Saturday, December 08, 2012

Purdue Falls To Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan 47, Purdue 44
This was a terrible performance by Purdue, particularly on the offensive end. They continually forced dumb shots all day long. Eastern Michigan didn't even have to play particularly good defense to keep Purdue's offensive inefficient. In all, Purdue had 9 assists to 18 turnovers, and a 34.0 eFG%. In all, Purdue finished with 0.72 PPP, their worst offensive performance since a 69-42 loss to Minnesota on March 13, 2010.

DJ Byrd (0-for-5 from the field) continues to be ineffective shooting because nobody can get him the basketball in a good spot to shoot. Ronnie Johnson will eventually figure out how to play point guard, but right now he's a mess. In 35 minutes here he had 0 assists and 4 turnovers while shooting 4-for-13 from the field. Terone Johnson hasn't played the point efficiently either.

Nothing typified the anonymity of the Eastern Michigan performance like this stat: 10 Eastern Michigan players scored, but none scored more than 8 points. So this is a great win for them, but it doesn't mean that they're suddenly a good team. Purdue lost this game much more than Eastern Michigan won it. The Eagles now have a week before playing on the road at Illinois-Chicago.

Purdue is now 4-5 after this loss. The computers still like them, but I don't really believe it. Purdue has been so inconsistent this year, and anytime they play like this they're going to lose in the Big Ten. But at the same time, even "good" Purdue isn't really that good. I don't see how they can really compete with the best teams in the conference. They're at best a marginal bubble team, and by early March I don't even think they're going to be on the bubble anymore. They now have a week to get ready for a big game against Notre Dame.

#2 Duke 90, Temple 67
Duke was extremely sharp here. Seth Curry hit 5-for-9 behind the arc and Quinn Cook was 3-for-4 (as a team they hit 60%). They also had 19 assists to only 6 turnovers (it's worth noting here the play of freshman Rasheed Sulaimon, who had 7 assists and 0 turnovers). In all, they scored 1.31 PPP - against a Temple team that actually has a pretty good offense. But Duke has so many offensive weapons, and when they all play well at the same time then there's just no way to stop them.

Lost in this offensive explosion was the fact that the Duke defense was actually pretty good, too. Temple only had a 45.2 eFG%, and were only able to earn four free throws all game. And remember that this Duke roster isn't even full yet - Marshall Plumlee is on the way whenever he can get healthy (it should be before ACC play begins).

Duke now has a couple of weeks off before playing Cornell on December 19th. A game against Davidson on January 2nd is there only real test before beginning ACC play - and even Davidson shouldn't really be a test if Duke keeps playing like this. Temple will lick their wounds in Cupcake City for a couple of weeks before taking on Syracuse in Madison Square Garden on December 22nd.

Illinois-Chicago 64, Colorado State 55
This game was Colorado State's first chance to bounce back from that emotional loss to Colorado. This was also UIC's first Division I game since their big win over Northwestern. Throw in the fact that UIC can't rebound well and everything seemed to point to a Colorado State win here. But UIC just played really well and found a way to come away with a huge victory.

Colorado State did dominate the boards, of course. They had a 58.8 OR%, compared to a 27.6 OR% for UIC. But UIC did a really good job keeping the ball out of the paint, forcing Colorado State into clanging a whole lot of two-point jumpers (in all, the Rams hit only 31.9% of two-point attempts). Colton Iverson was held relatively quiet, with only 8 points and 8 rebounds.

With Butler gone, the Horizon League is really wide open this season. You can make an argument for Valparaiso or Cleveland State, and even for Youngstown State. But UIC's play the past couple of weeks means that they have to be in that argument as well. As it turns out, their first three Horizon League games will be against those three teams, so we'll get an early sense of just how well their non-conference play translates to the Horizon. Their next game will be a week from today against Eastern Michigan.

Without any big wins so far, this loss is really damaging to Colorado State's at-large hopes. Their only chance now will be to collect several big scalps in Mountain West play while going at least 10-6. Their next game will be December 17th, against North Florida.

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