Big East Hoops

Archive for the 'Game Banter' category

Connecticut-Gonzaga thoughts

December 21, 2008 2:24 am by donald
  • In Price we Trust?: The amount that Connecticut depends on AJ Price is not sustainable. Late in the game, he really willed the team to victory. It was clear that he was the only UConn player with enough confidence to win the game. UConn needs another player to step up, at least in terms of confidence, if not in terms of skill.
  • Gonzaga’s game to lose: Gonzaga ought to have won that game. I came away quite impressed — Pargo, Gray, and especially Daye are serious talents. It’s damn impressive that Gonzaga has gone from a mid-major team to a possible “program”. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain the tradition.
  • Fouling out: While there was constant focus by the announcing crew on Thabeet’s foul trouble and Calhoun’s decisions to play him or not there was little talk about how Mark Few let one big man after another foul out. That was a large part of UConn’s victory.
  • Gavin Edwards’ mom: I would bet that his mom is/was totally hot. Just a hunch.

Reverting to the mean

February 23, 2008 2:25 pm by donald

Dan’l B noted that West Virginia is actually quite a good team who suffers from a low ranking because of losing a bunch of close games. UConn, up until today, had been winning a bunch of clos games. So it didn’t surprise me today that they lost in a close game against Villanova — one of these coin flips had to end up being tails. Here are the highlights, courtesy of ESPN:

Here are some quick thoughts I had. I’ll let Coach O affirm/negate my observations — perhaps he saw something different in person (if he ever made it to the game):

  • Scottie Reynolds is so absolutely dangerous when he gets his shoulders square. He has one of the best-looking shots in the Big East.
  • UConn typically plays a high post-low post game with Adrien in the high post and Thabeet in the low post. That makes sense superficially — Adrien is the power forward, is shorter, and has more basketball skills to make better decisions; Thabeet is 7’3” and is the center. But I think having Thabeet up top and Adrien down low is at least something to continue to try out. Thabeet surprised me with two great passes to Adrien down low, so perhaps his basketball skills aren’t that bad. Adrien is a better finisher than Thabeet and also can catch the ball in traffic. Here are two examples from the game:

    Both nontrivial passes — in the first one, he leads Adrien a bit, and in the second, he throws a left-handed, wraparound bounce pass.

  • Villanova has the best jerseys in the Big East (although Marquette’s powder blue uniforms are pretty close). Syracuse and UConn have the worst jerseys.

The Mountain Top, UConn, and Big East Pranksters

January 27, 2008 11:33 am by donald
  • Say hello to The Mountain Top, which covers West Virginia basketball (It’s the first blog I know about that covers West Virginia — have there been others?). The guys (or gals) over there do a good job in summarizing the WVU-Georgetown game last night. What a game it was — it came down to Da’Sean Butler driving the baseline and putting up a shot which Patrick Ewing Jr. blocked/goaltended, thus securing the Georgetown win. Check out the highlights and judge the call for yourself:

    (I have to give major props to ESPN for realizing that they could never fight sports bloggers recording their content and putting it up. Their new web video player, and the ability to embed it in any page is dope. They in turn get way more control than before– they control what content gets showed, maintain their branding, and know exactly which bloggers are doing this. Brilliant move, guys.)

  • UConn!!!!!! Calhoun sums up the gigantic win:

    “To do what we did is certainly the greatest I’ve had and it’s going to get up there since the national championship team beat Georgia Tech,” he said. “Quite frankly, they deserve more than a hug from me. They deserve one from the state of Connecticut, from the university, from our fans.”

  • Check this out. Apparently some prank callers got a handle of the weekly Big East media conference call number/passcode. Normally, journalists ask questions to the coaches in the league. This past week, the prank callers asked questions about the sexual relations between the students and players. The link has the audio of the call, which is slightly amusing.

Roy Hibbert is a magician, but that’s okay

December 22, 2007 7:30 pm by donald

Georgetown could have made it a great week for the Big East. Pittsburgh beat Duke on Thursday night to earn some much needed respect for the Beast. But today, Memphis defeated Georgetown handily, 85-71. You have to give a lot of credit to Calipari — in the first half Memphis looked lost both on offense and defense, but something Calipari did at half really lit a fire underneath the Tigers. They came out in the second half with a swagger and never looked back.

The one constant in the game was that Roy Hibbert contributed very little — he ended up with 6 points on 8 shot attempts, and only really asserted himself during a small stretch in the second half. Of course, he was going against Joey Dorsey, who is nothing short of a a cuter version of Ben Wallace. While much of the press will blame Hibbert for the loss, I don’t think he played terrible. He could have drawn more fouls (he shot 0 free throws, which is inexcusable) and been a bit more aggressive, but overall he played within the Georgetown system.

Georgetown ran into trouble today not because Hibbert disappeared (yes, that’s the reason for the title of this blog post), but because they didn’t play great defense and started their offense too late. This was somewhat an issue last year, too (see here).

What concerns me most about Georgetown and Hibbert is that Hibbert must be thinking NBA this year. He gave up a great chance last year, and certainly one of the questions about him is his assertiveness. The difficulty is that “taking over the game” isn’t really a part of the Georgetown system. Making great cuts, passing the ball, moving without the ball, ensuring good spacing on the court — these things are part of the Georgetown system. As such, it is difficult to “take over the game” without messing up the system. My fear is that Hibbert will feel he’ll need to show his assertiveness this season, but this will mess up team chemistry. I thought I started to see this happen during this sequence in today’s game:

What do you think — am I reading too much into this?

Pulling one out of their…

December 7, 2007 10:36 am by Mister D

I’m not sure how it happened, as I wasn’t able to see the game last night. But it sure seems like Villanova was down by 15 points with 3 minutes remaining in the game, and still beat LSU…in regulation. The bloggers at LetsGoNova have a good account of the action.

It seems as though LSU decided to employ the ever-popular “foul your opponent when he’s attempting a 3-pointer” strategy to ensure Villanova could get within striking distance.