Sunday, January 27, 2008

College Basketball 1/28 - Five OT's?

Baylor 116, Texas A&M 110 5OT
In one of the longest games in basketball history, Baylor outlasted Texas A&M in 5 OT's to win a thriller 116-110. Baylor, playing as a ranked team for the first time since 1969, got 36 points, which included 22 in the overtimes with 11 coming in the final stanza, and eight assists out of Curtis Jerrels and 19 points and 18 rebounds from Kevin Rogers. The high final score says otherwise, but this game was a hard-fought, grind-it-out, defensive battle. Combined, the Bears and the Aggies shot just under 37%, committed 69 fouls, had 8 players foul out, and shot 106 free throws. The loss was A&M's third consecutive, all in conference, while the win helped solidify Baylor's ranking and status as a top team in the Big XII.

Kevin Love, UCLA
I didn't want to do it again, but after his performance this week how could I not give Kevin Love POTW honors. UCLA went 2-0 on the road against the Oregon schools, led by Love who averaged 21ppg, 19.5rpg, 2bpg, while just turning the ball over three times and shooting 64% from the floor. With all due respect to Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, and Derrick Rose, Love is emerging as the best freshman, and maybe the best player, in the country. And the best part of his game doesn't show up in a box score. He plays great interior defense and understands positioning and the use of angles in the post as well as anyone, which, along with strength, allows him to compete with superior athletes. I know it has been beaten to death (thanks Jay Bilas), but the most underrated part of his game is his passing ability, specifically outlet passes, which is so important to starting fast breaks and picking up easy buckets.

On the heels on a blowout win over Marquette, UConn went on the road to beat conference foe Cincinnati in a dogfight 84-83, a game where they were down 12 with five minutes left and pulled out a victory. Then on Saturday, one day after news broke that Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins were suspended indefinently, UConn had to travel to Assembly Hall to take on Eric Gordon and the No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers, and if that wasn't enough AJ Price was so sick he was puking during timeouts. But the Huskies were able to pull out a 68-63 victory, one which Jim Calhoun said was almost as satisfying as the win over Duke in the 2004 Final Four. Great week for UConn - the two wins go a long way towards building up their tournament resume.

1/30 Memphis @ Houston - With the exception of their matchup with Tennessee, Memphis' trip to Houston may be the only threat to the Tigers perfect season. Houston is one of the few C-USA teams that can match the athleticism of Memphis.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Robert McKiver, Houston - McKiver is one of the best scorers in the country, averaging just under 20ppg. If he gets hot, Houston will have a chance.

1/30 Kansas @ Kansas State - This game pits the last two undefeated teams in the Big XII. Kansas may be the best team in the country, but noone has been hotter than K. State of late.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, and Darrell Arthur, Kansas - All-world freshman Michael Beasly must have a big game for the Wildcats to have any chance to win, and this formidable front line of Kansas is tasked with that job.

1/30 Texas @ Texas A&M - A&M's win over Oklahoma State was nice, but the Aggies really need to build some momentum after a three game conference losing streak.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: DJ Augustin, Texas and Josh Carter, Texas A&M - Augustin may be the most talented point guard in the country after streamlining his body, but Josh Carter is one of the best players you've never heard of.

1/30 Vanderbilt @ Mississippi - Two of the last six undefeated teams in the country both have struggled since starting SEC play, and both desperately need a win to right the ship.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dwayne Curtis, Mississippi and AJ Ogilvy, Vanderbilt - Intriguing matchup of two of the most under appreciated big men in the SEC.

1/31 Indiana @ Wisconsin - Two of the favorites to win the Big Ten square off in what promises to be one of the best games of the year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Eric Gordon, Indiana - Indiana relies so much on Gordon's scoring and playmaking ability to win, and Wisconsin does not have many wings to throw at him. Look for him to get back on track after struggling against UConn.

2/2 Tennessee @ Mississippi State - MSU, despite being 5-0 in the SEC, is still looking for a signature win for their tourney resume. Tennessee in on the short list of teams that can earn a #1 seed.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Chris Lofton, Tennessee and Jamont Gordon, MSU- The preseason All-america Lofton has yet to get his scoring on track, while Jamont Gordan is one of the most complete all-around players in the country - he averages 18ppg, 6rpg, and 5apg.

2/2 Stanford @ Washington State - After UCLA, probably the two best teams in the Pac-10 meet in a battle of big front lines.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Aron Baynes, WSU and Brook/Robin Lopez, Stanford - Another battle of underrated bigs. Aron Baynes will have his work cut out for him with the 7-foot twins.

2/2 Pitt @ UConn - Two teams heading in opposite directions. UConn has been one of the hottest teams in the country while dealing with the suspensions of Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins, while Pitt has been skidding after beating Duke early in the season thanks to the injuries to Mike Cook and Levance Fields.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: DeJuan Blair, Pitt and AJ Price, UConn - Hasheem Thabeet and the Huskies front line tend to struggle against big, strong posts, and the freshman Blair is that to a T. AJ Price has emerged as the best point guard in the Big East after playing some great basketball the last month. In the last month he has been able to get into the lane at will.


Andy McKenzie said...

Will Love be able to do it in the pros though?

Rob Dauster said...

I think so. I don't think he athletic enough to be a star, but fundamentally he's got it all there and he knows how to play the game. He's gonna need the right situation, maybe of a team like the Suns of the Warriors where the don't really need offense out of him - just post defense, rebounding, and a good passer. I see him being sort of like a cross between a Carlos Boozer and a Boris Diaw.