Daily Dribble: 12/14
Oh Louisville.. what should we make of you? You have a big name and a hall of fame coach.. but I guess you're just not that good. Graduation losses and injuries have been too much to bare. There's no shame in losing to a 9-2 UMASS team, or an 8-1 Dayton team, or a 7-1 Arizona team either.. but ultimately you're running out of chances to prove your worth. You don't play a ranked team again until 10 games from now.. by then, perhaps with a loss to Kentucky this weekend or a loss to Notre Dame in a couple weeks.. you'll have blown your at-large chances. Sorry, David Padgett's not going to help you.. the fragile one is as reliable as my old 1980 Ford Fiesta. Juan Palacios is solid but not the star I'd thought he'd be. Derrick Caracter almost has more missed free throws than career points.. But perhaps our expectations are simply too high for you Louisville.. so many freshmen and sophomores is hard to deal with.. especially against more experienced teams like UMASS and Dayton. Perhaps you only need time.. but my patience is running thin.
With that out of the way.. UMASS does deserve credit for being a solid team. Beating Louisville at home is not an easy task no matter how young the Cardinals are. At 9-2, the Minutemen might very well move into CHN's Top 50 this week, replacing fellow A10 team Xavier who lost to Cincy. As good as the 9-2 record is though, the win last night was their first win over a team of note. Beating Oakland and Dartmouth and CCSU is nice and all.. but those ultimately are easy games. At least with UMASS, unlike teams like Pitt and UCONN that play cupcakes at home.. the Minutemen do have 7 road wins. I don't have road win stats in front of me.. but I imagine there can't be more than 1 or 2 teams out there that have won more games away from home.
Xavier's loss to Cincy drops them to 7-3. One issue is the inconsistency of guard Stanley Burrell. Burrell averaged 14 ppg last year as a sophomore and was considered to be an all-conference type player. But after an awful 0-10 shooting last night.. Burrell is down to just 10 ppg on 38% shooting. In fact, over his last 4 games, Burrell is a dismal 8 for 34 shooting. Those are Jacques Vaughn or Doug Gottlieb type numbers. In Xavier's lone big win over Villanova, Burrell had 26, but with him not scoring, the firepower is lacking to beat other top teams.
Things have turned sour for Wake Forest after a 5-0 start. This was obvious to predict as the Deacons finally started playing legit competitions and have dropped 3 straight. Kyle Visser, who scored 20 points in last night's 15 point loss at DePaul, has been Wake's lone consistent scorer. The problem is that if the senior big man, who is averaging 20 a game, scored 30 a game in ACC play.. it still probably wont be enough.
#7 Wisconsin blew past UWM last night.. and has now won 6 straight heading into Saturday's big game against #2 Pittsburgh. That should be a very interesting game.. but I wont bore you with details here. Instead, you'll need to check out Jeff Borzello's lengthy Game of the Week preview.
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