College Hoops 101: Feast Week Edition

turkey-dinner

By: David Kay

There was so much college basketball on TV this week that I actually did not get to eight games that I DVR’ed because I just did not have the time.  If you think I did some serious work this past week on the college hoops viewing scene (check out “The Drive” for proof), just wait until Feast Week.  Not only will I be stuffing my face with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries (no pumpkin pie for this guy, never been a fan), I will be feasting on a heavy diet of college basketball thanks to a glorious and much-needed five day weekend.  For the record, I planned on taking these days off in hopes of going to Orlando to see Marquette in the Old Spice Classic but plans fell through.  I will have to settle for sweats, a couch, and some good friends while cheering on my Golden Eagles.

As always, College Hoops 101 takes a look back on the past week in college hoops, a preview of what’s to come during the next seven days, and what I saw in the games I watched as I keep tally of my total for the year.  (By the way, I still do not have a goal for this season.  Let me tell you this though, I am Chad Ochocinco-confident that I am going to destroy the 274 game total from last year.  CHILD PLEEZ!!!)  If you have any suggestions for a goal or challenge, I will happily consider your idea.  On with College Hoops 101…

Rewind
-John Wall… welcome to Lexington.  The Kentucky super-frosh and likely #1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft hit a game-winning shot with 0.5 seconds left to help the Wildcats escape with a two-point win against Miami, Ohio.

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-No Jonny Flynn, no Eric Devendorf, no Paul Harris… No probelmo.  Syracuse knocks off Cal and North Carolina on back-to-back nights and besides Kansas, is the best team in the country right now.  Yup, you read that right.  They have size and muscle inside with Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson.  They are long and athletic on the wings with Wesley Johnson (who is as good as advertised) and Kris Joseph.  They have a lights out shooter in Andy Rautins and two fearless point guards in Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine.  I could not have been more impressed with them this week.

-The Pac-10 continues to take a beating early in the season.  Cal dropped a pair of games to ranked teams.  UCLA lost at home to Cal-State Fullerton.  Oregon State dropped to 1-3 after losing at home to Sacramento State while Loyola Marymount won at USC.  Oregon fell on the road to Portland.  Some mid-major conferences are better than the Pac-10 this year.  Believe that!

-The play of the week goes to Arizona freshman Derrick Williams.  POSTER!

Fast Forward
-Pre-season NIT could feature a Duke vs. UConn final on Friday.

-Paradise Jam will pit Tennessee and Purdue in the championship game Monday night.

-The best pre-season tournament in my opinion, The 76 Classic, tips-off on Thanksgiving with a loaded field consisting of West Virginia, Butler, Clemson, Minnesota, UCLA, Texas A&M, and dangerous mid-majors programs Long Beach State and Portland.

-The Maui Invite (Wisconsin, Arizona, Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Maryland, Vanderbilt) and Old Spice Classic (Marquette, Xavier, Florida State, Michigan, Baylor, Alabama) lack the firepower of high ranked teams but should be competitive and entertaining nonetheless.

The Drive
Games watched through 11/15: 33

Games watched this past week (home teams in CAPS): 20

#8 DUKE 74, Coastal Carolina 49
The Blue Devils start four players 6’7 or taller and will bring two 6’10 guys and 7’1 Brian Zoubek off the bench.  All but one of them is white.  Wisconsin is jealous.

ARIZONA STATE 84, Texas State 57
I only watched this game because my DVR didn’t record the UConn game.  Did you know: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s twin brother plays for Texas State?

Cal State Fullerton 68, UCLA 65, 2 OT
What a terrible, yet entertaining basketball game.  The Pac-10 is so weak this year.  UCLA is picked to finish third loses their home opener.  Oregon State is picked to finish fourth, but loses two of their first three.  Ouch.

#23 Clemson 79, LIBERTY 39
Eric Gordon’s younger brother is a freshman at Liberty.  I wonder if he originally committed to the Flames or pulled a Judas move like his bro?

SIENA 59, Northeastern 53
Maybe it was the early Tuesday afternoon start, but it took Siena, one of the top mid-majors, a while to get going.  Once they got their defensive pressure going, they looked solid.

#20 GEORGETOWN 46, Temple 45
Were these two teams auditioning for a spot in the Big Ten and nobody told me?

#23 Louisville 96, Arkansas 66
The Cards just wore down a Razorback team that dressed just six scholarship players.  Louisville was chucking away, attempting 38 three’s.

