Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The Morning After: New Mexico falls, Georgia shocks Georgia Tech
By Eamonn Brennan
The Morning After is our quasi-daily morning recap post. Try not to make it awkward.
San Diego State 74, No. 14 New Mexico 64: You may exit the New Mexico bandwagon; the door is to your left. It was just this time last week that New Mexico, having soared into the Top 25, hosted a surprising Texas Tech team at home. The Lobos* took home a 90-75 win in Albuquerque and looked for all the world to be a legitimate tournament contender. But that win came after a loss to Oral Roberts. I don't remember really considering the Oral Roberts loss when discussing the Lobos -- it happens, right? -- but put together with last night's loss to a just-OK San Diego State team, and the New Mexico train is starting to look less and less like a ride I want to be a part of. After all, this is still Steve Alford, and Alford, for as well as he's done at three mid-major schools in his career (Manchester College and Southwest Missouri State before Iowa) his failures at Iowa are still pretty fresh.
It's not that New Mexico isn't still a good team. It's just that, after two soft wins in four games, they're not the dominant mid-major their nonconference success seemed to suggest. Adjust accordingly.
Georgia 73, No. 17 Georgia Tech 66: This is the stuff rivalries are made of. Georgia Tech came into Tuesday night's game with a national ranking, a blue-chip recruit in Derrick Favors, an impressive 11-2 record, and every reason to think it could keep a far inferior Georgia team at bay. It also had its football team triple-optioning itself into the ground in the Orange Bowl. Instead, it was a very bad night for Tech: Georgia's Trey Thompkins scored 20 points as the Bulldogs defense held Georgia Tech to less than a point per possession in Athens, Ga.
This is a legitimate upset: Pomeroy ranks Georgia Tech No. 31 in the country based on adjusted efficiency, while Georgia, even after this win, floats all the way down to No. 112. This is why college basketball is awesome: Even when your team is bad -- and make no mistake, Georgia is still looking pretty bad -- for one night, it need not matter. Forty minutes of basketball at a time is too small of a sample size to be beholden to anything as reasonable as logic. That's why we love it.
No. 4 Purdue 79, Minnesota 60: Purdue just keeps rolling. Tuesday night's handy win over Minnesota pushed Purdue to 14-0, tying the best start in school history. Matt Painter is somehow convinced his team can win by 19 points, hold the opposing team to .84 points per possession, score 1.1 points per possession itself, and still play "not great." But if you think about it, his point makes sense. The Boilermakers turned the ball over 17 times last night; their turnover percentage wasn't super high (23.9 percent), but a national championship contender like Purdue will want to iron that sort of thing out before it gets too deep into conference play. Knowing Painter, it will. And then Purdue will be really scary.