Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Torreros’

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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November 16: The Day After

Posted by Zach on November 16, 2008

UC Irvine USC Basketball

Top Mid-Majors Battle

Two of the top games Saturday featured potential NCAA Tournament mid-majors duking it out in mid-November- George Mason @ Vermont and San Diego @ UNLV. In the first game, the reloaded Catamounts, led by the three-headed monster of Mike Trimboli, Marques Blakely and Maurice Joseph, fell on two last second Darryl Monroe free throws with 0.7 left in overtime. Monroe was the star for Mason, totaling 19 points and 17 rebounds. Coach Jim Laranaga needs Monroe to mold into a big-time player to win the CAA this season over VCU, Old Dominion and Northeastern. I really wish I could have seen this game- I followed parts on Gamecast and it seemed like an exciting, back and forth duel between two quality opponents in a sold out environment.

The second game I ranked tops on my Games of the Week list, San Diego @ UNLV, was tempered a bit due to the suspensions of two of San Diego’s top guns- Gyno Pomare and Trumaine Johnson. They did a valiant job of battling in a difficult place to play against a potential Top 25 team. In fact, neither team built more than an eight point lead, while there were 17 ties and eight lead changes. Sophomore Rob Jones led the way for SD with 19 points and 10 rebounds, with NCAA Tournament hero Brandon Johnson notching 14. UNLV was slightly better, though, getting 17 from Wink Adams and 13 from freshman Oscar Bellfield. The Rebels won despite shooting 27% from deep. You can’t help but wonder if the result would have been the same had Pomare and Johnson been able to suit up.

North Carolina Debuts Sans Hansbrough

The unanimous preseason #1 Tar Heels debuted yesterday at home against Penn without Player of the Year frontrunner Tyler Hansbrough and fellow starter Marcus Ginyard (Bobby Frasor did play despite spraining his ankle in practice Monday…can’t you do the same Michael Redd? You’re killing my fantasy team, man). Coach Williams probably isn’t overly pleased with the Heels performance Saturday; Penn was down just 10 points with four minutes left, the second half score was 38-38 and UNC failed to go on one of their patented game-ending runs. They’ll need Deon Thompson to step up in Hansbrough’s absence and he did just that, scoring 17 points, while freshmen frontmen Ed Davis finished with a double-double (4-8 FT, 4 TO) and Tyler Zeller totaled a team-high 18 points (just 2 rebounds). UNC faces Kentucky Tuesday with College Gameday in the house. Will Jay Bilas gather a Prop-8 style protest saying the game shouldn’t be played to honor the injured Hansbrough? Tune in to find out.

Other Top 25 Action

  • #11 Gonzaga handled MT St. Billings 83-52 behind Austin Daye’s 15 points and 12 rebounds
  • #12 Memphis throttled Fairfield 90-63 with Tyreke Evans scoring 19 on 7/12 shooting
  • #13 Tennessee dismantled a quality mid-major Chattanooga 114-75. Freshman Bobby Maze with 10 assists debuting at point guard
  • #16 Miami dominated Florida Southern 96-60 behind 18 from Jack McClinton and Dwayne Collins
  • #21 USC avoided the early season upset bug this year, beating UC Irvine 78-55. DeMar DeRozan’s debut went well: 14 points on 6/11

Other Notes

– I wonder what Houston coach Tom Penders said in the locker room with his team losing by 10 to Western Kentucky at home Saturday. Maybe, “do you want our season to end in November???…oh, and I WANT TO KEEP MY JOB!” Whatever he said, it worked. Down 10 to WKU at home, Houston went on a 19-8 run to begin the second half and avoided a 1-2 start to the season.

– Could Tulsa be the team that contends with Memphis in Conference USA? They won a grinder last night at home against a quality Oral Roberts team. 7 foot center Jerome Jordan was contained to just 8 points in 21 minutes, so it looks like they won through 1) Ben Uzoh’s 20 points and 2) defense. What a concept. Anyway, watch out for Tulsa as a sleeper this season.

