A lot of talk on CHN's message board this week about who would win the Josh Heytvelt-Tyler Hansbrough battle on Thanksgiving eve. In the end, it was Heytvelt's 19 and 8 boards which accounted for the difference in Gonzaga's big win over #2 ranked North Carolina. For Hansbrough, his 7 points was the 2nd lowest ouput of his career, and the first time he's scored under double digits since last December 3rd. By my count, this is 27 games in a row.. and in fact Hansbrough never had less than 13 in any of those 27. More important than Hansbrough's struggles (you know he'll start another impressive streak) is Gonzaga's statement to the basketball world that they still matter. All the talk of the young guns in Carolina, Duke, and other places.. but the Zags are basically a sophomore and freshman dominated team outside of Raivio.
I'll be honest, I'd never heard of Stephen Curry before this week. The son of former NBA star Dell Curry is a freshman for the Davidson Wildcats. He wasn't even considered the best player on his high school team, but the 6-0 guard came into today's game against Missouri averaging 23 points, 7 boards, and 4 assists per game. In a close loss to the Tigers in Columbia this afternoon, he finished with 16 and 6 assists. Curry's biggest problem is turnovers, as he's more of a combo scoring guard trying to play some point and doing too much with the ball. Still, the baby faced scorer has a great stroke, a knack for getting the ball in the hoop, and the potential to be a major force in the Southern Conference with a little more experience and physical maturity.
Maryland's win in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic finals should catapult them into the top 25 for the first time this season. I dont necessarily know if Maryland will be better than Michigan State or Texas at the end of the season.. but this shows you what a team with three senior starters can do to start a season. For the Terps, like Texas and Michigan State as well, point guard play will go a long way in determining future success. Greivis Vasquez, Drew Neitzel, and DJ Augustin all impressed this week. The freshman Vasquez was perhaps the most surprising and ultimately got the W's. Neitzel is the veteran of these three, and looks noticeably stronger and more mature this season. Augustin in the end might be the best of those three. The high school All-American often dribbles around too much and needs to do a better job running the offense, but his ability to get into the lane and finish is simply unteachable and gives Texas an edge on most teams.