Saturday, December 01, 2012

Georgetown Wins Very Ugly Over Tennessee

#20 Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36
This game was even uglier than you might think from the final score. For example, I've seen this game compared to the 36-33 debacle between Penn State and Wisconsin two seasons ago. But that latter game was more about a historically slow pace (44 possessions), while this Georgetown/Tennessee game was more about incompetent offense. With 54 possessions, this Georgetown/Tennessee game had ten more possessions and only four more total points scored.

To put the offensive futility from this game into perspective, note that both of these teams scored fewer than 0.7 PPP. The last time two RPI Top 100 teams played a game where both failed to score 0.7 PPP? A 38-33 slugfest in 56 possessions between Illinois and Penn State back on February 18, 2009. There weren't even a ton of turnovers in this game (21 total) - this game was just about two teams that couldn't find an open shot and that couldn't make an open shot.

The good news for Georgetown is that on Selection Sunday nobody will care what the scores of any of these games are. This might as well be an 80-60 victory to the Selection Committee. And Tennessee (despite this performance) is a pretty good team - this will likely be an RPI Top 50 victory for Georgetown. The Hoyas will play Texas on Tuesday, and if they can win that game then it's just Cupcake City until Big East play, and a 9-9 record or better in conference play will be enough to at least put them on the bubble.

Tennessee will have a quick chance to bounce back from this debacle. They'll play at Virginia on Wednesday, and then will take on Wichita State on December 13th. They also will play Memphis and Xavier before starting SEC play.

LSU 72, Seton Hall 67
This was not a good performance by Seton Hall. They wasted 10-for-21 outside shooting (compared to 4-for-20 for LSU) because of incomprehensibly bad ball handling. They finished with 26 turnovers, tying Texas (from their win over Coppin State a few weeks ago) for the most turnovers in a game by a BCS conference team this season. Seton Hall's offensive strategy all season has been to let Fuquan Edwin play hero-ball all game. And Edwin is a very good player, but overall it's just not working. They have played two RPI Top 100 teams so far this year, and been held under 1 PPP both times.

Johnny Jones has had a solid start to his first season with LSU. This was their first game all season against a quasi-quality opponent, but they've been blowing away their cupcake opponents, which is usually a good predictive sign of future success. They have significant challenges (55.8% shooting at the free throw line being one of them), but they look like they'll at least be feisty at home this season. The Tigers shouldn't have any trouble with Chattanooga on Tuesday, followed by a tough road game at Boise State on Friday.

Any bad loss between now and the start of Big East play will be a bad loss for Seton Hall. And the way they're playing, it's likely that they'll pick up at least one more. A week from today they'll play on the road at Wake Forest in a game that they could definitely lose.

#10 Kansas 84, Oregon State 78
This game was surprisingly close. Kansas almost blew this lead in the final minute after a mini-free throw meltdown caused their lead to drop from seven to three in the final minute. And besides Travis Releford (20 points on 8-for-10 shooting along with 7 rebounds and 5 assists), it was a pretty mediocre game all around for the Jayhawks. In their defense, I do think they're still trying to figure out just how large of a role Ben McLemore is going to play in their offense. And besides, no team plays at their best every day. It's a win, and Kansas can move on.

With a three point loss to Alabama to go with this one, Oregon State will feel like they've blown a couple of good opportunities, although that win over Purdue might end up being an RPI Top 50 win when all is said and done. The Beavers now head into the land of the cream puffs for the next few weeks, and likely won't be tested again until they open up Pac-12 play against Oregon on January 6th. Considering their lack of big wins and the fact that the Pac-12 is at best the sixth best conference in the nation, I think Oregon State needs to get to at least 11-7 in conference play or they're going to enter the Pac-12 tournament with a ton of work to do to earn a Tournament bid.

The Jayhawks don't have any big time wins (their best win came over St. Louis), but they have five quality opponents left before starting Big 12 play - Ohio State, Temple, Colorado, Belmont and Richmond. The Colorado game is up next, a week from today.

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