Monday, November 22, 2010

Miami Stumbles Against Rutgers

Rutgers 61, Miami (Fl) 45
The Miami Hurricanes must have been out partying last night, or were drugged during the pre-game meal, because they couldn't have possibly played worse than they did here. To pick on one random player: Malcolm Grant managed to shoot 1-for-8, collecting 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 7 turnovers. As a team they had 5 assists and 17 turnovers, and shot 29.2% from the field. The only Miami player who had a decent game was Reggie Johnson, who collected seven offensive rebounds against an undersized Rutgers team, but he isn't athletic enough to be a scoring force, and Miami's guards tend not to involve him much in the offense. Rutgers actually didn't play that well despite this big winning margin: 43% shooting (31% behind the arc), 12 turnovers and a loss on the boards. But they played well enough to win with Miami chucking up bricks all game. Miami didn't look impressive when I watched them play Memphis, and they were further exposed here. Maybe they got just a little bit too much hype preseason and they need this reality check to show more maturity on the floor. Their next test will be November 30th against Ole Miss. As for Rutgers, this win proves that they won't be quite as putrid as some had feared, but they're still another recruiting class or two from being able to get out of the bottom tier of the Big East.

#19 Memphis 70, LSU 61
The Rutgers upset over the University of Miami means that Memphis's win over the Hurricanes isn't as impressive as was originally thought. And considering how tight that game was, Memphis needs a big win to re-establish themselves as the dominant force in Conference USA. This wasn't such a performance. They won the game, but against an LSU team devoid of blue chip talent. And this was another ugly game for Memphis: 16 turnovers vs 9 assists, and 27 personal fouls. They are very talented, but they're going to have to work on their offensive teamwork. But Memphis is now 4-0 and should not be too seriously tested until a December 7th game at Kansas. The only game that sticks out as a potential stumbling block is Western Kentucky on December 4th. LSU's upcoming opponents are Centenary, South Alabama and Houston.

Iowa State 91, Creighton 88
Greg McDermott's first game back at Iowa State after bolting for Creighton this past offseason ended up with a very controversial ending. Iowa State's Jamie Vanderbeken hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win, but many people believe it came after the buzzer. Supposedly there was a picture taken that shows the buzzer already on with the ball still in his hand, but the game wasn't televised so an official replay was not possible. But it was fitting that this game came down to a three-pointer, because it was basically a three-point contest the whole way. Iowa State hit 13-for-26 behind the arc, Creighton hit 14-for-27. Creighton actually shot better behind the arc than inside it. This game probably meant more for Creighton, a team that is likely going to be in a fight for the Missouri Valley crown as well as for an at-large bid. They don't have any nice wins yet to balance this loss, but they'll get some chances soon. They head to Northwestern on Sunday night, and they'll also play BYU and Nebraska during the first week of December. Iowa State wasn't expected to do much of anything this season, but you can't discount their relatively strong start (4-0 with this win plus three blowouts against weak teams). We'll learn more about them on December 1st when they head to Northern Iowa, and three days later when they play California.

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