Thursday, March 18, 2010
Nova Survives in OT; BYU over FL in 2OT; Old D. Ousts ND
BYU, which had led by as many as 13 points, needed two overtime periods to post a rare win for the Cougars over the Florida Gators, 99-92. Jimmer Fredette, one of the highest scoring players in the nation, was on the money for 37 points. The Cougars will face the winner of the Kansas St.-North Texas match-up in the West region.
Old Dominion dealt with Notre Dame's slowdown "burn" offense and added their own defensive touches, holding the Irish to 37% shooting and star Luke Harangody to a 2-for-9 effort and 4 points. The Monarchs march on to the second round with the 51-50 win.
Villanova needed to get a slew of questionable calls from the refs plus overtime in order to advance past a very capable Robert Morris squad, 73-70. The Wildcats were down by as many as 9 points and trailed the Colonials throughout the game. Villanova took 40 trips to the foul line, in comparison to just 26 for Robert Morris. Villanova played poorly most of the contest, though Scottie Reynolds managed to pull the Wildcats even late in regulation by making almost all of his free throws in the second half. He could have given Villanova the lead with under a minute remaining, but missed his only free throw of the game.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Cougars on the Prowl; Conference Tourneys Coast-to-Coast
#14 BYU advanced to the semi-finals of the Mountain West tourney with a 95-85 win over unranked TCU. They will play UNLV on Friday with hopes of reaching the final, ostensibly against #1 seed New Mexico, which has a date in the other semi-final with San Diego State. There's a good possibility that no matter which way the remaining games play out, all four semi-finalists could receive bids to the NCAA tourney. UNLV might be the last team out, so a win over BYU could be huge for them.
Leading the scoring barrage for the 29-4 Cougars was junior guard Jimmer Fredette, who poured in 45 points - his second-highest single game point total of the season - on 10-for-23 shooting and 23 of 24 free throws. Fredeete hit only 2 three-pointers, but also snatched 4 rebounds and dished out 6 assists without committing a single foul.
Fredette leads the Cougars in scoring and assists. BYU lost only three times in Mountain West play, twice to conference champion New Mexico. They split a pair of games with UNLV, each team winning on their home floor.
Notable: No bids were handed out on Thursday, but more are due each remaining day up to the Selection Sunday deadline. The Big East continues to prove itself the best conference top to bottom as three of the four teams which received double byes - Syracuse, Villanova and Pittsburgh, were defeated, respectively, by Georgetown, Marquette and Notre Dame. The 4th double-bye entrant, West Virginia, needed a desperation 3-point bank shot by Da'Sean Butler at the buzzer to break a 51-all tie and send home Cincinnati.
Georgetown faces Marquette, while West Virginia will square off with Notre Dame, winners of seven straight, in semi-fianl games Friday night.
Texas proved to be vulnerable once again, losing to Baylor, 86-67, in the second round of the Big 12 tourney. The Longhorns appear to be headed for a one-and-done NCAA appearance after starting the season with a 17-0 record and going 7-9 since then. Among the Texas troubles are inconsistent guard play, no inside presence (Dexter Pittman is just a big lump most of the time) and a general lack of enthusiasm. They're likely to be seeded somewhere between a #8 and a #12, ripe territory for elimination.
The PAC-10 may send only one team to the tourney, as Arizona State lost to Stanford, 70-61 in the opening round of the conference tourney. The Sun Devils finished second to Cal in the standings, but now appear to be in jeopardy of missing out on further post-season play. Cal thumped Oregon in their tourney opener and seem headed to the final on Saturday. The only remaining hope for the PAC-10 would be Washington - third during the regular season - after their 59-52 win over Oregon State. The 22-9 Huskies face Stanford, while Cal plays UCLA in semi-final games Friday. Washington could get an invite with a win over Stanford, but beating Cal in the final would ensure an automatic selection.
It's official: Two stalwarts of the NCAA tournament, North Carolina and Connecticut, will be missing from this year's field. Both lost opening games in their conference tourneys and appear headed for NIT bids. North Carolina was bounced out of the ACC tourney Thursday by Georgia Tech. UConn lost to St. John's on Tuesday.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Fredette's 36 Points Lift BYU; Texas Irrelevant; Purdue Tops Buckeyes
With a scorer like Jimmer Fredette (tied for 14th nationally at 21.5 ppg), the BYU Cougars could make quite some noise in the NCAA tournament. The 6'2" junior guard poured in 36 points Wednesday night, leading the Cougars to a 92-70 road win at Colorado State. Fredette hit 12 of 22 shots, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range, adding 5 boards and 6 assists for one of his best games of the season. His high point total was 49 at Arizona. He scored 36 in recently in a home game against the Utah Utes.
