NCAA Daily Links
Hello again College Basketball fans, hope that this 24 Hour College Basketball Madness is treating you well! If you would like to chat while watching the games, Seth Sommerfeld has been up watching every single game, so come on by: http://www.nbadraft.net/ncaa-hoops-tip-marathon-chat. I will be stopping by later on, but first, the Daily:
Mike Krzyzewski Goes For Win 903 Tonight
(Dwayne Simpson/Sporting Alert)
I know that I dropped a story about this yesterday, but this is definitely big news. It will be a very tough win for Coach K and the Blue Devils over another top notch coach in Tom Izzo with his Michigan State Spartans. Coach K has been making the rounds with Bobby Knight, and if you saw Monday Night Football, he and Coach Knight talked with Chris Berman.
Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski seem like night and day, but it is pretty amazing that a coach and his former point guard could be tied as the All-Time leader in College Basketball. I actually found Coach Knight really insightful as he pointed out how Coach K had a fantastic ability to not only understand the game, but understand his player’s strengths and limitations.
Coach Knight broke down Krzyzewski as a player, saying he was a great defender and made very few mistakes. Even though Mike was not a top notch scorer, he played a vital role on the Army team coached by Knight, leading them to become a pretty solid group. If you did not see the video, it is definitely worth a watch. I definitely appreciated quite a few things said by both Knight and Krzyzewski. They may not be my favorite coaches out there, but I respect them both a great deal as teachers and basketball minds.
Reeves Nelson Suspended Indefinitely
(Ben Bolch/LA Times)
As if things could not be worse for UCLA Bruins fans, Coach Ben Howland suspended star forward Reeves Nelson for an indefinite period of time. Apparently, Nelson, who has had a history of being somewhat temperamental, definitely showed this after the Bruins season opening loss to Loyola Marymount. The article also seems to give some uncertainty as to Nelson’s future with the Bruins. Nelson was UCLA’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, so losing him would be a major blow. The Bruins have some depth in Center Joshua Smith and the Ware twins, but Nelson provides a huge boost of energy and a crowd favorite. Definitely will keep an eye on this story to see how things transgress.
Glen Rice Jr. Suspended First 3 Games of Season
(Michael Cunningham Atlanta-Journal Constitution)
The season did not get off to a great start for Georgia Tech junior Glen Rice Jr., as he was suspended for the Yellow Jackets first three games. Described as a “point forward” by his college site, Rice Jr. is the son of former Michigan Wolverine superstar and NBA All-Star Glen Rice. Rice Jr. definitely was making a name for himself last season at GT, ranking top 20 in the conference in scoring and rebounding. The Yellow Jackets third opponent of the year is St. Joseph’s a team that tends to be a tough match-up. Rice Jr. was suspended for a “violation of team rules”, so here is hoping that he has it dealt with and gets back on the court.
Kevin Pangos Drains 9 Triples in Gonzaga Win
(Associated Press/Washington Post)
In what seems to be the biggest early season freshman performance thus far, Canadian import Kevin Pangos had 33 points, 6 assists and a school record 9 treys in a 89-81 win over Washington St. Pangos has been in the news in Canada for years and decided to stay in Ontario for HS, but definitely wanted to come to the US for College. He had offers from schools such as UCLA and Washington, but decided on the Mark Few coached Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Pangos definitely impressed me at the Global Challenge in 2010 and the Hoop Summit in 2011 with his vision and shooting stroke. From everything I have heard, he is incredibly coachable and has a great work ethic. I had a feeling he might make a decent impact immediately at Gonzaga, but this performance was definitely beyond what I expected. Still a lot of season to go, but tying Dan Dickau’s school record for three pointers in a game your second college game is a very nice start. Pangos may not be an early entry NBA Draftee, but he will make a lot of noise for the NCAA tournament staple Bulldogs.
#4 UCONN Extends Win Streak to 13
(Pat Eaton-Robb, AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
Obviously stemming from last year, the Huskies streak continues beating Wagner 78-66. The reigning champions have two of the top names in the current NBADraft.net Mock, with Andre Drummond at #1 and Jeremy Lamb moving up to #3. Drummond, who went scoreless in his first game, definitely had a better night against Wagner chipping in for 8 points, 5 boards and a couple blocks off the bench. Lamb had a rough night shooting the ball from the field, but still put in 20 points, second on the team behind PG Shabazz Napier. Both of their games thus far have been a lot closer than one might think, but this team has an incredible amount of talent and looks to be very competitive once again.
Louisville Wins over Lamar, Loses Marra
Did not get a chance to mention the Cardinals yesterday, but Rick Pitino once again has a great group at Louisville. The Cardinals simply overpowered Lamar behind a double-double from burly frosh Chane Behanan, but in the process lost guard Mike Marra. Marra, who is optimistic about his return had this to sum up his and the Cardinals season thus far,
"We've had some tough luck this year," said Marra, who had crutches by his locker. "Hopefully mine's only minor and I'll be back in a week or two ready to go."
Louisville has a great deal of talent in freshman Behanan, junior PG Peyton Siva and wing Jordan Swopshire. The unfortunate thing to this point has been the injuries to highly ranked freshman Wayne Blackshear, plus upperclassmen forwards Stephan Van Treese and Rakeem Buckles. The Cardinals should be a pretty strong team this year, but they will be much stronger when a few of these players return from injury.
