Sunday, February 04, 2007
There were 22 games involving Top 25 teams on Saturday. Everybody except Duke and Pitt were on the court and 8 of those ended up on the wrong side of the score. Even in the one game between two ranked teams, the lower one, #10 Texas A&M, scored an upset over the higher, #6 Kansas. The game was played on Kansas' home court, so maybe the two will change positions in Monday's new poll, though nobody's holding their breath.
On to the action (losers first):
NC State 83 North Carolina 79 - This wasn't just big, it was huge. #3 North Carolina looked like a shoo-in to take over the #2 ranking in the next poll after Wisconsin and UCLA both suffered losses during the week. It was not to be. The Wolfpack sizzled at 60% shooting from the field, including 8-15 3-pointers, and in the process, further muddied the ACC waters. North Carolina's loss, coupled with Boston College's win over Virginia Tech, hoisted two unranked teams, BC and Virginia, to the top of the conference standings.
Texas A&M 69 Kansas 66 - Acie Law played 39 minutes and scored 23 points to lead the #10 Aggies to their most important win of the season. By virtue of Texas' loss to Kansas State, A&M wriggled out of a 3-team logjam atop the Big 12 and came out on top, a game better than #6 Kansas and #22 Texas.
USC 71 Oregon 68 - The Trojans proved that their win at Oregon was no fluke, holding off a spirited late rally by the #9 Ducks for the win. Oregon has had a tough week, losing to both SoCal teams. UCLA beat them on Thursday, securing first place in the Pac-10. On Saturday, USC relegated Oregon to middle of the pack status and moved into a tie with Washington St. for 2nd place at 8-3. USC plays UCLA at Pauley Pavilion this coming Wednesday.
USC shot 60% for the game while holding the Ducks to just 33% (22-66). The disparity in shooting percentage was mandatory for the Trojans as they were outrebounded 41-20, an area they must address in the near term.
Colorado 89 Oklahoma St. 77 - This was not expected to happen. Colorado was just 1-7 in the conference going in and 3-7 at home overall. But senior guard Dominique Coleman scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Teammates Kalvin Bay and Richard Roby contributed 21 and 20 respectively to pull off one of the more stunning upsets of the day. #12 Oklahoma State fell to 5th place in the Big 12 at 4-3.
Boston College 80 Virginia Tech 59 The #16 Hokies fell for the second straight time to an unranked opponent. On Wednesday, they lost at home to NC State, 70-59, and on Saturday took their show on the road. The loss boosted Boston College into a first-place tie with Virginia at 7-2 and dropped the Hokies to 4th place at 6-3. Senior forward Jared Dudley matched his season high with 30 points for the Eagles while snatching 13 rebounds (7 offensive) for his 8th double-double of the season.
South Florida 69 Notre Dame 63 - Another poor performance on the road sent the #21 Fighting Irish to their 5th loss of the season and 4th out of 6 on the road in . Colin Falls had 26 points for Notre Dame, but McHugh Mattis had 23 as the Bulls took an early lead and never relinquished it. The Bulls outrebounded Notre Dame 48-38 and outscored them from the foul line, 20-6. The loss dropped the Irish to 6-4 in the heady Big East.
Kansas St. 73 Texas 72 - #22 Texas' Kevin Durant had 32 points and 9 rebounds but Cartier Martin (27 points) hit a 3-pointer and two key free throws to send the visiting Wildcats to their 6th straight Big 12 win and into a second place tie with rival Kansas at 6-2. Unranked K-State plays next at Kansas on Wednesday while Texas has a date at #10 Texas A&M on Monday night.
Georgia Tech 80 Clemson 62 - Georgia Tech ended a four-game losing streak and demolished the #25 Tigers in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets outshot Clemson 46-41% and won the battle of the boards, 44-28. Clemson, undefeated at 17-0 just 3 weeks ago, has dropped 5 of their last 6, all ACC games. At 4-5, they are alone in 7th place in the conference.
Saturday's Top 25 Winners:
#1 Florida 91 Tennessee 78 - The Gators run their streak to 14 straight wins, currently the longest in the nation. They lead the SEC East at 8-0.
#2 Wisconsin 69 Northwestern 52 - The Badgers recovered from their first conference loss with a convincing home win. Alando Tucker had 20 points and 9 rebounds. Running mate Kammron Taylor scored 15.
#3 Ohio St. 63 Michigan St. 54 - Greg Oden led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds (7 offensive), keeping the Buckeyes tied for first place with Wisconsin in the Big 10.
#5 UCLA 82 Oregon St. 35 - In one of the most lopsided games of the season, the Bruins shot 58% overall and hit 7-15 3-pointers. 11 different players scored for UCLA as bench sitters got extended playing time as the Bruins built a 30-point halftime lead.
#10 Texas A&M 69 #6 Kansas 66 - See recap above.
#11 Memphis 88 SMU 52 - Memphis improved to 9-0 in Conference USA and won their 11th straight overall. They lead by 3 1/2 games and may end up being the only representative from that watered-down conference in the NCAA tournament.
