Good post on the message board yesterday by Rocky about how hard it is to win on the road. The Top 10 teams in the country (before last night) were 13-13 overall on the road. The trend continued last night as Oklahoma State lost, but Pitt won to put the record at 14-14. The road struggles continue deeper into the Top 25.. as we saw teams like Duke, Tennessee, and Butler all lose on the road to supposedly weaker conference foes.
I think its safe to say that its harder to win on the road in non-conference play than in conference play. This is because in conference play, you know what the opponents do, you've been to the arenas, stayed in the same hotels, etc. In non-league play, its definitely harder to win on the road. This is why its even more unfair that certain BCS leagues have the ability to simply play home games for a couple months before conference play. I say unfair, not because I blame the UCONN's and Syracuse's for staying at home (why travel if you dont have to? why take kids out of school? why not give your fans as many games as possible to watch? why not build up good records), but because I blame the selection committee for not properly weighing where teams played their games.
This season’s edition of the Kansas Jayhawks’ is a NBA scout’s dream come true. Go to a Jayhawks’ game and it’s one stop shopping - you can scout six potential NBA players on their roster alone (Arthur, Chalmers, Collins, Kaun, Rush & Wright). North Carolina, Florida and Ohio State are just a few of the other teams with rosters stacked with pro prospects this season. Over the past two decades there have been a handful of NCAA teams that have had similiarly pro packed rosters. Here are the top five in terms of quality and quantity:
For awhile, it looked like Duke was going to tease the haters once again by pulling out another close, poorly-played home win. But Virginia Tech, a team that has struggled over the last year and a half to win close games, pulled out the 69-67 overtime win.
The way Duke mishandled the ball, they really had no business being in the game. At one point, the Blue Devils had 21 turnovers to just 7 from Virginia Tech. In the end, VT ended up with 13 steals to Duke's 2. That includes 5 from Deron Washington, who at one point jumped over Greag Paulus (literally) to make a nice lay up, and then blocked the Duke PG's three at the buzzer. Paulus ended a horrific game with more turnovers than points, assists, and rebounds combined. The loss drops Duke to 13-2, and probably down to the 10-12 range in the polls (which is still too high). The Dukies only have one win over a currently ranked team (#16 Air Force) and don't play a ranked team again until Clemson in 3 weeks. For VT, the win puts them at 11-4 overall and atop the ACC as the only 2-0 team right now. (BC, up 25-11 on NC State will probably join them at 2-0 by the end of the afternoon.)
Lots of good tv action last night.. and I'm not talking about UNC's 38 point win over Penn. I like watching Brandan Wright dunk and all.. but this team has gone a month without playing a decent team.. lets get some competition before these games get televised.
The last team to beat UNC was.. Gonzaga, who got spanked at Virginia last night. The 108-87 final score isn't as bad as this game was.. it was 60-26 at half. Sean Singletary had 37 points on 7 threes, and 5 of those threes were in about the first 8 minutes of play. This game was done early. The Zags have lost 4 straight, 5 of 6, and are now 9-6. At least conference play starts, and the brutal string of non-conference foes ends. The last 7 games include Duke, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington State, Nevada, and Georgia.. and only one of those games was in Spokane.
Sorry for the late Dribble.. spent the morning finishing up this year's Top 30 Names in College Basketball list. Some old favorites like Longar Longar, Gyno Pomare, and Idong Ibok return along with 27 more great names. The list will officially go on-line in a couple days.
Last night, Duke teased the haters once again by struggling early at Cameron Indoor. But once Temple's long-range barage cooled down after a few minutes and Dionte Christmas' ankle started to hurt, the Dukies pulled away with ease. It was basically Duke's interior that led to the 18-point win, as Josh McRoberts scored a career high 21 (congrats to the golden boy for finally scoring 20+) and Brian Zoubek added 8 and 6 boards in just 13 minutes. McRoberts also ended up with 9 boards, 4 assists, and 4 blocks. He's been playing perhaps the best ball of his life recently, averaging 16, 12 boards, 5 assists, and 3 blocks over the last three games.
First good day of hoops in awhile last night.. 76 games, 13 Top 25 games, 4 Top 10 games, and 1 Top 15 upset.. In overtime, #13 Washington fell at USC in their Pac-10 opener. The Huskies are 10-0 at home, but 0-2 on the road. Spencer Hawes was impressive for the losers with 24 points, and more impressively playing 47 minutes (not bad for a 6-11 freshman). He's scored 20+ in 5 of 6 games. For USC, the less heralded freshman, Taj Gibson came through with 22 points and 10 boards, arguably his best game yet. Gibson is quietly putting up one of the best rookie seasons in the country at 13 and 10 per game. USC improves to 11-3 and finally has Gabe Pruitt healthy again. The junior guard had 18 points and 5 assists in just his third game back.
Saturday signaled the beginning of the Christmas break for college basketball, with everyone pretty much taking off the following three days for time with family and friends. One result from Saturday that surprised me was Kansas 84, Boston College 66. The result wasn't a surprise, but the margin was, as the Jayhawks took over from the start. But the biggest loss for the Eagles may have been the services of star forward Jared Dudley, who aggravated a lingering left foot injury in the loss. Dudley may sit out BC's next two games, Duquesne and Northeastern, in order to regain his health in time for then ACC schedule. Add this injury to those of John Oates and Akida McLain, and you have a frontcourt that's paper-thin behind Sean Williams and Shomari Spears. Also, the injury bug puts even more emphasis what I think is the key to the Eagles' success this season: the shot selection of guard Tyrese Rice.