Mid-Major Stars Won't Be Going Dancing
Stephen Curry has carried the Wildcats on his shoulders for an entire season. The only remaining chance his teammates will get to repay the favor will now be in the NIT after a disastrous performance by both Curry and his teammates against Charleston in the Southern Conference Championship Semifinals.
The Cougars knocked off the 'Cats to advance to the finals of the Southern Conference Championship, sending Stephen Curry and Davidson's weak resume packing for the NIT. With only a win against West Virginia and tough losses against Duke, Oklahoma, and Purdue, Davidson doesn't stand a shot to make the tournament with an at-large bid.
Curry faced double-teams and aggressive hedges all game to knock the superstar out of his rhythm. The junior connected on just two of 11 three-point attempts, needing 18 field goal attempts and eight free throws to tally his 20 points. Besides struggling to shoot the ball, Curry also only contributed three assists, tying his season low (discounting the one game he left early injured).
Stephen Curry is legitimately a one-man team in 2009. A one-man team that dazzled the young and the old with his jaw-dropping moves in the paint and toughness to boot. A one-man team that won't get a shot to knock off the Georgetown's and Kansas's of the game. A one-man team with a little left to prove in Charlotte.
But Curry isn't the only mid-major superstar that lost his chance to put on his dancing shoes.
Tennessee-Martin put together an incredibly athletic group of players that posted a solid 22-9 record overall as well as won 14 league games. A potential NBA draft pick because of his superior athleticism, Lester Hudson spurred the Skyhawks' attack.
But in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, Tennessee-Martin couldn't knock off the one OVC team the Skyhawks couldn't beat in the regular season. Morehead State didn't contain Lester Hudson, the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, but shut down the rest of his teammates to stamp UT-Martin's ticket to the NIT.
Hudson is one of the most prolific scorers in the country, dropping over 27 points per game. He just doesn't score either. Hudson recorded a quadruple-double last year reaching double-digits in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
The senior took his one-man act into the conference semifinals and put on a show to be talked about in the Ohio Valley for years. After scoring 42 points in the quarterfinals, Hudson never stepped off the court against Morehead State, tallying 34 points, seven three-points and 10 rebounds. Hudson failed at out-scoring the Eagles, but succeeded at dominating his teammates who only scored 21 points.
Since Tennessee-Martin won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title, the NIT awards them an automatic bid.
While Stephen Curry and Lester Hudson are a one-man show, two brothers have set a multitude of records together. Twins Chavis and Travis Holmes have combined to score over 3,700 points and in the process turned the Virginia Military Institute into a Big South power.
VMI plays an up-tempo style of play that ranked first or second in pace each of the past three seasons. That tempo has produced some incredible scoring totals. The fast pace creates more opportunities to score, but talented players must be in place in order to cash in on all those chances.
Travis and Chavis Holmes can score from all over the court, in the half-court set as well as in transition (which is the overwhelming majority of the time). Together they contribute over 40 points per game this year and almost seven steals. The fraternal duo dropped 46 points against Kentucky in their season opening upset win.
Immediately the country knew that the Holmes' boys could beat anybody, anywhere. Unfortunately the Keydets' swagger began to fade, eventually losing three consecutive Big South games.
VMI righted its ship (well tank in its case), looking to take down top-seeded Radford in the conference championship game. The Holmes' twins didn't have their best games, Travis scored 12 points and Chavis notched 21, but sophomore star in waiting Austin Kenon scored 34.
The Keydets also forced the tempo and forced Radford into 27 miscues. But unlike the first matchup between the two teams which VMI won, the Keydets couldn't turn Radford's 6'11'' Belarus center Artsoim Parakhouski into a non-factor. The Big South Player of the Year, Parakhouski scored 26 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to end VMI's season.
Radford legitimately ended VMI's entire season. An NIT bid won't likely be waiting in the wings as VMI doesn't have a very good RPI and didn't win the Big South regular season title. A postseason berth may only be in the waiting if the NIT wants to raise its ratings.
This year's NCAA Tournament won't have a mid-major behemoth like Chris Kaman who led Central Michigan in 2003 to its first NCAA Tournament win since 1975. There won't be a Speedy Claxton torched the nets in 2000 as a member of the Hofstra Pride.
There won't be a high scoring duo like Loyola Marymount's Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble. The Lions are probably the only team that could out run the Keydets.
At least for the first time in awhile the NIT will be worth watching for all college basketball fans since it will be the last chance to view the greatness that is Stephen Curry, Lester Hudson, and the Holmes' Twins.
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