Friday, November 19, 2010

Talib Zanna Leads Pitt Over Maryland

#4 Pittsburgh 79, Maryland 70
Talib Zanna missed his true freshman season with an injury, but now as a redshirt freshman he has blown up. After averaging eight points and rebounds coming into this game, he led Pitt in both points (14) and rebounds (12) here. He also helped neutralize Maryland star Jordan Williams. That said, Maryland still could have won this game. They shot only 2-for-14 behind the arc, and a horrible 14-for-30 at the line, and still only lost by nine. This early in the year it tends to be hard to tell if Pitt is overrated or Maryland is underrated (right now I'm leaning towards the former, but I'm not too confident either way). Maryland does have to figure out how to fix their free throw shooting woes, though. They've been embarrassingly bad at the line in both close games they've played in (they were 5-for-18 from the line against College of Charleston). The Terps will be set to play another quality team in the Coaches vs Cancer third placed game (Texas or Illinois), so we'll see if they fix those free throw shooting problems.

West Virginia 84, Davidson 70
Despite the final score, Davidson played really well in this game. They fought West Virginia to a complete draw in both turnovers and rebounding, and only lost the game because of atrocious outside shooting. They missed their first 19 three-point attempts, hitting their first with under 3:30 to go in the game, already down by 13 points. They are definitely a talented team, and they actually are in general a pretty good shooting team. They will be a dangerous opponent in their next Puerto Rico game again Nebraska. The Southern Conference is very strong this season, and I expect Davidson to battle with College of Charleston, along with Wofford and possibly Appalachian State. As for West Virginia, they're not as talented as they were last season, but they return a lot of experienced players that know how to win close games. They've opened with wins over two decent opponents (Oakland and Davidson), and will now play Vanderbilt. West Virginia will get plenty of chances for quality wins in the Big East, but they could use some resume building out-of-conference wins to build their resume.

Central Florida 65, South Florida 59
The battle of directional Floridas here went to Central. They neutralized South Florida's athletic frontcourt, and they won the backcourt battle (including a solid game out of Michael Jordan's son Marcus). UCF is now 3-0, but this is their first challenging opponent. They have the Florida Gators coming up on December 1st, and also have games against the University of Miami and UMass before Conference USA play begins. South Florida obviously lacks a go-to scorer without Dominique Jones, but they're still really under-performing based on the talent they have. After losses to mid-majors Southern Miss and Central Florida they have a bunch more tough mid-majors coming up (BYU, VCU, FAU, Kent State, James Madison, Cleveland State). If they don't get their act together soon their season could completely fall apart even before they play their first Big East game.

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