The win moved BYU closer to Mountain west leader New Mexico. BYU is 9-2 in the conference; the Lobos are 10-2 and have a win over the Cougars in hand, though the rematch will be at BYU next Saturday. No matter the outcome of that game, both teams are locks to make the Big Dance, and the conference could end up sending as many as four teams to the tourney. Both San Diego St. and UNLV stand at 19-7 overall, and, with the dearth of quality in the PAC-10, those two could slip in behind the Lobos and Cougars.
Notable: The eyes of Texas may be upon coach Rick Barnes, but his players must take much of the responsibility for the Longhorns' horrible showing in conference play. The Longhorns lost for the 6th time in their last 9 outings, dropping an 82-77 decision at Missouri Wednesday night.
While still 20-6 overall, Texas is tied for 6th in the Big 12, at 6-5, and looks like a team that will make an early exit in the NCAA tournament. There are just 5 games remaining in conference play for the Longhorns, and three of those are on the road. The team just looks irrelevant at this point.
Purdue ended Ohio State's 6-game win streak while extending their own to 8 with a 60-57 win on the Buckeyes' home court, pulling the 10-3 Boilermakers to within 1/2 game of Big Ten leader Michigan State (11-3). With a road win over the Spartans in hand, Purdue will have ample opportunity to take home the Big Ten hardware. They host Michigan State on Sunday, Feb. 28. A win would virtually assure them of the conference title, since they close out with a home game against Indiana and a road game at Penn State. Those two have a combined record in conference of 4-22.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Fredette's 49 Makes Cougars 13-1
For years, college football fans have railed against the BCS for ignoring the smaller conferences in their rankings and bowl selections. The same bias seems to have spilled over into college hoops, where the current crop of Top 25 teams includes just three small conference schools: Temple, New Mexico and UAB, with Butler and Gonzaga dropping out. Pollsters might be wise to respect the results of the last few NCAA tournaments, in which schools from unknown, smaller conferences have made significant impact.
One team from the Mountain West (same conference as New Mexico) that is catching some attention but still hasn't cracked the Top 25 is BYU, now at 13-1, after having pasted PAC-10 foe, Arizona, 99-69, for their 8th straight win and thrid straight against major conference opponents (previous wins include Arizona St. and Nebraska).
Part of the reason for the Cougars' success has to be the play of junior guard Jimmer Fredette, currently among the nation's leading scorers, averaging over 21 points per game. In Monday's win, Fredette poured in a career-high 49 points, on 16-for-23 shooting, including an incredible 9-for-13 from beyond the arc. Fredette, a 93% free throw shooter, missed scoring 50 by failing on just one of his 9 attempts from the freebie line. He also dished out 9 assists, grabbed 7 rebounds and recorded a pair of steals.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Falcons Floored Again, BYU Excels
BYU (18-6, 8-2) claimed sole possession of first place in the conference with a 77-72 win at Wyoming. Meanwhile, #16 Air Force was grounded at San Diego State, 62-41 and dropped to 2nd place at 7-3 (20-4 overall). BYU has already beaten the Falcons, 61-52, on January 27, but Air Force continues to be ranked due to a couple of quality wins over Stanford and Texas Tech back in November.
However, it's now February and BYU has won 5 straight. The Cougars play at Air Force on Feb. 27. By then, they may have the conference title wrapped up because the Falcons have road games at New Mexico, TCU and UNLV in the mix before then. Stay tuned.
In other Top 25 lunacy, how is it that the two top teams in the ACC - Virginia and Boston College - aren't ranked? They've kind of snuck up on the voters, but not the public or opposing ACC coaches.
Virginia won again last night, at Maryland, 69-65, improving to 8-2 in the conference and sole possession of first place as BC was idle. North Carolina (6-2) and Duke (5-4) are chasing, and one of them is going to drop further behind as the Tar Heels play at Duke tonight. Lost in the confusion are two quality programs, Virginia Tech (6-3) and Florida State (5-4), at free-falling Clemson tonight.
In the only other game involving a Top 25 team last night, Ohio State bested Michigan at home, 76-63. Mike Conley Jr. led the Buckeyes with 23 points. Super frosh Greg Oden scored 15 and pulled down 8 boards.
14 Top 25 teams take to the court Wednesday night, so check back here tomorrow for updates. In addition to the UNC-Duke game, #19 USC is at #2 UCLA in the only other matchup between two ranked teams.