Friday, November 25, 2005

Late thoughts on teams on 50-41

50. Bucknell
Proved their ranking with a nice win over Syracuse. A squeaker over Rider had them looking kinda weak. But at 2-0 , with Center Chris McNaughton actually rebounding at 7/game they look solid.

49. San Diego State
They needed that nice 28-point win over So. Miss. after a disappointing loss to UIC. Brandon heath and Marcus Slaughter are great, but they'll need a lot of help to get the consistency that is needed for an NCAA bid. There 's a rookie surprise here with 6-6 Kyle Spain, who is averaging 6 ppg & 6rpg. But point guard is still a major concern.

48. Northeastern
Split with Central Connecticut State is no reason for panic, but lack of consistent inside scoring could be if Bennett Davis or Shawn James don't start cracking double figures soon. With outside shooters Juan Jose Barea and Aaron Davis, and the high-octane offense, there's no excuse.

47. Alabama
Justin Jonus has stepped up like I thought he would, and Hendrix has been even more impressive than I thought he would be, averaging 8ppg & 8rpg in just 16 minutes! Otherwise, this is what I expected, wins over inferior teams and a loss to the much better Memphis.

46. Syracuse
Shouldn't worry themselves about that loss to Bucknell. The narrow loss to Florida concerns me more, as I still think the Gators are a NIT team. But they're not losing badly, and the players I thought needed to step up have (Devendorf, Watkins, Roberts) and Demetrius Nichols is posting outstanding numbers over the first 5 games (15.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.4 apg, along with 8 steals and 4 blocks).

45. Wisconsin
Doing fine at 3-0. That win over Old Dominion looks great. Squeaking by in 2 OTs against Eastern Kentucky isn't bad either as I expect EKU to be in the postseason somewhere. But hopefully for UW, they figure out how to hold on to the ball and put foes away.

44. Old Dominion
A loss on a neutral court to Wisconsin is not what you want to have on tournament resume come March, but early on, if you're going to get a loss, this isn't too bad. However, this is a big opportunity lost as they won't face another high-profile opponent in pre-conference, except for DePaul on 12/17 and a road game at UAB on 12/22 .

43. Kansas
Actually doing okay, despite the 2-2 start. Losses to Arizona and Arkansas don't look too bad, and sophs CJ Giles and Sasha Kaun are answering the big questions of inside play. Brandon Rush is scoring in bunches, but it looks like Chemistry and guard play are the new big questions. Expect Bill Self to ahve it sorted out by conference play, 'tho'. The Jayhawks need to start getting some quality wins soon, Dec. 1st's home game with Nevada looks like a great place to start.

42. Wake Forest
Wake is looking weak, despite the 4-1 record. The wins have not been impressive (altho' George Mason and Texas Tech should both be postseason teams), and the loss to Florida was not good. I thought Justin Gray would have problems at the point, but not like this. 6 turnovers a game?
Also, having Gray, Williams, and new star Trent Strickland (finally living up the promise he's displayed for the past couple of seasons) play between 36-38 minutes a night is asking for either injuries or a late-season crash. But we should know more after they take on Wisconsin next Tuesday.

41. Vanderbilt
Looking good at 3-0 and they'd be looking great if they played any tough competition, but on the other hand they've had their best player out on suspension for the first two games, so they've taken care of business. Alex Gordon is looking phenomenal and may cause Mario Moore to shift over to shooting guard at times. Julian Terrell is producing nicely inside, but unless they start getting some solid play from other big men, Terrell's propensity for shot-blocking (3.3/game) may have him sitting on the bench with foul trouble in every single SEC road game. Very close to being a Perimeter-Oriented Team, which often spells not just POT but NIT also.


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