It's no secret I like scoring.. but Duke's win over Gonzaga showed why defense is just as important. The Blue Devils (mainly due to Jon Scheyer's man to man defense) completely shut down consistent 20 point scorer Derek Raivio. Raivio, who finished with just 4 points, looked like the little boy that struggled to get going all of last season. Without him scoring, and Heytvelt neutralized by Josh McRoberts, Jeremy Pargo's 21 points (17 in the 2nd half) weren't enough to get it done. It was odd to see Pargo and Greg Paulus (20 points), usually 3rd or 4th options on offense, leading the way. Besides those two, the other impressive performances came from Duke's David McClure (4 blocks in 27 minutes) and Abdullahi Kuso (6 blocks in 20 minutes).
Sunday was rather tame compared to such a wild slate of games on Saturday. The big game of course was Texas vs LSU, which didn't disappoint by going to overtime. The Longhorns won 76-75 thanks in large part to DJ Augustin's ability to drive to the hoop, and AJ Abrams threes in overtime. The best freshman wasn't Kevin Durant, but Augustin who ended up with a career high 25 to go along with 5 assists. I found it a bit odd at the end of regulation that they gave the ball to Abrams at the top of the key in the closing seconds instead of Augustin. Augustin is clearly better at beating guys off the dribble, and it makes more sense to have Abrams, your best shooter out on the wing.
Chris Lofton looked like he was ready to beat Memphis one on five. Tennessee's sharpshooter had 21 points at the half while the #17 team in the country had just 22. Lofton ended with 34 points, including 6 threes, often of the fade-away, off-balance variety. Prior to this game, the Vols had lost to UNC and Butler and their best win of the season was arguably at home over Fordham. This win puts them back in the thick of the nationl picture, though the Top 25 is still probably out of reach.
On a night busy with Top 25 action, everyone else advanced with relative ease. #2 Pittsburgh, #7 Florida, #9 Duke, #10 UCONN, #14 Butler, #22 Maryland, #23 Air Force, and #25 Michigan State all won by double digits.
#24 Georgia Tech.. not anymore. #19 Maryland.. good try. #4 Florida.. thanks for playing. A season of wild upsets, surprise, and intrigue, continued on what was expected to be a somewhat quiet Sunday.
Don't feel bad for Gator fans though. Florida will play Ohio State in the National Championship game in football so today's 70-66 loss at Florida State will be forgotten. For FSU, Al Thornton was basically one man team. They needed everyone of his 28 points and 9 rebounds. The last 2 minutes of the game was all Thornton.. a nice post move in the paint, a 15 foot jumper, and a pair of free throws to lock the game up. The Gators were without Corey Brewer.. but his replacement Walter Hodge added 17 points so you can't blame it on that.
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- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
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- College Basketball Top 50: Indiana Ends Regular Season #1
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- Non-BCS Top 25: Davidson In, Wyoming Out
- College Basketball Top 50: #2 Gonzaga Hits All-Time High
- Non-BCS Top 25: Air Force, Davidson Making Moves
- College Basketball Top 50: Another Week, Another #1