Three-point play: February 7, 2010

Saturday was filled with statement games by some teams looking to earn respect on the national scene. It was a great day of basketball, and here are some thoughts for the day:

1. The loss to South Florida was a blessing in disguise for Georgetown

We all saw, or at least heard about, Georgetown’s thumping of Duke last Saturday in front of President Barack Obama. The 89-77 win against the Blue Devils was a statement win for both the Hoyas and for the Big East Conference.

Four days later, the lowly South Florida Bulls came into the nation’s capital and sent Georgetown a big fat wake-up call. By beating the Hoyas 72-64, it kept Georgetown’s egos in check, and sent the team a message that no opponent will lay down for them.

So all the Hoyas did was come out Saturday and embarrass the 2nd-ranked Villanova Wildcats 103-90. Backcourt mates Austin Freeman and Jason Clark combined for 49 points in the win.

That makes it two Saturdays in a row where Georgetown has looked like a Final Four team. The upset loss on Wednesday night enabled John Thompson’s club to re-focus and understand just how big the target on their backs really is.

Look for the Hoyas to make the Big East a three-headed monster, including the Wildcats and Syracuse, down the stretch.

2. The Mountain West and the Atlantic 10 should get eight NCAA bids between them

Saturday was a banner day for the unknown teams in both the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West Conference. Dayton, UNLV and Richmond all hosted conference powers, and all three enjoyed convincing upset victories.

The Spiders (18-6, 7-2), who have already knocked off Mississippi State, Missouri and Florida this season, hosted No. 17 Temple and blew them away 71-54. Kevin Anderson, a junior guard from Duluth, Ga. is the engine for that team, averaging 18 points per game while only leaving the floor for three minutes per game.

Dayton took on Xavier as losers in three of its last five games. It was a virtual must-win game for the Flyers to keep their at-large hopes alive, and they destroyed the Musketeers 90-65, avenging a loss earlier in the season on the road. The Flyers need a strong finish down the stretch still; their only quality win out of conference was against Georgia Tech.

UNLV hosted 12th ranked BYU and used a 56 point first half to cruise to victory. The Rebels (19-4, 7-2) are now in a three-way tie for first place in the Mountain West, and after a mid-season slump have rebounded to win seven of their last eight games.

3. Winning on the road is harder than getting Taylor Swift to sing well

In the AP Top 25 alone, seven underdogs won at home. The field of elite teams this year is diluted more than usual, and there are so many teams that could beat anyone.

The balanced standings in so many conferences will make for an interesting week of conference tournaments in early March. While so many of the highest ranked teams are dropping like flies when they hit the road, who knows what will happen when games move to neutral sites?

Fan bases for college basketball are as strong as ever, which makes for entertaining games. The emerging parity across the multiple-bid conferences are going to make this year’s conference tournaments some of the most intriguing ever. Enjoy the upsets while we can …only in college basketball…


NMCaff said...

Low blow on Taylor Swift...kinda true, but still low

Josh P said...

haha. im still bitter over the grammy's....i had to take it out somewhere

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