It Keeps Getting Better; And Worse…

One question: after last week’s rollercoaster, Tuesday’s Hofstra/ODU beaut, and last night–not to mention that with four conference games to play the difference in first place and seventh place is three games–how could you NOT want to go to a 22-game schedule?

The bad part? We’re halfway through February, and doing my best Pacino in Scent of a Woman: “Ah’m just gettin’ wahmed up.”


We’ll start with this oh-tee thriller. In short, it was another just plain great college basketball game. I don’t know that either team was leading by more than six points, and if so it was only briefly.

There is no better place than a college basketball game when the home team, in front of a large and loud crowd, spends most of the game trailing by a handful of points and cannot get over the hump, then gets over the hump.

Loud fans, controversial calls and no calls, and great coaching. The sum: that Maynor guy needs to shut his yap (Dopirak quoted Maynor as saying “I was wacked.”) but I’ve not seen a better player in clutch time in this league. Period.

Also, JMU is pretty friggin’ good. I mean that from this standpoint: they can beat you inside, outside, on the dribble-drive, and from the arc. They play defense.

MNFC is also a very good in-game coach, among the best I’ve seen this season. To wit: The Dukes crowded the Rams at the perimeter, forcing the first pass that got VCU into its offense 25 feet from the basket instead of 15-18 feet. It was an overplay, followed by a quick retreat to position. Brilliant because VCU could find no rhythm and had to adjust.

Also, JMU didn’t even dream about a press until there were six seconds to play and VCU was inbounding trailing by two. You could see the immediate chaos when the Rams players realized what was occurring.

Here’s the sum: With VCU playing at home and not exactly playing poorly (except from the FT line), and missing its two best players with a third suffering from the flu and a fourth (Kyle Swanston) playing awful, JMU took VCU to the wire.



We head north for a bit of a head-scratcher. Here’s what I know and what I was told, and what I think.

Know: Nor’easter held a double-digit lead in the second half at home when I went to get some popcorn. By the time the bucket was half-empty, Poor Bill’s Huskies trailed by two.

Told: Drexel never caved, amped up the intensity and physicality, and only 5-9 Baptiste Bataille responded in-kind. Box score: BBs 19 points led the way for Nor’easter.

Think: This is a toughness issue. Adako, Spates, Allen, and Ojougboh only ATTEMPTED 20 field goals and 10 free throws. That’s not getting it done.

We always talk about Drexel being a tough team but nobody ever really says why; mainly because nobody knows why, they just think it. Well, this game is why and you should use it as your example. They were on the road against the first place team and down double-digits in the second half. They aren’t an offensively gifted team. They won the game.

Drexel is tough. JMU is tough.

So much of this game is played upstairs and inside the ribs, folks. There is a difference in physical and physically tough, and a difference in basketball IQ and mentally tough.

That’s today’s takeaway.


We raise our hands today to both admit we were Hofstra/Mason wrong on The College and UNCW last night and to toast Tony W. Shaver. The former POTUS got to relax a little last night and we were glad for that.

Drubbing, for sure. The Tribe was +12 assists and +22 on the boards. It was so bad that Shaver’s best player over the past two weeks, freshman Quinn McDowell, only scored three points.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, chucked and bricked its way to 22.7% shooting and an offensive points per possession number I’m not sure I’ve seen: 0.57.

Per Mull, it gets very worse interesting: “It took the Seahawks nearly 10 minutes to score at all. They went empty on their first 18 possessions – 13 missed shots, five turnovers, no second-chances.”

UNCW trailed 25-21 with 18 minutes to play and were outscored 44-19 the rest of the way.


Another oh-tee thriller in Towson last night, with Towson rallying from an 11-point halftime hole and then doing what they could to gag a late lead. (Of course a Joe Dukes heave at the end is not really gagging, but I digress…)

Five Flying Tigers were in double figures and Robert Nwankwo had nine before fouling out. That’s the kind of balance every coach wishes he could turn to in February.

What say you, PK?

“We’re so much better now than we were in January, it’s not even close. In January, we didn’t have Calvin Lee and David Brewster.We were down in most of those games by almost 17 or 18 points a game. That hasn’t happened to us since we got those two guys back.”


~ by mglitos on February 12, 2009.

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