11:50: Halftime. 'Zona is up 39-35. Really entertaining game as both teams like to push the ball and run the court. I'll be watching UMass-Memphis at midnight, and starting on another post.
11:36: I have always liked Budinger's game, but he always seemed to be missing that swagger - that confidence - that a guy like Beasley or Rose or Durant has. I know I've only watched 15 minutes of one game against FAU, but Budinger looks a little cockier out there. He's hit a couple jumpers already, and the last two Arizona possessions ended with great plays by Budinger. The first was a pump-fake, dribble-drive, and huge one-handed dunk on an FAU big man. Then the next time down, Budinger drove along the right baseline and threw a sick no-look pass to Jamelle Horne for another dunk. He looked like he was jawing a little bit on the way back down the floor after the pass, which I normally don't think is great, but it is something Budinger needs to start doing. 95% of the time, he is going to be the best player on the floor, and in order for him to be as good as he can be, he needs to believe it and act like it.
11:34: I completely forgot that Mike Jarvis coaches FAU. He was a heckuva coach at St. John's.
11:30: Arizona needs to start getting penetration against this zone. They are being way too passive just swinging it around the perimeter. It is a 2-3 zone that FAU is playing, so 'Zona needs to attack the gaps on the wings or hit someone at the high post. "Inside out" (get the ball in the paint and kick it out). It is how you beat a zone.
11:16: Arizona is down 13-7, FAU is on fire, and they are sitting back in a zone. Do the Wildcats have the shooting to be a zone? Outside of Budinger, I don't think so.
11:09: So they switched over to UA-FA, and it is 8-4 Florida Atlantic. I really hope that Arizona ends up having a decent season. I feel so bad for the kids that had to deal with all of the Lute Olson hoopla. It really put a damper on what has been a fantastic collegiate career for Budinger. By the way, by my count there were three guys that came back to school that were moderate-to-big surprises - Budinger, Hansbrough, and Blake Griffin. Hansbrough is hurt and Budinger is in a terrible situation in Tucson. Only Griffin is in a good situation at OU. Not exactly a great advertisement for returning to school.
11:05: Next up is the first half of the Arizona-Florida Atlantic game, then UMass-Memphis at midnight. I'm going to start up a new live-blog thread for the UMass-Memphis game.
11:04: What a match-up tomorrow night as Davidson will take on Oklahoma. Easily the best game of the young season. Can ESPN change the schedules so that it doesn't conflict with UNC-Kentucky? I mean seriously, the two best games of the entire year are being played simultaneously?
10:51: So here is what MVSU has done the last five days: Friday played Arizona State in Tempe; flew to Spokane, WA on Saturday morning; drove 90 miles to play Washington State; drove 90 miles back that night; flew into Denver Sunday morning and drove to Oklahoma; practiced this morning for two hours, played OU tonight; they will play James Madison tomorrow night and then fly to Montana to play a game; then the finally head to Arkansas State for a game before heading home. That is a tough week. I think it is a good move by head coach Sean Woods. Not only will his team be battle tested and ready to play anyone (OU, WSU, and 'Zona State are all pretty good), but they will have the experience of playing under less than ideal conditions, which is what happens when tournament time comes around.
10:40: As good as the Griffins have looked tonight (and trust me, they have looked fantastic - they might be the best front court in college hoops, that's how impressed I am by their performance tonight), OU is not going to be able to go anywhere unless they get more consistent perimeter shooting. Cade Davis has a good looking stroke off the bench, but their other perimeter players - Warren, Austin Johnson, Tony Crocker - are going to need to be able to knock down those shots. Otherwise, opponents are just going to collapse on the Griffins inside.
10:30: The Oklahoma game is over at 55-23, but they just showed Blake's line and he has 6 steals. He also just about put a hole in the backboard by pinning a shot from some MVSU guard on a break (didn't count because of a foul, but still). This guy is an unreal athlete. He is 6'9", he's gotta be 240, and he is so mobile and so coordinated. for one day, I wish I had the physical tools he does, just to see what it feels like. And WOW, he just threw down a HUGE opp. Talk about great timing.
10:16: Willie Warren has looked pretty good from what I've seen so far. He is athletic and aggressive going at the rim and has finished numerous acrobatic lay-ups. Defensively, I can't really get a read on him because, well, its against MVSU. The biggest problem right now seems to be his perimeter shot. He is 0-10 on the season from beyond the arc (0-4 in this game), but his stroke doesn't look terrible. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it is nerves. I've also been very impressed with both Griffins. They are a lot more mobile and a lot better defensively on the perimeter than I remember. Combined they have got to have 5 or 6 steals, all in the open court, at this point. They've had at least three highlight reel dunks so far.
