Monday, December 6, 2010

Week in Review - 12.06.2010

 Back by popular demand - the week in review.  I would have had this up for your Monday morning consumption, however Comcast decided to make sure nobody in the midwest who uses their service was able to access the internet.  I was caught in their evil web of lies and evil.  Luckily, we're back, so let's go.


1.  Trevor Mbakwe.  I'm starting to think calling him Reign Man II was maybe the most accurate thing I've ever done.  Freakishly athletic?  Check.  Strong dunker?  Check.  Incredible rebounder?  Check.  Unable to score from further than 8 feet from the rim?  Check.  Commits dumb fouls?  Check.  Seriously, all he needs is a bunch of kids by different ladies and a bunch less IQ points and he'd be Shawn Kemp, and I mean that as a total compliment because Kemp was one of my all-time favorites.  Really maybe the lone bright spot in a pretty crappy week for your favorite team, Mbakwe put up 18 and 11 against Virginia, and nearly brought the Gophers back in that game, and then followed it up with 12 and 16 vs. Cornell.  It will be interesting to see how he fares against the other Big Ten bigs, but so far he looks like he's on a whole different level out there - something the Gophers haven't seen at PF since......Courtney James, I guess?

2.  LaceDarius Dunn.  The Baylor star guard has simply been on fire since being cleared on a domestic assault charge that was clearly a case of either mistaken identity or someone trying to frame him.  In his three games back he's scored 24, 20, and 24 and averaged 4.3 rebound and 3.3 assists to go along with that while shooting 53% from the floor and going 16-31 from three, including 6-12 in Thursday's win over Arizona State.  The Bears are looking good with Lace looking primed for a big year, stud recruit Perry Jones living up to the hype, and the guys the needed to step up (A.J. Walton, Quincy Acy) have played well.  They've had a candy soft schedule so far, but keep an eye open for their December 18th game against Gonzaga, that one should give an idea of just how good Baylor can be.  They're still 30-1 to win the whole thing.  I suggest you grab some of that action now.

3.  Jon Leuer.  Of all the Minnesota high school players who the Gophers have lost out on, Leuer might end up hurting the most.  He joins a nice list of high school greats who spurned Dan Monson and found success elsewhere (Troy Bell, Cole Aldrich, Cory Johnson, Ryan Amoroso, Kammron Taylor, Lawrence McKenzie (initially), and Isaiah Dahlman (just kidding) to name a few) but if his stats so far this year are any indication Leuer might be the best of the bunch.  He dominated in both games this week, both in the big win over NC State (22 pts, 11 rebs, 2 stls, 2 blks, 2 assists) and in the easy win over South Dakota (29 pts, 9 rebs, 4 blks, 2 steals, 2 assists), and his overall numbers are certainly Big Ten POY worthy (20/8/2/1/2 with 50% shooting).  Pretty depressing.  He's like Mike Bauer if he actually kept improving instead of falling in love with the three-pointer and ignoring everything else.

4.  North Carolina Tar Heels.  I wouldn't exactly say they're going to be alright, but the win over Kentucky shows they can at least beat a quality, if overrated, team.  Tyler Zeller looks like an absolute player and he absolutely dominated the Wildcats, putting up 27 points (on 8-13 shooting), 11 boards, and 5 blocks and teamed with John Henson to block 8 shots and force Terrence Jones, a super-stud as a freshman so far this, into 3-17 shooting, basically confusing him, not allowing him to get any clean looks in the paint, and basically winning the game for the Heels because their guards and Barnes are still meh.  I don't know if they can get into the NCAA Tournament, but every quality win they can get helps the Gophers' chances so let's go Heels. 

5. San Diego State Aztecs.  A couple of very solid wins this week for SDSU, who continue to cruise.  This week they played a couple of other quality mid-majors - St. Mary's and Wichita State - and had zero problems.  They beat both teams by 14, and now sit and 8-0 with a quality win over Gonzaga on their resume already.  They've got a pretty easy road until they hit Mountain West play, and the MWC should be strong enough this year that SDSU should cruise to a bid as long as they don't complete crash and burn, and there's no reason to suspect that they might.  They have enough balance (6 guys score at least 8 per game) to handle a bad night from anybody, and the star power in Kawhi Leonard to carry them far in March.  Consider them a solid sleeper.  And I have them at 100-1.  Holla.


1.  Minnesota Gophers Perimeter Defense.  Once is a fluke, twice is a problem, and a season-long issue is a major major problem that is going to kill this team at some point.   Virginia shot 10-13 from behind the arc and Cornell followed that up going 14-33, and the Gophers are now allowing their opponents to shoot 38.8% from three for the season, which ranks 296th in the country and dead last in the Big Ten.  Making the alarm bells right a wee bit harder is the fact that Northwestern, Michigan State, and Illinois all rank in the top 25 in three-point shooting in the country, and every Big Ten team outside of Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan shoot better than the D-I average.  So basically we're looking at two choices - learn how to defend the perimeter, whether through scheme, hard work, smarter decisions, or some combination, or get shredded all season long.  Not exactly Sophie's Choice here.  And if Tubby can't fix this, we have to start questioning him a bit, don't we? 

