Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Morning Shootaround

Last night was chock full of upsets, including Wake Forest knocking off the #1 team in the country, Duke, 70-68. Wake went up 61-48 with just under nine minutes left in the game, but that is when Duke really turned it on. The Blue Devils were helped out by some bad misses at the free throw line (Wake was just 5-10, missing two front-ends, during Duke's run) and some timely turnovers.

Down 68-66, Jon Scheyer missed a three from the wing, but James Johnson didn't box him out and was lazy going after the rebound, which allowed Scheyer to grab the board and call time out with 17.4 seconds left. Duke then got the ball in to Gerald Henderson, who finished with 20 points, and he drove and hit a 15 foot pull-up over Johnson to tie the game up with under 10 seconds left. After missed lay-ups by Al-Farouq Aminu and Jeff Teague, Henderson was called for a travel with 2.6 seconds left on the clock.

Dino Gaudio knew that Duke would go to a switching man-to-man on the out of bounds play. So what Wake did was line up with four across the baseline, with Jeff Teague in the opposite corner and James Johnson in front of the ball. They ran Teague off of three screens, the last one being Johnson. Henderson was guarding Johnson, and Nolan Smith was on Teague, but Johnson slipped the screen (meaning he never set it, he cut to the rim right before Teague got there) which meant that Smith was never in position to cover him. Johnson made a lay-up with 0.8 seconds left, and the Demon Deacons knocked off Duke.

Wake did a fantastic job defensively against Duke. It was clear the length and athleticism was bothering the Blue Devil shooters, as they shot 33% as a team (28% in the first half) and were just 4-22 from three, a staple in the Duke offense. Duke was able to hang around for a while because of their offensive rebounding (12 of their 15 in the first half), but Wake really focused on box outs in the second half.

While Duke somehow managed to outrebound Wake 47-43, the Demon Deacons still clearly had the advantage inside, outscoring the Dukies 42-24 in the paint. Johnson (13 and 11) and Aminu (15 and 10) both had double doubles while Chas McFarland added 9 and 7 before fouling out. Combined, those three had eight blocks.

The Blue Devils did a fantastic job defensively on Jeff Teague. They held the all-america candidate to just 11 points on 4-14 shooting. Teague just seemed a little bit off all game. He was hitting his jumpers and getting into the lane, but he just couldn't finish around the rim like he normally does. One guy that ended up being a real difference maker for the Deacs was Ishmael Smith. Smith was able to penetrate at will during the second half, either to score or to pass, and finished with seven points and four assists. He is a great asset for Wake in the back court along side Teague, because he takes a lot of pressure off of the sophomore in terms of PG responsibilities. When Smith is out there, Teague can worry a little more about his scoring and less about whether he is getting people involved.

The one thing that really worried me in this game (and which was a little evident in the UNC win) was Wake Forest's lack of poise down the stretch. As I said, they went 5-10 from the line, missing two front ends, turned the ball over a couple times (on bone headed plays to boot), and did not always take great shots. Down the stretch, Jeff Teague needs to be more assertive. He needs to be the one taking, and making, the big shots.

I know this isn't exactly about the game, but it is relevant. I think we've reached a point in the career of Dickie V where he shouldn't be the only color guy in the booth. Don't get me wrong, I love him, but it is getting to the point where his gimmick is cutting into real analysis. I think they need to do with him what ESPN has done with Bill Raftery. I think my favorite ESPN booth is when Raftery teams up with Jay Bilas and Sean McDonough, usually on Big Monday's Big East game. You got your x-s'and-o's guy (Bilas), your nut job/screamer (Raftery), and your play-by-play man (McDonough). Why not throw Fran Fraschilla or Steve Lavin on the sidelines with Vitale? It can't be any worse than sitting through Lavin's halftime segments where he breaks down an offense...

One more thing - as you know, I am a huge fan of dunks, and there were quite a few nice ones last night:

My favorite? Henderson's reverse dunk.

Let's get to the rest of the night's games:

  • Villanova 67, Pitt 57: Man, do I look like an idiot now... So much for Villanova being overrated. The Wildcats took advantage of Panther foul trouble (specifically, DeJuan Blair, who tallied 7 and 8 boards in 23 minutes) and were able to come back from a early 10 point deficit to win this one. Reggie Redding, who led 'Nova with a career high 18 points and 7 boards, hit two free throws with eight minutes left to start a 7-0 run that broke open a 48-48 game. Sam Young led Pitt with 14 and 9 boards.
  • Providence 100, Syracuse 94: The Orange were playing without Andy Rautins (ankle) and with a limited Arinze Onuaku (knee), which meant that they only had six healthy scholarship players available for this one. Providence got a balanced effort as Sharaud Curry led six players in double figures with 22. It is a huge win for the Friars, who now have their first marquee win on their resume. Jonny Flynn had 35 and Eric Devendorf 27 is the loss.
  • Cincinnati 65, Georgetown 57: Cincinnati got 20 from Deonta Vaughn, and the Bearcats used a 6-0 spurt with under four minutes left after Jason Clark gave the Hoyas their final lead as they sent Georgetown to their fourth straight loss. Just like with Providence, this win gives Cinci a victory over a formerly? marquee team. This loss isn't even the worst news for the Hoyas - DaJuan Summers, the Georgetown leading scorer, sat out the second half with a twisted left ankle.
  • UNC 80, Florida State 77: Toney Douglas scored 24 of his 32 points in the second half to lead FSU to a 77-74 lead. With just over a minute left, Danny Green hit an and-one lay-up. After an empty possession for FSU gave the Heels the ball with 3.2 seconds left, this happened:

    Lawson finished with 21 points, 9 boards, and 4 dimes and Danny Green added 20 as UNC overcame eight points from Tyler Hansbrough and 21 turnovers.
  • Kansas State 88, Missouri 72: Jacob Pullen had 23 points as K-State was able to figure out Missouri's press, while throwing the Tigers a trapping defense of their own. DeMarre Carroll had 19 for Mizzou, who was held 13 points below their scoring average. K-State hit 12-22 from deep.
  • LSU 79, Tennessee 73: Marcus Thornton had 29 points and Chris Johnson added 14, 14, and 4 blocks as the Tigers went into Knoxville and beat the Vols. Tennessee overcame a 14 point second half deficit, eventually taking a 69-67 lead, but an and-one lay-up by Thornton gave LSU the lead right back. Big win for the Tigers, devastating loss for the Vols, who are running out of chances to pick up key victories after losing to Memphis and Kentucky in recent weeks.
  • Ohio State 72, Michigan 54: The Buckeyes jumped out to a 19-4 lead and never looked back. Evan Turner had 24 points.
  • Louisville 80, South Florida 54: The Cardinals got 16 from Edgar Sosa and outscored the Bulls 47-22 after the break.
  • Memphis 85, East Carolina 64: Antonio Anderson had 26 in the win.
  • Davidson 92, Chattanooga 70: Curry had 32 and 8 dimes.
  • St. Joe's 68, Richmond 58
  • West Virginia 75, St. John's 52
  • South Carolina 86, Vanderbilt 76
  • Kansas 68, Nebraska 62
  • Xavier 69, Charlotte 47
  • Florida 83, Georgia 57: Nick Calathes had his second career triple double, going for 20, 13 boards, and 10 dimes.
  • Northern Iowa 59, Illinois State 55
  • Texas A&M 79, Texas Tech 70
  • Northwestern 77, Indiana 75
  • UConn 71, DePaul 49: Jerome Dyson had 18 and DePaul scored just 14 second half points.

No comments: