Thursday, December 08, 2011

Florida Plays Sloppy But Survives Arizona

#12 Florida 78, Arizona 72, OT
Florida didn't play well in this game at all. The Gators hit two of their first 15 free throw attempts, and finished 15-for-32. But probably the craziest part of this game was when Arizona had the ball, down by three in the final seconds, and Richard Solomon was fouled by Casey Prather while taking a three. Billy Donovan was apoplectic, but it was the correct call. Prather never should have been in a situation to commit a foul like that. The Gators did get a dominant performance from Patric Young (25 points on 12-for-15 shooting, along with 10 rebounds), and got Erik Murphy back in the lineup after missing three games with a knee injury. Murphy only played 15 minutes and didn't have a big impact, but he'll eventually get back into game shape.

For Arizona, the best news (in my opinion) was that Kevin Parrom is starting to look like what he was expected to look like before he was shot. He hadn't played more than 19 minutes or scored more than six points in any game this season, but he scored 13 points (and five rebounds and five assists) in 32 minutes here. Jesse Perry (23 points on 8-for-11 shooting) was the star. The concern for Arizona is at point guard. Josiah Turner was suspended for the game for violating team rules. The team's other point guard, Jordin Mays, barely contributed at all (two points, zero assists, four fouls), meaning that Arizona played most of the game without a true point guard. And it showed - the team finished with 14 assists and 17 turnovers.

Believe it or not, this is actually the first quality victory Florida has had all season. They lost to Ohio State and Syracuse, but they hadn't beaten any team with a shot to finish in the RPI Top 100. They will play Rider next on Friday. They also play will Texas A&M and Florida State before stating SEC play. Arizona falls to 6-3 with the loss here. They have wins over New Mexico State, St. John's and Duquesne, along with potentially dicey losses to Mississippi State and San Diego State. They will play Clemson on Sunday, and then will face Gonzaga the following Sunday.

#20 Memphis 71, Miami (Fl) 54
This game was a lot closer than the final score. The margin between the two teams was only a handful of points for the first 30 minutes of the game. Memphis finished the game on a 29-13 run. Despite the close score, Memphis actually played really well in this game. They only committed seven turnovers, and so despite the 1-for-12 three-point shooting they still finished with 1.04 PPP. Memphis also completely shut down the Miami offense, holding them to a 40.2 eFG% and 0.79 PPP.

Interestingly, Memphis didn't get much from Joe Jackson, who had been playing really well lately. Will Barton took over this game, with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 4 steals. For Miami, Durand Scott was the best player on the floor, but he didn't have a great game himself (10 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists). Kenny Kadji had four blocks and six rebounds, but he and the other Miami bigs struggled with the speed and athleticism of Memphis.

Memphis moves to 5-2 with wins over Belmont, Miami and Tennessee, with no bad losses. They have a couple of tough games upcoming, with Murray State on Sunday, and then a game at Louisville the following Saturday. They also will play Georgetown on December 22nd. Miami falls to 5-3 without any quality wins so far, and a mediocre loss to Ole Miss. They head to West Virginia on Saturday, which will be their final chance for a quality win before beginning ACC play. Remembering that the ACC is down this year, it's going to be very difficult for Miami to claw their way into the NCAA Tournament in ACC play if they can't beat West Virginia this weekend.

Georgia Tech 68, Georgia 56
It's been a frustrating start to the season for Georgia Tech, but they got a nice win here in their rivalry game against Georgia. This was the best that the Yellow Jackets have looked all season. The offense was reasonably efficient (55.2 eFG% and 11 turnovers) and their defense completely shut down the paint. Georgia couldn't penetrate the Georgia Tech defense, and they ended up just settling for a bunch of threes (6-for-23 overall). Georgia doesn't really have any outside shooters, so forcing them to jack up a bunch of threes is definitely the way to beat them.

Georgia Tech also has a win over VCU to go with this win, though with losses to Tulane, LSU and St. Joe's. They have a bunch of cupcakes up next, with a game against Alabama on January 3rd being their only quality opponent left before beginning ACC play. Georgia falls to 4-5 with a win over Notre Dame along with bad losses to Colorado and Georgia Tech. Their schedule will begin to ease up. They'll head to USC on December 17th, but then have just cupcakes before beginning SEC play against Alabama on January 7th.

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