#10 Pittsburgh Escapes Rider 86-78
I promise this is my last Big East post of the day! The conference is stacked as usual, with four teams in the pre-season AP top 10 with UCONN (4), Syracuse (5), Louisville (9) and Pittsburgh (10). While the other 3 teams may have been mentioned slightly more as Final Four favorites, Pittsburgh was last year’s Big East regular season champ.
They lost three very important seniors from last season’s team in Gilbert Brown, Gary McGhee and Brad Wanamaker, but retained last year’s leading scorer Ashton Gibbs. Gibbs has a sweet shooting stroke and was named the Big East’s Pre-season POY. Former McDonald’s All-American Dante Taylor looks much improved as a junior and while Pitt struggled against Rider, I think they will be another strong team from what has become college basketball’s pre-eminent conference.
Miller leads with 17 points–twice–in two wins
(Tyler Alley/Baylor Lariat)
Baylor is a team that had high hopes after an exciting Elite 8 appearance during the 2010 NCAA Tournament. With monster freshman signee Perry Jones III and a roster filled with talented scorers, the Bears failed to live up to their vast potential. This season, Scott Drew is hoping that with the addition of another talented freshman signee, Quincy Miller, the team will fare much better.
With Perry Jones III suspended for the first 5 games of the season, Quincy Miller has been impressive in Baylor’s two early wins. He notched 17 in both and seems to be looked at as Baylor’s go to scorer. Anthony Jones, a talented if not inconsistent senior forward, looks to take a leadership role and has tried to make improvements in his game. With combo forward Quincy Acy also returning, Baylor has top notch talent on their front lines. It will be up to returnee AJ Walton and new guards Brady Heslip, as well as highly rated JUCO transfer Pierre Jackson, to make this Baylor team more complete than they were last year.
Memphis Beats Belmont 97-81
I know. “Oh no, not BELMONT”! Well, this Belmont team took the 6th ranked Duke Blue Devils down to the wire, so this win actually looks pretty good for these young Memphis Tigers. The Tigers have a lot of returnees from last year’s very balanced team. The talented backcourt of Joe Jackson and Will Barton had 20 and 23 points respectively in this win.
They seem much improved and should take major steps forward this season. Josh Pastner has been a great recruiter, but with this team, he could finally show that he is a solid coach as well. He certainly has the talent in players such as the ones I just mentioned teamed with key pieces like freshman Adonis Thomas, Will’s brother Antonio Barton and talented wing Wesley Witherspoon.
Washington Beats Portland 93-63
(Percy Allen/Seattle Times)
The UW Huskies have gotten off to a quick 3-0 start. Tony Wroten Jr. and Abdul Gaddy seemed incredibly simpatico in the Huskies latest win over Portland. Both of them are talented young playmakers and they will definitely get a chance to be on the floor together and share PG duties. While they had a minor blip in their second game, the Huskies look to be synching together.
Their backcourt has incredible depth, with the likes of the aforementioned players and sophomores CJ Wilcox and Terrence Ross. Many expect Ross to be one of this seasons break out stars after a nice finish to last year. He had 24 points in this win on 9-13 shooting. If Aziz N’Diaye and Darnell Gant show meaningful improvement, the Huskies will definitely be one of the challengers in the Pac-12. That is a pretty big if, in my opinion, but so far they look like one of the more underrated teams from this pre-season.
Michigan State Freshman Branden Dawson Plays Through the Pain
Branden Dawson took a pretty nasty fall in the first half of the Carrier Classic, but not nasty enough to keep him out the game. He played 19 minutes in the second half and 35 during his first college game. Dawson, listed as a 6’6 guard, hits the boards with reckless abandon and was seen as one of the better incoming rebounders from his HS class. Another McDonald’s All-American under the care of Tom Izzo, Dawson is a player it is extremely difficult not to root for.
Dawson and MSU forward Draymond Green may be undersized, but they definitely do not let that stop them from pushing people around in the paint. MSU has an incredibly tough early season schedule, but expect them to look fantastic come Big 10 play. Last year was a pretty down year for the Spartans, especially as they had been to two straight Final Fours. They may not make the Final Four this year, but they should expect to go a few rounds in the tournament. That is what their early season schedule is preparing them for.
Creighton Shows a Versatile Inside Line-up
(Steven Pivovar/World Herald Staff Writer/Blue jays Today)
Last year, I got to watch the last 3 Creighton games of the season as they lost a very close CBI classic to University of Oregon. Nonetheless, I came away very impressed with their first year coach Greg McDermott and even more impressed with the play of his son Doug. Only a freshman, Doug was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Blue Jays. Doug showed a very high IQ and an ability to score all over the floor. He played a solid role for the USA U-19 team and can play either forward spot in college. He started the season off averaging 17 and 6 in only 18.5 mpg in two big Creighton wins.
Creighton also has a legit big in Gregory Echenique. Echenique initially started his career at Rutgers, where he was putting up decent numbers before deciding to transfer. The 6’9 and 270 pound Center is a load on both ends of the court and spent this summer playing on the Venezuelan National Team. Echenique has not gotten off to a big start in the first two games, but he is another reason that Creighton should be a team to watch from the Missouri Valley Conference. The conference may not be major, but they definitely have their share of players for NCAA bids.
That’s all for today, thank you for reading and enjoy the 24 Hour Madness!