Maybe Wonk was right after all
On Saturday Wonk interrupted a blog-free weekend to point out that All-Wonk selection T.J. Parker of Northwestern had a nice game in the Wildcats' season opener Friday night, scoring 18 points and draining 3-of-6 three's. Maybe, Wonk opined on Saturday, Parker can shoot the rock after all.
Or maybe not. Saturday night Northwestern fell to New Mexico State, 64-61, in day 2 of play at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. Parker put up a 4-for-12, including 0-for-4 on his three's. It's all right here in this box score, which, believe Wonk, was not easy to track down.
One of the oddest sights in college hoops is the team that keeps shooting nothing but three's--even when they're not hitting them. Take for instance Northwestern Saturday night: 31 attempts from outside the arc (no, that's not a typo) and only eight makes.
Update: Northwestern lost to Utah State in last night's game, 64-57. Parker's line: 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 on his three's.
Winning ugly, part 1Wisconsin defeated Penn in the Badgers' regular-season opener Saturday night, 77-44 (links here and here). The Quakers shot just .319 from the field.
What will be interesting to watch this year is whether or not Bo Ryan is able to continue his winning formula or will have to find a new one. Ryan's teams have relied on rock-steady guard play, specifically the ability to not turn the ball over. But this year's guards are all either on leave of absence (Boo Wade), new to the program (Penn State transfer Sharif Chambliss), new to playing time (Kammron Taylor), or new to college ball (Michael Flowers). And so Wonk notes with interest that even against the hopelessly overmatched Quakers, the Badgers turned the ball over a fairly un-Ryan-like 16 times. They also allowed an un-Ryan-like 17 free-throw attempts to their opponent.
Granted, it didn't matter one whit because Wisconsin beat Penn unconscious on the boards, 40-22. But it's interesting, nonetheless. Two seasons ago Wonk started a running tally of conference games in which Wisconsin was outrebounded and outshot and still won handily. They did it by not turning the ball over and by shooting many more free-throw attempts than their opponent. Keep an eye on this.Winning ugly, part 2
Continuing their Giving Big Ten Teams Self-Esteem Tour, Florida A&M lost to Illinois yesterday, 91-60, after having been similarly pounded at Michigan State Friday night, 104-72. Dee Brown put up a sweet line: 8-for-8 from the field, 4-of-4 on three's, 20 points. (Links here, here, here, and here.) And yet Brown also coughed up a Pierre Pierce-esque six turnovers to the scrappy Rattlers, leading, if that's the correct term, an Illinois team that totaled 21 turnovers. Wonk hopes (trusts) this is just early season sloppiness. (With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot: "The ball it is said/Never goes where it's sent/When the skies of November turn gloomy.")Gopher fans, look fast: Minnesota is undefeated
Minnesota held off a feisty Lipscomb squad yesterday, 83-66, in the regular season opener for the Gophers (links here and here). Meanwhile, Tom Powers, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, beat Wonk to the punch yesterday and said what I was going to say here one of these posts: it's absurd to call this a make-or-break year for Minnesota coach Dan Monson. Everyone knows the Gophers will struggle this year. There's no talent in the program right now. The knock on Monson, conversely, has been that he can't win even when he does have talent. To judge Monson by the results he shows this year is as good as saying he's a lame duck.In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Iowa will play Louisville today in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. Game previews here, here, and here. Cardinals coach Rick Pitino likes to deploy a five-man "red team" that comes off the bench as a unit and runs an attacking pressing style. Pitino has been known to call this group the "Kamikaze Kids" but tactfully refrained from doing so at the press conference in Hawaii yesterday.
Dick Vitale lauds Purdue coach Gene Keady here.
Wisconsin's Brian Butch and Michigan's Dion Harris merit mention as two of ten sophomores to watch nationwide in Seth Davis's latest post at si.com here.Wonk back!
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