Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coast to Coast...like Tyus Edney against Mizzou

One of my favorite tournaments of the year is the Maui invitational, which started yesterday and goes the end of the week. Nothing like four games a day for three days, all televised on the ESPN family of networks. This year's field is kind of weak. Marquette and Duke are the only real top tier teams, if you want to call top tier. Neither team has a frontcourt to speak of, which won't serve them well come March. The semi's of the CBE Classic took place at the brand spanking new Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Marquette 74 Chaminade 63 in Maui - After two weeks of the season, I know one team I'm selling; the Golden Eagles. Chaminade is an NAIA team who gets blown out by everyone in this tournament every year, yet the hung with the Marquette the whole way, trailing by just three with six minutes to go. The three fabulous Marquette guards can't all seem to get it going at the same time. While Jerel McNeal was going off for 22, Wesley Matthews was stinking it up, going 1-6 and Dominic James was 4-12 in Maui.

UCLA 71 Maryland 59 in KC - In the first semi-final in KC, UCLA shut down Maryland to the tune of 39% shooting. PF James Gist was just 3-13 in the frontcourt. Meanwhile, UCLA stud Frosh Kevin Love had another great performance, scoring 18 and grabbing 16 boards. Think this guy is a star already? I do. Josh Shipp, playing the role of Arron Afflalo this year, tied Love for team high honors with 18. Another win sans Darren Collison.

Oklahoma State 83 LSU 77 in Maui - Another Freshman to add to the national watch list is James Anderson. The McDonald's All-American scored 25 and Senior Terrell Harris added another 24 as the Cowboys bounced back from their embarrasing loss to North Texas. We did learn two things about LSU in Maui though. 1. Coach John Brady is a bad shaver and still does the old school tissue over the cut technique. 2. Center Chris Johnson may be the skinniest player in college hoops. 6-11, 190 lbs is what he is listed at. My guess is 175 tops.

Belmont 85 Alabama 83 - Add this one to the list of shockers. Belmont has now taken down Bama and Cincinnati, but lost to Bowling Green and Austin Peay.

Michigan State 86 Missouri 83 in KC - This highly entertaining game was buried on ESPNU, luckily for me, I get it. The Spartans carried a big lead early in the second half, but with Mike Anderson's 40 Minutes of Hell style, the Tigers are never out of a game if they can hit shots. They did. Stefon Hannah led a furious comeback that came up short as Drew Neitzel hit two big shots in the final minute to seal the game for MSU. Keon Lawrence's half court three rimmed out and the Spartans survived. The Spartan Freshman, Chris Allen and Durrell Summers, who have been fabulous against the mid-majors thus far, combined to go 0-8 with just two points against their first real opponent. We'll see how they fair against UCLA in the CBE Finals.

Duke 83 Princeton 61 in Maui- The Devils came out full court pressing and Princeton had no clue how to break it. With a blink of an eye, it was 22-4 and the game was all over but the shouting. Freshman Kyle Singler had 21 and 12, Gerald Henderson was 6-8 from the field, and Duke outrebounded the Tigers by 20. A solid performance out of Coach K's crew. Up next for Duke is a young Illinois team who blew out Arizona State in last night's Maui finale.

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