2.  The Pac 10.   USC did manage to beat Texas on Sunday, but prior to that the Pac-10 was cruising towards a second straight year of terribleness.  Just this week USC lost to TCU, Oregon State lost to Utah Valley (and got crushed by Colorado), and UCLA lost to Montana - and you can find a handful of games just like that for the conference each and every week.  Washington is looking like a Final Four type team and Arizona looks solid, but that's pretty much it.  UCLA and Washington State each have a shot at a bid depending on how things go, but it's very likely we're looking at just two tournament teams here.

3.  Atlantic 10.  If you pay way too much attention to this blog you know I probably like the A-10 a little bit more than I really should (with the exception of Dayton, which is full of whiny poser pansies), so it is with great pain I must announce that the A-10 is most certainly down this year.  There were supposed to be four very strong teams (Xavier, Dayton, Richmond, and Temple) along with a handful of sleeper candidates (St. Louis, Charlotte, and Rhode Island) - unfortunately it's not quite looking that way.  Just this week, St. Louis got smoked by Portland, Charlotte was downed by East Carolina, Xavier got rolled by Miami (OH), East Tennessee State came into Dayton and beat the Flyers, and Richmond, the one team that's looking good so far, lost to Old Dominion.  With the exception of the ODU game those are all bad, bad losses.  I'm thinking two bids might be the best case scenario here.  Shame.  And it would be a double shame if one of them went to Dayton.

4.  Virginia Tech Hokies.  The past two years have ended the same way for the Hokies:  Coach Seth Greenberg whining and bitching because Va Tech didn't get an NCAA tournament bid despite a good conference season because they would schedule an insanely weak non-conference slate.  This year they finally scheduled up, but that doesn't help if you can't win, and they can't win.  So far they've lost to Kansas State, UNLV, Purdue, and Virginia - the last two this week alone - and are now just 4-4 with only a win over Oklahoma State to show for their efforts.  They still have shots coming up against Penn State and Mississippi State, but man, they better do something.  Special shout-out to Hokie star Malcolm Delaney for shooting 2-18 (TWO FOR EIGHTEEN!!lol) and committing the fourth of his turnovers on the final play of the game to lose the game.  Bravo. 

5.  North Carolina State Wolfpack.  Not so much for their loss to Syracuse on Saturday, because the Orange are a very good team and NC State hung tough until the end, but for their embarrassing destruction by Wisconsin in their Big-10/ACC Challenge match-up.  They lost by 39, shot 32% while allowing 50% from Wisconsin, were out-rebounded 40-26, turned it over 13 times to just 9 assists, and forced just six turnovers.  In short, a total disaster.  They are certainly a talented team, but still very young, so a game like this was probably inevitable, but they need to start grabbing some quality wins here in order to justify my faith in them.  They have a game coming up in a couple weeks against Arizona.  Better win that one.

Honorable mention to Old Dominion, who were basically following a perfect blueprint on how to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as a mid-major until this weekend when they lost to Delaware in their conference opener.  The Fightin' Blue Hens are expected to be a factor in the CAA race or any race, really, so this loss is going to hurt.  ODU has probably done enough to buy themselves some breathing room, but this loss cuts that cushion way, way down.  Way to go, jerks!

Also, can we please calm down about Michael Jordan's kid?  Thanks.


Mike said...

Another who sucked nominee should go to everyones favorite poster....Dawger. Word on the street is he finished dead last in his fantasy football league for the 3rd time in 5 years. I also heard he was either 2nd to last or 3rd to last the other years. Is that even possible? I would call him the pittsburgh Pirates of baseball but that would be fair to the Pirates!

rghrbek said...


Tubby's perimeter defense since he's been here has been bad. I don't think it's just this years team, or soley because we are missing Al.

Even with average talent, if your forte is to play defense, you can get your team to play defense. As you point out, this is alarming.

Dawg said...

Fantasy football is very hard. At least I have been recognized as everybody's favorite poster....

I would also like to nominate WWWW to the list of suckiest things this week. As everybody has read, he started a Big 10 basketball fantasy league. WWW was the only person who had ever played fantasty college hoops and is currently in dead last by a wide margin. His current starting backcourt is all Hawkeye's. Yes, WWWW's team is even worse then the guy that drafted John Hart in the 3rd round.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should rename the blog down with hawkeye. How do you have all Iowa players and May isn't one of them. You suck bad!

WWWWWW said...

I only have both Hawkeye guards because Nolen is hurt.

You all shut up.