Monday, December 28, 2009

12/28 - College Hoops Week in Review: Hope everyone had a happy holiday

What we learned this week: Could Texas actually be the best team in the country?

All season long, the Longhorns have been pegged right behind Kansas as the #2 team in the country, but after outlasting top 10 teams North Carolina and Michigan State in the last eight days, some have questioned whether or not the Longhorns truly are the best team in the country.

Before we get crazy, remember this: neither Michigan State or North Carolina is a complete team or a finished product right now. The Heels are still searching for consistency from their perimeter, while Michigan State is dealing with injuries and problems defining roles for their stars (Raymar Morgan, Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers). Yes, these two teams have the talent to be a top ten team. Yes, both are going to be in the conversation for Final Fours and conference championships come February. But right now, neither of these teams are playing up to that level.

Texas, on the other hand, is.

And the Longhorns are doing it in the most basic way - playing stauch defense on the perimeter, pounding the ball inside, and dominating on the glass. It is akin to the running game in football - you may be able to over power teams early in the season, but as more talented and complex systems begin to come to fruition, it will be the ability of Texas to adapt that will determine whether or not they succeed later in the season.

GAME OF THE WEEK: West Virginia 90, Seton Hall 84 OT

After an and-one bucket from Da'Sean Butler, this game looked to be all but over as West Virginia had taken a 75-65 lead with under a minute left in the game. But Seton Hall was far from done as Eugene Harvey sparked a miraculous comeback. After drawing a foul and hitting two free throws, Butler missed the front end of a one-and-one. Harvey knifed through the West Virginia defense, making a lay-up that cut the lead to six. After Devin Ebanks then missed a free throw, Harvey found Ferrakohn Hall open under the basket for a dunk that cut the lead to four. After forcing a turnover. Harvey hit Hazell coming off of a screen for a three that made it a 75-74 game with 16 seconds left. Butler would hit two free throws at the other end before Harvey again found Hazell, who buried a three from 25 feet to tie the game and force overtime. Before hitting those two three balls, Hazell was 2-14 from deep. All told, the Pirates went on a 12-2 run in 50 seconds.

Unfortunately, Seton Hall lost their momentum in the extra, again falling behind the Mountaineers. This time, however, WVU would hit their free throws, avoiding their first loss of the season. Hazell finished with 41 points, but was just 4-19 from deep. Da'Sean Butler had 21 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists while Ebanks added 20 points, 17 boards, and 7 assists.

They were good too:

  • Arizona 83, Lipscomb 82 OT; Arizona 76, NC State 74: In back-to-back games this week, Nic Wise hit a buzzer beater to lift the Wildcats to a win at home. One was legit, the other may not have been.
  • Arkansas 66, Missouri State 62: Rotnei Clarke hit a jumper with 4.7 seconds left on the clock, but at the other end the Razorbacks lost Caleb Patterson under the basket who tied the game on a layup at the buzzer. In the extra frame, Clarke hit a go-ahead three with 18 seconds left for the win. It was the Bears first loss of the season.
  • South Alabama 67, Florida 66: Tim Williams scored on a putback with just 1.8 seconds left as the Jaguars scored an upset in Gainesville.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Greivis Vasquez, Maryland

Many people predicted that Vasquez would be an all-american this season, and possibly the player of the year in the ACC. But Greivis, who is the focal point of every defensive scheme when the Terps take the floor, struggled early in the season. He was turning the ball over, he was missing shots, and he wasn't finding assists like he normally does. In took until the fifth game of the season before Vasquez reached double figures in points.

Greivis Vasquez finally looked like an all-american this season.
(photo credit: Seattle PI)

Since those first four games, Vasquez has found his scoring touch, but it wasn't until this week that he looked like the dominating player that had a triple-double against UNC last season. In a 2-0 week for the Terps, Vasquez averaged 26.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 8.0 apg while forcing more turnovers than he committed (4 steals to 3 turnovers) and shooting 58% from the floor and 6-10 from three. Granted, these were blowout wins against Florida Atlantic and Winston-Salem, but playing these are the types of performances you expect from a star against inferior competition. With Vasquez seemingly on track, Maryland fans hope that the Terps are now primed for a successful run through the ACC.

They were good too:
  • Devin Ebanks, West Virginia: Ebanks struggled initially in his return from suspension, but in two games this week, games where West Virginia beat Ole Miss and Seton Hall and asserted their status as Final Four contender, Ebanks averaged 18.0 ppg, 15.0 rpg, and 5.5 apg.
  • Mike Gerrity, USC: Gerrity has gotten plenty of love since he debuted in USC's demolition of Tennessee last week, but he was just as good this week, averaging 15.7 ppg as USC knocked off St. Mary's, Western Michigan, and UNLV to win the Diamond Head Classic.
  • Jimmer Fredette, BYU: BYU knocked off both Nebraska and Nevada in the Las Vegas Classic, and Fredette was the biggest reason why, averaging 28.5 ppg and 5.0 apg in the two games.
  • Trey Thompkins, Georgia: Coming off of a win against Illinois, Thompkins went for 35 points and 15 boards in a win over FAU in the Bulldogs only games this week.
  • Chris Wright, Georgetown: Wright has been struggling a big with his scoring this season, but he broke out of that slump in a big way in Georgetown's win over Harvard, going for 34 points.
  • Samardo Samuels, Louisville: Granted, it was in games against Radford and Lousiana Lafayette, but Samuels was a monster this week, averaging 23.5 ppg and 14.5 rpg. More impressive, he held Radford's Artsiom Parakhouski to just 14 points and 8 boards.
  • David Lighty, Ohio State: Most people believed that David Lighty was going to be the most important piece for the Buckeyes with Evan Turner out, and he's doing his best to live up to the expectations. He had 30 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists in a win over Cleveland State.
  • Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall: Hazell had 41 points in the loss to West Virginia.


USC has firmly thrust themselves into the national picture as they have now won six straight games. This week, they won the Diamond Head Classic out in Hawaii, solidly beating St. Mary's and UNLV in the process. We've already gushed enough about the Trojans this week, so we will leave it at that.

They were good too:
  • West Virginia Mountaineers: You hear all the talk about Kentucky and Kansas and Texas, and even the chatter about Syracuse in the Big East. No one seems to be talking about West Virginia, but maybe they should be. The Mountaineers continue to pile up wins, adding Ole Miss and Seton Hall to their list of victims. You may not find a more versatile front line than Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, and Wellington Smith. Want proof? There have been times this season where Bobby Huggins runs Butler at the point, Ebanks at the two, and Jones and Smith at the forward spots.
  • Oral Roberts Golden Eagles: ORU has beaten both Missouri and New Mexico this seaosn, the latter coming last week, despite having just seven scholarship players available after having their depth decimated by injuries.
  • UAB Blazers: After knocking off South Alabama and Cincinati two weeks ago, UAB came out against Butler this week and ran the Bulldogs off the court. UAB, led by Elijah Millsaps, has now won 10 straight games and looks to be a contender in C-USA.

  • 12/29 - 9:00 pm: Syracuse @ Seton Hall
  • 12/29 - 9:00 pm: Texas Tech @ New Mexico
  • 12/30 - 7:00 pm: UConn @ Cincinnati
  • 12/30 - 7:30 pm: William & Mary @ Maryland
  • 12/31 - 2:00 pm: Ohio State @ Wisconsin
  • 12/31 - 4:00 pm: Tennessee @ Memphis
  • 12/31 - 7:00 pm: Richmond @ Wake Forest
  • 12/31 - 8:00 pm: St. John's @ Duke
  • 1/1 - 2:30 pm: West Virginia @ Purdue
  • 1/1 - 9:00 pm: Dayton @ New Mexico
  • 1/2 - 12:00 pm: UAB @ Arkansas
  • 1/2 - 12:00 pm: Notre Dame @ UConn
  • 1/2 - 1:00 pm: Gonzaga @ Illinois
  • 1/2 - 2:00 pm: Oklahoma State @ Rhode Island
  • 1/2 - 3:30 pm: Louisville @ Kentucky
  • 1/2 - 5:30 pm: Kansas @ Temple
  • 1/2 - 6:30 pm: Michigan State @ Northwestern
  • 1/2 - 7:00 pm: Georgia Tech @ Charlotte
  • 1/3 - 2:00 pm: Houston @ Iowa State
  • 1/3 - 2:05 pm: Missouri State @ Northern Iowa
  • 1/3 - 3:00 pm: UTEP @ Texas Tech
  • 1/3 - 4:30 pm: Ohio State @ Michigan
  • 1/3 - 5:30 pm: Xavier @ Wake Forest
  • 1/3 - 7:45 pm: Clemson @ Duke

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