Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts

With the Big Ten leadership on the line, I had two thoughts:

-What has happened to Raymar Morgan? Instead of stepping it up with the Kalin Lucas injury, he's seen his scoring taper off. And instead of making big plays to rally his team, the senior is the one missing open dunks late in the second half. His play is puzzling to say the least.

-And what was up with Wisconsin's strategy against Illinois? I know they've been taking more threes with Jon Leuer out, but the Badgers abandoned the inside game way too early in this one. This was especially true late in the game when trailing by just 4 points. The smart play is always to take it to the basket and extend the game, and with Illinois missing free throws, Wisconsin would have had a chance to win if the Badgers kept trying for easy baskets.

But that's not really fair to Purdue or Illinois who I salute for two sensational road victories.

Put this on Youtube please

There is often a hidden play that defines a team. It isn't always a buzzer beater or a ferocious dunk. Sometimes you have to look a little more closely. At 14:03 remaining in the second half of the Georgetown - Providence game, Georgetown has the offensive possession that I think defines this team. Georgetown passed the ball 10 times, probing the Providence defense in and out and side to side, until finally Julian Vaughn gets a lay-up. My initial thought was simple. Was that the Harlem Globetrotters? That looked like a rehearsed passing exhibition, not a real offense. 10 passes! And Monroe's soft touch post feed to end the sequence was off the charts. Seth Davis has written that Georgetown's chemistry is much better this year. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But on that single play, Georgetown defined teamwork and execution.

Monroe ended the day with 12 assists. According to the game announcers it was his 13th career double-double, but first without rebounds. So Greg, do you have a triple double in you?

By the way, Len Elmore's announcing had to drive the Providence fans nuts. He seemed to call the game like Georgetown was up 20 the whole time even when they trailed by 8 and even when the lead was 5 in the final minutes. His emphasis on "possesssions" and shooting percentage was almost a tempo free analyst's dream, but it was very unusual not to hear an analyst gush for a near top 10 upset.