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).
Wow.. what a day of college basketball.. big games, big wins, big performances.. this is what it's all about. I have so much to say.. I wont be able to give justice to any one game or team. Behold the power of stream of consciousness..
No need to see the #2 team in the country dancing around when they beat a 6-4 Buffalo team. I know people always say a win is a win, and Pitt is now 10-0.. but I have a hard time believing their close to the 2nd best team out there.
Texas A&M dropped their second game in a row.. but their 3 point loss at #1 UCLA was deserved of Top 10 respect. The aggies kept it close the whole, entertaining John Wooden and the rest of the large crowd. At 7-2, they'll probably drop to the 12-15 range, but their resume so far is certainly more impressive than higher ranked teams like Duke or Pitt.
6-3 Winthrop gave it another good run against a ranked team.. falling in overtime to Wiscosnin. The Eagles pose an interesting problem for how we look at mid-major teams. For example, well-played, close losses at UNC, Maryland, and Wisconsin are impressive and have to count for something. But on the flip side, Winthrop's best win so far is at Mississippi State. We had Winthrop in our CHN Top 50 Ranking.. and I still believe they are a top 50 team.. but there gets to the point that they have to win a big game to warrant the ranking. If Purdue for example lost to those three teams and had only beaten Mississippi State and some nobodies, then it would seem perfectly normal not to put them in the Top 50. The difference though when comparing a Purdue and a Winthrop is that a Winthrop will never have the chance to play the likes of a UNC, Wisconsin, and Maryland on their home floor. Winthrop plays a 5th BCS team this year, Texas A&M, but also on the road. I'd say its an assumption that if a team goes on the road and takes a team to OT, that they would be the favored team at home. Unfortuntely, we may never know.
Hannah and Curry take home weekly Big 12 Honors.
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