What a day of college basketball.. 17 Top 25 teams in action.. two major Top 10 upsets.. the first game of the year on CBS.. and the debut of the most heralded prospect in recent (if not all-time) history?
I'll start with the early action and then move my way into the evening.
Is there a new, better Hansbrough in town? Freshman Ben Hansbrough poured in 23 points and 8 assists as Mississippi State romped on TAMU-CC, 96-72. Meanwhile, younger brother Tyler's 7 points and 3 rebounds kept a pesky Kentucky team alive against UNC. The Tar Heels were the better and more talented team from the tip, but Randolph Morris' 21 point domination of Hansbrough, and Tubby's ability to play the game at his pace instead of Roy's, kept the game relatively competitive. Hansbrough's struggles were reminiscent of his 9 point clunker against Josh Heytvelt and Gonzaga.
Can someone make sense of Marquette for me? They beat Duke and got bumped to #9 in the AP Poll.. but they want down to the wire in games against Idaho State and Valparaiso.. not to mention struggling (down at the half) against DII Hillsdale. I know "a win is a win", but eventually these poor efforts will turn into losses.
John Thompson III gets more pub because he shares his name with daddy.. but his brother Ronny is also a head coach at Ball State. The two met yesterday in DC and no surprise the Hoyas rolled to a 69-54 victory.
It took two overtimes for a home Big East team to dispatch with Stetson yesterday. Granted, it was at South Florida.. but Big East teams shouldn't struggle against bottom tier Atlantic Sun teams that plays 9 freshmen & sophomores and just one upperclassman. The way things are going, USF and Rutgers might be battling hard for the Big East basement.
I'll be honest.. I thought Butler had no shot against Gonzaga. I thought Gonzaga was a step up from Tennessee, and the interior presence of Heytvelt would be too much.. and I of course was wrong. Butler surprised again and is now 6-0 with wins over Notre Dame, Indiana, Tennessee, and Gonzaga. Still the question remains: Is this team for real? Or to put it another way, is this team good enough to make the Tournament as an at-large bid? It should be interesting.. the fact is a team that so heavily relies on the long ball can go sour at any point. You know there's a cold streak waiting at some point.. and the question is how will the committee deal with Butler's inevitable conference losses to teams like Loyola Chicago or Detroit. As good as their start has been, my guess is that wont look nearly as good two months from now. Notre Dame is a mediocre team that will probably end up in the 125-175 RPI range. Indiana would be lucky to end up in the RPI top 50 and will most likely end up with more than 10 losses. Tennesse, though ranked when Butler beat them may simply end up in the 40-50 range as well. Its conceivable that when all is said and done, the only Top 50 RPI wins that Butler has are against Gonzaga, and perhaps Purdue if they beat the Boilermakers in a couple of weeks. My guess is that Butler will lose 5-7 games the rest of the season. It will be interesting to see what happens if they dont win the Horizon League tournament.
While it’s certainly nice to have a player who can be counted on to score 20 or so points in any particular game, it is just as important to have someone who can hold a player averaging 20 ppg significantly below the individual’s average.
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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