Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sacre Bleu!

Greetings and salutations from the great state of Utah. I have just returned from a thrilling Utah State basketball game. Before I get to that, a couple of quick thoughts:

1. Holy crap does Big Ten football suck. I was stuck at a relative's house this afternoon, and spent my time flipping between Purdue/Penn St and Iowa/Northwestern. I realize these teams aren't the cream of the Big Ten crop, but I could barely pay attention to the games. Way too boring. The only team I saw attempt anything further than 10 yards down the field was Iowa. It was nothing but run, run, run, drop off pass all day long. I even had money on the games (1-1) and I still had to struggle to keep watching.

2. If you haven't heard, Michigan State was beaten by Grand Valley State in an exhibition game in Lansing. Grand Valley State is a pretty talented D-II team, but the Spartans aren't the Gophers, and this shouldn't have happened. The loss itself wouldn't worry me too much, as MSU has three freshmen who played over 20 minutes each, and these things can sometimes happen. What would concern me is that the game went into double overtime. Meaning the Spartans had a scare at the end of regulation and then two opportunities to assert their greater ability - at home - and failed both times. I wouldn't scratch them off your contender list just yet, but they bear a closer watch.

3. On to the game. First things first, Utah State girls are very, very hot. From the dance team, to the cheerleaders, to the girls in the student section - very much top shelf.

The arena where the Aggies play, the name of which I didn't catch, is a very cool place to watch a game. It's basically a bowl, and literally half the arena is reserved for the student section. Students also get in free, as does a visitor from Minnesota if they guy he's with has a spare ID, so the student section is very full, very loud, and very rowdy. And this for a crappy exhibition, I can only imagine what it must be like against Nevada or New Mexico State.

They game was against a bunch of French commies from a school called Laval University, located in Quebec. It's so frenchified, that the school's website is in French, and their players all have first names like Marc-Andre and Jean-Phillippe and last names like Turcotte-Routhier and Beaulieu. Also, they're very crappy at basketball and should probably stick to hockey, as USU won 100-46.

Jaycee Carroll was every bit as good as advertised, scoring 32 points with a handful of assists, rebounds, and steals. He is a very smart player, doesn't force much, and always seems to be around the ball, on both offense and defense. He's the kind of shooter where if you give him an inch, he's open, and if he's open, he's knocking down the shot. Reminds me a lot of a JJ Redick (minus the whiny, bitchiness), Drew Neitzel (minus the hyperactivity and not as good a ball handler), or Deron Williams (with less court vision and a better shot). The one thing that seemed to be missing was the ability to get to the rim off the dribble in the halfcourt - he was great in transition, but I never once saw him try to beat his man off the dribble within a set offense, which could also just be the way the team runs.

The Aggies have some other decent players, but the guy who really caught my eye is a freshman named Pooh Williams. Granted, it was against pretty poor competition, but he really looked solid. A very nice touch from the outside as well as the ability to put it on the ground and get to the basket. Could be a future WAC superstar.

You heard it here first.


Ropheka said...

Nice Blog :)

WWWWWW said...


Justin said...

Utah State-top 20 team and at least sweet 16 this year.

You heard it here first.

WWWWWW said...

I can see it. They have some good players to complement Carroll, including a couple of big men, and I think Williams could be a major contributer right away this year.

I'd like to see Carroll go against a really athletic, lockdown-type defender before I get too confident thought. Other than the Vanderbilt game, I'm not sure where he'll see someone like that until the tournament.

Justin said...

The thing about Carroll is that he is one of the most conditioned players in college basketball. He could run full speed 40 minutes per game and never get tired. It's incredible. Because of this, it's hard for even the best defenders to defend him the entire game. In his three year tenure at USU I've only seen one player who has been able to slow him down and that is Kyle Shiloh from Nevada, who was the best defender in the WAC and the best defender on a top ten team last year. I agree it will be interesting to see Jaycee go up against Vanderbilt. I don't know much about Iowa or Bradley, but both are decent and could possibly give him some competition. Like I said though, I don't know much about them. If the Aggies can win the SPI they could go undefeated in their OOC schedule, which would put them in a great position with the voters. Playing the Utes @ the Huntsman Center could be tough though, and every team tends to lose a game or two against a team they shouldn't. Well, we'll see what happens. I, for one, am very excited for this basketball season.

WWWWWW said...

Iowa is crap, not sure on Bradley this year. If I remember right, they have a lot of transfers and basically their season depends on how good they end up being.

Go Aggies! said...

The arena is called the Spectrum.

And the only thing I have to disagree on is the USU women. Maybe I'm watching the game too much, but it seems like the basketball doesn't bring the girls that it used to. Or maybe I'm just getting more dillusional the closer I get to graduation.