Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Review

Weird week. Hasheem Thabeet had a triple double and DeJuan Blair went for a rare 20/20. Tennessee bounced back to grab a win they desperately needed while Michigan and Georgetown continue to suck. LSU is suddenly looking like they might be the class of the SEC while Baylor is suddenly looking irrelevant. Michigan State lost again at home, this time to a Penn State team that’s starting to make some NCAA tournament noise. I rented season one of 30 Rock after never having seen it, and it is completely brilliant. And it’s basically impossible to place Wake Forest this week, since the win over #1 Duke would put them in the Awesome category, but the Saturday loss to Georgia Tech, giving the Jackets their first ACC victory, definitely puts them in the sucks category. So we’ll just call it neutral.


1. Marquette. Holy crap are these guys good. This week the Golden Eagles again went 2-0, taking down two sinking ships in Georgetown and Notre Dame, and looked damn good doing it, beating the Irish on the road and taking down G-Town despite allowing them to shoot 56% by forcing 17 turnovers and outrebounding the Hoyas 31-26 despite being undersized. It doesn’t much matter if you’re undersized when you have three guys who can go for 20 at any time, which Lazar Haywood, Jerel McNeal, and Wes Matthews all did against the Hoyas. Add in one of the top point guards in the country in Dominic James, and these guys have some serious weapons, the biggest reason why they now 8-0 in the Big East. Their biggest hurdle, now that they’ve shown they can handle bigger opponents, is their lack of depth. They count on those four listed above to play over 30 minutes a game, with nobody else playing more than 20. Against the Hoyas, the big four accounted for all but 12 of the team’s 94 points. Even if nobody else steps up in the tourney, they can go a long way, but if somebody does, look the hell out.

2. Denis Clemente. I know you’ve never heard of him, but luckily for you I know who he is and he was awesome on Saturday against Texas, leading Kansas State to an improbable 85-81 victory in OT – in Texas no less. Clemente played for Miami (FL) right out of high school for two seasons before transferring to K-State to play for Bob Huggins – Surprise! Now Clemente is stuck on a crappy K-State team, but the win over the Longhorns was huge and he led the way scoring a ridiculous 44 points on 13-25 shooting (including 6-6 from three) and 12-12 from the line, helping overcome a horrid statline from a guy I used to like, KSU’s point guard Jake Pullen who shot 1-13 and topped it off with 7 turnovers. The 44 point explosion comes out of nowhere for Clemente, whose career high before Saturday was 24 points, and he had only reached 20 three times in his 2+ year college career. More evidence of the unexpectedocity of this? He had never before had double-digit field goal makes (he had 13 on Sat.) and had only taken as many as 20 shots once (25). He set career highs for free throws made and attempted (12-12), and three pointers made with six. Despite being just a career 32% three point shooter he made all six of is attempts on Saturday, and went 12-12 from the line despite his season average of just 2 attempts per game. Just a stunning display all around. This would be like Damian Johnson scoring 40 – not just because of the points, but because of the attempts as well. Very bizarro-world.

3. Providence. Yes, the Friars got blown out of the water by UCONN on Saturday, but this week has to be considered a success for Providence. At the beginning of the week, they were 5-2 in the Big East but were generally considered a fraud. The five Big East wins were against the dregs of the conference: DePaul, St Johns, Seton Hall, and Cincinnati twice. There was nothing in the non-conference profile to suggest this was a good team, their best win being over a now-looking terrible Rhode Island team, and an 0-3 record against good teams (Baylor, Boston College, and St. Mary’s). This week was a big one, with Syracuse coming to Providence and then the trip to UCONN, it would be the opportunity for the Friars to prove themselves, and they did, winning over Syracuse earlier in the week 100-94 and hanging with UCONN for a half (34-38). With an incredibly balanced attack (7 players average between 9.2 and 13.4 points) and double-double machine Geoff McDermott on board (five this year, third in his career amongst active Big East players) the Friars look like they might be dancing. They still get to play Rutgers twice and South Florida once, if they can win those three and steal another one, could the committee really keep a 10-8 Big East team at home?

4. Utah State. Losing a guy like Jaycee Carroll, who led the team in scoring the previous two seasons and was 2nd the two before that, not to mention playing over 30 minutes a game all four years, would usually leave a team with a tough road ahead, but not for the Aggies, who are a surprising 9-0 in the WAC right now. After beating top WAC competition Nevada this week, then following it up with a win at Fresno State, the Aggies are again the class of the WAC, and may be creeping on into at-large consideration if they fall in the WAC tournament. Gary Wilkinson and Tai Wesley have both improved from last year, and give Utah State a very solid front line. I also may be attending this Saturday's Utah State v. La Tech game, so that makes them extra awesome.

5. The Super Bowl. Bets aside, all I really wanted was a good, entertaining game and we certainly got that. Congrats to the Steelers and Mike Tomlin on the win, and especially to Santonio Holmes for that great, great catch to win the game. Entertaining to the last, especially when Theory needed the half to end on 4, and the Cards had first and goal looking to win him the money and then this happened, "NO! No!........Go! Go!" And to all you people who laugh way too hard at the commercials, I'm going to kill every single one of you. RELAX.


1. Phil Mickelson. Since our golf guy seemingly has been chased away from this site, I guess it falls on me to give the golf news, and Mr. Mickelson certainly fits in the Sucked column. Making his 2009 debut this week at the FBR Open, Phil didn’t even make it to the weekend, shooting a 76 and a 73 and missing the cut by seven shots at +7 en route to finishing in 121st place. Surprising as it is that Phil missed a cut, the fact that it comes at the FBR is extra weird. The tournament is played at the TPC of Scottsdale, which is Phil’s home course after coming out of Arizona State, and he is the leading money-winner in the tournament’s history, and finished in second place last year. Then again, he’s now missed the cut here two out of the last three years, so perhaps whatever magic this course held for him has been used up.

2. Notre Dame. It’s starting to seem a bit redundant putting the Irish here week after week, but they just keep earning it. This week they went 0-2 again, losing a backbreaker to at home to Marquette and on the road against Pitt. The loss against Marquette isn’t exactly shameful, the Eagles are undefeated in league play and are ranked #8 in the country, but when you’re reeling and in the midst of a three game losing streak, you need to hold serve at home if you consider yourself the class of the conference. Similarly, the loss at Pitt normally wouldn’t even warrant a mention, but the Irish came out of halftime with a six point lead, then turned the ball over on their first three possessions, gave up a layup on a three pointer when McAlarney refused to even make an attempt to get through a screen to guard Fields, and before you could blink the Panthers had scored the first ten points of the half and cruised to a 93-80 victory and dropping Notre Dame to a suddenly desperate 3-6 in conference play. Things don’t get easier, as their next three games are at Cincinnati, at UCLA, and then home against Louisville. It opens up a bit after that, with four straight games against unranked teams, but things are looking tough. The non-conference results aren’t that special, but they do have a win over Texas. Suddenly the Irish are scrambling to get in the tournament, rather than playing for a high seed.

3. Kentucky. Coming into the week the Wildcats were ranked #24, were sitting at 5-0 in the SEC, and at 16-4 confidence was high. Suddenly, things aren’t so rosy, as UK went 0-2 this week, losing on the road at Ole Miss (1-4 previously in the SEC) and on Saturday at home to the suddenly streaking South Carolina. Against the Rebels Kentucky couldn’t overcome poor shooting by Jodie Meeks, who was just 4-15 from the floor and a 42-32 rebounding deficit, despite a great game by the suddenly all but forgotten Patrick Patterson, who put up 24 and 7 rebs. Then against the Gamecocks Patterson had another monster game (28 and 8), and the team as a whole shot 51%, but a poor shooting game once again from Meeks (5-12) and 19 second half points for USC’s Devan Downey led to the Wildcats dropping a winnable game at home on a last second Downey jumper. Is this just a minor hiccup for UK in an otherwise stellar season, or are teams figuring out if you can control Meeks, you can win the game?

4. Arizona State. The Sun Devils looked to be possibly be the class of the Pac 10, perhaps above even UCLA, with a 5-2 conference record, a win over UCLA at Pauley, and a national ranking of 14; then this week happened. Welcoming the Washington schools into town, ASU should have come out with a split and probably a sweep, but instead ended up getting swept themselves. The loss to Washington State comes as the bigger shock, since the Cougars have just three wins in the conference, against Stanford and the two shitty Oregon schools. The loss to Washington isn’t nearly as big a shock, since the Huskies are one of the top teams in the conference, but since the WSU game came first the Sun Devils knew they needed this one. Worried? Nope, any team with James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph is still in good shape, but I wouldn’t have thought they’d drop an entire weekend to the Washington teams. Side note: Mychal’s son Klay Thompson is looking pretty damn good, putting up a career high 28 against Arizona State (which he, of course, then followed up with 8 points on 3-13 vs. Arizona)

5. Wisconsin. I’ve sort of been trying to keep from putting the Badgers here, due to my own bias, but at this point I think it’s pretty much impossible to avoid after Bucky lost to Northwestern on Saturday to run their losing streak to six straight games and pretty much wipe out their 3-0 start as well as any hope to get to the NCAA tournament. Like I called, the Badgers are at the bottom of the Big Ten (ninth to be exact) sitting at 3-6 and ahead of just Iowa and Indiana. Their inability to win on the road (1-4 in the Big Ten, 2-6 overall) and loss of home invincibility (2-2 in the conference at Kohl) have mainly come about by a shocking loss of defensive toughness and/or ability. This season, the Badgers rank 107th in the country in defensive efficiency (including 309th in turning the opponent over), putting them 8th in the Big Ten in that category. This follows seasons where they ranked 2nd and 6th in D-efficiency. And they haven’t just fallen off, they’re overall terrible. Northwestern shot 57% against them and earlier in the week Purdue nearly broke 60% (59.5%) and Illinois shot 50% the week before that. As a matter a fact, the Badgers have only held two of their nine Big Ten opponents to under 40% shooting, and none since January 7th. For Wisconsin, a team where if you broke 40% shooting the last several years you had a pretty good night. This team has now become total garbage, and is completely and totally unsalvageable. The should probably disband the team, and probably the entire university. Then go ahead and put walls around the state, so that none of the morons from the state can ever escape – or put them on an island like in that movie with Ray Liotta.


Dawg said...

Dub-sack, Tonight is Royce vs Rodney or should I say Rodney vs Western University Dolphins (Blue Chips).

I'm hoping to provide DWG with a post game update but it sounds like the game is going to be sold out.

For those of you in the Northern Suburbs, the game will be televised on local 12.

Lefty Snake said...

Dawger- Can't you get one of your lefty neighbors to steal some tickets for us to the game? Making friends with them might also save another one of your doors from getting kicked in. It is a win win situation for you. See what you can do.

WWWWWW said...

I won't be able to make it but I'm looking forward to hearing your review. (for real, that's not sarcasm)

super sioux fan said...

You need to add Gopher Hockey to the things that sucked over the weekend. They got swept by Mankato (snicker, snicker) now that is humiliating.....

Anonymous said...

The Spectrum will be rocking come Saturday vs. La Tech. Probably not as loud as Thursday's game vs. New Mexico State, but raucous none the less ... I wish I could go!!

Lefty Snake said...

Whats more humiliating? Getting swept by Mankato or shutout by Jase Walosky and St. Cloud State? I am a bit biased, but I would vote for #2.

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