Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Roundup

Just a quick roundup of last night's action, which saw two ranked teams get upset.

  • Arkansas 96, Oklahoma 88: The Razorbacks jumped all over the Sooners, going up 21-8 and taking a 53-38 lead into halftime. They pushed the lead to 25 early in the second half before Oklahoma made a run. The Sooners got it down to four on two different occasions, but Arkansas eventually pulled away for the win. Willie Warren led OU with 35 points, his second straight game of 30+. He scored 20 of their 38 in the first half, and at one point he was 6-6 from the floor while the rest of the team was 1-15. Blake Griffin had 21 and 13 boards while Tony Crocker added 18 with five second half three's. The Razorbacks got a balanced effort as six guys reached double figures. Michael Washington finished with 24 and 11 boards while Courtney Fortson finished with 14 points, 10 dimes, and 8 rebounds. But the story of this game was the play of Arkansas wide out Marcus Monk, who has used up his football eligibility. In just his third game with the basketball team, Monk finished with 12 points and 6 boards in 20 minutes.
  • Illinois 71, Purdue 67 OT: The story of this game was the way that Illinois played offensively. Purdue has one of the best defenses in the country, but Illinois did not seem fazed as Chester Frazier and the Illini were able to penetrate and pass at will. Illinois did not shoot all that well (43%) and gathered just six offensive rebounds, but they only turned the ball over six times on the game compared to 21 assists. Illinois's big men played fantastic, especially Mike Tisdale. With JaJuan Johnson camping out in the paint, the 7'1" Tisdale roamed the perimeter knocking down jumper after jumper. Purdue had two huge defensive breakdowns at the end of regulation, with both coming off of sideline out of bounds plays. On one, Trent Meachem came off of a screen and went all the way to the rim for a lay-up with no help defenders in sight. Two possessions later, Meachem went off a screen the other way, drawing three defenders and finding Mike Davis for a lay-up, which actually gave the Illini the lead with six seconds left (Davis fouled Johnson on the other end, and he hit 1-2 to send it to OT). Outside of Johnson (16, 15, 3 blocks) and E'Twaun Moore (17, but didn't show up until late in the game), Purdue struggled to a man. They were just 15-27 from the line and Robbie Hummel and Keaton Grant (who missed about four or five lay-ups at the rim) finished with a combined 16 points on 6-20 shooting.
  • Wake Forest 83, Radford 61: Wake struggled early, but pulled away at the end. Al-Farouq Aminu led the Deacs with 18 and 10, while James Johnson added 12, 12, and 5 dimes.
  • Syracuse 100, Seton Hall 76: Andy Rautins was on fire again, finishing with 26 points on 7-10 from three. Eric Devendorf returned to the line-up in this one.
  • Clemson 98, South Carolina 87: Devon Downey had 37 for the Gamecocks, but Clemson's hot shooting was just too much. The Tigers were 10-21 from deep (led by six from Terrence Oglesby, who finished with 25 points) and shot 55% on the night.
  • Florida 78, Stetson 57: Nick Calathes led the way for the Gators with 23 and 5 dimes.
  • Butler 72, UAB 68: Freshman Shelvin Mack hit five three's in the first seven minutes of the second half en route to 22 points as Butler overcame an 11 point deficit for the win.
  • Dayton 66, George Mason 62: The Patriots led for most of the game, but a late 11-2 Dayton run gave the Flyers the victory. Rob Lowery and Marcus Johnson each had 13 for Dayton.
  • Maryland 76, Elon 50
  • Missouri 80, Centenary 52
  • BYU 74, Tulsa 68: Lee Cummard netted 26 in the win.
  • Kansas 79, Albany 43
  • Stanford 69, Hartford 55
A lot of basketball on tomorrow, especially on ESPN. Did anyone else notice that despite having seven games on between Noon and 2 AM, the only ones that ESPN promoted during the last two or three days were Duke-Loyola MD and UNC-Nevada?
  • 12:00 PM: Michigan State (9-2) @ Minnesota (12-0): Best game of the day as Minnesota heads into Big Ten play against a tough Michigan State team that seems to be hitting their stride. I'm not sure if Minnesota will be able to handle the athleticism of the Spartans. I know Tubby Smith has these kids playing hard, especially at the defensive end, but I think MSU gets it done on the road.
  • 12:00 PM: Northwestern (11-2) @ Penn State (8-2): How is this game on ESPN instead on MSU-Minnesota?
  • 2:00 PM: Wisconsin (9-3) @ Michigan (10-2): Another great Big Ten match-up (there are going to be a lot of those this year). Should be fun to see the two best system coaches in America go head to head. I like Wisconsin in this one. Those guys are too disciplined defensively to get burned by back doors and open three's.
  • 2:00 PM: Pitt (12-0) @ Rutgers (9-4)
  • 2:30 PM: Louisiana-Lafayette (4-7) @ LSU (10-1)
  • 3:05 PM: Evansville (9-2, 1-0 MVC) @ Illinois State (12-0, 1-0 MVC): The two early favorites in the MVC square off.
  • 4:00 PM: Loyola MD (4-8) @ Duke (10-1)
  • 4:00 PM: Iowa (10-3) @ Ohio State (9-1)
  • 4:00 PM: Texas A&M (11-1) @ Rice (5-7)
  • 5:00 PM: Jackson State (1-10) @ Baylor (11-1)
  • 6:00 PM: UNLV (11-2) @ Louisville (8-2): If Louisville plays like they did against UAB, they shouldn't have a problem with the Runnin' Rebels. If they play like they did against Western Kentucky, they could lose by 25.
  • 6:00 PM: Robert Morris (6-6) @ Xavier (9-2)
  • 8:00 PM: Gonzaga (8-3) @ Utah (7-5)
  • 10:00 PM: UNC (12-0) @ Nevada (7-5)
And since we will not be here tomorrow morning (I doubt many of you will be either), here is a look at what's on tap New Year's Day.
  • 2:30 PM: Villanova (12-1) @ Marquette (11-2): Two of the better back courts in the Big East go head to head. I don't see how Villanova's guards are going to be able to hand the size, strength, and quickness of Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews.
  • 4:00 PM: Stephen F. Austin (7-3) @ Texas Tech (9-4): Both of these teams score a lot of points.

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