Conference Games of Note
In the Big East, Syracuse traveled to Pittsburgh and left on the wrong end of a 78-60 game.
The first half started ugly, and Pitt loved every minute of it. The Panthers may not be the best overall team in the nation, but they sure do have an argument for the best defense. Syracuse was held to 20 points fewer than their average and was out-rebounded 37-24.
The only quality entertainment of the first half was when Syracuse senior Steve Andress joined the broadcasting crew as guest announcer of the “Campus Connection” promotion. I was hoping for a classic Brian “Boom goes the dynamite!” Collins performance, but Andress did a good job, even shrugging off the fact that his microphone all but turned off.
For Syracuse, though, Andress’ performance was the only bright spot of the night, as Pitt put together a complete team effort on both ends and pulled away in the second half, thanks in large part to Sam Young’s 22 points and six rebounds.
DeJuan Blair, despite his 20 and 12 night, proved to be officially too cool for school. Blair has shown some personality all year, but last night was the worst of the year: Blair laughed, clapped, and trash-talked his way through all 40 minutes, even tossing the ball at Arinze Onuaku after Blair was called for an offensive foul.
I know Pitt is a team unity squad, but I’m not convinced Blair is on the same page with Jamie Dixon’s team approach. That said, the kid is rock solid down low. He simply owns the paint.
Speaking of Pitt characters: I don’t want to take away from Levance Fields’ excellent career, because Fields is everything a point guard should be, but I’m still somewhat convinced that despite all the game film on the kid, opponents still take him lightly because of his appearance. I mean, let’s be honest: If you took a quick glance at the 5'10", 190 Fields in a pair of pants and a regular shirt, would you think he was:
A) A Division I point guard
B) A cast member of So You Think You Can Dance
C) A disgruntled Sun Belt Conference tailback mad that the big schools didn’t recruit him
D) The sensitive but troubled guy on The Real World
I’m going out on a limb and saying there wouldn’t be a bunch of “A’s” if we polled a thousand people.
Syracuse has some weird-looking dudes. There, I said it.
In the Big XII, Kansas put it on Texas A&M from the tip and never let up, embarrassing the Aggies 73-53. Texas A&M shot an agonizing 33 percent from the field, turned it over 20 times, and no player even scored double-digit points.
The Aggies have now lost three of their last four and head to Texas for their next game.
For Kansas, Jayhawk fans have to feel good about the future. At 14-4 with a roster chock full of freshmen and sophomores, it looks like Bill Self’s kids will be competing for another title sooner rather than later.
Just for fun, watch the Jayhawk big men run the high-low next time Kansas is on TV. I’m convinced that nobody does it better.
The America East Conference produced the game of the night on Monday, as Boston edged Stony Brook 99-97 in four overtimes. Four of Boston’s starters played more than 50 minutes, and John Holland played all 60 minutes, scoring 29 points. Holland’s teammate Corey Lowe racked up 33 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
Wake Forest: Duh. The Demon Deacons are balling.
Notre Dame’s bench: It’s becoming clear that the Irish aren’t going to win close games against good teams. Notre Dame’s top five is as good as nearly any in the country, but you can’t ask these kids to go the distance night in and night out and still get production.
Boston’s John Holland and Corey Lowe went a combined 10-17 from the three-point line in last night’s thriller over Stony Brook.
Providence guard Jeff Xavier’s brother did not come onto the court last night. Hooray.
What’s wrong with Wichita State? When Greg Marshall took over the program nearly two years ago, it looked like the Shockers would pick up where they left off. Instead they have gone in reverse, currently sitting at 1-6 in the Missouri Valley and 7-11 overall.
Notre Dame’s Kyle McAlarney has taken 213 shots this season. 154 of them are three-pointers.
The Big East’s bottom five is so bad it hurts.
The best-laid plans
Coming to a YouTube near you: The Bradley Bears decided to make a rap video this preseason, “The MVC Shuffle.”