I'm not going to bother with the Vikings or the fact that AP only got 12 carries last night (3 in the second half) against a terrible run defense when it was clearing that dropping back to pass only resulted in Julius Peppers destroying the pocket .2 seconds after the snap. Instead I'll just say it's pretty weird that Brittany Murphy died. $50 says Tiger Woods was involved somehow.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. The Atlantic 10. I've enjoyed ripping the A-10 here before, mostly because Dayton fans are such spazzes, but it's time to recognize that the A-10 is clearly better than the Pac, and might be better than the SEC at this point as well, and this weekend just put more evidence on the pile. On Saturday Richmond beat #13 Florida, Temple beat an undefeated Seton Hall, Umass beat Memphis, and Xavier lost controversially at the wire to Butler - the same Xavier team that already beat Cincinnati earlier this year. This saturday wasn't a fluke, either. Richmond has wins over Missouri and ODU (who beat Georgetown this weekend) to go with that win against the Gators. Temple beat Villanova earlier this week to pair with that win over Seton Hall and also beat Siena and Va Tech. Charlotte is 9-1 and has a win over Louisville. Dayton has wins over ODU and Georgia Tech, Rhode Island is 8-1 with wins over Boston College and Providence, Duquesne beat Iowa, St. Bonnie's beat Cleveland State, and while George Washington and LaSalle don't have signature wins, they do have good records. With the Pac sucking so hard and the SEC doing nothing of consequence outside of Kentucky, the A-10 might managed to snag 4-5 bids. Seriously.
2. Florida State. I'm starting to think you have to look at these guys as a nice sleeper, particularly after they went to Georgia Tech and walked out with a 66-59 victory (side note: Paul Hewitt might be the worst coach ever). That runs the Seminoles record to 10-2 with their only losses being on the road to good teams (Florida and Ohio State). And this is with star freshman Michael Snaer still trying to hit his stride (that 1-to-3 assist-to-turnover ratio is pretty horrendous). They turn the ball over way too much (18 per game), but play excellent defense (#6 in def. efficiency) and have great size (all major contributors over 6-4) to go along with great depth (9 guys play 14 minutes or more) and balanced scoring (five guys score 7 or more a game). The guard play is a little troublesome and somebody needs to step up to be the point guard here, but FSU is a team worth keeping an eye on.
3. Jon Scheyer. I truly hate praising any Dukie not named Ricky Price (Coach K Basketball on the Sega, check it out), but Scheyer has really done an incredible job this year. Not really a point guard but forced into it by Duke's lack of an actual ball-handler, he's been playing out of his mind this year and this past week is just representative of that. In Duke's wins this week over Gardner-Webb and Gonzaga (by a combined 189-109 score) he averaged 28 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game while shooting 64% from the field, 69% from three, and 94% from the free-throw line. And what's amazing is these numbers aren't that big of a jump from this season averages of 18-4-6 with just one TO per game. Yeah, I'd say he's having a pretty good season - he's 10th in the country in Ken Pomeroy's Offensive Efficiency Rating (Blakey is the top Gopher ranking 122nd). Will Duke be hurt, however, by not having a true point guard once we get to the tournament and thus get knocked out earlier than their seed would predict once again? Yes.
4. Hassan Whiteside. Ok, so a week when Marshall beats Brescia and High Point is maybe not the ideal team to write up their stud center, but I've been waiting on him every since I saw a top 50 recruit had inexplicably signed with the Thundering Herd and a week where he posted a triple-double seems like it's good enough. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Whiteside put up a 17 point, 14 rebound, 11 block game against Brecia (which, to be fair, was a 50 point win for Marshall, but still), and then followed that up against the hated High Point Panthers with a 13-10-6 performance (while the Herd won 109-76). His season averages of 12-9-5 are pretty incredible, although it's a bit troubling that in his only game against a decent opponent (ODU, Marshall's only loss) he put up a 4-5-1. It will be interesting to see how he and the team fare once C-USA play gets started, but we may get a bit of an idea Tuesday when Marshall plays North Carolina. For now, he's getting the coveted "underrated awesome player" alert status. I reserve the right to revoke this if he looks like garbage against the Heels.
5. Darrelle Revis. There's something fascinating going on here, and it's that Revis (of the NY Jets) has become the premier NFL coverage cornerback (sorry Champ), but I'm not sure how many people are aware of it. It's pretty unbelieveable, but if you look at it he covers the #1 receiver on the opposing team (different from how Bailey or Asomugha take one side of the field, he follows the other team's #1 where he goes) and shuts him down. Here are the Jets' opponents, the #1 receiver, and his stats that week going up against Revis:
1 - Houston - Andre Johnson - 4-35-0
2 - New England - Randy Moss - 4-24-0 (+1 pick)
3 - Tennessee - Justin Gage - 4-37-0
4 - New Orleans - Marques Colston - 2-33-0
5 - Miami - Davonne Bess - 3-18-0
6 - Buffalo - Terrell Owens - 3-13-0
7 - Oakland - Louis Murphy - 4-58-0 (+1 pick)
8 - Miami - Bess - 4-18-0
9 - Jacksonville - Mike Sims-Walker -3-49-1
10 - New England - Moss - 5-34-1
11 - Carolina - Steve Smith - 1-5-0 (+2 picks)
12 - Buffalo - Owens - 3-31-0 (+1 pick)
13 - Tampa - Antonio Bryant - 2-22-0 (+1 pick)
14 - Atlanta - Roddy White - 4-33-0
That's amazing. I didn't pay this close of attention to any of the other shutdown guys of the past (and like I said, Bailey and Asomugha covered sides not specific players), but I don't remember ever seeing something like this (was Deion this good?). I'm not going to go into all the play-by-plays or whatever and figure out exactly how many plays he was covering who and if all these catches were against or figuring out if any catches against him were made by other players, so let's just assume this is completely accurate. That would mean nobody this season caught more than five balls in a game against him, nobody gained more than 58 yards, and he only gave up two touchdowns all year while picking off six balls and taking one of them back for his own score, and he's also fifth on the team in solo tackles.
