Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Kyle Singler’

November 17: The Day After

Posted by Zach on November 16, 2008

Rhode Island Duke basketball

Headliner: If you were told a certain Duke opponent was going to march into Cameron Indoor Stadium and seriously threaten the Blue Devils near-perfect home record against unranked opponents under Coach K, most would have predicted Virginia Tech. Or Maryland. Or possibly Florida State.

I doubt anyone would have suggested the Rhode Island Rams. Not even Vegas saw this coming with the spread at 21.5. Both myself and Nostradamus Patrick (look at that record!) went with the Dukies. Sure, URI has been dangerous in previous years, getting off to a tremendous early season start last year before fading down the stretch. They’re well-coached and have some talent. But in Cameron? No chance.

Well, they almost pulled it off. Behind the absolutely unreal shooting of Jimmy Baron and the all-around game of Delroy James, the Rams almost shocked the college basketball world in the first week of the season. Would it have been bigger than VMI over Kentucky? Considering Duke is ranked #5 in the land according to the coaches poll, I’d say so.

But Kyle Singler would not let it happen. I can’t possibly stress how much this kid has improved from last season. He’s stronger, he’s more aggressive, and he appears to be the dominant force the Blue Devils have lacked since Redick and Williams departed. DeMarcus Nelson was never one to decide he was going to take over a game and not let anyone stop him. Same with Gerald Henderson. Singler appears to be that man- he did everything for Duke last night, not letting them lose that game. Whether it be nailing clutch free throws, swishing threes in the face of Baron or contributing defensively, Singler was awesome. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jon Scheyer hitting all 13 free throws he took in the game, none of them under especially relaxing circumstances.

Two other Duke notes: Lance Thomas played well once again and was on the floor for every crunch time minute late. Who wasn’t? Greg Paulus. He was buried on the bench for Scheyer-Singler-Smith-Thomas-Henderson. Delroy James went 9/12 from the floor, totaling 21 points and 8 rebounds and was the best player on the floor for most of the contest. Jimmy Baron hit some miraculous threes for URI, 8 of 9 altogether. He has unlimited range and should be feared in the A-10 this season.

Clemson and Creighton with quality wins: Clemson was able to hold off red hot Dionte Christmas and Temple in the championship game of the Charleston Classic. They improve to 3-0 after holding off a late Temple run that cut the lead to 2 with 38 seconds remaining. Clemson is shooting the three ball very well early in the season, namely long range bomber Terrence Oglesby. Also, Creighton defeated a decent New Mexico squad behind a tremendous effort from P’Allen Stinnett- 30 points, 4 rebounds, 11/16 FG, 21 points in the second half. Congrats P’Allen, your effort earns you the Horse Trailer for Sunday!

Old Dominion might contend for the CAA title this year and got off on the right foot defeating Charlotte on the road; Iowa State went 15-27 from deep in their win over Milwaukee, a school record.

UPSET ALERT!!!- Mercer has done it again. Last year, they marched into Los Angeles and defeated USC in O.J. Mayo’s debut. This year they go into Tuscaloosa and knock off Alabama in JaMychal Green’s debut, 72-69. Not a good start to a campaign where Mark Gottfried is trying to keep his job. Bama fans can be encouraged with Ronald Steele’s return- 7/15 FG, 6/7 FT, 25 points, 3 steals, 3 assists. But they were outrebounded 49-32 by an Atlantic Sun team. Another shocker in college hoops.

NW Wins Horse Trailer of the Day– P’Allen Stinnett, Creighton

Top 25 Action

  • #7 Michigan State dominated Idaho 100-62 behind a career high 21 points from Chris Allen
  • #9 Notre Dame out-muscled USC Upstate 94-58 with Luke Harangody totaling 30 points/14 boards
  • #19 Florida looks great thus far, dominating Bradley 81-58; Werner and Hodge with 17 points each
  • #21 Wisconsin escaped at home against Long Beach State 68-61; senior Marcus Landry with 23 points
  • #23 Kansas defended their crown by downing UMKC 71-56 behind 16 from Sherron Collins