10:04: I can't get over how dumb that shot was by Goode. MSM has been successful when they were attacking the basket and playing inside out. They didn't need a deep three off the dribble. MSM travels on the next possession, and this game is probably over. Great effort by the Mount.
10:02: Well, they tried. They ran Goode off of a high ball screen twice, but he took a quick three (from 24 feet) off the dribble that missed. Tech rebound and foul. Delaney hit both, 58-54 with 28 seconds left.
10:01: Delaney gives Tech the lead by hitting all three. MSM ball and take a timeout. MSM has got to get the ball into Goode's hands in some way. He hasn't had the greatest shooting night, but he is the one making the big plays for the Mount down the stretch. Good things happen when Goode is involved in the play. 44.7 left.
10:00: Dumb plays all around. Delaney takes a tough three from the wing with time on the shot clock, but gets bailed out by MSM center Marcus Mitchell by fouling him.
9:58: MSM has been spreading the floor and running the weave. Jean Cajou takes a dribble hand-off from Goode who sets a great little screen for him. Cajou gets in the lane, draws a foul, and hits them both.
9:58: MSM has to get the ball to Goode on an isolation here.
9:55: Remember how I was like where is Allen and Vassallo? Well after a Delaney missed free throw, Allen got the offensive rebound, kicked it out to Delaney who swing it to Vassallo for a three-pointer, and Tech has taken the lead 53-52.
9:50: Tech has had so many unforced errors. From not hustling back on Goode's lay-up to dropping the ball on a would-be lay-up, Tech is killing themselves.
9:47: Just when Tech looks like they are getting ready to take control, they get a steal, miss a lay-up, try to make a tough tip-in, the ball ends in in Jeremy Goode's hands who goes 1 on 2 at the other end and makes a lay-up. And-1. The last TV timeout, and MSM is up 48-46.
9:45: Tech gets a big block off of weak side help, and get it to Allen in the post at the other end. He draws a foul, hits both. Tech finally is playing with some energy. And the crowd is really getting into it not.
9:43: Va Tech's defense has really clamped down. MSM couldn't find any lanes to penetrate their last two offensive possessions, but off of a long rebound, they find a wide-open shooter for three. Jeff Allen answered on the other end. 46-44 MSM, 5:26 left.
9:41: As I wrote that, they hit Allen in the post and he found a cutter for a lay-up. 43-40 MSM. And Vassallo just found Diakite who missed a lay-up but got fouled. He hit 1-2.
9:39: Where is Jeff Allen? And AD Vassallo? These guys were both supposed to be all-conference caliber players.
9:32: A three from MSM puts them up 43-35. Tech looks terrible.
9:31: MSM is killing Va Tech inside. Offensive rebounds, out-of bounds plays. The announcer hit it right on the head - the Mount is just out working Tech.
9:30: Ryan Wright just put some dude from MVSU on a poster. Two-handed facial on a secondary break. That will be on Sportscenter.
9:28: OU is now up 17-2. Apparently, MVSU had a two hour practice today. I guess head coach Sean Wasn't expecting much from his team tonight...
9:25: A great defensive play by one of the bigs on MSM (if you can't tell, I don't know the names of many of the guys on MSM), stripping the ball on a dunk attempt, and it ended up going out of bounds to MSM. Tech is down 34-33 at the 2nd TV timeout.
9:24: Va Tech just threw the ball out of bounds on an outlet pass. They are shooting 27% from the floor. MSM is driving through the lane without a problem. This is a team that is expected to battle for the NCAA tourney?
9:22: OU is up 13-2, and I doubt I am going to see much more than an apathetic OU team win by 40, so I'm going back to the VT-MSM game. 32-31 MSM with 13:17 left.
9:18: Blake Griffin is not looking very aggressive on the block offensively. It also doesn't help that he is getting double and triple teamed. With the amount of attention Blake is getting, does it say something about OU that they are struggling a bit offensively right now?
9:16: These Griffin brothers look a lot more athletic than I remember. And bigger too. That off season workout regimen really paid off. Fran Fraschilla just said Taylor benches 325. Pretty good...
9:13: MSM is up 30-26 at the first TV timeout in Blacksburg.
9:11: The Sooners are looking pretty sloppy right now. Warren just tried to force things again, and lost the ball in the paint, but it kicked out off of MVSU. First TV timeout, OU is up 6-0.
9:07: OU is up 4-0 quickly, and both Griffin brothers have a steal already. MVSU is sitting back in a zone, which is great defensively (OU can't shoot, Warren hasn't hit a three yet) but they are going to get killed on the boards. As I write this, Taylor Griffin with an O-board tip-in.
9:05: 10 seconds in and Warren already picks up a charge. MVSU apparently has a really tough schedule. Well, running those kids ragged is how the MVSU athletic department makes the money they spend on other sports.
9:00: On to the Mississippi Valley Sate-Oklahoma game. First chance to see Blake Griffin and Willie Warren play together. I'm looking forward to watching Warren - he comes in with a lot of hype.
8:51: Purdue wins 87-58. BC is now up 82-52 (they just went on a 19-2 run) with two minutes left. Next round of games starts at 9:00.
8:51: MSM heads into half time up 24-23. Gonna keep an eye on this one.
8:49: AD Vassallo is taking over for the Hokies. He's scored seven straight (a three, a step-back jumper, and an o-board and lay-up) and has 12 of Tech's 23. But MSM's Jeremy Goode hit a three at the other end, putting MSM up 24-23 with 30 seconds left.
8:44: They were just talking on the VT-MSM game about MSM's win against Coppin State in the play-in game, and they said it was the first NCAA tourney win in the history of the MSM program. Does the play-in game really count as an NCAA tourney win? I guess it has too, but there really needs to be an asterisk on that. For the record, I hate the play-in game. I've said in on this blog before, but I think it takes so much away from the Coppin State's in this situation. Winning a conference tournament if you are a school of that size should give you the right to play on national television against a nationally recognized opponent. Who cares if a middling major conference school loses a bid. Win more games during the season!!! Sorry I had to vent (where are my wide mouth Coors Light's?).
8:41: MSM is up 16-15 on Va. Tech with 3:55 left. How is this the best game on right now? Only 18 minutes until Blake Griffin and OU take the floor.
8:38: So for some reason I just watched an ESPN U commercial, and I swear to god Dave Chappelle was the guy dancing around in the marching band out fit with a tuba on his shoulder. Did anyone else see that?
8:37: Tyrese Rice just hit his first shot of the game???!!! The same guy who put 46 on UNC last year?
8:35: On the BC game now, great little possession just happened. Tyrese Rice had a great no-look bounce pass on a break, but Smith got pinned, got it back, and got blocked again. Both times he went up with his right hand on the left side. Take notes kiddies.
8:29: Just found the Mt. St. Mary's-Va. Tech game on Comcast and in HD. MSM is up 13-11 with 9:00 left, so I think I'm going to stick with this for a while.
8:28: Purdue is now shooting 53%. They were at 33% midway through the first half. And Bowdry just hit a tough fall-away 15 footer. He is a player.
8:26: God, they just showed the UConn score - 53-47 with 13:00 left. Really? They're in the America East.
8:23: Purdue plays some very fundamental basketball, and it is really a pleasure to watch. They make good decisions, they make the extra pass, they play tough, fundamental defense, they run their offense crisply. You probably aren't to see a lot of dunks or crossovers, but if you appreciate someone running a curl off of a perfect screen, receiving a pass in stride from the PG and going in for a lay-up without a dribble, then you will love watching Purdue. I know I do.
8:22: I just flipped back to Purdue-EMU, and the Boilermakers are up 30. Apparently I wasn't destined to watch an exciting game right now. Would anyone read a Gossip Girl live blog?
8:18: I turn it on and Corey Raji gets two buckets (including putting down an alley-oop from Tyrese Rice) and forces a travel by Loyola. Nice couple of possessions..
8:15: Switching to BC-Loyola for a while. 49-34 BC.
8:08: Purdue's offense is looking much crisper on their first three possessions. EMU calls a timeout after E'Twaun Moore's second straight deep jumper makes the score 51-26. Thinking about switching to BC-Loyola.
8:02: Browsing through scores, I checked out the UConn-Hartford game (how is it that close? 32-24 with 4:00 left in the half). But more importantly, the Hawks have a guy named Drake U'u. Seriously. His last name is U'u. Someone please tell me how that is pronounced.
7:55: BC-Loyola is 42-31 at the half. Gonna grab a snack, back for the second halves.
7:50: Purdue is exactly what I expected them to be. Tremendous defensively (I only saw one real breakdown, when the big European guy missed a rotation and it gave EMU a wide open dunk), great guard play (32 of their 42 scored by the back court), and suspect interior play. What they lose on offensive rebounds Purdue should be able to make up off of forcing turnovers and their three point shooting. Robbie Hummel was held scoreless for the half, and it just goes to show you how balanced Purdue is. The best player on the floor was Chris Kramer. He was everywhere defensively, he was getting to the basket, he hit a three, and ended up with 10 points (ESPN's live box scores are so far behind. Right now it is showing that there is 6:27 left in the half).
