Thursday, February 15, 2007
Bye, Bye 'Bama
Florida extended its nation's-longest winning streak to 17 straight and seem destined to win the SEC East with ease and enter the NCAA tournament as a #1 seed.
Alabama, on the contrary, will be lucky to get an invitation to the Big Dance unless they step up their play considerably. The loss was the second straight for "Bama, dropping them to 2nd place in the wobbly SEC West at 5-6. They trail 6-5 Mississippi, which is unranked.
Alabama's next two games are critical. They play at Kentucky on Saturday and then host red-hot Tennessee on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Both teams have better conference records and a pair of defeats would preclude a winning conference record for the Tide and probably have them watching the tourney on TV.
Top 25 Quick Update
Due to heavy snows yesterday - and digging out today - time is a little short so, I'll just recap briefly the Top 25 events from Wednesday night.
There were two upsets of note:
Duke 78 #21 Boston College 70 - Duke ended a four-game losing streak by beating the ACC-leading Eagles in Boston and putting the conference title up for grabs. 9-3 BC has a 1/2-game lead over North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech, all at 8-3. Duke evened their conference record at 6-6.
DePaul 72 #14 Marquette 67 - Lowly DePaul (6-6, 15-11) won at home, sending Marquette to their second straight loss. With just four games left on their schedule, the Big East crown seems out of reach for the Golden Eagles, though their 21-6 record should provide enough of a cushion for a decent seeding in the national tourney.
#17 Air Force 69 Utah 43 - The Falcons continue to trail unranked BYU by a game in the Mountain West.
#11 Nevada 68 San Jose St. 60 - Another double-double for Nick Fazekas (20 points, 10 rebounds). Is the Wolf Pack as good as their ranking? We'll find out in late February. Their final 3 games are against the teams closest to them in the WAC - New Mexico St., Utah St. and Boise St. Currently, Nevada leads them by 2, 3, and 4 games respectively.
#2 Ohio State 64 Penn St. 62 - Greg Oden, 15 points, 10 rebounds
#3 Wisconsin 75 Minnesota 62 - Alando Tucker, 29 points, 9 rebounds
#8 Memphis 69 Tulsa 52 - Tigers lead Conference USA at 12-0 and have won 14 straight.
#9 Kansas 75 Colorado 46 - Colorado: 27% shooting, 17 turnovers. Jayhawks are tied with Texas A&M for first place in the Big 12 at 9-2.
#10 Washington St. 65 Washington 61 - 11-3 Cougars tied with 10-2 UCLA for top honors in Pac-10. Cougars final four games: at Oregon, at Oregon St., UCLA, USC.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Creampuffs and cupcakes, anyone?
Drexel 84 (23) Syracuse 79 - Somebody needs to remind the kids at Syracuse that they're supposed to be good. Apparently, the memo didn't get to the troops at Drexel, as the Dragons dumped the Orange in the Carrier Dome with a 48-point 2nd half. For the 'Cuse, Demetrius Nichols dropped in 31, but highly-touted frosh Paul Harris was nearly invisible with 7 points on 2-5 shooting. 7-2 Drexel has won 5 straight; 9-3 Syracuse will probably drop from the Top 25 having lost their third game at home.
(6) Duke 79 Kent St 72 - the Blue Devils are young, but defense is not their strong suit. Kent St. shot 50% from the floor, but were outscored on the free throw line by 17 points. Coach K has them doing what he knows best - drawing fouls. Duke's 10-1, with the only loss to Marquette, and they've been hanging some pretty hefty scores on good teams. Obviously, more to come from Tobacco Road, but this game shouldn't have been this close.
(2) UNC 105 Florida Atlantic 52 - This is a little more like it. Tyler Hansbrough led 5 players in double figures with 20 as the Tar Heels improve to 9-1.
(20) Notre Dame 86 Portland 69 - Russell Carter had 28 and Rob Kurz 21 as the Irish won their 8th straight. With wins already over Maryland and Alabama, Notre Dame may have its most balanced team in years. Last season, the Irish lost a slew of close games. This year, they're avoiding that circumstance by blowing people away.
(3) Ohio State 75 Iowa St. 56 - Don't punch that NBA ticket for Greg Oden just yet. The Buckeyes are not yet a complete team, needing better perimeter defense and more production from the outside. In the middle they're predominant, but good transition and outside shooting can beat them. Still, they're not too bad, even though this was a 2-point game with 6 minutes left. Daequan Cook (21 points) bailed them out this time. Oden finished with 18.
(11) Kansas 94 Winston Salem 43 - a pair of sophomores, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright scored 15 each as the Jayhawks cruised to win #9 against 2 losses. This team should continue to improve as the season progresses. They already look well-prepared for conference play.
(8) Wichita St 74 Kennesaw St 65 - the Shockers shot 63% from the floor, 0-4 from 3-point range and 20-28 free throws to earn their 9th straight win without a loss. Those wins over LSU and Syracuse still look good.
(19) Marquette 80 Oakland 62 - The Golden Eagles held Oakland to 32% shooting and improved to 11-2. No flaws on this team. The Big East should again be the top conference in the nation.
Later tonight, Sam Houston at UCLA. Yawn...