Raphielle Johnson's Blog
That's the question that needed to be asked in light of the selections made public on Sunday night. You may be asking yourself why I'd wait a full day and then some to post this. Sometimes you need time to calm down after watching such a mockery of sports take place. Two schools from non-AQ conferences are involved but instead of finding a way to give Boise State and TCU a shot at a team from an automatic qualifying conference they will play...each other.
After what could best be described as a "boring" night of college hoops Tuesday brings the Jimmy V Classic in New York as well as a few non-conference games that could also have an impact come March. Butler and Georgetown play in the opener at MSG and with both teams running versatile offensive systems with some skilled players it should be a close battle. The Hoyas' stiffest test came against Temple and they needed a basket late in regulation to knock off the Owls.
It's a light Monday on the schedule but there are some intriguing matchups to be seen. At the top of the list is Massachusetts heading to New Jersey to take on an undefeated yet relaitvely untested Seton Hall squad. The Pirates' best win came at Cornell and all they've done since then is quietly take care of business against inferior competition. Bobby Gonzalez's team is going to play fast and the importance of the addition of Herb Pope can't be overstated. He's added another interior presence to the team and the New Mexico State transfer is currently averaging a double-double.
While most of the nation was captivated by the battle for the Big East football title between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Ohio State was blowing out Eastern Michigan in Columbus 111-60. But it was a costly win for the Buckeyes, who lost All America guard Evan Turner for eight weeks with two broken vertebra in his back. Turner suffered the injury on a dunk attempt early in the first half, landing squarely on his back on a fall after being fouled. The original thought of head coach Thad Matta was that the junior would be OK but that was before the tests were done at the hospital.
While much of the nation will focus on some big college football games on Saturday, there's also a number of attractive basketball games to check out as well. And the fun starts early, with Kentucky receiving their first major test of the season when North Carolina visits Rupp Arena. These are the two winningest programs in the history of college basketball with the Wildcats holding a slight edge, but these are also two very young teams who are still finding their way.
The Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series is set up differently than than the recently completed ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with games being spread out over a couple of weeks. The Pac-10 has taken more than its fair share of shots to this point in the season and tonight's 0-for-3 outcome certainly didn't help their cause. #10 Washington losing at Texas Tech in overtime was a tough blow to the league but that was a game in which the Red Raiders (more on them later) were right in the thick of things throughout and nearly won it in regulation on a Mike Singletary three.
What goes into a 40-point performance? A hot hand, superstitions and a good matchup are just three of the things that have been cited in the past. That accomplishment actually occured twice this past weekend, with Washington State's Klay Thompson and Mercer's James Florence doing the honors. While many already know about Thompson the Mercer senior guard from Marietta, GA hasn't received that kind of attention. Florence returned to school as the nation's leading senior returning scorer and is currently averaging 22.8 points and 4.2 assists per game.
For the first time in the eleven years of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge the trophy is headed to the midwest thanks to three wins on Wednesday night. Wisconsin's 73-69 win over #5 Duke was the result that will get the headlines but it was Ohio State taking care of Florida State that officially clinched the win. But back to the Badgers, who showed once again why it isn't wise to doubt a Bo Ryan-coached team. Trevon Hughes led Wisconsin with twenty-six points and the Badgers finished even with Duke on the boards (32-32).