|Crus - Glad to see you back. We need more knowledgeable A-10 guys around here.
Posted: 2/21/2013 4:27:28 PM
Some random musings from my stream of consciousness...
-Cincy-UCONN is an interesting clash of styles and personnel. Biggest problem for the Bearcats is that the pressure won't be effective against Napier and Boatright. Those guys are tremendous against pressure and will not hesitate to attack. Outside of this issue, though, not many disadvantages for Cincy. The size of Wright, Kilpatrick, and Parker will be problematic for the halfcourt offense of UCONN. I suspect Daniels will draw a tough matchup with either Rubles or Justin Jackson. Not really sure where UCONN gets its points as the it's awfully difficult to score in the paint against the size of Cincy and the Huskies are again without the 7-footer Wolf. If Cincy brings effort, they get 15+ offensive rebounds tonight.
-I'm saying this for at least the 20th time this year: yes, Penn State is bad. But no, Penn State has not quit. Quite the contrary, in fact. Chambers is doing his best with a depleted roster and a lack of proven scoring options. Things will be exponentially better next year with Frazier's return and John Johnson (Pitt transfer) becoming eligible at mid-season. Back to tonight, though. Illinois has seemingly rediscovered its early-season worldbeating form and is squarely back in the NCAA Tournament field. Problem is, tonight is a wicked spot after four BIG wins and a trip to Ann Arbor on Sunday. Penn State's defense is focused on not allowing points in the paint. If you've ever seen Villanova play, it's the exact same scheme as Chambers comes from the Jay Wright coaching tree. Point is, Illinois is going to get plenty of looks from deep. Certainly reasonable chance they knock a bunch down, but I'm playing the spot here.
-Duke has been somewhat pedestrian without Ryan Kelly, which really shouldn't come as a surprise given how important the stretch-4 man is in Coach K's dribble-drive system. The good news for Duke is that this Virginia Tech team is ill-equipped to take advantage of Kelly's absence. As the Tony Bennett parody account on Twitter so poignantly remarked, "If you slow down Erick Green, you beat Virginia Tech. But even if you don't stop Erick Green, you will still beat Virginia Tech." I'm inclined to think the latter happens tonight with the three Duke ball-hawking guards (Suliamon, Thornton, Cook) applying constant pressure and forcing other guys to hit shots. James Johnson has made no bones about wanting to play an up-tempo style and there is little chance he goes away from it tonight. He's kinda screwed either way, though a faster pace increases the chances of Duke blowing the doors off. Gut says this one is a runaway.
I could probably put together 2000 words on La Salle-Temple but am out of time. Bottom line, this Explorers team is sneaky, sneaky good. Duren/Galloway/Garland/Mills comprise one of the 7 or 8 best backcourts in the country. Wyatt will get his, but unless TU gets multiple secondary scoring options (i.e. Pepper/O'Brien/Randall hitting threes), La Salle ultimately has too many weapons. Liacouras Center will be rocking, but La Salle is in position to win the Big 5 for the first time in 23 years. Motivation to the Explorers in a highly-entertaining game.
Out for the night.
Good luck to all.