Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Review


1. Gopher basketball. Any time you go 2-0 in a Big Ten week it’s a success, and particularly when you win one on the road and have a no-doubter in your home game, in this case with yesterday’s 79-59 win over Penn State. It was very clear the Gophers were the better team, and they took it to the Nittany Lions all day. You could point out that the Gophers were fortunate to get some hot shooting after going 9-9 from three and shooting 63% for the game, but you’d be stupid. Penn State pretty much let Minnesota do whatever they wanted all game, and the high shooting percentages were more a function of getting wide open shots than any kind of luck. The heroes yesterday were definitely Devron Bostick, Paul Carter, and Ralph Sampson.

With Colt Iverson battling foul trouble and seemingly having the Penn State forwards in his head, Sampson stepped in and played nearly the entire second half – or at least until the game was no longer in doubt – and played well. He scored ten and blocked three shots. You can see his confidence growing week by week, and his game is improving along with it. For Carter this was his best game as a Gopher, although I swear I’ve written that at least once before. He scored 14, and showed a lot of skill, between his outside shooting and his ability to get to the rim he is a threat to go off any time. The breakout star of the game was no doubt Devron Bostick, who exploded for a career-high 19 points and finally showed why he was the JuCo player of the year last season. He showed the ability to score, both with is outside shot (2-2 from three) and with a variety of moves to the basket, including a nice little floater. My only complaint that was when he was red-hot in the first half, he never took a heat check. Honest to god he could have chucked one up from forty feet and I think the crowd would have been down with it.

This win moves the Gophers to 3-1 in the Big Ten, and sets up a really nice showdown with the Badgers, also 3-1, on Thursday. Bogart, Dawger, and I will all be in attendance in Madison, hopefully getting the Gophers to 4-1 through sheer force of will.

2. Marquette basketball. The NCAA tournament hasn’t been kind to the Golden Eagles since their incredible trio of guards arrived three years ago, as they’ve been bounced in the first round twice and in the second round once in the last three seasons. This year, however, might be different as Jerel McNeal, Wes Matthews, and Dominic James have the team off to a flying start now in their senior season at 4-0 in the Big East after kicking the crap out of a very good West Virginia team 75-53 on Saturday. The three guards continue to do their thing, combining for just shy of 50 points per game with Matthews fourth in the Big East at 18.9, McNeal sixth at 18.6, and James fourth in the conference in assists at 5.2 per game. The difference maker, however, might be 6-6 junior forward Lazar Hayward, who has taken his game to another level this season. The three guards have never had much help inside, but Hayward’s 16 points and 8.5 rebounds per game have changed that this season, and the Golden Eagles have another dimension to their team that makes them very dangerous this year.

3. Michigan State basketball. It seems like I put Michigan State here every week, but when you’re as consistently awesome as the Spartans that’ll happen. A pretty good week here once again for MSU, beating Ohio State 67-58 on Tuesday and putting Kansas in their place by smoking them 75-62 this weekend. Kalin Lucas once again led the way, breaking twenty points in each game. Snacks recently told me he thinks the Spartans are a final four team, and it’s getting more and more difficult to disagree; they’re loaded. I don’t see them losing more than two Big Ten games this year, so they should end up around 26-4 and be in line for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, wher they’d probably end up at the Metrodome for the first two rounds. If they manage to get to the Final Four they will have a hell of an advantage, because it’s at Ford Field in Detroit this year.

4. Cal basketball. With Arkansas's loss to Mississippi State over the weekend, more on that later, Cal becomes the most surprising team in basketball. After losing superstar Ryan Anderson and NBA pick DeVon, it looked to be a pretty down year for the Golden Bears. It hasn't turned out that way, however, as Cal is sitting at 15-2 on the year, including 4-0 in the Pac 10 after sweeping the Washington schools on the road over the weekend. That follows up last weekend when they had home games against the Arizona teams and beat them both as well. They are doing it with a very efficient offense, ranking 10th in the country in offensive efficiency. Point guard Jerome Randle is leading the way, averaging 19 points and 5 assists per game while shooting 52%, a huge number for a guard. With non-conference wins over UNLV, DePaul, Utah, and Nevada, the Golden Bears are definitely in a good position for a bid to the Big Dance, despite being picked to finish in the bottom half of the Pac.

5. Clemson & Wake Forest basketball. Both these teams deserve their own entry, but I’m running out of room here so deal. UNC and Duke have pretty much dominated the ACC for years, but this season they have some legit competition at the top. Clemson is currently 16-0, and although that seems to be fairly commonplace with them, this year looks like it might be different and their may be no collapse. Their last two victories are good ones, over Alabama and NC State, and the non-conference wins at Illinois and TCU look like they will be big ones, not to mention the win @ Miami earlier in conference play. Wake is also undefeated at 14-0 following their big win last night over suddenly looking overrated North Carolina, who is 1-2 in their last three. Jeff Teague is looking like a monster, averaging over 20 points per game to go with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and two steals and has scored over 30 points in their last two wins, both huge ones over UNC and at BYU. With three other double-digit scorers on the team as well, the Deacons are looking loaded.


1. Arkansas basketball. I was all set to type up the Razorbacks as being awesome for a second consecutive week after they followed up last week’s win over #4 Oklahoma with a win over #7 Texas on Tuesday, but then on Saturday they opened SEC play with a 56-70 loss to mediocre Mississippi State at home. Pretty much destroyed all that momentum they built with those two big wins, and must have Arkansas fans scratching their heads. As a team the Razorbacks shot like crap, going just 3-22 from three, and freshman point guard Courtney Fortson proved that you can’t trust a floppy haired point guard with a girls name by putting up the worst game of his career. He shot just 2-13, including 0-5 from beyond the arc, and turned it over 4 times to go with just 4 assists and 3 rebounds – both below his season averages. So what’s up with Arkansas? I don’t know, but two road games (Ole Miss and Florida) this week will go a long way towards telling us.

2. Home favorites in the NFL (other than Pittsburgh). Tennessee, Carolina, and the NY Giants were all home favorites in the playoffs this weekend, and all not only lost but played like total crap. The Titans turned the ball over 3 times and had 3 other fumbles they managed to recover themselves in losing to the Ravens, the Panthers turned it over six times, including a very impressive five interceptions by Jake Delhomme, and the Giants turned it over three times and managed less than 170 passing yards. Just ugly by those three. Although I will say that Arizona looks very, very good all of a sudden. It appears their late season swoon was likely just coasting and resting until the playoffs, not suddenly becoming a bad football team. And Larry Fitzgerald is just sick. I'm pulling for an Arizona Super Bowl, and I don't really care who comes out of the AFC because both teams are boring as hell.

3. Boston College basketball. After pulling off the biggest upset of the year last week by winning at North Carolina, the Eagles rocketing from afterthought all the way to #17 in the country. Well, that won't be lasting very long, thanks to an 0-2 week that included a home loss to Harvard followed up by another home loss to Miami. It's no real secret that Tyrese Rice is the key for BC, and both Harvard and Miami were able to hold him down, leading to the losses. Rice only had 3 points with four minutes to go against Harvard until a late flurry got him to 14, and against Miami he shot 6-18, including 3-12 from three. I don't know if this means they are bad, but they are certainly a tough team to figure out.

4. College Football. I know, I know, everyone thinks so but I have to say it again, college football’s national championship is so meaningless. It just doesn’t make sense to me how they can run the system this way and call Florida the National Champion after beating Oklahoma when Texas, USC, and Utah all have just as legitimate of a claim to being the best team. I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time here, since if you want to read someone crying over this you can pretty much just hit any sports site on the web, but it’s pretty freaking stupid. If you know someone who tries to defend this crap by saying “but every game is like a playoff game” you should kick him in the cubes.

5. Gopher hockey. I don’t know much about puck, but I do know that when you play your biggest rival and don’t even put up a fight and get swept 6-3 and 6-1, you sucked pretty hard and should be plenty embarrassed. I have no doubt Mama Dawger will be weighing in with her opinion soon.


Mama Sioux fan said...

When your jesus aka Kangas is pulled both nights and they show that he has Taylor Swift on his IPOD, that is pretty much when you throw in the towel.

Taylor swift are you kidding me...what a homo. The only thing that could have made this weekend more gay for the Gophers is if The Todd and Optimator would have been there making out with each other every time the sioux scored....which was alot.

Never doubt the Sioux........NEVER.

PS. You are all Fing(there you go FCC aka Snake)Retarded. :)

Sioux fan outski

The Todd said...

I can smell your yeast infection from here.

Anonymous said...

good one.....?

Anonymous said...

good one.....?

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