Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kentucky Beats UConn

#4 Kentucky 64, #12 Connecticut 61
John Wall continues to become a household name. I'm sure you've noticed people who don't talk about college basketball very often talking about how they sas this John Wall kid play for Kentucky. The Wildcats continue to be a bit streaky, which explains why they've struggled to beat some bad teams at the same time that they've handled elite teams, but that will improve as they mature. As for UConn, they once again needed a three-point shooter late in the game and had nobody to turn to. I can't remember ever seeing a team that had zero players who can confidently hit a three. They have a great set of athletes, and no team in the nation has a more menacing set of paint defenders, but it's hard to see UConn ever overcoming a late deficit without anybody who can step out and shoot a three.

#6 Syracuse 85, #11 Florida 73
Wesley Johnson is starting to get his name bounced around as an All-America candidate, and it's hard to disagree. Syracuse is off to a great start, and it's entirely because of Johnson's outstanding all around play. He was one of three Syracuse players to go for a double-double against a somewhat outmanned Florida team. Florida's big men couldn't score, rebound or defend against the Syracuse big men, and it was only because Florida guards won the perimeter battle that this game was even remotely close. I still think Florida is the third best team in the SEC, but that ranking of 11th was a bit much. They're not quite that good. Syracuse is now 9-0 with three cupcakes before Big East play begins. They have to be considered a contender at the top with Villanova, West Virginia and Georgetown.

Mississippi State 76, DePaul 45
This was a little bit of a reality check for an overachieving DePaul team. As long as Mac Koshwal is out with a foot injury, it's hard to see DePaul beating anybody good. They appear to be a little bit better than last season, but will still struggle to finish better than 14th or so in the Big East. Mississippi State continues to wait on the Renardo Sidney situation, but they've righted the ship a bit after really stumbling out of the gate this season. They're now 6-2 with no good wins (this DePaul win is the best they've had), and two not-so-great losses (Richmond and Rider). It's not a good out-of-conference resume so far, but they've got plenty of opportunities left. They benefit from 10 of their 16 SEC games being against the awful SEC West, and I think they'll have a great shot to run off a good enough conference record to make the NCAA Tournament. It will take at least a 10-6 record.

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