– Not a great debut for Keno Davis at Providence. After the Northeastern Huskies were thrashed by Manny Harris and Michigan, they turned around and defeated a tougher opponent in Providence. Hot-shooting Matt Janning notched 24 points on 10/14 FG while fellow star Eugene Spates added 17 points for the Huskies. Overall, Northeastern shot 48.1%. Could be another year of defensive inepititude in Providence.

– Worth noting that Illinois State went into Dayton and defeated the preseason #2 in the Horizon- Wright State. Quality win for the Missouri Valley. HL favorite Cleveland State played poorly and were nearly upset at home by Oakland, winning 58-55. Last year’s Cinderella Drake got a dose of reality last night, taking it on the chin to Butler 58-48 at home. It really doesn’t matter how many players Butler loses, they’re always going to play ferocious defense (same with Washington State…MVSU scored 27 on them Saturday in the game). Drake shot just 31.1% from the floor. Also, Milwaukee overcame a 24-point deficit in the World Vision Classic to defeat UC Davis. They get Iowa State today.

UPSET ALERT!!!– #3 in the Pac-10, huh Pat? Jon Brockman scored 30 points on 11/17 FG and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Washington Huskies. Oh, they lost 80-74 to the Portland Pilots.

NW Wins Horse Trailer of the Day– Darryl Monroe, George Mason (19 points, 17 rebounds, 5/10 FG, 9/10 FT, Game winning FT)

Sunday on the Tube (if you want a break from football)

  • Bradley @ Florida- 2:15pm (ESPNU)
  • Long Beach State @ Wisconsin- 4pm (BTN)
  • Winthrop @ South Carolina- 4pm (ESPN FC)
  • Rhode Island @ Duke- 430pm (ESPNU)
  • Idaho @ Michigan State- 6pm (BTN)
  • South Dakota @ Cincinnati- 6pm (SNY, FSNO)
  • LeMoyne @ Syracuse- 630pm (ESPNU)
  • Clemson vs. Temple- 8pm (CSS)
  • UMKC @ Kansas- 830pm (ESPNU)

Sunday’s picks and Games to Watch for next week up later today….

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Top Ten Games Of The Week (11/10-11/16)

Posted by Zach on November 9, 2008

The college basketball season is finally upon us. After the March Madness recap, the recruiting rampage, clinics and camps, transfers, injuries, Midnight Madness and weeks worth of practice, real, unedited college basketball will be shown on my television for the first time since Mario Chalmers led Kansas to the national title last April. It makes no difference to me that the score will likely be Duke 104, Presbyterian 55. It’s college basketball, it’s live, and even the sight of the Cameron Crazies are enough to get me excited.

Most of these games in my first edition of the Top Ten Games of the Week are assumptions. That is, we’d need Michigan and Northeastern to beat Division II or awful Division I teams to reach that matchup. Unless we have another Gardner Webb on our hands (and most of these teams are even worse), I’d say most of these are fair bets to occur. So without further ado, here’s the Top Ten in order:

1. San Diego @ UNLV (Saturday, MTN)– The best game of the first week features two mid-majors looking to advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. First team all-WCC forward Gyno Pomare and senior guard Brandon Johnson lead the way for the Toreros in this difficult early road game in Las Vegas. UNLV is the preseason Mountain West favorite after returning three starters from a 27-win team. Wink Adams is the floor general and best player on the Rebels, while this game will give us the first look at Memphis transfer Tre’Von Willis. Prediction: San Diego 70, UNLV 74

2. New Mexico @ Creighton (Sunday)– Our second best game displays another Mountain West contenders- the New Mexico Lobos and head coach Steve Alford. Many feel they can contend for the top spot in the conference with Tony Danridge at the helm of the offense. Look out for combo guard Chad Toppert as a capable compliment to the scoring leader Danridge. Creighton is the near-unanimous preseason favorite in the Missouri Valley, and will look for super sophomore P’Allen Stinnett to carry the Jays to a big road victory. Prediction: New Mexico 69, Creighton 76

