Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Illinois Takes Care Of Business Against UNC

#21 Illinois 79, North Carolina 67
Illinois is a team that's always tough to beat in their place, and they've got a very good team this season, so I expected them to take care of business here against North Carolina. But it was still a little bit jarring to see this Tar Heels team, with so much NBA talent, never even make a serious run at this game. I never felt for one moment like UNC had a chance. In fact, this was a pretty good game from the Heels. Larry Drew had his best game of the season (7 assists vs only 3 turnovers) and John Henson looked good with 16 points. Nobody had a bad game, other than maybe Kendall Marshall. They just aren't good enough to beat a team like Illinois playing well on their home floor. North Carolina doesn't have a bad loss yet this season, but they're only 4-3 with a game against Kentucky coming up on Saturday. They still have to play Texas, Rutgers and Evansville before beginning ACC play. Illinois has this win to go with a win over Maryland, and only a six point loss against Texas. They still have road games at Gonzaga and Missouri before beginning Big Ten play.

South Florida 60, VCU 59, OT
This game was a struggle the whole way for VCU. They fell behind by 18 points early, and couldn't hit a shot the whole day, but they fought their way into overtime before falling just short in the end. The star for USF was Ron Anderson, Jr., the junior transfer from Kansas State, who dominated the boards with 9 offensive rebounds. As a team, USF also did a good job of keeping the ball out of the hands of VCU star Jamie Skeen, who managed to attempt only seven shots in 37 minutes . This game actually meant a lot more for VCU than USF. South Florida shouldn't end up too close to the bubble. This is their best win, and they have losses to Southern Miss, Central Florida and BYU. Their next game is a potentially dangerous game at Florida Atlantic, a sleeper team from the Sun Belt. VCU, unlike USF, is a potential at-large team. This will not be a quality loss for them, unlike the loss to Tennessee. They do have wins already over UCLA and Wake Forest. They can continue to improve their resume the next couple of weeks with games against Richmond, UAB and Wofford.

Old Dominion 77, Richmond 70
Old Dominion continues to build their at-large resume. They dominated the boards, the way they've dominated the boards every other game this season, and they now are 5-1 with wins over Xavier, Clemson and Richmond, and only that three point loss against Georgetown. They will play Dayton on December 11th, but the really interesting game will be December 30th at Missouri, which will provide Old Dominion a chance to really strengthen their position should they fall in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. Richmond will have to feel like they actually played pretty well here. They took care of the ball and they shot pretty well, but Old Dominion is just a better team. Richmond was coming off the upset win over Purdue, and this loss is respectable, so it won't do too much damage to their resume. They next head to Arizona State, and follow that up with a home game against another potential bubble team: VCU.

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