And You Thought You Had A Rough Day

SONG SELECTION:

“Blood Under My Belt”, by The Drums

Found on the Abysmal Thoughts album

Released June 16, 2017 via Anti- Records

Northwestern played Chicago State in a rather sparse Allstate Arena tonight.

No, there wasn’t any snow to speak of near the world’s busiest airport that is O’Hare International Airport.

Just your typical Chicago winter day–blustery, windy, and very cold outside.

Northwestern hit almost every shot they took, while Chicago State missed almost every shot they took.  The result is a 55 to 8 halftime lead, thanks in large part to a 32-3 run to end the half.  For the record, the final score was 96-31.

Northwestern moves to 6-4, while Chicago State slides down to 2-11 on the season.

Please have a good night, and hopefully the DePaul game will be a lot closer.

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Major Shakeups In Latest AP Poll

What a difference a week makes.

Villanova vaulted three spots to claim the Number 1 position with 1,598 points.  Michigan State is second with 1,561.  Third place belongs to Wichita State, their highest ranking ever…the Shockers gained 1,402 points.

With Duke’s loss on Saturday to Boston College, they dropped three slots to 4.  The biggest leaper was Arizona State, with their impressive double digit win at Kansas on Sunday afternoon–as they gained a whopping 11 slots moving on up from 16 to 5.

The rest of the Top Ten include…Miami, North Carolina (both ACC teams slid up four positions each), Kentucky, Texas A&M, followed by Xavier.

A trio of schools stumbled big time after disappointing losses:

Kansas, losing twice to Pac-12 schools in unranked Washington and then 16th ranked Arizona State finds themselves down at 13, down 11 slots.

Notre Dame, after their last second loss to Ball State at home slid double digits from 9 down to 18.

Finally, the biggest loser was Florida after losing three straight including a shocking home loss to Loyola (Chicago) out of the Missouri Valley.  The Gators bit badly from being pegged at 5 and are now down at 22.

Florida State, Arizona, and Texas Tech somehow meandered their way back into the Top 25.  And finally…replacing Northwestern in getting honorable mention votes for the city of Chicago is Loyola, gaining a nice number of five votes from pollsters across the country.

For more details on individual writers and bloggers, check out this site:

http://collegepolltracker.com/basketball/pollsters/2017

Very light schedule tonight–11 games overall.  However, Fox Sports 1 is featuring a doubleheader from “The Windy City” that is Chicago:

Chicago State at Northwestern in suburban Rosemont, 7 p.m. Eastern time followed by winless Alabama A&M at Wintrust Arena to take on DePaul.  That game tips off around 9 p.m.

Another Upset Alert: Boston College Shoots Lights Out To Topple Duke

SONG SELECTION:

“I Wish It Was Christmas Today”, done by several artists

Also can be found on Cheap Trick’s first Christmas album

Released October 20, 2017 via Big Machine Label Group

It had been nearly four years since the Boston College Eagles toppled the nation’s top ranked team.  On Saturday afternoon, they survived a furious comeback by Duke who actually led by one point with 77 seconds left to play.

However, a controversial call of an intentional foul in the final minute sealed Duke’s fate.  Senior Grayson Allen did all he could to keep the Blue Devils undefeated streak alive, but to no avail.  Boston College scored the season’s first major upset toppling Duke by a final score of 89-84 at Chestnut Hill.

The man of the game was Ky Bowman, who dazzled by scoring career highs with 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds and dishing out 9 assists.  Also coming up huge for the Eagles was Jerome Robinson with 24 and Jordan Chatman had 22.

What proved to be Duke’s undoing was their lack of three-point shooting.  In the first half alone, BC was a hot 11 for 16 from behind the arc.  Meanwhile, Duke was as cold as the weather in most of the country hitting only 3 of their first 12 attempts.  Marvin Bagley had 10 points and 7 rebounds at the half with BC holding a slight lead of 48-41.  But Bagley would be held in check by only tabulating 5 points and 5 rebounds the rest of the way.