Monday on the Tube

  • Eastern Michigan @ Purdue- 7pm (ESPN2)
  • Loyola (MD) @ Boston College- 7pm (ESPNU)
  • New Jersey Tech @ Penn State- 7pm (BTN)
  • Hartford @ Connecticut- 7pm (ESPN FC)
  • Miami (OH) @ Pittsburgh- 7pm (ESPN FC)
  • North Texas @ Oklahoma State- 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • Chattanooga @ Missouri- 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • Sam Houston State @ Texas Tech- 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • Chicago State @ Marquette- 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • Mississippi Valley State @ Oklahoma- 9pm (ESPNU)
  • Florida Atlantic @ Arizona- 11pm (ESPNU)

Posted in The Day After | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

November 12: The Day After

Posted by Zach on November 12, 2008

ZACH: I caught bits and pieces of the Michigan Tech-Michigan and Georgia Southern-Duke games on The U last night. Taking too much credence out of a performance against a Division II team (although Michigan Tech was picked second in their conference behind Grand Valley State…so I guess they’re not gawd-awful) would be foolish…but Manny Harris was terrific, dropping 30 points and notching 7 rebounds in 30 minutes. He showed a variety of elaborate moves driving to the hoop and shot well from the outside, nailing three long balls. I considered Harris for my Big Ten Player of the Year award before ultimately deciding on Keaton Grant as a sleeper, especially because Michigan won’t be especially competitive this season. He looks like he’s on a mission to prove me wrong. But, again. Division 2.

Duke put on an absolute clinic in defeating Georgia Southern. They played much better than the first night’s performance against Presbyterian- most notably rebounding, limiting turnovers, and playing active defense. Nolan Smith went 3/4 from deep, showing that it’s entirely possible Greg Paulus’ one major strength (outside shooting) won’t even present a downgrade in the starting five. Kyle Singler appears to be the total package early- the outside jumper is still there, but he’s attacking the rim and boards with more ferocity, getting easy shots and converted. Freshman Elliot Williams grabbed 11 rebounds in 14 minutes of garbage time a day after his ridiculous 360 dunk with Duke leading by 300.

A Duke recap wouldn’t be complete without a frontcourt update. Duke played their usual dribble-drive, spread the floor around the perimeter type offense, which will work fine against Georgia Southern, but against opponents with multiple big men, they’ll need someone to emerge in the post. Brian Zoubek picked up four more fouls in 14 minutes. Miles Plumlee played sparingly, and Lance Thomas looked like he was slightly improved. The jury’s still out. Speaking of Thomas, he went 1 for 8 from the stripe, and Duke as a whole went 25-49. That has to be a point of concern. But, again. Georgia Southern.

Southern Illinois struggled with Division 2 California (PA) last night in Carbondale. The game was actually tied at halftime before the Salukis and Carlton Fay (16/11) pulled away in the second half. Massachusetts and Corey Lowe (11 assists) dominated their D2 opponent and these two teams will face off tonight for a visit with Duke at MSG. In the Ann Arbor Regional, Northeastern handled IUPUI with ease and will play the Wolverines tonight. This one will be much closer than expected unless Michigan’s supporting cast around Harris steps up.

Michigan vs. Northeastern – 8 PM ET (ESPNU), UCLA vs. Prairie View A&M- 10 PM ET (ESPNU)

NW Wins Horse Trailer Player of the Day: Manny Harris, Michigan: 30 points, 10/15 FG, 3/5 3PT, 7/9 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists

We’ll have the Wednesday selections up when the lines are released.

Posted in The Day After | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

November 11: The Day After

Posted by Patrick on November 10, 2008

PATRICK: The first two college basketball games were played this evening as part of the 2k Sports Classic. Here is what we should take from these two games as we move on into the rest of the season.

1. Are Georgia Southern and Houston trendsetters?- That was a great basketball game, and while I sat at my computer in Milwaukee, I listened to the game via live radio feed (we told you we were diehards) and was really into it. Georgia Southern pulled off the first upset of the year, and better yet it was just a great basketball game. The final score was 65-63, and Houston had a final shot with 4.7 seconds left. What a way to kick off the 2008-09 season.

2. Kyle Singler is a beast- Remember when he looked like the picture above? Singler hit the gym and put on about 20 lbs of muscle. Now he just looks dominant (I know it was against Presbyterian) and he is definitely a favorite to be All-ACC First Team. He could be the missing link that the Blue Devils are looking for- a strong frontcourt player that can contend in the post.

