College Basketball Nation: Benny Moss
January, 29, 2010
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
To send me your links, hit me up on Twitter. Onward:
- Coach K has been thinning his rotation in recent weeks. Freshmen Mason Plumlee and Andre Dawkins aren't logging nearly as many minutes as they did before the season. What does it all mean? Well, it means Duke's big three -- Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith -- are stuck playing more minutes than before, which could, theoretically, lead to some fatigue. (This was not a difficult equation to figure.) It could also mean nothing: Fretting about Duke's rotation is nothing new, and the aforementioned big three are highly conditioned athletes in their early 20s with years of college hoops experience under their respective belts. Does Duke really need to be deep? The lads at Duke Basketball Report seem unconvinced.
- Mike DeCourcy looks at historical trends and current lineups and figures out who has the right combination of pro talent, post scoring, guard play and coaching to make a legitimate run at the national title. There are few surprises in the offing, but it's an interesting way to whittle the wheat from the chaff.
- SI's Pablo S. Torre wrote about Harvard's hoops resurgence in this week's Sports Illustrated. Torre went to Harvard, and this led New York Times writer Pete Thamel to question the veracity of Torre's story, leading to a totally awesome and unexpected Twitter spat between the two. (Thamel said he was merely reminding folks that Torre gave a "warm fuzzy hug to his alma mater." Uh, thanks?) Anyone following both on Twitter felt a little like a child watching his parents fight. No! Stop it! Stop yelling at each other! Don't question Mommy's journalistic integrity! Something like that, anyway.
- SB Nation's Blogger Power Rankings have Kansas on top of Syracuse, but only by a smidge. Will it be the same after the weekend?
- UNC-Wilmington coach Benny Moss resigns. This may or may not have had something to do with Wednesday's 40-point loss to Hofstra.
- Rush The Court opines on the latest college basketball hoops phenomenon ... rushing the court. Like everyone else in the world (including yours truly), RTC is shocked and appalled at the behavior of you darned college kids, with your MySpaces and your Nintendo. Stop it, already! Get off my lawn!
- A breakdown of the Mountain West's bubble. At-large teams, ahoy.
- In honor of former N.C. State women's coach Kay Yow, Oregon wore some delightfully tacky white and pink uniforms on Thursday night. Yow's logo was stiched on the uniforms as well. And, to be honest, these unis are not all that bad. (Not that it would matter if they were; aesthetics are beside the point here.) I'm being serious. Oregon takes its fair share of guff for its ugly uniform combinations, but, much like BYU's uniforms for Saturday, these unis pass muster.
- Indy Star reporter Terry Hutchens does a few man-on-the-street interviews with Indiana fans to gauge what he calls a "hint of dissatisfaction" among Indiana fans with coach Tom Crean. (For more on this weird phenomenon, go here.) Most of those interviewed remain pretty positive, though there is the obligatory "this coach doesn't run motion offense like Coach Knight" quote: "I like the enthusiasm of Tom Crean, but I have to say I am not impressed by his coaching style," [1978 grad Bruce] Kinsey said. "I see a lack of motion, picks and screens, and movement without the basketball." For those who didn't know, in Indiana, there is only one way to play offense, and that is the same way the Hoosiers played it in 1976. Ignore 30 years of basketball theory. Ignore the success Kentucky coach John Calipari has had playing a dribble-drive system. Just set screens! It's that simple!
- Kyle Whelliston spends the night in the Palestra, hears voices, lives to tell the tale.
- Using the power of statistics and projections, Buster Sports breaks down what would happen if Kentucky played the New Jersey Nets right now. Spoiler alert: The Nets win. Let's assume Buster didn't run the numbers for Kansas because the same result would happen. Though it might be a bit closer.
- Wisconsin's Jon Leuer's wrist is improving, but no one is saying when he'll be back -- only that he won't be ready in a week. That precludes an appearance in the Badgers' lineup for a showdown with Michigan State Tuesday.
January, 28, 2010
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com
Something I didn’t think I would see: Providence ahead of Connecticut in the Big East standings. PC is 4-4, UConn is 3-4.
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaBilal Dixon and Providence had reason to celebrate after an 81-66 win against UConn.
