Saturday, December 03, 2011

Tu Holloway Dominates In The Clutch

#11 Xavier 66, Purdue 63
If Tu Holloway is a contender at the end of the season for National Player of the Year, this game will be a big part of his highlight tape. Purdue looked to be in good shape early on, leading by 16 in the first half, and by 19 points with ten minutes to go. But Purdue's offense went ice cold down the stretch (they didn't hit a shot from the field in the final six minutes), and Xavier got back into the game, and that's when Tu Holloway took over. In the final two minutes, Holloway scored all 11 points for Xavier by going three-for-three behind the arc, and hitting a pair of free throws. Just tremendous clutch play.

For Purdue the concern was Robbie Hummel, who led the Boilermakers with 17 points scored but was hobbled late in the game, missing some of the key moments. Purdue is claiming that he was just suffering from cramps, but there have to be worries among Purdue fans after all of the injuries Hummel has had the past few years. Until he comes out at 100% in the next game, they're going to worry if there's something more serious. In addition to that, this game has to feel like a huge missed opportunity for Purdue to launch themselves into the top tier of the Big Ten. This would have been a huge win for them.

Purdue falls to 7-2, though both of their losses have been to teams certain to finish in the RPI Top 50. They have wins over Temple, Iona and Miami (Fl). They have a couple of cupcakes ahead before playing Butler on December 17th. Xavier moves to 6-0 with this win along with wins over Vanderbilt and Georgia. They'll play at Butler on Wednesday, and then against Cincinnati next Saturday.

Tulane 57, Georgia Tech 52
It hasn't been a good few weeks for Georgia Tech. Tulane did shoot 8-for-16 on threes, but even with ordinary shooting this would have been a very close game. Georgia Tech just struggles mightily to score against anybody. They have scored less than one point per possession this season, despite a relatively soft schedule.

This game is interesting from Tulane's perspective because they came in 8-0, though having played eight cupcakes. It's likely that when we wake up tomorrow morning, Tulane will be rated inside the Top 100 in both the Sagarin PREDICTOR and Pomeroy ratings. It's been a shockingly good start for the team that finished in dead last place in Conference USA last season. I want to see them do this against a few more teams before I buy them as a middle-of-the-pack Conference USA team, but just the fact that bloggers like me are paying attention to them is a good sign.

Tulane has a potentially dangerous road game at Wofford on Tuesday (Wofford already beat Bradley this season). Their next quality opponent after that will be December 22nd at Wofford. Georgia Tech, now 4-4, will try to get things back on the right track on the road at Georgia on Wednesday.

Northern Iowa 83, Colorado State 77
This game was a flat out shooting contest. Colorado State had a 60.0 eFG% while Northern Iowa's was 69.0%. The team had been depending on defense this season (this was the first time all season they allowed more than 1 PPP), so it was a nice change of pace for the offense to shoulder some of the load. It's been the freshmen playing well for Northern Iowa. True freshman Seth Tuttle had a career-high 16 points while Deon Mitchell (another true freshman) had 12 points and 5 assists.

Northern Iowa moves to 7-1 with this win, with victories over Providence, Iowa State and Old Dominion to go with this one, and only a loss to St. Mary's. Their next three games will all be at home against potentially dangerous opponents (Iowa, UW-Milwaukee and Ohio). Colorado State falls to 5-3 with wins over Colorado and Montana, and a loss to Southern Miss. They'll play at Duke on Wednesday. After that they play a cream puff before going on the road to Northern Colorado.

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