Some News & Notes.
- John Gasaway believes (as we do) that UCLA is better than everyone thinks. He just argues a better case.
- Doug Gottlieb gives some pointers to Alabama and Georgia’s brass when considering whom to hire for their programs this spring.
Your Gigantic Monday.
- Pittsburgh 70, West Virginia 59. As soon as Pitt beast DeJuan Blair picked up his second foul with fifteen minutes remaining in the first half, we immediately went into “upset” mode at the RTC compound. In the Panthers’ two previous games where Blair’s effectiveness was limited by the whistles, Pitt lost both games (@ Villanova; @ Louisville). Granted, both of those losses were road games, so maybe the key to beating Pitt is to get Blair in foul trouble away from the Steel City. Sam Young (20/7) and Levance Fields (13/7 assts) picked up the slack while Blair was on the pine, and WVU never had enough offensive firepower or rebounding of their own to make a serious push at the Panthers. What to make of Bob Huggins’ Mountaineer squad? They’ve lost four of six, and they’ve pretty much beaten everyone and lost to everyone they were supposed to in the conference this year. The computers love them, but their best win of the year was the destruction of Ohio St. in December; other than that, what? At Ole Miss? At Georgetown? They play teams tough, but to date, they haven’t won many of these games.
- Missouri 62, Kansas 60. Mizzou rode its rabid home crowd and pressure defense to a 19-6 closeout run capped off by Zaire Taylor’s 10-footer + the roll to knock rival KU from the ranks of the Big 12 unbeatens. This is a classic example of a game where you can’t believe that the same team you watched for the first 3/4 of the game is the one you’re seeing down the stretch. Kansas looked poised and in control throughout, whereas Missouri was the team that consistently had trouble putting two good plays together (case in point – watch the end of the first half). But the bottom line was that Kansas went cold at the wrong time and that, combined with the TOs Mizzou was forcing all game long, led to the devastating run at the end of the game that gave Missouri the program-inspiring win. The kind of win that can turn a so-so season into a superb one. DeMarre Carroll led Mizzou with 22/7, but Bill Self’s club should really be kicking themselves after letting this one get away. The Jayhawks looked like the better team. Nevertheless, Missouri got the huge win in tonight’s Border War (RTC – justified or not?), and Zaire Taylor “can’t hear nothin’ you’re sayin,” Holly Rowe. Looked like fun.
On Tap Tuesday (all times EST).
- Florida St. v. Virginia (ESPN FC) – 7pm. FSU has gotten itself into a good spot (5-3) in the ACC race, but they can’t afford a letdown at home.
- Providence @ S. Florida (ESPN360) – 7pm. PC can’t allow another Marquette-style upset to happen here.
- Michigan v. Michigan St. (ESPN) – 7pm. This is a dangerous game for MSU and a necessary one for the Maize and Blue. UM has won the last two in AA.
- Marquette @ Villanova (ESPN2) – 7:30pm. It’s Jerel McNeal vs. Dante Cunningham in the race between hottest players in the Big East. Nova has won 25 in a row at home.
- Texas v. Oklahoma St. (ESPN360) – 8pm. UT cannot drop this one at home if the Horns expect to be playing in March Madness.
- Florida @ Kentucky (ESPN2) – 9pm. This game used to be a battle for a #1 seed; now it’s a battle to stay off the bubble.
- Clemson @ Boston College (ESPN FC) – 9pm. This is a key game for positioning in the top-middle of the ACC. RTC Live will be there.