7:47: Half time. 42-22 Purdue. The Loyola-BC game is actually better. 38-28 with 2 minutes left.
7:46: Lewis Jackson with two gorgeous passes to Kramer for lay-ups. This kid is good.
7:45: Purdue is only down 22-18 in rebounds. How is that possible? Am I watching a different game? And as I type this, EMU turns it over their first two possessions. 13 total now.
7:41: Two more buckets in the paint. Dobbins has 10 of EMU's 20, and Bowdry has got to have at least 6 right now. Purdue is getting killed inside. And now another offensive rebound. If EMU wasn't turning it over so often they would be right in this game. Last TV timeout of the half, and Purdue is up 33-20.
7:39: What a defensive possession for Purdue!! Their defense is so well coached and so pretty to watch. Great trapping, great help side, good rotations. It is a treat to watch if you appreciate some good defense.
7:36: Two more o-boards for EMU. What's going to happen when they play a team like Michigan State?
7:34: EMU calls a timeout. They are down 26-14 after a Kramer three, and have been outscored 26-6 after their opening spurt. This game could be over by half time.
7:34: Both teams are shooting 33% from the floor. I'm surprised it is even that high.
7:33: Opened my first beer. Yuengling Black and Tan. Love it.
7:30: Purdue is really starting to assert their dominance. If they weren't 1-7 from three they would be up 15 right now. And that's even with EMU getting up 8-0 early. It's 23-14 heading into the third TV timeout, and Purdue is up 23-14. EMU has 9 turnovers right now.
7:28: I didn't realize how aggressive E'Twaun Moore was around the rim. He's at the line right now after grabbing an offensive rebound and drawing a foul trying to dunk in traffic. 2nd or 3rd time he's gone in hard like that.
7:26: Kramer is such a good defender. Great position. Great anticipation. Throws his body around. Moves his feet. You can't ask for anymore from this kid.
7:25: This game is a lot more up-and-down than I expected, but it isn't pretty. Just sloppy. A ton of turnovers and missed lay-ups.
7:21: Purdue is really getting killed on the boards. ESPN's online box score's aren't working, so I'm not exactly sure of the numbers, but I think EMU has about six or seven o-boards, and at least six points off of them. Purdue is really turning up their defense, and has scored on a couple breaks off of the turnovers, including Keaton Grant's last three-ball. Purdue heads into the second TV timeout up 16-12.
7:19: Marcus Green scores six straight. And Purdue's defense is turning it up. These guys really get after it. And as I was typing, EMU grabbed two more offensive boards.
7:17: Not sure if that was a block. It's probably because the guy from EMU slid out of the way to the side. That would have been a poster if Marcus Green finished the dunk though.
7:14: Another o-board for EMU. This Bowdry kid looks pretty good.
7:12: Just flipped over to the BC-Loyola game, and the Eagles are up 13-2 already. Doubt I'll watch much of this game. Tyrese Rice is playing tonight, however.
7:11: Purdue's defense is picking up. They have forced turnovers on the last four possessions.
7:10: JaJuan Johnson with a nice head fake and drive, drawing the foul. I like this kid's skill set. He is pretty active and athletic and he has a nice touch, but he is so skinny. His shoulders are the polar opposite of Dwight Howard's.
7:09: Hummel was the Big Ten's three-point shooter last season, and he is 0-3 from the floor right now. Not a good start. And he gets pulled.
7:07: Purdue calls a time out down 8-0. Three lay-ups for EMU, and the only jumper was hit by their center. Everyone knew that this is the problem that Purdue would have all year, because neither Hummel or Johnson is a strong inside player.
7:05: Purdue down 6-0 early, and Eastern Michigan is out playing the Boilermakers in the paint.
7:00 PM: Welcome everyone!! Right now I am watching Purdue host Eastern Michigan in the first round game of the NIT Pre-season tournament. We got Steve Lavin and Brent Musberger announcing the game. I like the duo. Lavin can get annoying, but he knows basketball as well any of the color guys they have. And how can you not like a guy with Musberger's old-school swag.
Monday, November 17, 2008
11:50: Halftime. 'Zona is up 39-35. Really entertaining game as both teams like to push the ball and run the court. I'll be watching UMass-Memphis at midnight, and starting on another post.