Thursday, December 20, 2012

Game Preview: Gophers vs. Lafayette (and some general college hoops stuff)

Let's get this out of the way:  Lafayette is bad.  Like, really, really bad.  All five wins this year (vs. 8 losses) have come at home vs. terrible teams, including a non-D1 school.  The only decent teams they've played this year are Kentucky (lost by 52 yes 52), Maryland (lost by 9), Princeton (lost by 19), and Long Island twice (they split somehow).  Kentucky shot 65% against them.  They've given up 80+ points five times this year despite not being an uptempo squad.  Of the 347 Division I teams, they rank 313th in 2-pt field goal defense, 323rd in 3-pt defense, and 311th in total defensive efficiency.  They're a little better with the ball thanks to good three-point shooting (hit 36%) and great free-throw shooting (76.4% - 21st in the country) but they better take advantage of any shots they can get off because they don't take care of the basketball (227th in turnovers) or rebound their misses (316th in OReb %).  They don't have a single player averaging more than 4.3 rebounds per game, and it's not like they make it into a group effort because they're 324th in the country in rebounds per game.  They're horrible.  Kenpom predicts the Gophers to win this one 85-55.  That might end up being generous.

They've got a handful of semi-interesting players, I guess.  Seth Hinrichs is a 6-7 guard who averages 14 per game, and Dan Trist is a highly efficient (55% FG) power forward who also averages 14 per.  Tony Johnson is the point guard who averages a respectable five assists per game and was the only Leopard to hit double digits in scoring against Kentucky, and Joey Ptasinsky is a three-point chucker who hit seven against Morehead State.  But in reality it's an undersized, undermanned, and under-talented team going against one of the ten best teams in the country (yeah, I said it).  Lafayette could keep it interesting because they move the ball well (assists on 60% on their FGs, 54th in the country), shoot well, and hit all their free throws and in previous years that's the kind of thing that would worry me.  Not this year, however.  Lafayette's inability to rebound and the Gophers dominating defense will collide to make this an absolute ass-kicking of the highest order.  Get ready to see a whole lot of Kendal Shell.  More college basketball thoughts after the girls.

Gophers 90, Lafayette 52.

You're not going to believe this, but there aren't a lot of Lafayette chicks pictures out there.

-  I wish you could bet on things like "Jabari Parker is going to dominate next year."  He just announced he's going to attend Duke (over Michigan State, BYU, Stanford, and Florida) and he's going to thrive their.  Guy is like a more athletic version of Carmelo Anthony.  Granted I'm only basing this on some highlights I've seen because I've haven't watched a game of his because only weirdos watch high school basketball, but that was enough to convince me that Duke will win the National Championship next season.  Look man, I'm not happy about it either but I'm just reporting the facts.  Maybe we'll get lucky and somebody will pull a miracle upset in the tournament.  Seems likely, actually.

-  I'm so disappointed in the Ohio Bobcats.  I thought they'd be good enough this year to get an NCAA at-large bid (if they didn't win the MAC) and even ranked them as the 26th best team in the country this year before the season started.   After starting the season 6-0 (with decent wins over Richmond and St. Bonnie mixed in) things have fallen apart with the Bobcats going 1-4.  They missed out on a chance to add another top 100 type win by losing to UMass, missed their shot at a big-time marquee win by getting killed against Memphis, and threw two very ugly wins on the ledger dropping games to Winthrop (RPI 211) and Robert Morris.  With a weak conference again this year (Akron is the only other decent team) Ohio absolutely has to beat Oklahoma  next week in their last non-conference shot at a Top 100 win and then will have to roll through the MAC at pretty close to undefeated to get a bid if they don't win the conference tournament.  Although, really, that Winthrop loss and the rest of this stretch say it might be too late.

-  After a little bit of a dick tease that the Pac-10 was going to be back to being relevant this year after what feels like 10 years of shittiness they're clearly going for the shittiness thing again.  UCLA was supposed to be a top 10 team but is in shambles (with a loss to Cal Poly) and will likely get their coach fired soon.  Colorado and Cal got off to great starts, but Colorado needed double overtime to beat Texas Southern, lost to Wyoming, and got crushed by Kansas and Cal lost three straight against legit competition including getting absolutely destroyed by a terrible Wisconsin squad.  USC had their sites on a NCAA Tournament bid but has been a total train wreck, Stanford hasn't won a single meaningful game and lost to Belmont, and Washington has lost to Albany and Nevada.  Other than Arizona (fool's gold, trust me) and Oregon (their win over UNLV was more impressive than the loss at UTEP was harmful) I don't know that there's a team in this conference who can win an NCAA Tournament game, assuming anybody else can even get there.  But I suppose we should be used to this.  The Pac-12 is just awful at hoops now. 

-  Obviously it will all come down to match-ups so this isn't a prediction per se, but these are the teams I think are most likely to make the Sweet 16 this year:  Indiana, Duke, Michigan, Syracuse, Minnesota, Louisville, Florida, Kansas, Gonzaga, VCU, New Mexico, and Creighton.  No that's not 16 but I can't find 16.  These 12 I would be willing to bet will make up at least half the Sweet 16.  I'm too tired and drunk to figure out how big a limb that is to go out on, but I'm out on it any way and I'm loving every minute of it.

-  The NCAA is suspending Texas guard Myck Kabongo for the entire season.  Why, you might ask?  Sounds like he might have had some dealings with an agent and/or had a workout paid for by someone when he was flirting with entering the NBA Draft last season.  But wait, you'd say, I thought you only got like a 10 game suspension for that kind of stuff, and you'd be right.  The NCAA, however, has brought the hammer down on Kabongo because he wasn't immediately forthcoming with all the information, similar to when they clamped down on my main man Dez Bryant.  You know, people always talk about how guys like Bud Selig and Roger Goodell are too heavy handed, but the NCAA is a total joke.  They make billions of dollars off student athletes and then rule them with an iron fist.  I was going to write more but I can feel my train of thought going right off the rails as I'm trying to watch The League right now as well.  Effin' Rafi. 

 Yeah that's about it.  Should be plenty.   For those who don't believe in Twitter you'll notice that on the right hand column my tweets are showing up over there so you can read them.  Much thanks to Stroms for the help.

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