So I'm warning those of you who made your fantasy championship next week - don't start Reggie Wayne. Trust me.
1. Tennessee. How the hell does this happen? And by this, I mean the Volunteers going to USC and getting absolutely destroyed by a terrible Trojan team who already sports losses to Nebraska and Loyola-Marymount on the season and barely beat Idaho State at home. Yet they were able to beat Tennessee by 22. I don't get it. USC is one of the worst shooting teams in major college basketball this year (42.8% this season, worst in the Pac 10) and Tennessee is a top 30 defensive based on total defensive efficiency, but the Trojans scored 77 while shooting 55% - makes zero sense. To make it worse, the Vols managed just five assists for the game and shot 2-22 from three despite USC having allowed opponents to shoot 39.6% from behind the line this year, 311th in the NCAA. I just don't get it sometimes. Trying to figure out college basketball is like trying to figure out a woman - it ain't gonna happen and you're just going to get frustrated, and trying to apply logic or reason just makes things worse.
2. Deonta Vaughn. Ok, you know I'm a huge Cincy fan, and despite their embarrassing loss to UAB earlier this week I still think they're a legit final four contender, but they sure as hell can't do it without Vaughn and it's time to stop ignoring what's going on here - especially because he's on my fantasy team. I know the team is deeper this year, and suddenly they have other guys who can be "the man" like Yancy Gates and Lance Stephenson, but Vaughn was the cold-blooded shooter last year who knocked down every big shot possible. But he's invisible now. His scoring is down from 15.3 per game last year to 10.2 this year, his assists are down, and he's shooting under 30% from three. This week was a perfect example, with Vaughn shooting 2-9 (1-7 from three) and scoring just 7 points and turning over five times, and then even against Lipscomb on Saturday he was only able to muster up just five points on, once again, 2-9 shooting (1-8 from three). Perhaps the worst part of this is he's turning into a Voshon Lenard - abandoning his all-around game to become nothing but a three-point jump shooter. Last year, 60% of his attempts were from three, and this year that number has risen to 66% - not much of a change, but the in the last two games 83% of his attempts are from behind the line, a disturbing trend, and something that needs to get straightened out if the Bearcats are going to cash my 200-1 bet.
3. Seton Hall. So much for all that Hall Hype, eh? I guess when you're 8-0 and scored 134 points in your last game people get a bit excited, even if that 134 came against VMI - a school morally opposed to playing defense - and your 8-0 includes exactly one decent win (over Cornell) and a bunch of wins over retarded schools. Well, the house of cards came crashing down on Saturday when the Hall lost at home to Temple, their first decent opponent of the year and they aren't even very good. Jeremy Hazell shot 4-17 and 1-11 from three, and Robert Mitchell was 1-8. This is the poster team for beating up on crappy cupcake teams. They are going to get destroyed in the Big East. I can't wait to bet against them.
4. Oregon State. Holy crap, how could this team have been picked in the fourth through sixth range by almost anybody who picks this kind of stuff? They dropped a game on Wednesday to the horrible UIC Flames, giving them a stellar 4-5 record (which is now 5-5 after they actually beat Miss Valley State on Saturday) which includes losses not only to the Flames (ranked #252 at kenpom.com), but also Sacramento State (#290) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (#116). Just an unrecoverable string of events. They have gone from cute little sleeper to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in like a billion years to a bottom of the barrel team in a bottom of the barrel conference. Hey, here's a hint: if you're going to run the Princeton offense and minimize your possessions (tempo rank = 336th in the nation), you need to be efficient with them, you really can't turn the ball over 26.4% of the times you have it (340th in the country). That combination is so laughable, I almost wish I had made it up.
5. Anthony Tucker. Interesting and pretty not surprising news this weekend coming out of Iowa. In case you didn't hear, Anthony Tucker of Iowa (and formerly of a high school in Minnesota that I don't quite recall and don't feel like looking up) was arrested for public intoxication. No, you're not reliving groundhog day, this is a new story. Yes, he was arrested just 13 months ago on the same charge. If you recall, after returning to the team from that suspension he was hit with mono (allegedly) and missed a bunch of games, came back, and then got suspended for the rest of the year due to academics. Now he's suspended indefinitely, and according to the article I read his facebook status currently reads "I'm outta here."
Looks like another example of million-dollar talent with a five-cent head (actually, in Tucker's case it's probably more like $50,000 talent), and is yet another blow to an Iowa program that can't really afford another hit. Talk about a fall. Not that Iowa was ever considered an "elite" program, but they were very Gopher-like in that they seemed to fluctuate and made a decent run every 3-4 years or so (I mean Gopher-like pre-Monson, of course), but I'm not sure how they're getting out of this current sinkhole. It's been a mass exodus of players leaving Iowa City the last three years, from Tyler Smith and Tony Freeman to Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson, and Lickliter seems to be restocking with quantity, not quality (between 2009 and 2010 classes he's bringing in seven 3-star and 1 2-star players). Actually, Iowa hasn't signed a four-star recruit since Smith in 2006. This is starting to feel a lot like a Monson situation down in Iowa City. I guess if I was in that mess I'd get drunk all the time too.
Oh who am I kidding, I do that anyway.
This picture is almost an almost perfect one of him, if only there was more beer: