Wednesday, December 01, 2010

UCF Knocks Off Florida

Central Florida 57, #16 Florida 54
I don't think there's much question that Marcus Jordan made the right decision leaving the shadow of his father and heading to South Central Florida. He was able to develop through his freshman year, and now as a sophomore he's already one of the best players in Conference USA. He led his team with 18 points, and the squad as a whole was very efficient with the ball, committing only seven turnovers. Florida, on the other hand, was sloppy, and they couldn't hit an outside shot (2-for-13 behind the arc). It was pretty obvious that the Gators started getting frustrated, and this was one a classic letdown game off a big win. They had just knocked off Florida State, and now have a Kansas State game coming up in two weeks. They still look like a Tournament team, but this loss suggests that they remain overrated at 16th in the nation. UCF is 6-0 with this win to go with a solid win over South Florida. They get Miami on December 18th, but won't get a chance for a complete state sweep because they didn't schedule FSU. Both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate UCF as the second best team in Conference USA (behind Memphis), and narrowly inside the Top 50 in the nation. They are definitely a bubble team right now.

Wisconsin 87, NC State 48
On the plus side, NC State won't have to worry about what might have been if star Tracy Smith was able to get back for this game - no one player causes a team to lose this badly. To be fair, Wisconsin won't normally shoot this well (11-for-20 behind the arc), so there's no reason to overreact to this good performance for the same reason there was no reason to overreact to their atrocious shooting at the Old Spice Classic. They'll end up spending most of the season shooting between those two extremes. But the biggest concern for NC State was mental sloppiness. They were defensively awful, and star freshman CJ Leslie was actually benched for about half of the game because of his mindless play. This is a very young NC State team, but there's no excuse for any team to play this haphazardly. The only remaining tough out-of-conference game for Wisconsin is a road game at Marquette on December 11th. NC State doesn't have any bad losses yet, but their best win is only over George Mason. They certainly don't look like the Tournament team that most projected them to be preseason. Unless they can shock Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Saturday evening they'll have to beat Arizona on December 17th to salvage anything at all from their out-of-conference schedule.

Boston College 88, Indiana 76
The only team to be undefeated in the history of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge? That's right, Boston College. Obviously it would be more impressive if they were playing Michigan State and Purdue every season instead of teams like Indiana, but a win is a win, and their 5-0 record in this competition is still pretty impressive. This game underscores what I've been saying all season, which is that Boston College is a bubble quality team. Reggie Jackson is a tremendous player, and the rest of the team just plays solid basketball. They take care of the ball, they rebound, they hit free throws, and they play tough defensively. This win goes with wins over California and Texas A&M, along with that bad loss to Yale. They next head to UMass before playing Providence and then heading to College Park, Maryland. As for Indiana, this was a wake up call that as much as they've improved the past couple of years they've still got room to grow before they're ready to go Dancing. One worry for me is how little production they've gotten out of the freshmen so far. Tom Crean needs a lot out of his freshman classes to raise the talent level of the Hoosiers. They are 6-1, but without a win to really write home about. Unless they knock off Kentucky at Rupp Arena on December 11th, their only chance for a quality win before Big Ten play begins will be December 22nd at Northern Iowa.


DMoore said...

OK, you were right about Boston College. Who would have thought that the two ACC teams (aside from Duke) that look solid at this point in the season would be Boston College and Maryland?

Jeff said...

That's true. The thing is that at some point Roy Williams has to stop getting a pass. If his team doesn't finish ahead of a team like Boston College, considering that the talent differential is roughly equal to the talent differential between Michigan State and Iowa, he should be required to give one of his National Title rings back.

Anonymous said...

This is nitpicky, but UCF, being north of Orlando - is it really in south Florida?

Jeff said...

You're right, that was a typo. I've fixed it now. It's okay to be nitpicky.