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The Triangle and Two: A Weekly Look at the Ups and Downs of College Basketball

February 8, 2010 under College Basketball, Uncategorized

By Terrence Mayrose

Rivalry Week Signals Shift of Focus For Sports Fans

For all you football fanatics out there,  make sure you savor the Super Bowl, because as of thisRivalryWeek1v morning, it’s time to focus on hoops.  Despite the endless analysis, highlights and “breakdown” sessions  ESPN may have shoved down your throat last week, you should be beside yourself about the slew of college basketball games coming up over the next seven days. Rivalry Week, as it’s become known, is easily the best single week of the regular season. It’s like the best appetizer on the menu. You make sure you order it. Things start on tonight on ESPN’s  Big Monday when Kansas(1)  travels to Texas (10) and Villanova (2) travels to West Virginia(6).

Let’s start with Texas vs Kansas. Texas is 19-3 and in no way a “bubble team”, but it should be noted that after a 16-0 start, the Longhorns are 3-3 in their last six.  The recent struggles make us feel very skeptical about Texas’s ability to become a NCAA championship frontrunner this year; a theme that has haunted this squad in recent years.  The core of Damion James, Avery Bradley, and Dexter Pittman will need to right the ship vs Kansas or the Longhorns could be headed into a tailspin over the final month.

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The Triangle and Two: A Weekly Look at the Ups and Downs of College Basketball

January 30, 2010 under College Basketball, The Triangle and Two

by Terrence Mayrose

Kentucky Basketball Falls From Its perch.  Who’s Next? wildcats_logo

The 75-76’ Indiana Hoosiers can breathe a little easier now that Kentucky, the last remaining unbeaten team this season, has suffered it’s first loss to South Carolina.  Led by an array of tough, clutch, and “how the hell did he hit that” shots from Devan Downey, the Gamecocks made Kentucky’s stay atop the polls very short.

The recent upset of John (“ never actually been to a Final Four”) Calipari, John (“one and done”) Wall and Kentucky as well as the memories of Mario Chalmers trey to beat an undefeated Memphis in 08’ show that even the best of the best can take a loss.  Which makes hoopsters wonder: Will there ever be another undefeated champion ?

Devan Downey dropped thirty in the 68-62 upset, and put himself on the map as one of the nation’s best scorers; although Gamecockdevan_downey faithful will be quick to tell you that he’s no fluke.  The Chester, S.C. native spurned his home state by electing to attend Cincinnati as a freshman. After posting 11.9 ppg in his freshman year,  Downey decided to come home, and it’s been all good since.  After sitting out the ’06-’07 season, Downey’s scored 18.4 ppg (07-08),and 19.8(08-09).  He’s even better this season as Downey’s 22.4 ppg leads the SEC.  With a scorer like this, and a decent record, 12-8 (3-3), The Gamecocks have a shot to be a dark horse in the SEC tournament. After all, they have shown they can play with (and beat) the best.

Now that no unbeatens remain,  who is the  frontrunner for a national title?  With such a crop of great teams atop the polls there may not be just one, but Kansas stands out. Bill Self’s crew is currently 19-1 with their only setback to #14 Tennessee. A January 30th trip to #13 Kansas State, and Feb 8th trip to #6 Texas could yield two wins that would give the Jayhawks the most impressive resume in the country. It should also be noted that Kansas currently ranks 2nd in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency and you know how much we like that.

Speaking of frontrunners… CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish points out that the end of January is a great time to find out who will make the Final Four. Parrish stated that in the past five seasons, at least three of the Final Four teams (all four in ’08) have been in the Top Ten during the last week of January. Remember to refer back to this in March when filling out your sheets. Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova, Syracuse, Michigan State, Texas, Georgetown, Duke, West Virginia and Purdue are your current candidates.

The Triangle and Two: A Quick Look At The Ups and Downs of College Basketball.

January 6, 2010 under College Basketball, The Triangle and Two

By Terrence Mayrose

Tar Heel Basketball Lacking Math Skills?

College of Charleston shocked #9 North Carolina Monday night in an 82-79 overtime thriller. Hats off to roy williamsthe Charleston basketball program for a miraculous win but we here at the T&Two can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Roy Williams (right) chose to follow our “foul up 3” motto.

In case you didn’t watch the game, here’s the setup. C of C’s Andrew Goudelock came off a screen and got the ball with less than ten seconds on the clock. He dribbled to the right wing against Carolina’s Ed Davis and fired up the game-tying three from twenty eight feet with just two seconds left on the clock. The Charleston crowd went bonkers and the game headed to OT, where UNC would eventually lose.

While everyone loves the story of “the underdog”, it’s hard not to think about the “what if ?”.  What if Roy Williams had decided to foul up 3 ? Would the game have even gone into overtime?  Probably not.

It boggles my mind to watch coaches allow teams to shoot a three to tie, when a foul would limit the opposition to just two free throws.  A foul requires the shooting team to: a)hit the first shot, b)miss the second, c)get the rebound and, most dificultly, d)score than it is to just hit a three. Without a foul, the offense needs to accomplish but one thing; hit the three.  Isn’t it a simple matter of mathematics that it’s harder to accomplish four tasks, (two of which are being contested), than one?

Monday’s decision by Roy Williams is even more of a head-scratcher when you consider the following.  Charleston shot 13-32 (40.6 %) from behind the arc on the night, led by Andrew Goudelock, who had already hit four of eight threes and would end up scoring the last eight points in regulation for Charleston. UNC had every right to believe they’d grab the carom of any missed foul shot; having outrebounded Charleston 52-32 in the game and, finally, Charleston was only 3-6 from the charity stripe with Goudelock missing his only attempt.  Can’t see any reason why Carolina would have opted to allow a trey instead of a free throw.

Hey, Roy, didn’t you expect Goudelock to shoot it, given how hot he was?  Wouldn’t your team have a huge advantage when it came to rebounding a missed foul shot? I guess we’ll never know what may have happened if UNC chose to foul, but we do know that the theory of fouling up three continues to be eschewed by coaches despite both its logic and record of success.

Big East Basketball Continues to Dominate

Any doubt the Big East is still the most dangerous conference in America ? Even after losing a number of stars from the most competitive league in NCAA history in 2008-2009, the Big East finds itself well represented in this week’s AP Top 25. Villanova (12-1) is 6th,  Syracuse(13-1) 7th,  West Virginia (11-1) holds down the 8th spot while Georgetown (11-1) checks in at #12.

Kansas Jayhawks Flying High; But For How Long?

Espn.com’s Dana O’Neil wrote a nice piece about how well Kansas’s team has meshed and how being ranked #1 wasn’t much pressure for the squad. Hats off to Kansas basketball coach Bill Self for showing why he’s one of the best around, especially given all the off-court trouble his team dealt with this summer.  One question, though.  Will Jayhawks be able to stay level-headed once they suffer a loss or two?  Stay tuned.


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