOSTON COLLEGE (-7.5) over St. John’s- WIN
South Alabama (+10) over MISSISSIPPI- LOSS
NORTH CAROLINA (-17) over Kentucky- WIN
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (-15.5) over New Mexico State- LOSS
OKLAHOMA (-3.5) over Davidson- WIN
Cleveland State (+10.5) over WASHINGTON- LOSS
Nevada (+5.5) over SAN DIEGO- LOSS
CALIFORNIA (-14) over San Francisco- LOSS
Arizona State (-3.5) over SAN DIEGO STATE- WIN
UAB (+4) over ARIZONA- WIN

Patrick’s Picks: (Season Record: 25-14-0)

SYRACUSE (-16.5) over Richmond- LOSS
Florida State (-3) over LA SALLE- WIN
BOSTON COLLEGE (-7.5) over St. John’s- WIN
MISSISSIPPI (-10) over South Alabama- WIN
Kentucky (+17) over NORTH CAROLINA- LOSS
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (-15.5) over New Mexico State- LOSS
Davidson (+3.5) over OKLAHOMA- LOSS
Cleveland State (+10.5) over WASHINGTON- LOSS
SAN DIEGO (-5.5) over Nevada- WIN
San Francisco (+14) over CALIFORNIA- WIN
Arizona State (-3.5) over SAN DIEGO STATE- WIN
UAB (+4) over ARIZONA- WIN

Posted in Daily Selections | 9 Comments »