Why do Indiana and Other Major Conference Schools Schedule Little Schools?
This past weekend was not kind to the proverbial David’s in their fights against the Goliath’s of college basketball. Indiana, Syracuse, Louisville and Georgetown, among others, took advantage of their small school opponents. Each of these schools used these games as an opportunity to work on their different needs against lesser foes. The average score for each powerhouse was 99 points as none of the Goliath’s seemed to hold back. Scheduling these types of games during this time of the year has become the norm.
Putting up nearly a hundred points in a college basketball game is a very difficult task, unless you are a perennial power loaded with NBA talent and you schedule Central Connecticut State, Longwood, Monmouth and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I’m sure these schools were paid handsomely to take their medicine and allow the big boys to have an easy game coming off their finals week. Scheduling these types of matchups allows the big schools an opportunity to work on what is ailing them threw the first part of the season coming off a week were they were limited in practice opportunities.
Indiana, number one in the nation, dispatched C. Connecticut St, 100-69, behind Christian Watford’s 21 points (three 3-pointers) and Cody Zeller’s double-double, 19 points and 19 rebounds. Meanwhile, the other “Blue Devils” in college basketball were led by Matthew Hunter’s 40 points, 6-11 from 3-pint range. Feel free to play some defense Hoosiers. Putting up big numbers was not impressive in this win and allowing big numbers should be a red flag for the Hoosiers moving forward.
Jim Boeheim’s Orangemen, number four in the nation, took care of the Monmouth Hawks to the tune of 108-56. Coming off finals week and fewer practices, Syracuse used this game as a chance to work on its offensive attack. His dynamic perimeter star Michael Carter-Williams filled the stat sheet with 15 points and a career-high 16 assists, along with 5 steals and 4 blocks. Their defense showed a little more life than the Hoosiers and held their lowly opponent to only one player in double figures, Ed Waite with 10.
Louisville, number six in the AP poll this morning, took on the UMKC Kangaroos and promptly sent them bouncing back home after a 99-47 loss. Rick Pitino’s squad put the pressure on early and often, as usual, forcing 22 turnovers. The Cardinals are still working on perfecting Pitino’s style of defense, especially with out star center Gorgui Dieng. Russ Smith led all scorers with 31 points and the visiting team was unable to get a player into double digits.
The Georgetown Hoyas, number fifteen in the current rankings, needed to play a team that might let them score after only scoring 46 in their previous win. Luckily they had Longwood on the schedule next and almost reached their previous game total in the first half. Finishing the game with an 89-53 win, led by Otto Porter’s 22 points and 7 assists, will hopefully help them get their offense into gear. John Thompson III likes to call his system the “Georgetown Offense” to separate it from its predecessor the Princeton, but instead of worrying about what its called he should worry about its efficiency against a real opponent.
Each coach had his reasons as to why this type of matchup might seem necessary, exposing defensive deficiencies, extra time to prepare during finals, working on defensive strategies or figuring out offensive issues. Are these types of games good for basketball in general? That is debatable but as long as the Goliath’s continue to schedule David they are running the risk of being taken out by one lucky shot.