College Hoops 101

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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College Hoops 101 – Dec. 19

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at that runs every Monday and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college hoops. I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key matchups in the next seven days.


Games watched in 2008-2009: 275

Games watched in 2009-2010: 327

Games watched in 2010-2011: 341

Games watched this season: 82

Teams I saw play in 2010-2011: 121

Teams I have seen play this season: 80

DETROIT 69, St. John’s 63
The Titans dedicated their court to Dickie V. prior to the start of this game. As much as I cannot stand Vitale as a color guy, I have to admit that he is a terrific ambassador for the game of college basketball. This was also Nurideen Lindsey’s last game with the Red Storm as he decided to transfer, leaving St. John’s with just six scholarship players.

Marquette 79, Washington 77
Jae F’n Crowder! He hit a three with about six seconds play to give the Golden Eagles the dramatic win. Unfortunately, starting center Chris Otule suffered an ACL injury that will likely sideline him for a while. Still, watching this game at 12:30 a.m. before hopping a 5:00 a.m. flight to Mexico meant no sleep this evening.

FLORIDA 78, Arizona 72 OT
Patric Young was an absolute beast as Arizona just didn’t have the size inside to match up with him. Still, they forced overtime when the Gators intentionally fouled with a three-point lead late in regulation, only to have the Wildcats’ Solomon Hill throw up a shot attempt as he was getting hit, and knocking down all three free throws. Talk about that decision by Billy Donovan nearly being a catastrophic backfire.

UCONN 67, Harvard 53
Since I have nothing intelligent to say about this game, let me tell you why I became a UConn fan. The only two times I have ever won a NCAA Tournament pool was in 1999 and 2004 when I picked UConn to win it all, and of course they did. Obviously, I was pissed I didn’t pick them in any of my brackets last year.

XAVIER 76, Cincinnati 53
Since I was out of the country on this day, I found out about the brawl online and immediately thought, “No Way!” Then I thought about it for all of two seconds and changed my thought to, “Actually, this sounds about right.” For the record, I absolutely loved Tu Holloway’s comments after the game saying how his team is “gangster.”

INDIANA 73, Kentucky 72
This is why, no matter what the case is, I always DVR a game involving the No. 1 ranked team in the country. It was a crazy scene in Bloomington and a monumental win for the Tom Crean Era at Indiana.

MARQUETTE 79, Green Bay 61
I’ll take this time to further my gushing over the confidence that sophomore shooting guard Vander Blue is showing this season. He looks so much more like the player I saw when he terrorized teams at Madison Memorial High School. His decision-making has drastically improved and he has gotten back to what he is best at – attacking the basket. Blue has also had some show-stopping dunks this season.

WISCONSIN 66, Savannah State 33
The Badgers are allowing a Division I-best 44.7 points per game and have held their opponents to 33 or fewer points four times this season. That’s called locking down on defense.

Ohio State 74, SOUTH CAROLINA 66
It took a while for the Buckeyes to adjust to life without Jared Sullinger again as the big men missed most of the game after injuring his foot, but they got going in the second half behind DeShaun Thomas who poured in a career-high 30 points.

Florida 84, Texas A&M 64
At halftime of this game, a Gator fan won a bunch of money for hitting a half-court shot and then proceeded to Tebow in the middle of the court. If I were president, I would implement a law where anybody who Tebows gets stoned to death.

MARQUETTE 93, Northern Colorado 72
Can Marquette players please stop doing dumb stuff causing them to be suspended for a game? First it was Juan Anderson accepting free Brewer playoff tickets forcing him to sit for three games, then it was Junior Cadougan violating a team rule and having to watch from the bench for the Wisconsin game, now it’s Darius Johnson-Odom doing likewise. For a team that thrives on using their depth and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor, Marquette needs all its healthy bodies on the floor since they are down to 10 scholarship players due to the injury to Chris Otule.

LOUISVILLE 95, Memphis 87
This game featured a ton of terrible basketball: awful decision-making and shot selection; out-of-control play resulting in 54 fouls and 83 free throw attempts; and pathetic attempts at defense by Memphis. I’ve seen better basketball played at noon at the YMCA. In fact, the Tigers would probably be better suited playing there than in an actual controlled Division I setting.

