Monday, November 29, 2010

St. John's Rights The Ship

St. John's 67, Arizona State 58
St. John's had been struggling to get much offense going this season, but they began really attacking the rim and blew up for 47 second half points in this game. And after a tough loss on their opening night at Saint Mary's, the Johnnies are back to 4-1 without any team too worrying on the schedule until they play Davidson on December 20th in their final non-conference game. But with the weak schedule (and assuming that St. John's doesn't knock off Duke on January 30th), they're going to need at least a 10-8 Big East record to make the Tournament. The biggest difference in this game was depth. St. John's has a lot of it, and Arizona State's depth is awful. They have some strong starters back from last season, but the bench has produced basically nothing. And it's part of the reason why they're off to a very unimpressive 3-2 start with zero good wins. They next head to Baylor, where they'll probably get slaughtered, before facing a strong Richmond team at home.

Texas A&M 54, #20 Temple 51
Temple's lack of offensive weapons burned them again here for their second loss at the Old Spice Classic. After falling behind by five points at the half they ended up only scoring five points in the first seven minutes of the second half, putting them just a bit too far behind. Temple just doesn't have the ability to score a lot of points in a short period of time, so when they fall behind by too much they really get themselves buried. These two losses are a bit surprising for Temple, but they have plenty of time to regroup. They're only 3-2, but both losses have been quality losses, and they do have wins over Seton Hall and Georgia. They have a road game at Maryland and a home game versus Georgetown coming up - both games are winnable for them. As for Texas A&M, this win helps salvage the Old Spice Classic for them after the loss to Boston College and victory over Manhattan. They have two deceptively tough games coming up against Stephen F Austin and Pacific, and then they also will play Washington and Arkansas before Big 12 play begins. I expect them to lose to Washington, but they'll be favored in every other game. They just have to be careful to take care of business against inferior-but-decent opponents.

Boston College 68, California 46
Once again the shooting stunk in this game. I've never seen an early season tournament ever that has had shooting as bad as this Old Spice Classic. If they don't figure out what's wrong with that gym the elite teams are going to stop coming. Boston College did hit a few straight three-pointers at one point to open up a lead, and Cal's sloppiness (11 steals allowed) finished them off. For Boston College this will be a successful Old Spice Classic. They went 2-1 with two quality wins (Texas A&M and California) and a quality loss (Wisconsin). More importantly they seem to have really bought into Steve Donahue's system, and have got their rotation figured out. They're not particularly talented, and they're very thin, but they're going to be pesky and are a legitimate bubble team. As for Cal, they've fallen back to earth after opening the season with very impressive wins over New Mexico and Temple. They are a young team, though, so we have to expect some fits and starts with them, and they should improve as the season goes along. Their next tough test will be December 4th at Iowa State, and then they will play San Diego State on December 8th.

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