3. Clemson vs. Temple (Sunday, Sport South)– This matchup assumes both teams get through two easy rounds at the Charleston Classic over the weekend. Clemson is looking like a bubble team in the middle of the ACC pack, while Temple could be a true contender in the Atlantic 10 with Xavier and Massachusetts. This would be a huge resume building win for Dionte Christmas and Temple notching a victory over an ACC school like Clemson, who will attempt to hold off the Owls with the help of K.C. Rivers and Trevor Booker. Prediction: Clemson 67, Temple 65

4. Massachusetts @ Southern Illinois (Wednesday)– If both of these teams take care of business against cupcakes in the first round of the Carbondale regional in Coaches vs. Cancer, Southern Illinois will get a tough home test in a battle for a game with Duke in Madison Square Garden. If that’s not a motivating factor, then I don’t know what is. The dynamic guard duo of Ricky Harris and Chris Lowe lead the charge for UMass against Bryan Mullins and the Salukis in a contest of offensive firepower vs. defensive dominance. Prediction: Massachusetts 70, Southern Illinois 68

5. Bradley @ Florida (Sunday, ESPNU)– This one could be closer than casual viewers expect. Andrew Warren, Theron Wilson and a well-balanced high-scoring Braves attack could give Florida and their young roster a scare in Gainesville for a healthy part of this game. But I expect Nick Calathes, Erving Walker and Co. to pull away near the end in this warmup for the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Prediction: Bradley 79, Florida 90

6. Northeastern @ Michigan (Wednesday, ESPNU)
– Watch out for this one, folks. Other than sensational guard Manny Harris, the Wolverines don’t have the talent to avoid a possible upset, even in Ann Arbor. Northeastern and Matt Janning have their eyes set on a Colonial title this season and a long-awaited trip to the NCAA Tournament, while the Michigan program is still attempting to right the ship under new coach John Beilein. This winner of this game will face UCLA in New York. Prediction: Northeastern 60, Michigan 61

7. George Mason @ Vermont (Saturday)– This is an early season battle of two programs that have certainly produced magic in the NCAA Tournament and are in prime position to return this season. The backcourt combination of senior Dre Smith, who sank 10 threes in a game last year, and double digit scorer John Vaughan might be enough to knock off America East contender Vermont. They’re led by Michigan State transfer Maurice Joseph, double-double man Marqus Blakely and outstanding guard Mike Trimboli. Prediction: George Mason 76, Vermont 79

8. Houston @ Duke (Tuesday, ESPNU)
– I don’t expect this one to be particularly close with a trip to New York on the line in Durham. I’m still intrigued to see some of Houston’s new players, notably freshman Desmond Wade and a slew of talented JC transfers along with guard Kelvin Lewis, and how they hold up in Cameron against Kyle Singler, Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus and the rest. If Houston does stay close, Memphis might have a difficult conference foe on their hands. Prediction: Houston 68, Duke 88

9. Illinois State @ Wright State (Saturday)– Not many searching for good games this week will avoid overlooking this battle, but these are two schools that could win their conferences- the Missouri Valley and Horizon League, respectively. 15.8 PPG scorer Osiris Eldridge is a contender for MVC Player of the Year while Todd Brown and Vaughn Duggins look to defend their home court in this battle of mid majors. Prediction: Illinois State 59, Wright State 60

10. American @ Oklahoma (Friday, ESPN Full Court)– Oklahoma should win this easily, but you’ll surely see American as an upset contender next March. They’ve got one of the best unknown players in the nation in Garrison Carr. Derrick Mercer is another outstanding guard for the Patriot League favorites. This is also our first look at Willie Warren for the Sooners. Prediction: American 71, Oklahoma 90

Also keep an eye on:
– Miami (OH) @ UCLA (Thursday, ESPNU)
– Bucknell @ Maryland (Friday)
– Butler @ Drake (Saturday)
– Pennsylvania @ North Carolina (Saturday, FSN South)
– Northeastern @ Providence (Saturday)
– Rhode Island @ Duke (Sunday, ESPNU)
– Winthrop @ South Carolina (Sunday)
– Milwaukee @ Iowa State (Sunday)

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