Wednesday Night Hoopla: Ranked Teams Dispose of Weaker Opponents

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IDecember 17, 2008

Top Teams Take Down Terrible Teams

(3) Pittsburgh 79, Siena 66

After returning all five starters from last year's NCAA Tournament team, Siena had high expectations. Eight games into the seasons, the Saints didn't have a marquee win to hang their hat on. A road game at Pittsburgh presented the Saints with a perfect opportunity to pick up that big win up, but a slow start doomed Siena.

Panther center DeJuan Blair dominated the interior, putting up 21 points and 16 rebounds. Blair has picked up where he left off from his freshman year. The stud sophomore is averaging 13 rebounds per game and has increased his scoring by three points per game. Blair is also pulling down an astounding 5.3 offensive rebounds per contest.

Siena shot themselves in the foot with terrible perimeter shooting after sinking just six of 23 three-point attempts. No Saint scored more than 12 points or grabbed more than five rebounds.

(6) Duke 99, UNC-Asheville 56

Duke dispensed over the Kenny George-less Bulldogs without any trouble at all. For awhile in the first half it looked like Duke might hang 120 on Asheville, but Coach K's 11 player rotation could only muster up a mere 47 points in the second half. Krzyzewski started five players who had just one combined start entering the game. He wanted to send a message to his players after the school's disappointing loss to Michigan.

Greg Paulus, Miles Plumlee, David McClure, Martynas Pocius, and Elliot Williams checked in to the start game and jumped out on UNC-Asheville immediately. The Blue Devils led by double-digits throughout the entire first half, stretching the lead up to almost 20 at half.

Coach K's decision to give 11 players quality minutes showed off Duke's depth and made it clear that the Blue Devils are no longer the top-heavy squad that was Duke's trademark of the past decade.

(11) Syracuse 82, Canisius 60

The Orange started out slow, but eventually put some distance between itself and the Golden Griffins.

Rick Jackson came off the bench to provide some quality minutes as the power forward, not the backup center, his role of the past two seasons. Jackson started the second half alongside Arinze Onuaku in a move that provided more size and intensity on the boards.

The move to put Jackson into the starting lineup in the second half means Belgian power foward Kristof Ongenaet could see his role reduced even further. After being a stalwart in Jim Boeheim's lineup last year, Ongenaet has continued to start each game this year, but is relegated to about 10 minutes a game when freshman Kris Joseph emerged as a solid role player.

(12) UCLA 75, Loyola Marymount 44

Ben Howland's teams have always played stout defense and this year has been no different. Not a single one of UCLA's opponents have scored over 70 points including Wednesday's night opponent Loyola Marymount.

The Lions didn't stand a chance from the get go. Loyola shot just 25 percent from the field and only hit one three-pointer out of 17 attempts.

(16) Ohio State 81, Jacksonville 68

This game stayed too close for too long for Buckeye fans to be happy. Jacksonville kept this matchup within single digits for the majority of the game despite entering the game with a 2-5 record while OSU is undefeated.

BJ Mullens has not panned out yet to be the stud freshman recruiting pundits penned him to be. Mullens played just 15 minutes against the Dolphins, posting just two points and a rebound. It looks like he won't be the third straight impact freshman center for Thad Matta.

(21) Memphis 59, Arkansas-Little Rock 51

What happens when you don't have guards that can play the point or knock down the long bomb? John Calipari is finding out quite quickly.

Against UALR, the Tigers hit just three of 20 three-pointers and turned the ball over four more times than they assisted on field goals. This pair of problems led to a narrow eight point victory for Memphis.

The Tigers have another problem as well. Calipari lacks a go to guy that can consistently get him a basket at will. Against Georgetown, freshman Tyreke Evans shot the Tigers out of the game.

Wednesday against UALR, no Tiger made more than three shots from the field. Memphis's next opponent, Syracuse, hasn't been playing the best ball lately, but it will need someone to step up to take down the 'Cuse.

(22) Michigan State 79, Citadel 65

The Spartans never really pulled away from the Citadel, but also never showed any signs of losing control of their double-digit lead.

Raymar Morgan continued his inconsistent play, but in a good way, dropping 26 points while missing just one shot in the process. Morgan has scored 20+ points five times already this year, but has only scored 33 points combined in the four games he didn't score at least 20.