Wednesday, November 21, 2007

College Basketball - Quick Thought

UCLA vs. Michigan State

If they can beat the nation's 11th ranked team without 3 of their top 10, 2 of their top six, and their best player, then UCLA is going to be pretty good. They showed a ton of heart tonight, overcoming an awful start to fight back into the game, take the lead for the first time late in the game, and hold on for the win. I haven't seen the stats yet, but I think Westbrook went the full 40. And Kevin Love probably won't see a more physical team this year.

Great efforts by Al Aboya and LRMAM. Aboya had the steal that led to the tying dunk, and LRMAM scored the last two field goals for the difference. Ben Howland showed that while he won't rush his injured players back to soon, he still thinks these games are important enough to shorten his bench in order to win.

Listening to Schulman and Vitale, you would think that Drew Neitzel was some superhuman point guard who boldly overcame a tummy ache. Fact is I've seen him play in the Big Ten for four years now. He's decent, but a healthy Collison would have wiped the floor with him, and full Bruins squad wins by 12 points.

Illinois vs. Duke +3

Sometime about seven years ago, when Michigan State was getting a reputation for bruising physical play, Illinois got the reputation as the team that does nothing but fouls. And when you play Dook, you already start down three players, because they are going to get all the calls. They have the asshole who spends the whole game doing nothing but screaming at the ref who happens to be in front of him. Kzyzksfslasfhski is a cocksucker, but he knows how to work the refs. Illinois was in the game until every breath was a touch foul.

As it was, I thought the Illini looked good last night against a mediocre to poor Arizona State team. Randle showed his athleticism, and Rodney Alexander could be a revelation. If Chet Frazier can shoot (so far, so good), and if Brian Randle and Sean Pruitt can stay on the floor, the Illini can be in the top five in the Big Ten and back in the tournament. I also see Billy Cole and Mike Tisdale making contributions this year. They won't be great, but they won't be awful, and they may even be better than last year.

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