Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ashton Gibbs Shoots Pitt Past Texas

#4 Pittsburgh 68, #22 Texas 66
Pitt has earned their early season ranking with this very impressive win over a Texas team that I expect to finish the season in the Top Ten. The star for Pitt was Ashton Gibbs, who hit several big shots in succession before Rick Barnes realized that he should have his best defender (Dogus Balbay) go and deny the opponents' best player the ball the way Balbay shut down Demetri McCamey of Illinois. This game could potentially have implications for the 1 seeds in Selection Sunday, although obviously it will be the in-conference performances by each of these teams that will matter a lot more in the long run. Despite this result, I agree with Seth Davis that Texas has much more room to grow with how much raw, young talent they've got. Tristan Thompson in particularly has a ton of room to grow, and could eventually be a defensive force in the paint with his length. I'm going to suggest that you start clearing out your schedule already for February 12th and March 5th when Texas plays Baylor - those games will be really fun to watch. Texas now has a few easy games before heading to North Carolina and Michigan State just before Christmas. Pitt actually has a really easy schedule for quite some time, and don't be surprised to see them among the final undefeated teams this season.

Seton Hall 83, Alabama 78
A pyrrhic victory for Seton Hall. The win over Alabama is nice, but nothing to write home about considering that they might not even be an RPI Top 100 team by the end of the season. And the victory came at a huge cost - star Jeremy Hazell will be out for 4-to-6 weeks with a broken bone in his left wrist. He will likely be gone for the rest of their out-of-conference games, where there are quite a few potential remaining land mines (vs Xavier, at Arkansas, vs Dayton, vs Richmond). And this injury might bleed into the start of the Big East season. If Seton Hall makes the Tournament they're going to have to earn it in Big East play. As for Alabama, they have to immediately turn around and be ready for a game against a poor Iowa team that tips off in about seven hours. The SEC West is so putrid that nobody is out of the race (except perhaps Auburn, a team that is so bad it's embarrassing), but if Alabama wants to be taken seriously they've got to take care of Iowa. Don't sleep on a potential game two days from now against Long Beach State, a team that could be one of the 100 best in the country.

Western Kentucky 62, Hofstra 60
I just want to take a brief moment to complain about announcers. I know that this game didn't get anywhere near the best announcers that ESPN has, but I had flipped on this game for the finish, and Western Kentucky hit a three while down by four points with 35 seconds left. WKU then pressed, stole the ball and scored a basket to go up by one - the winning basket as it turned out. But during that entire play the announcer was explaining some long story about what he thought should happen, talking over all of the action. If there's one message I have for announcers, it's to talk less. Listen to the great announcers like Vin Scully and the way they let the game breathe - it's okay if all we hear for a split second is the crowd and the noise of the game. Nothing you are going to say is worth talking over important plays. That said, it was a good night for Western Kentucky with a nice win followed up by the Minnesota loss looking much better after the Gophers beat UNC. Western Kentucky now heads off to a very intriguing mid-major match-up against Davidson tomorrow afternoon. As for Hofstra, they're off to a disappointing start with this loss coming one day after a 44 point pummeling at the hands of North Carolina. As strong as Old Dominion, VCU and George Mason have looked, Hofstra doesn't look at all like a competitor in the Colonial.

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