Saturday, November 13, 2010

Georgetown, Syracuse Open Big

#21 Georgetown 62, Old Dominion 59
It was early last season when Old Dominion knocked off Georgetown on their way to an 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a second round appearance. And Old Dominion opened up nicely here, and actually led almost the entire game before a fierce Chris Wright-led comeback put the Hoyas over the top. Austin Freeman also played very well with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Considering the fact that Old Dominion could be an at-large quality team this year, and that they entered this one with a 23 game home winning streak, Georgetown can indeed count this game as a quality victory all season long. But one worry for them has to be the lack of depth. We know that their starting five is among the strongest in the nation, but they got all of two points from their bench. It's going to be very difficult to navigate the brutal Big East season without more bench support. As for Old Dominion, this will be a big missed chance. Their strength last season was on the interior (they finished first in the entire nation in offensive rebounding percentage) and they're clearly back this season, with 11 offensive rebounds and 10 blocks against Georgetown. They'll get another chance to build their resume soon, when they head off to the Paradise Jam next week, and they are the heavy favorites to win the Colonial Athletic Association anyway, but they will rue their missed chance here.

#13 Syracuse 68, Northern Iowa 44
To be clear, these are not the 2009-10 Northern Iowa Panthers. Jordan Egleseder, Adam Koch and Ali Farokhmanesh are all gone from the starting lineup. But they are still a quality team that believes itself worthy of making a run at another Tournament appearance, and they were wiped off the floor by a very impressive Syracuse squad. Northern Iowa kept it close until late in the first half, but a 19-5 run keyed more by aggressive defense than strong offense put this game out of reach. And interestingly enough Syracuse did it without much from stud super-frosh Fab Melo, who fouled out with only four points and three rebounds in 18 minutes. Dion Waiters (10 points with 2-for-4 shooting behind the arc) was actually the more impressive freshman on the day. Kris Joseph was the best player on the floor for Syracuse, and Northern Iowa also really struggled with the big bodied Rick Jackson. The Orange certainly look like the type of team that will seriously contend for the Big East title.

Princeton 78, Rutgers 73, OT
It wasn't all good news for the Big East last night with this poor result for Mike Rice, coaching his first game at Rutgers. Princeton coach Sydney Johnson stuck with his best players, giving 196 of a possible 225 minutes to his starting five, and it paid off with a very sharp performance: 17 assists on only 26 made baskets, and only two turnovers that weren't steals. We knew that Rutgers was going to really struggle until Rice is able to put together a quality recruiting class or two. He's got a very impressive 2011 class, but they won't help this year's team, which is destined to battle it out for last place in the Big East. As for Princeton, I projected them preseason to be the only team that could seriously challenge Harvard in the Ivy League, and they showed some of that potential here. Even if Rutgers finishes in last place in the Big East, it's still an Ivy League win over a Big East squad, which is always big. That said, they're going to have to develop that bench, because the Ivy League often plays their conference games on consecutive nights to avoid having the kids missing too much class, and the starters are going to wear out playing 35+ minutes on consecutive nights.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff ¿ it could be possible, that a team who is bad in his conference like rutgers, be better, than other team who is the best in his conference like Murray State?. And a have another question ¿ The teams in the 1 seed are better than the teams of the 2 seed in the tournament?

Jeff said...

Rutgers could in theory be better than Murray State, but they're not. And the four 1 seeds in the Tournament are rated by the Selection Committee as better than the four 2 seeds.

Mark L. said...


Good points on ODU. Last year, they could hang their hat on a quality win over Georgetown. This year, they won't have that luxury which will make the rest of their out of conference games that much more vital. This game really points out that a quality "at-large" caliber team MUST win these types of games to build its resume if they get bounced in their conference tourney. Do you agree? Also, where can ODU build on this out of conference? I haven;t looked at their schedule.

Jeff said...

Yes, the margin of error is definitely much smaller for a team like ODU. They can't just brush this away as a quality loss because they won't get many more chances for big wins. There won't be any big wins in conference.

That said, ODU does have a few more chances. They have remaining games against Dayton and Richmond at home, and on the road at Missouri. And they will also be at the Paradise Jam where their schedule could potentially include Clemson in the semifinals and then a team like Xavier or Seton Hall in the finals, should they get that far