Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saturday in Review


This game was a lot closer than it should have been for about 25 minutes until the Illini pulled away in the second half. Minnesota is awful, and Illinois only resembles awful on occasion. The usual suspects did the damage for the Illini, with Pruitt, Carter, and McBride all in double figures. Chester Frazier did not play due to injuries.

But the story of the game, by far, was the fact that Jamar Smith didn't totally suck for the first time in a month. After Wednesday's game, his numbers in Big 10 play were:
11/60, 18.3% from the field;
5/49, 10.2% from three point country, and that's only because he was just bad in their first conference game, instead of brutal.

After the Minnesota game, his numbers are now:
16/70 (22.9%) from the field;
8/56 (14.3%) from beyond the arc.

It was actually nice to see a few shots fall for him. Maybe he'll gain some confidence for the stretch. He'll need it, and so will the Illini.


This game was over before I even saw any of it. Fox College Sports didn't click over until the U$C-Oregon game ended, and by that point, UCLA already led 15-5, and they didn't look back en route to an 82-35 win. They got 76 minutes and 32 points from their bench, primarily because all of their starters were done by the ten minute mark of the second half. You generally don't see too many all out slaughters like this in conference play, but it provided a nice rest for their starters, and some much needed experience for their bench, especially Nikola Dragovic, who got a later start to the season, and could become a key cog in a game or two when they really need an extra shooter or a few fouls.

Speaking of size for the Bruins, Kevin Love dominated Mater Dei last night down in Santa Ana, scoring 36 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. And this wasn't just a top recruit against another high school. Mater Dei starts about four guys over 6' 7", and brings a seven footer off the bench. Taylor King, who decommitted from UCLA before choosing Duke, did not look good, held without a field goal in the second half. Kevin Love is going to be a very good player at UCLA


Finally they were on the right side of an ass-kicking. It's useless to speculate on where they could have been with good goaltending all year, but it's fun to watch them play with a decent guy in net.

UC Riverside

Holy crap! They beat Cal State Fullerton! I have no idea how that could have happened, but damn, that's two straight for the Highlanders. And CSUF is no slouch. They were in first place in the Big West, and beat UCR by 40 at Fullerton. Larry Freaking Cunningham scored 34 points in the second half!

According to the article, Bobby Brown, Fullerton's point guard, Cousy award finalist, and arguably the best player in the conference, threw down an alley-oop which tied the game, and got T-ed up for taunting. UCR scored the next six points and never looked back. Word of advice, Bobby. I know you're very good. But dude, you're in the Big West. And you had just dunked a shot that tied Riverside in the second half. That, son, is nothing to get excited about. Let that be a lesson to ya. No one comes into UCR's house and shows the Highlanders up...except pretty much every other team that's been there this year.

First conference win for the Highlanders in 13 months. Then again, they did play UCLA tougher than Oregon State did.

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