Friday, November 26, 2010

Irish Survive Historically Putrid Cal

Notre Dame 57, California 44
There must be something with the rims at the Old Spice Classic. We know that the floor's been coming apart, with those silly advertising stickers they tape on the court coming off, but the shooting by all of the teams at this tournament has been horrible. This game was 21-5 at halftime, which is (depending on how you define Division I) the fewest points that two teams have combined for in the first half of a Division I game. Cal somehow shot 2-for-25 from the field in the first half, which is beyond good defense. Most teams can shoot half court shots better than that. Cal woke up in the second half, but it was too late. The Irish suddenly find themselves 6-0 with wins over Georgia and California, and a chance to play Wisconsin on Sunday. They also have games against Gonzaga and Kentucky before beginning Big East play. As for Cal, they'll have to be disappointed about ruining their strong start (wins over Temple and New Mexico) with such a horrible performance. They will have to make sure not to make the same mistake twice, because their next opponent (Boston College) can beat them if they aren't careful. After that they will next be tested on December 4th at Iowa State.

BYU 77, South Florida 75, 2OT
BYU didn't play well in this game, but in some sense that's what makes this a good win. They were playing on a neutral court against a Big East team and nobody other than Jimmer Fredette could hit a shot (all players other than Jimmer combined for 28% shooting from the field), but they managed to tough out the win. They had 18 offensive rebounds and only five turnovers, which is tremendous. The one shocker was 50% shooting at the free throw line, but when you're cold you're cold. They still don't have a big quality win like San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico have, but they're 5-0 and looking like a serious contender in the Mountain West. As for South Florida, they continue to struggle without Dominique Jones. They are losing close games, but they're still 3-3 with their only wins coming against cupcakes. With a pretty tough upcoming schedule (not a single cupcake remaining, beginning with a Wednesday night game against VCU) they could soon fall so far below .500 that they'll be effectively eliminated from postseason play even before the Big East regular season begins.

Mississippi 84, Penn State 71
Ole Miss got a career game out of Trevor Gaskins (24 points with 6-for-11 shooting behind the arc) to lead them to solid victory over Penn State. This was actually a pretty high quality game, with both teams taking care of the defensive boards, only 18 combined turnovers, and a combined 70% assist/FGM ratio. This is a good bounceback win for the Rebels after falling to Dayton, and they'll get a chance to build on this success Tuesday night at the University of Miami. For Penn State this is a disappointing loss because they don't have a lot of margin of error if they're going to make a run at an at-large bid. They're 4-1 overall, but lack any quality wins. Their next chance will be Wednesday against Maryland.

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