For the game, BC shot 15 for 26 from deep, while Duke was a paltry 8 of 30.  The final stats showed BC hitting on 31 shots out of 61 attempts (nearly 50 percent), while Duke was 32 of 69.

Another surprise happened at Ball State, as the Cardinals upended Valparaiso by the slimmest of margins 71-70.  The Crusaders have lost two in a row.

Wichita State won in a place they had not win since 1957

Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State is perennially one of the toughest places to win on the road.  But thanks to the superhuman efforts of Landry Shamet coming up with a career high 30 points (23 of them in the second half), Wichita State came up with a huge road win 78-66 over the slumping Cowboys.  For the Shockers, this win should vault themselves towards the Top 3 or 4 in the rankings when they are released on Monday morning.  Expect Kansas and Michigan State to occupy the top 2 slots.

Mike Brey wins in return to Delaware

During Mike Grey’s first coaching tenure with the Fightin’ Blue Hens, his teams reached the NCAA Tournament twice in 1998 and 1999.  On Saturday night, 5,000 fans jammed the Bob Carpenter Center when it was snowing outside to welcome back a prominent member of the UD Athletics Hall of Fame.

Delaware actually made things interesting in front of a CBS Sports Network television audience.  Kevin Anderson made a three to break an 11 all tie, while Ryan Daly rallied them from a small deficit with a trey of his own.  Anderson would later give the Blue Hens a short lived lead on a jumper and when a Notre Dame bounce pass bounced out of bounds, the crowd simply went bananas.

But once T.J. Gibbs hit a pair of triples of his own after the final media time out of the first half, the Irish were off and running.  The lead ballooned to 21 and the 4,990 fans realized it was not going to be a happy ending.

Matt Farrell led all scorers with 24 points, while Bonzie Colson had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and TJ Gibbs had a nice game with 21.  Delaware was led by Anderson with 23 points.

Kentucky puts on passing clinic at MSG

The stars usually come out to New York, and the latest one to join the long list of celebs was newly minted Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, who was joined by New York Yankees President Brian Cashman.

Kentucky made so many creative passes, Monmouth did not know what hit them.  The final score was 93-76 and the final score was not really indicative of how the game really was.

UCLA blows out late lead, Michigan dominates in overtime

The final big result from Saturday involved Michigan getting the better of UCLA.  With the Ball brothers mess firmly behind the school, the players and staff hopefully got the chance to breathe some very nice chilly air at Ann Arbor, Michigan.  This was the first game for the Bruins since Wednesday night’s scheduled tilt with Montana was cancelled due to the raging wildfires that are still going on in Southern California.

UCLA seemed to be in control in the waning moments of regulation, but their last second attempt to win at the buzzer was wide left and Michigan simply took charge in the extra stanza.  Michigan outscored UCLA 13-4 to win going away 78-69.  Aaron Holiday came up huge with 27 hard earned points in a much needed bounce back win after losing a tough one at Ohio State earlier in the week.

Things won’t get easier for the Wolverines, as they travel to take on Shaka Smart and Texas on Tuesday night.

Due to the very late posting of this blog, I hope to do a short podcast sometime this coming week.  Hope everyone has an enjoyable Sunday and please continue to pray for the millions of people forced to leave their homes and their belongings due to the persistent wildfires that are continuing to take over most of Southern California.

 

 

Upset Alert: Washington Topples Kansas

SONG SELECTION:

“Nightcall”, by London Grammar

Found on the album If You Wait

Released September 6, 2013 via Metal & Dust Recordings

Huskies score first win in 24 tries against AP Top 2 team

Washington allowed basically one shot and one shot only against Kansas.  The Jayhawks came in one of 11 remaining undefeated teams in men’s college basketball.

Matisse Thybulle led a balanced attack scoring 19 points, while Jaylen Novell had 17 points in helping Washington upset second ranked Kansas in Kansas City by a score of 74-65.  A couple of times during the second half, Kansas made a run to get as close as one point.  But each time Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk was looking for a defensive stop, their defense did not get any help.  A game high 28 points from Lagerald Vick was not enough to complete the comeback.  The only stat that favored Washington in this game was the three-point shooting (9 of 21 for UW, while KU only hit on 5 of 20 attempts from behind the arc).  The rest of the key stats were relatively even across the board.

