By Dennis Berry
This is what I hope turns into a weekly part of the Best Basketball Blog during the season. I will give a weekly recap of some games and news from college basketball. NBA...you may get one when you decide to play basketball. I hope to come up with a better title for this piece too.
We are already through the first weekend of college basketball. There
was plenty to take in. Here are some notes on what I saw over the
This was not only a great match up of North Carolina versus Michigan State, but just an overall great event. The setup on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson was well done. The backdrop around the court, the ship, San Diego skyline, and harbor, looked great in HD. It did not appear that weather, mainly wind, bothered either team.
Thoughts on Each Team
Michigan State appears to be another tough, scrappy Tom Izzo team. They need to find some shooters though. The Spartans are strong in the paint with Draymond Green (13 points, 18 rebounds) and Adreian Payne, but they have to find someone who can hit from the outside.
North Carolina is at their best when they can get out and run. They can get points with half court sets, but when they get out and run they are dangerous. It appears that toughness in the paint will be a problem for the Tar Heels. Michigan State got 19 offensive rebounds against them. With Tyler Zeller and John Henson on the court, that should not happen to them.
Belmont is good, as most figured they would be. They won 30 games last year. Nine of the 11 players from last year return. They are an experienced team and they have talent in their freshman class. So it should not be so shocking to see they gave Duke a scare Friday night. Duke won 77-76, but Belmont should the team that should be taken seriously this year. Come March they will probably be a team that will be picked by many to pull some upsets in the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky Gets a Curfew
Friday night brought another upset as UCLA lost to Loyola Marymount. The Bruins, who were ranked 20 coaches/ 17AP, shot only 13% from the three point line. Their defense was poor as the Lions shot 67% from behind the arc.
The most surprising upset though belongs to Cleveland State beating Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Commodores were ranked in the Top 10 coming in and getting the most hype ever for the program. They were done in by poor shooting (45% from the field, 23.5% from 3) and turnovers (20).
Injury Hits Louisville
First it was Wayne Blackshear to a shoulder injury. Then Sunday they lost Mike Marra for the season after he tore his ACL against Lamar. The loss of Marra makes the Louisville bench even shorter.
Back on the Sidelines
Last week we saw two coaches return to the sidelines for the schools. St. John's Steve Lavin and Texas A&M's Bill Kennedy. Lavin coached his first game after prostate surgery and Kennedy returned from a leave of absence after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Glad to see both of them back.
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