The Fine Fifteen: A Recap Of 15 Of The Biggest Games From Saturday
Catching You Up On All The Action
Well that was quite a fun day of action across the college basketball landscape and we really didn't have that many great match ups on paper. It was the first full weekend of conference play for almost everyone and already some projected bubble teams were fighting for their first signature wins. Duke, Michigan State and Notre Dame were among a few of the ranked teams that took care of business in the early games. Virginia Tech continues their steep decline as they were dominated by Maryland. There were also some extremely random matchups like Butler hosting New Orleans. UNO just turned D-1 a few short seasons ago. Do you really get anything from your program by playing that level of competition? I don't think so.
Overall, this season to me seems to be filled with a lot of mediocrity. Yes I said mediocrity not parity and there is a difference. A number of supposedly good teams are getting scares consistently against lesser competition. That shouldn’t happen if you want to be cutting down the nets at the start of April. Also, the inability to put away teams is another red flag. When you are up 17 points early in the 2nd half, you should not even be threatened the rest of the way but that seems to be more and more routine. I suppose this will create some big drama come March Madness but it also will cheapen supposed “upsets”. Hopefully conference season will bring out the best in everyone and truly show the complete teams this season.
Rutgers 67 - #24 Pittsburgh 62
I don't know what to think about Pittsburgh this year. Obviously, last year was an anomaly and Jaime Dixon is still one hell of a coach but where is this team going to get their points night in and night out? Trey Zeigler needs to show up. He dominated in the MAC but when you are a highly touted recruit this level of competition shouldn't matter. Tray Woodall can't be expected to shoulder the load and run the team. The Pittsburgh bigs are projects. Give Rutgers credit. They didn't start Eli Carter for breaking a team rule and still got off to a fast start.
#25 Kansas State 73 - #22 Oklahoma State 67
This was more of what I expected from Kansas State. They toughed it out in the 1st half and then Rodney McGruder took them the rest of the way. He was ridiculous in the 2nd half. If McGruder was "Batman", Nino Williams was "robin". He was cleaning up on the boards. Oklahoma State has got to get more consistency from LeBryan Nash. Attack the basket please! Stop settling for jumpers.
Marquette 49 - #15 Georgetown 48
This game was so ugly, it almost was fun to watch. It was 20-19 at half and that was thanks to a late run of buckets! I just can't take Georgetown seriously because they can't score. Markel Starks was great again and Otto Porter showed but will anyone else? This team has no depth. You can't play 7 guys and survive the season. Marquette needs to get Davonte Gardner more shots. He's a great screener but he's becoming dominate underneath.
Baylor 86 - Texas 79
Texas thought they wouldn't need Javan Felix this year because Myck Kabongo was coming back. Well we know how that's worked out and good for Felix. He was showing all the skills, chipping in 26 points and dishing out 9 assists. I'm concerned at how many easy buckets Texas gave up today. Baylor's most consistent player is Cory Jefferson and that showed again today. Get him the ball.
#11 Illinois 74 - #8 Ohio State 55
I don't trust either of these teams but goodness Illinois is going to be tough at home. From the start Nnanna Egwu was hitting jumpers and that was a sign of things to come. At least four Illini 3's went down at the end of the shot clock. When that happens, it's just your day. Deshaun Thomas needs to start becoming a complete player. He is a complete loaf on defense and settles for jumpers nonstop. Talk about frustrating.
Miami (FL) 62 - Georgia Tech 49
A really nice win for Miami. They are learning to win without Reggie Jackson who is out for 6 weeks and they still won the battle on the glass. Rion Brown came out of nowhere for 22 off the bench. Georgia Tech just can't score.
UCLA 68 - Stanford 60
I liked Stanford's gameplan. Despite the fact they have a roster filled with top 150 recruits they tried to "muck it up". The goal was to slow down UCLA and it worked for a while. The Bruins though have too much talent and Shabazz Muhammed finished down the stretch.
#12 Missouri 66 - Bucknell 64
Flip Pressey is starting to score. Watch out SEC. Laurence Bowers helped out, especially on the glass, but the torch is being passed. Bucknell hung around the entire game and if you haven't watched Mike Muscala play, do so. He's an absolute beast and the Bison are going to grab the Patriot title.
St. John's 53 - #14 Cincinnati 52
What an ugly, ugly basketball game. I can't take Cincy seriously when you lose a game like this at home, especially coming off a big win at Pitt. Cashmere Wright nearly rescued the Bearcats but then didn't get the final shot in regulation. Why? He's been money all year long.
#23 NC State 78 - Boston College 73
Someone tell C.J. Leslie the game started. He did not show up and it nearly cost NC State. They are going to be a fascinating watch all ACC season. It looks like they are just an uncomfortable group away from home. Scott Wood hit two threes late that rescue the Wolfpack. Boston College is pretty bad but boy Ryan Anderson is a treat to watch.
#3 Arizona 60 - Utah 57
I'm not taking Arizona seriously and this reinforces my point. Utah is one of the worst teams in all of FBS and they nearly took down the Wildcats. Mark Lyons was just awful and he can't be trusted to carry this team. They also get virtually nothing from their bigs. The three big wins Arizona has they've been outplayed. Buyer beware.
VCU 59 - Lehigh 55
VCU continues to prove they will make the tournament as an at-large team regardless of what happens this conference season. Sadly, the big news from this one is C.J. McCollum apparently broke his foot and will be out for 8 weeks. That basically kills Lehigh's chances to win the Patriot League.
#10 Gonzaga 81 - Santa Clara 74
I'm believing in you Gonzaga! They still can't stop anyone and don't get back in transition but Kelly Olynyk is the best big Mark Few has had. With Olynyk, Elias Harris on his wing and Sam Dower off the bench, this is the best big trio out west. Kevin Pangos needs to stay connected in the game though when he's not hitting threes.
DePaul 83 - Providence 73
It's been a difficult couple of years for DePaul but they deserve some real credit tonight. They went on the road in the Big East and got a win. Cleveland Melvin is one of the best players no one knows about. Providence is awful though. They lost to Brown on the road. Ed Cooley tries to bend the rules and is paying for it.
Washington 68 - Washington State 63
I don't think either of these squads will be in the NCAA's but this was fun. A rivalry game that was nearly over in the 1st half but give Washington State credit. The Huskies were paying so much attention to Brock Motum they gave up a lot of easy buckets. It doesn't look like Abdul Gaddy will ever reach his full potential.