ESPN released a really cool stat on SportsCenter confirming their second home away from home is not as cozy as it used to be:

In the first nine seasons the Sprint Center has hosted the Jayhawks in Kansas City, their teams went 41-6 averaging over 91 points per game.  In the last two seasons, Kansas has struggled going only 4-3 and their offense is averaging around 77 ppg.

But that was not the only major upset on Wednesday night.

Loyola of Chicago should start to be taken seriously

The last time the Loyola Ramblers made the NCAA Tournament, they lost to mighty Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the 1985 Sweet 16 round.  Fast forward to tonight and they got a lucky break with 22 seconds left, when a potential game-tying basket ended up going against fifth ranked Florida for offensive basket interference.  Loyola made their free throws in the final seconds to win in Gainesville 65-59.

Florida ended up shooting only 2 of 19 from long distance.  Credit Loyola with outstanding shooting from the field, hitting on 26 of 50 attempts for a cool 52 percent–and six of 12 from three point land.  Aundre Jackson had 23 points on 12 of 12 shooting, and Cameron Krutwig also came up huge scoring 14 points while playing 36 minutes.

Other upsets from the East were aplenty

Wofford got a last second three to upend Georgia Tech 63-60.

Meanwhile, Toledo got a last second three at the buzzer at Detroit Mercy to win 89-86.

But the craziest ending belonged to Marist at Colgate.  With Colgate leading 78-76, a last second heave was intercepted by a Marist player and in one motion shot the ball at the other basket–nothing but nylon.

However, a replay review confirmed the shot took place shortly after the buzzer sounded.   Therefore, the shot did not count and Marist earned their second win in nine tries escaping with a hard earned 78-76 victory.

Please continue to pray for everyone affected in Southern California, as it may be several days before the wildfires are fully contained.  Stay safe, please and I hope they find some decent places to sleep.

 

UCLA vs. Montana Cancelled Due To Wildfires

Such a grim situation facing America’s second largest city

What began during the Los Angeles Dodgers National League pennant winning run over the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs in October has turned horrific.

Ventura County has seen hundreds of thousands of acres completely burned down, and with the famed Santa Ana winds and humidity as low as 8 percent, UCLA took a very proactive step on Wednesday afternoon.

Wildfires threatening the Los Angeles area

According to CBSSports.com, the game that was scheduled for 8 p.m. Pacific Time at Pauley Pavilion between Montana has been canceled.  No makeup date was scheduled.  Also, as a safety precaution–all team practices and workouts were scrubbed.

The Bruins next game is three time zones away, on CBS at Ann Arbor, Michigan this coming Saturday at noon Eastern time against the Michigan Wolverines.  UCLA will return home after Final exams when they host Cincinnati, again to air nationally on CBS at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, following the Syracuse/Georgetown clash in Washington, D.C.

As several wildfires continue to spread around the UCLA campus and other key areas in Southern California, I have lots of online friends who proudly call that area home.  I pray for their safety and most of all, their well-being.

I surely hope they not have a home to come back to, but a roof over their heads and enough clothes to wear so they can continue doing good business.

 

 

 

Ball State Shocks Notre Dame

SONG SELECTION:

“Power”, by The Weather Station

Found on their Self-titled album

Released October 6, 2017 via Paradise of Bachelors Records

In first meeting between intrastate rivals since the mid 1970’s, the Cardinals post their first ever win in 10 attempts against the Fighting Irish

Ball State was hanging on for dear life in the second half on Tuesday night at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana.

The Cardinals led 67-58 with 6:45 left on the clock.  Notre Dame’s shooting was just as cold as the weather did just less than 18 hours before with the dramatic cold front that pushed temperatures from a springlike 60 on Monday to just below the freezing mark and 50 mile per hour wind gusts throughout most of Tuesday.

Most importantly, the Cardinals stayed persistent on the rebounding end–winning the battle in the paint decisively 40 to 26 (13 to 4 in offensive rebounds).  Second chance points were also tilted in the Cardinals’ favor, outscoring Notre Dame 14-3.

But like most ranked teams, they often find a way to keep the games competitive.  Bonzie Colson was active on the glass, as Ball State made three straight careless turnovers.  A few buckets later, Matt Farrell calmly drained a three pointer to tie the game with under 20 seconds left to play.

The play of the night belonged to Kokomo native Tayler Persons.  He hit a 25 foot trey from the left wing with 1.7 seconds remaining to give Ball State an 80-77 upset of eighth ranked Notre Dame.  It was Ball State’s first win in ten tries against the private school and it was the Cardinals’ first victory against a ranked team since beating UCLA way back in 2001.

Persons wound up with 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting, but only hit 2 of 5 attempts from behind the arc.  Tahjai Teague had 13, while Sean Sellers chipped in with 11 and Kyle Mallers had 8.

Notre Dame was led, of course by Bonzie Colson.  He had a game high 26 points, along with six rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot in 38 minutes of action.  Matt Farrell had another nice game with 14 points, while Martinas Geben had 12 and Rex Pflueger notched 11 points.

“We missed a lot of open looks…We’ve got some work to do.”

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey in post-game press conference, seen on the Irish Sports Daily website

Another telling stat was the free throws made.  Ball State toed the line 16 times and converted on 14 attempts, while Notre Dame hit only 19 of 26 from the charity stripe.  Coming off Coach Brey’s first ever ejection of his 23 year career on Sunday, the Irish have lost two of their last three after winning an ocean away in Maui.  Coach Brey mentioned to his team it is “part of the ebb and flow of a season.”

Big picture–expect the Irish to drop down several slots in terms of where they will be seeded in the NCAA Tournament.  For Ball State, they will wrap up their five straight games against schools from Indiana when undefeated Valparaiso pays a visit to the land that made David Letterman once made famous in Muncie a long time ago.  That game is this coming Saturday.

Also, speaking of Coach Brey–he will have a homecoming Saturday at Delaware.  Those Blue Hens teams went 99-52 from 1995 through 2000.  That game will start at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Jimmy V Classic produced some excitement, but both games ended up with margins being double digits

Villanova had all highlight reel plays at Madison Square Garden.  In front of an ESPN audience, and the Wildcats leading 64-51 in the second half…6’7″ junior guard Mikal Bridges slashed down the lane and made a monster right-handed dunk over 6-11 center Jacob Larsen.  IMHO–probably will be the dunk of the decade, unless someone does it even better during NCAA Tournament play.

On the ensuing possession, Josh Perkins of Gonzaga tried to do one better, but Bridges blocked the ball out of bounds and sent the mostly pro-Villanova MSG crowd into a frenzy.

The closest Gonzaga got in the second half was seven points, but no more.  Villanova shot an impressive 52 percent from the floor and became the first team in 65 games (nearly two full calendar years) that Gonzaga’s defense allowed that high of a percentage.  The final score was 88-72, and at times did not feel even closer than the final margin would indicate.

Zach Norvell, Jr. had 22 to lead Gonzaga, but you can chalk this game as a “quality loss” for the Zags.

In game two, it was all Syracuse from the start against a former Big East foe in UConn 72-63.

The other major upset occurred in the Big Ten

Minnesota came into Tuesday night’s game ranked 14th in the nation, but did not play true to form.  The Gophers were held to only 32.4 percent shooting from the field as they dropped a tough game on the road in Nebraska by a 78-68 count.  Leading the charge was Glynn Watson, Jr. with 29 points and 9 rebounds, going 9 of 17 from the field.

Nebraska ended up shooting 25 of 53, good enough for 47.2 percent, while the Golden Gophers could barely hit the side of a barn–hitting on only 22 shots out of 68 attempts.

And just before I called it a night, unranked Arizona upset seventh ranked Texas A&M in handing the Aggies their first loss of this young season by a score of 67-64.

Hope to be back again later in the week, with hopefully a blog and a short podcast at that time.  Please have yourself a good night and have pleasant dreams.