#13 Butler 66 Wisconsin-Milwaukee 47 - The 22-2 Bulldogs won their 14th straight home game without a loss.
#15 Nevada 69 Hawaii 68 - Nick Fazekas had 21 points and 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season as the Wolf Pack survived a scare from the visiting Rainbow Warriors.
#17 Air Force 88 Wyoming 43
#18 Washington St. 48 Arizona St. 47 - The Cougars squeezed out a road win to improve to 19-4 and remain tied for 2nd in the Pac-10 at 8-3.
#19 Alabama 64 South Carolina 61 - The Crimson Tide won their second straight, improving to 4-4 in the SEC West, good enough for a 1/2-game lead over Mississippi and Auburn.
#20 Arizona 84 Washington 54 - The Wildcats won for just the 3rd time in their last 9 games.
#23 Stanford 90 California 71 - The Cardinal won the boards 43-29, shot 54% and hit 22-24 free throws for a much-needed road win.
#24 Vanderbilt 66 Georgia 61 - The Commodores avenged an earlier loss at Georgia with 20 points from Derrick Byars and 19 from Dan Cage.
With the Super Bowl taking most of the sports interest today, only one Top 25 team will see action on Sunday as #8 Duke hosts Florida State.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Ones to Watch on Saturday
12:00 pm Louisville 16-6 (6-2) at Villanova 14-7 (3-5) - Two teams with plenty of upside, both headed for the NCAA Tournament. Villanova needs to get back into the Big East race while Louisville can earn conference credentials with a road win.
3:30 pm #9 Oregon 19-3 (7-3) at USC 17-6 (7-3) - Second straight road game for the Ducks, and the first one didn't go well, losing to UCLA on Thursday. A win by the Trojans puts them back in the top 25 and tightens their hold on 2nd place in the conference.
4:00 pm #4 Ohio St. 19-3 (7-1) at Michigan St. 17-6 (4-4) - Road wins are essential and the Buckeyes need to win in East Lansing. The Spartans are likely a sleeper NCAA team and could upset.
5:30 pm UNLV 19-4 (6-2) at BYU 16-6 (6-2) - Winner will get eyeballs from the poll voters and likely stay tied with #17 Air Force in the Mountain West. The Falcons host Wyoming today.
7:00 pm Georgia 13-7 (5-3) at #24 Vanderbilt 15-7 (5-3) - Both teams seemed destined to dance in March, but suffered losses in their most recent outings. Georgia already has a win over the Commodores, 85-73 on January 13, so some home cookin' should be in order. The Bulldogs, however, are a tough beat.
8:00 pm #21 Notre Dame 18-4 (6-3) at South Florida 11-11 (2-6) - This may look like an easy date for the Fighting Irish, but South Florida isn't too bad, the Big East is balanced and Notre Dame has struggled on the road. Time for them to grow up.
9:00 pm #10 Texas A&M 18-3 (6-1) at #6 Kansas 19-3 (6-1) - Phog Allen Fieldhouse will be rockin' and rollin' with the best game of the day and 1st place in the Big 12 on the line. The Aggies have never beaten Kansas in the five years they've been in the conference. Billy Gillespie's mind will be on defending the Jayhawks' Brandon Rush, one of the top players in the nation. This should be fun.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Top 25 Not Representing the Best
The Crimson Tide has been beaten repeatedly in conference games, and Arizona was a 28-point home loser to North Carolina on Saturday after losing 4 of 6 conference games. Their inclusion brings the value of the entire poll into question.
In any case, they got a few things right. Vanderbilt, Texas and Stanford were included in this week's poll (replacing LSU, Indiana and USC), but Georgetown, Georgia and Virginia didn't get in. Heck, Virginia and Georgia only got 11 votes apiece.
Good thing there's a tournament at the end of the year so we're able to determine which teams really are contenders and which are pretenders (and from the looks of it, there are plenty of the latter).
There were only three Top 25 games on Monday night, so here are the highlights:
Butler 71 Illinois-Chicago 45 - The Flames were snuffed out by #13 Butler, limited to just 30% shooting on the night. The Bulldogs avenged a Jan. 10, 73-67 overtime loss at Ill-Chicago, improving to 20-2 on the season and 8-1 in the Horizon League. Junior forward Pete Campbell matched his season high with 17 in just 25 minutes on the floor.
Kansas 76 Nebraska 56 - #6 Kansas used a 27-0 first half run to humble Nebraska in front of 12,000+ disappointed Cornhusker fans. Brandon Rush continued his scoring assault with 20 points, leading all scorers. Rush is averaging 16.4 in Big 12 play.
Pittsburgh 65 Villanova 59 - The Pitt Panthers also proved to be road-worthy, winning on their cross-state rivals' floor in Philadelphia. Levance Fields lit up the Wildcats with 20 points and the Panthers hit on 8 of 19 3-point attempts. #7 Pitt improved to 20-3 overall and 8-1 in the Big East, increasing their lead over Marquette (6-2) to a game and a half. Pitt gets a deserved rest, as their next game isn't until Feb. 7, at West Virginia. Marquette will try to keep pace, hosting Providence on Saturday.