How about this quote from PC coach Keno Davis: “We can beat anybody in the country. We have enough talent, but we have to play extremely hard.’’ I’m not sure I’m buying that proclamation, but it’s good to know Davis has that much confidence in his crew.
UConn’s win over Texas was as impressive a W as we’ve seen this season. But I knew if Connecticut was an elite team the Huskies had to win a game on the road that they’re supposed to -- and they didn’t. It’s odd looking at the Big East standings and seeing UConn ranked No. 19 yet in 11th place in the league.
- Not sure there was as impressive a road performance in the SEC (save Kentucky winning at Florida) as Vanderbilt’s win at Tennessee. The Commodores got spirited production out of Jermaine Beal (25 points) and held the Vols to 6-of-20 on 3s. Vandy goes into Kentucky on Saturday with a chance to actually build a two-game lead on the Cats. Huh?
- No one should fault BYU for losing at New Mexico, 76-72. The Pit is and will be one of the toughest places in the country to play, and I can tell you from years covering the Lobos that there is no opponent that gets the place as amped as the Cougars. BYU remains the MWC favorite even with the loss to the Lobos. But UNM desperately needed the win to stay in the race.
- Memphis coach Josh Pastner picked up a quality road W by winning at Marshall to keep the Tigers in the C-USA league race.
- Villanova’s 18-1 record and 8-0 mark in the Big East after beating Notre Dame is as impressive as any in the country. But the Wildcats' schedule is back-loaded with road games at Syracuse, Georgetown and West Virginia that will be tough to tackle.
- In a 95-83 win over Texas Tech, Texas coach Rick Barnes did shorten his bench as promised. Barnes went with primarily eight players with Alexis Wangmene and Jai Lucas only getting a few minutes. The primary bench players were Gary Johnson, Jordan Hamilton and J’Covan Brown. It helped that Dogus Balbay wasn’t in foul trouble.
- Duke won again at Cameron. I just don’t see the Blue Devils losing at home. So that’s eight ACC wins right there. The Devils have already won at Clemson. So that’s nine. Pick up at least two road wins out of BC, Miami or Virginia (don’t see UNC or Maryland) and the Blue Devils will likely win the league with 11 wins. That’s unless Maryland decides to string together a bunch of road wins.
- It’s hard to call out must-wins, but Illinois desperately needed to beat Penn State on the road to move to 5-3 in the league. The Illini are in the soft portion of the schedule that they must dominate.
- Florida is winning the games it should at home now with a 79-63 win over Georgia to move to 4-2 and move closer to an NCAA berth after two NIT years.
- Drexel snuffed out Northeastern’s win streak at 11 (which was the third-longest in the country) with an impressive 61-48 win on the road.
- Hard to generate buzz for William & Mary now after the Tribe lost to James Madison by a deuce to fall to 6-4 in the CAA.
- Hard not to cheer for Oklahoma State to beat Texas A&M on Wednesday, the ninth anniversary of the tragic plane crash that killed 10 people associated with the program. OSU beat the Aggies to move ahead of them in the standings at 4-2 (A&M is 3-3).
- Impressive that Oklahoma beat Iowa State with Willie Warren and Tony Crocker sitting out due to sprained right ankles. What a night for freshman Tommy Mason-Griffin, who had 38 points and 6 assists. Iowa State’s NCAA season is over with a 1-4 mark in the Big 12. Too much ground to make up at this juncture.
- What has happened to LSU’s offense? The Tigers led Alabama at the break, but scored just 13 points in the second half. Tasmin Mitchell and Bo Spencer were a combined 4-of-18 in the 57-38 loss at Alabama. The defending SEC champs are now 0-6 in league play.
- Believe it or not, Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins had an eight-point play in the Pride's 93-54 win over UNC Wilmington. He scored on a layup and was fouled. But it was ruled an intentional foul and then Wilmington’s Benny Moss got a technical for arguing. Jenkins hit all four free throws (two for the intentional and two for the technical) and then Hofstra got the ball because of the intentional foul and Jenkins scored off the inbound pass with a floater. In five seconds, the score went from 26-9 to 34-9. Wow.
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