MARQUETTE 86, Maryland Eastern Shore 60
I’ll say it again.  Lazar Hayward needs to learn how to stay out of trouble or else MU is screwed.  He did drop a career-high 28 despite first half foul trouble.

#1 Kansas 57, Memphis 55
Best game of the season thus far.  A lot of great talent on the floor, and Memphis’ Josh Pastner has just joined Butler’s Brad Stevens as my two favorite young coaches in college hoops.

#10 Butler 67, NORTHWESTERN 54
There is nothing sexy about Butler, but they execute their half-court offense and are extremely fundamental.

#6 Villanova 69, George Mason 68
Wow… Nova gets a pair of huge three-pointers late from freshmen as they escape against George Mason.  The Wildcats were playing without starting center Mouphtaou Yarou who was sent home from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off with an illness.

Mississippi 89, Indiana 71
One thing is for sure; this year’s Hoosiers are MUCH more competitive than last year.  Ole Miss has a lot of athletes, but will need to stay disciplined if they are going to make a splash in the SEC.

#24 Syracuse 95, #12 Cal 73
Ahhh… I missed Bob Knight’s rants about how useful shot fakes are.  ‘Cuse is my favorite team to watch so far.  They have athletes, shooters, and size.

#4 North Carolina 77, #15 Ohio State 73
A late OSU rally falls short as UNC’s size was too much for the Buckeyes who had several key players in foul trouble early on.

ARIZONA 66, Rice 49
I know ‘Zona is young and fairly inexperienced, but they are much deeper this season and do not need to rely on the Budinger/Hill/Wise trio of last year to do all the damage.  This team will only get better under Sean Miller as the season goes on.

#6 Villanova 71, #21 Dayton 65
A night after narrowly escaping the upset bid by George Mason, ‘Nova looked like a completely different team although they did have to hold off a late Flyer rally.

#15 Ohio State 76, #12 Cal 70
Despite his porno name and receding hairline, Dallas Lauderdale was very impressive for the Buckeyes and is really their only low post presence.

#24 Syracuse 87, #4 North Carolina 71
Read the “Rewind” portion for more on this game.

MARQUETTE 87, Grambling State 41
Grambling State shot the ball like a 4th grade girls rec-league team.  I am not sure if it is because they suck really bad or if MU just played some solid D’, but I would lean towards them sucking.

#6 Villanova 79, Mississippi 67
‘Nova wins the competitive Puerto Rico Tip-off without two of their top players.  Antonio Pena is one of those “glue guys” replacing Dante Cunningham in the Wildcats’ line-up.

Marquette Opens With Xavier at Old Spice Classic

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By: David Kay

I already took vacation days during Feast Week.  That’s how much good college basketball is played during the week of Thanksgiving.  Plus, I am holding out hope that I will be eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing with Mickey, Minnie, and friends in Orlando in between watching Marquette play at the Old Spice Classic.  To quote Jerry Maguire, “Who’s coming with me?”

The brackets have been released for that four-day tournament with the Golden Eagles drawing a tough opening round match-up against Xavier.  That game will be played Thanksgiving afternoon at 1:00 CST with either Michigan or Creighton waiting in the wings for MU depending on the outcome of their first games.  The field also includes 2009 NCAA Tournament teams Florida State and Baylor, as well as Alabama and Iona.  (Click here for the complete Old Spice Classic bracket)

Xavier is coming off a 27-8 season in which they were bumped out of the tourney in the Sweet 16 by Pitt.  With that being said, the Musketeers have suffered some major loses this off-season.  Head coach Sean Miller bolted to re-build the Arizona Wildcat program and was replaced by assistant coach Chris Mack.  The defending Atlantic 10 champs took an even bigger hit on the court as their top three scorers from this past season have all moved on.

Still, Xavier will be a very formidable early season challenge for a re-loading Marquette team.  Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford (the dude who hit the mainstream because he dunked on LeBron and Nike confiscated the tape) will help pick up the scoring load along with returning guards Terrell Holloway and Dante Jackson.  Starting center Jason Love and seven-footer Kenny Frease should provide some challenges inside for MU.

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Last Thanksgiving Marquette played in the Chicago Invitational; beating Northern Iowa in the Semifinals, but losing to Dayton in the championship game.

This is a great link for a list of which teams are competing in pre-season tournaments being played in November.