3. Brian Zoubek still sucks- If I was a Duke fan I’d be pissed he has one of my team’s scholarships.

4. Better games on the first night please?- I know, I just ranted about how great the Georgia Southern vs. Houston game was, but seriously I would love to see two juggernauts battle it out on the first night. I think it would be a great way to start the season.

I hope you all had fun tonight, whether you watched the games or not, and here is the TV schedule for tomorrow:

7 ET: Michigan Tech at Michigan (ESPNU)

9 ET: Georgia Southern at Duke (ESPNU)


ZACH: I wanted to expand a bit off of Patrick’s proposal for opening the season with a more intriguing matchup. College basketball is starting to get the right idea with their 24 hours of coverage next Tuesday, and in no way do I think they should move that up to the first day of the season, but I have to agree with Pat’s suggestion. I fully understand that teams want to begin their season with a cupcake opponent to feel out rotations, playing time, and have their players log some minutes before the meaningful action begins. I find it hard to believe, though, that two high-major coaches in America wouldn’t agree to a contest on a neutral court the first day of the season. The hype and exposure would be tremendous. How about Texas and Michigan State pushing up their battle in Houston this year? I’d even take a matchup like Missouri vs. Illinois on ESPN2.

MLB has the Sunday night opener usually pitting the defending World Series champion against a division rival. The NFL has their Thursday night game, once again featuring the defending champ. Even college football manages to find two teams to play a conference game in August. I’m not asking for a conference game, I’m not even asking for a huge rivalry or a game with enormous implications. Just give me something besides the first round of Coaches vs. Cancer on ESPNU. It makes what should be a grand opener for the greatest sport in the world look foolish and irrelevant. It really is a shame.

I’ve got five thoughts from the first night of college basketball, as well:

1. If someone was living under a rock for the past three years and were shown that Duke game last night, they’d clearly choose Nolan Smith as their point guard over Greg Paulus. Expect that to be a switch that lasts the entire season. Paulus coming off the bench for Duke is hugely beneficial. It’s nice to have that long range shooter off the pine and limited minutes means limited turnovers.

2. Not sure I’m sold on Singler in the post yet. He attacked the rim very well starting from the outside, but I didn’t see any exceptional post moves that blew me away. Lance Thomas continues to look lost during short stretches on the floor and Brian Zoubek is a complete disaster. He fouled out against Presbyterian. Think about that for a second.

3. See how much we’re talking about Duke-Presbyterian? THINK OF THE FIRST GAME WAS ILLINOIS VS. MISSOURI IN SAINT LOUIS!! Why wouldn’t coaches jump at this golden opportunity?

4. This is a huge overreaction, but I foolishly penciled in Houston to play Duke in my Top Ten Games of the Week on Sunday and it came back to haunt me right away. So it’s probably time to start looking for a team like UAB, UTEP or Tulsa to challenge Memphis in Conference USA instead of Tom Penders’ Cougars. Kentucky rebounded quite well from their Gardner-Webb shocker, though.

5. Massachusetts and Southern Illinois also kick off their season tonight in Carbondale against D2 opponents. That should be an excellent second round matchup that I wish was televised.

Also, some important news out of Knoxville: freshman point guard Daniel West was ruled academically ineligible and will not play this season. Bruce Pearl expressed disappointment and was surprised at the ruling after West did well in summer school sessions. The Vols lose some important depth at point guard, with more responsibility now on the shoulders of Bobby Maze and J.P. Prince to run the offense.

Posted in Quick Posts | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

ACC Preview: #2 Duke

Posted by Tommy on November 7, 2008

Coach- Mike Krzyzewski (29th season)

PG- Nolan Smith (SO): Greg Paulus has occupied the point guard spot for the last two seasons for Coach K, but Smith’s improvement over the summer has propelled him into the starting lineup. Smith put himself through a rigorous off-season conditioning regiment to improve his explosiveness and it has apparently paid off. Smith doesn’t have as good of a shot from deep as Paulus but has a good mid-range game and is very dangerous when he drives to the basket. Smith’s athleticism will allow Duke to play at a faster pace and spread the floor a bit more. The part of Smith’s game that really puts him in front of Paulus is his defense.

SG- Jon Scheyer (JR): Scheyer impressed a lot of fans as a freshman starter for the Dukies two years ago, but became the first man off of the bench for Coach K last season. His scoring numbers took a slight hit due to the decrease in minutes, but Scheyer seemed more comfortable off the bench. It’s tough to tell if Scheyer’s numbers improved just because he got better between his sophomore and freshman season or if he was truly more comfortable coming off the bench. Scheyer has a number of tools and can hurt defenses in plenty of ways. He has a good shot from beyond the arc and is excellent at finding lanes in the paint to score.

G/F- Gerald Henderson (JR): Henderson has the potential to be a NBA Lottery pick in the near future. Henderson is far and away the most athletic player on the team, but needs to polish his game if he wants to play like a lottery pick. He has an improving mid-range game, but his outside shot is sporadic. This may have been due to a torn ligament in his shooting wrist he played with during the second half of last year. Henderson improved on his numbers from his freshman year and nothing is holding him back from improving on last season’s solid totals. I think Henderson is going to thrive in a more fast-paced spread offense with Smith at the point because of the increased amount of touches in the open court and more room to beat his defenders off the dribble.

PF- Kyle Singler (SO): Singler lived up to all the hype surrounding him as an incoming freshman for the Dukies. His versatility is second to none in all of college basketball. He has all the dribbling and court vision of a guard and the size of an average power forward. It’s really tough for opposing forwards to guard Singler on the perimeter because he’s so good off the dribble and guys Singler’s size aren’t used to defending out on the perimeter. Singler put on about 20 pounds over the course of the offseason which will help his scoring ability on the low block as well as his rebounding. Singler has to play big this season because Duke doesn’t have a center that has proven himself in the post.

PF/C- Miles Plumlee (FR): Plumlee is another young player who has impressed coaches over the offseason. The 6-10 freshman is more mobile and athletic, making him a better fit for Duke’s style of play than clumsy 7-footer Brian Zoubek. Plumlee is a pretty good scorer when facing the basket and has a variety of scoring moves on the block. Plumlee is a solid shot blocker, something Duke hasn’t had since Shelden Williams. Since the departure of the Landlord, Duke has been exposed in the paint which has made for a couple of early exits from the dance. It would be a huge bonus for the Dukies if Plumlee could solidify himself as a reliable scorer and rebounder down low.

Bench: Coach K pretty much has six starters with Greg Paulus as the first man off the bench. Don’t be surprised to see Paulus starting at the two guard and Scheyer being the sixth man, where he played so well last season. Like many Duke teams during Coach K’s reign, this year’s team has a plethora of guards that can come in and do different things. Freshman Elliot Williams has looked impressive in the preseason and will get his fair share of minutes. Lithuanian junior Martynas Pocius has shown flashes of his potential but has been bothered by injuries during his entire career; this may be the year him to showcase his skills. David McClure is Coach K’s glue guy off the bench. Coach K loves the scrappy game that McClure brings to the table. Brian Zoubek hasn’t earned significant playing time and I suspect the high level of Plumlee will keep him riding the pine a lot this season. Junior Lance Thomas was a highly touted freshman when he arrived on campus two seasons ago but hasn’t performed anywhere near the expectations of the Duke faithful.

Backcourt: A
Frontcourt: B+
Bench: A
Coaching: A+

Bottom Line: Preseason polls have the Dukies in the top 10 (ESPN/USA today has them at 5) so there are high expectations going into the season. DeMarcus Nelson was the lone senior from last year’s team so many of the same faces are back playing in Cameron Indoor in 2008-09. Singler, Henderson and Scheyer will be the nucleus for this team while Smith, Paulus, McClure and Plumlee combine to make up a really nice supporting cast. Duke will be a completely different team in 2008-09 with Smith at the point. They can push the tempo and won’t rely as heavily on the three this season, which is a plus now that the arc is moved back. Like I said before, if Plumlee plays well in the post it gives this squad an added dimension and legitimizes them as a Final Four team.

Key Non-Conference Games: 2K Sports Classic (likely to play UCLA in finals), 12/2 @ Purdue 1/7 vs. Davidson, 1/17 vs. Georgetown
Key Conference Games: 1/28 @ Wake Forest, 2/7 vs. Miami, 2/11 vs. North Carolina, 3/8 @ North Carolina
Most Valuable Player: Kyle Singler
Projected Postseason: NCAA (Elite Eight)

Posted in ACC Report, Conference Previews | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »