Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ohio Rolls Richmond; Two Bid MAC?

Ohio 73, Richmond 48
This was actually a competitive game into the early second half. But Ohio ended on a dominating 28-7 run. Ohio's defense just sunk their teeth in Richmond and never let go. During those final 12 minutes, Richmond was 1-for-11 from the field with 6 turnovers. By my calculation, Richmond has a 0.36 PPP performance over that stretch. In their defense, Ohio has not allowed more than 0.86 PPP in a game this season, and are currently 7th in the nation with 0.78 PPP allowed on the season.

Jim Christian, the new Ohio coach, was not an assistant under Jim Groce, and the biggest concern I had during the preseason was whether Ohio could match their lofty expectations under a different coach. We've seen this same situation fall apart at other schools, such as St. Louis this year or George Mason last season. But Ohio, in a small sample size, looks really good to start this season. And with Akron rolling as well, the MAC is looking more like an at-large league than in several years. Remember, the MAC used to be a regular multi-bid league in the late 1990s. They're not back to those glory days, but they're definitely in the at-large mix at this point. Ohio will try to keep their perfect start going on Wednesday against St. Bonaventure.

While I agree with the computers more often than not (and often get accused of just rating teams by their Pomeroy rating), one team that I very much disagreed with the computers on preseason was Richmond. I didn't get the hype, and didn't even have them particularly close to being on the bubble. And again, it's a small sample size, but Richmond has struggled against both the quality opponents they have played so far - falling by double digits to both Minnesota and Ohio. They will go lick their wounds against William & Mary on Wednesday. Their next potentially competitive game will be on Saturday against Wake Forest.

Minnesota 66, Stanford 63
The ending of this game was... controversial.  With a tied game, Andre Hollins was fouled launching a desperation 60 footer with 0.4 seconds left in the game. He hit all three free throws to end the game. On one hand, it was a call that Stanford was furious about - it's just a call that you never see and it was a relatively soft foul. On the other hand, if you're Chasson Randle you just cannot put yourself in a situation where the refs can even make that call. Nothing good can come out of trying to wrest the ball away at that point.

Trevor Mbakwe was the best player on the floor for either team, scoring 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting and adding 12 rebounds. The question with him is staying healthy and staying out of trouble, but for now he's looking like he did before his ACL injury.

The Gophers have to feel good about their performance in the Bahamas. They fell to Duke, but beat Memphis and Stanford, and now have three wins this season over likely RPI Top 100 teams. They will head on the road to play Florida State on Tuesday as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. A win there would definitely push them into the Top 25, although they probably should be there already. Sustained success has always been a problem for Minnesota in the Tubby Smith era, with so many injuries and off-the-court problems, but for now they're playing really well.

Stanford has had a mentally tough start to the season. They have played four games against quality opponents, three of which were close, and they lost all three of them. None of the losses are bad losses, but it means that they have only one quality win (Northern Iowa), with only NC State and Northwestern left before Pac-12 play. And with both of those games coming on the road, Stanford will probably be the underdog in both.

Colorado State 73, Washington 55
The way Pierce Hornung gets after the boards has always been awesome - he was one of my favorite players last season. The addition of Colton Iverson gives the Rams yet another weapon on the boards, and they just annihilated Washington here. Iverson had 6 offensive boards (with Hornung adding 8 more) as Colorado State had a 59.3 OR%, compared to a 22.2 OR% for the Huskies. Right now, Colorado State is third in the nation with a 47.8 OR% for the season, and second in the nation with an 83.7 DR%. Their overall 70.9% rebounding percentage clearly leads the nation (Stephen F Austin is the only other team above 67.3%). It's impressive to watch.

CJ Wilcox tried to take Washington on his back, and he finished with 28 points on 11-for-25 shooting. The concern is that he only had 1 assist, and his entire team combined for 7 assists. There just are not a lot of weapons on this team as long as Scott Suggs is hurt, and Wilcox just tried to do everything himself. Unlike a lot of Washington fans, I do think that Abdul Gaddy still has a pretty high ceiling, even though he's never going to live up to the hype he had as a recruit. I think he should get a chance to have more of the ball to help spark the Huskies offense.

Washington is now 2-3 to start the season. They have one decent win (Seton Hall), but it's more than wiped out by a bad loss (Albany). They will get a chance to bounce back on Wednesday against St. Louis, and also have a game against UConn before opening Pac-12 play. Colorado State, now 4-0, will take on Northern Colorado on Monday. A very important test will be their rivalry game at Colorado on December 5th.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to tell you that i ALWAYS follow you from Italy and you have been my only landmark for the last 3 years :) Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

One more thing, it would be great if you could analyze games before their start and not only express thoughts (which is great and very useful) on them once they are finished. Do you think you'll ever get there? :)

Jeff said...

Thanks. I'm not sure. I do it with the conference tournaments and NCAA tournament, and occasionally I'll talk on twitter about upcoming games.

Maybe at some point I'll do a post on Friday nights previewing Saturday's slate, or something like that.