Sunday, December 6, 2009
A few thoughts on Sunday's results
By Andy Katz
I attended Boston College's 61-60 win over Miami on Sunday and you can find my write-up on that game in Monday's Daily Word. For now, here are some thoughts on the other action from today:
A player that continues to be overlooked nationally: Jeremy Lin of Harvard. All he did was go for a career-high 30 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a 79-73 loss at Connecticut. The race between Cornell’s Ryan Wittman and Lin for Ivy League player of the year will be quite a chase.
Speaking of Cornell, the Big Red beat Saint Joseph's by 12 on Sunday. That means Cornell now has wins at Alabama (SEC), at UMass (A-10), at Drexel (CAA) and over St. Joe’s (A-10), all higher-rated conferences than the Ivy.
UCLA gave Kansas a game, Reeves Nelson got a shiner and the Bruins at least showed they have grit in the 73-61 loss to the top-ranked Jayhawks at Pauley Pavilion.
Was there another team that needed a win more than Clemson? The Tigers had to beat a Dominique Archie-less South Carolina team after blowing a 23-point lead to Illinois. They did just that, winning 72-61 and beating their rival for the sixth straight time.
The Gamecocks are now essentially 2-2 without Archie, who was hurt early in the loss to Miami in the Charleston Classic. South Carolina has two tough games upcoming, against Richmond and at pesky Wofford before a Dec. 30 date at Boston College.
After returning from a stress reaction in his right tibia, UCLA’s Tyler Honeycutt played for the first time and registered 19 minutes against Kansas. He was just 1-of-6 from the field for three points. Obviously it’s hard to have your first game against KU, but the Bruins will need more out of him. In the first post-Drew Gordon game for UCLA, the inside players -- Reeves Nelson, James Keefe, Brendan Lane and J’mison Morgan -- combined for 13 points.
Notre Dame desperately needs Tim Abromaitis to break out as a scorer to compliment Luke Harangody. The Irish got that Sunday when Abromaitis scored 31 points with Harangody scoring 29 in the Irish’s 90-72 win over Central Florida.
Tulsa avoided a major letdown after beating Oklahoma State by squeaking out an 81-80 win over Ohio.
Don’t sleep on Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney as a first-team all-ACC player. He lit up Georgia for 31 points in a 74-62 victory in Blacksburg. Delaney is the ACC’s leading scorer at 21.2 points a game. Virginia Tech may not finish in the top five, but Delaney will be a consistent scorer this season.
At 2-4, Creighton had been struggling quite a bit, albeit against a tough schedule. That’s why Sunday’s 67-61 win over in-state rival Nebraska was much-needed. Kenny Lawson scored 25 points and grabbed 10 boards in a victory that will potentially jump-start the Bluejays.
Arizona falling to Oklahoma 79-62 after losing to UNLV, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin means the Wildcats have few chances for power-rating points remaining. The Wildcats, trying to extend their NCAA-tournament streak to 26, still play at San Diego State and host NC State and BYU, with the Cougars possibly the only NCAA-tourney team in the bunch.
Give credit to Villanova for going into a pro-Maryland Verizon Center in D.C. and gutting out a 95-86 win on Sunday night. But one has to wonder if this isn't the exact same Terrapins from a year ago -- a team that will have to grind for just about every win it can get in order to squeeze out an NCAA tournament bid. It would help if Greivis Vasquez re-discovered his shooting touch. Maryland's star is shooting just 32 percent from the field on the season (28 percent from 3) and was just 3-of-9 against the Wildcats. He also piled up a season-high seven turnovers.