Syracuse 88, N.C. STATE 72
A month into the season and Syracuse plays its first true road game of the season, which is why it looked so strange wearing orange jerseys. If they had a Most Improved Player in college basketball, I think Dion Waiters would be a terrific candidate.

Kansas State 71, Alabama 58
In case you missed it the 46 times they mentioned it during the broadcast, Frank Martin’s son’s godfather is Anthony Grant, and Grant’s son’s godfather Martin because Martin and Grant are good friends. I’m dizzy.

Fast Forward

Butler at Gonzaga, Tues 9:00, ESPN2
This is a matchup of two of the premiere mid-major programs in the country, with both teams coming off big wins against talented opponents (the Zags against Arizona; Butler versus Purdue.) The Bulldogs have gotten off to a really slow 5-6 start and likely have to win the Horizon League to make the tournament this year. A win in a hostile environment like Gonzaga would certainly help their confidence.

Texas at North Carolina, Wed 7:00, ESPN
Despite having a young, undersized team, the Longhorns are 9-2 to start the season, including recent wins at UCLA and versus Temple. Their lack of size will be a major issue against the Tar Heels’ size inside, and it will be a major challenge for them to pull off the upset in Chapel Hill. I’m intrigued by the Kendall Marshall versus Myck Kabongo battle at the one since they are two of the top distributors in college basketball. Expect to see a lot of up and down action in this one.

Seton Hall at Dayton, Wed 6:00
Both of these teams have surprised some by getting off to solid starts. It is only December, but this game could have a lot of influence come Selection Sunday with the winner scoring a nice out-of-conference victory especially for the Pirates who will play their first true road game of the season.

Diamond Head Classic, Thurs-Sun
Xavier and Kansas State are the favorites for this rare Christmas Holiday Tournament and figure to meet in the title game. One matchup to keep an eye on is the opening round game between Xavier and Long Beach State. The Musketeers are coming off their first loss of the year, playing shorthanded without their starting guards of Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dezmine Wells, who were all suspended stemming from their part in the brawl against Cincinnati. Lyons and Wells will miss the game against the 49ers who have played a brutal non-conference schedule but scored a win at Pitt and were competitive in losses against San Diego State, Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina. Long Beach State could be poised to pull off the upset.

Memphis at Georgetown, Thurs 7:00, ESPN2
JT3 has the Hoyas as perhaps the biggest surprise teams of the season as their youth and length have really caused problems for their opponents. Plus, guys like Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson have tremendously helped the cause by making major strides with their game. The Tigers are one of the most talented teams in the country but just haven’t figured out how to play as a cohesive unit yet. They could really use this win to bolster their resume.

Florida State at Florida, Thurs 7:00, ESPNU
The Battle of the Sunshine State. The Gators live and die by their guard play, but Patric Young will have to play a major role in this one against the Seminole monster front line. Florida State does have a win against Central Florida, but has also lost to UConn, Harvard and Michigan State, so they could use a signature out-of-conference win especially since the ACC figures to provide them with a weak strength of schedule this season.

Illinois vs. Missouri, Thurs 9:00, ESPN2
This game would have brought a lot more juice to the annual Braggin’ Rights battle if it were a battle of unbeatens, but that was squashed when the Illini lost to UNLV on Saturday. Mizzou is second in the nation averaging more than 87 points per game, and will look to run all over Illinois. Bruce Weber’s team will have to keep this a half-court game and get a monster night from seven-footer Meyers Leonard, who should cause matchup issues for the Tigers’ thin frontline.

California at UNLV, Fri 5:00, CBS Sports Network
Cal already lost at San Diego State this season, so another defeat against a Mountain West would further darken the Pac-12’s black eye, especially since the Bears are considered the best team in the conference. As North Carolina found out earlier this season, UNLV can be a very tough place to play and the Rebels balance might be the difference if Allen Crabbe or Jorge Gutierrez has an off night.

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