Sunday, January 13, 2008

We like defense

This week's theme in men's college basketball? Low-scoring games. On Thursday, Virginia Commonwealth beat Georgia State 49-47. On Saturday, VCU managed to score a few more points to beat Hofstra 59-49. According to one of the sports reporters for VCU's student newspaper, The Commonwealth Times, the Rams could very well make it to the NCAA tournament again this season, but don't look for them to pull off any upsets over, say, Duke.

George Washington beat St. Louis by 29 points despite only scoring 49. That's right, folks...the mighty Billikens (click here to learn what a Billiken is) scored a grand total of 20 points for the entire game...7 in the first half and 13 in the second half. Hey, at least they almost doubled their production after halftime.

"Oh, but those are mid-major teams," you might say. Ah, but the mid-majors are not the only victims of the "we can't find the basket" debacle. Take, for instance, N.C. State. Not only do the Wolfpack play in the ACC, but they were picked to finish third in the conference by most people who bothered to make such predictions. At the moment, they look, at best, like the fifth best team, and that's really a rather generous statement on my part. On Wednesday, they scored 54 points while beating North Carolina Central, who only managed to score 29. And on the previous Saturday, they only managed to scrape together 50 points against Presbyterian, a school I didn't even know existed until they showed up on State's schedule (they are located in Clinton, SC). And, as everyone in the Triangle surely knows by now, State scraped together a meager 13 points in the first half against UNC yesterday. Which, granted, wouldn't have looked so bad had UNC not scored 43 in the first half. Granted, State scored 49 points in the second half, although it really didn't mean a darn thing as UNC scored 50 and won the game by 31, 93-62.

I know, I know, I'm a Tar Heel fan and I'm sitting here picking on State, but they just happen to be a perfect example for this post. I also know that the scores of the past week or so are not wholly unique (although St. Louis' score was a newsmaker)...there are low-scoring teams every year. Maybe it's just because I'm used to the Heels scoring 90 or so points per game, but there just seems to be a bigger discrepancy between the high scoring teams and the low scoring teams this year...and there seems to be a lot more low scoring teams. I hope this doesn't lead to a snoozer of a NCAA tournament this spring.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I Heart Bobby Frasor (and Wayne Ellington)

Okay, I'll admit it. I wasn't too concerned when Bobby Frasor went down with a torn ACL against Nevada last month. It's not that I didn't like Bobby, or that I didn't appreciate his talent, or that I had some personal grudge against him. I just figured that the Heels are a talented enough team to get along without him. And, well, they might be. But after watching last night's game, I'm fretting that torn ACL more and more.


Ty Lawson can't play the whole game, and when Ty goes out, QT comes in. My mom loves QT. She always tells her fourth grade students what a good team player he is. Which is probably a valid point. But, if I had to choose between QT and Bobby, my money would go to Bobby. The QT factor was absent for the first few games after Frasor's injury because QT also had an injury, but it was out in full force last night: 8 minutes of playing time, 3 turnovers, and an ill-advised scoop shot that might as well have been a fourth turnover. But I suppose Roy doesn't really want Marcus Ginyard playing backup point guard for the rest of the season, which is what took place while QT was injured.

On another note...maybe it was because I was so distracted by the score last night, but I think that during the Wayne Ellington had the quietest 36 points I've ever seen. Now we get to debate whether Clemson is "really that good," or if Carolina is "not as good as advertised." The truth probably lies somewhere in between, although Clemson could have major problems if they don't improve their foul shooting (they would have won the game had they not missed almost half of their free throws). Clemson did find a way to shut down Tyler Hansbrough--if you consider 12 points and 12 rebounds as being shut down. My friends and I wondered if Tyler was sick, since his face looked much redder than usual. But then again, maybe he was working harder than usual. Or my buddies at FSN threw the color off, which is always a likely answer :)

In conclusion: Bobby Frasor, we salute you. Go take care of that knee. Wayne Ellington, we also salute you. Keep on knocking them down.