... the safe, smart AM read for college basketball fans
It's as plain as day. College basketball has been infected with awful decision-making. And for some strange reason, many of these boneheaded plays are happening in the waning seconds of games, and costing teams a shot at winning. Between North Carolina's refusal to foul against Kentucky and Wesley Witherspoon's premature celebration, it's becoming harder and harder to find a team that actually knows what its doing in crunch-time situations.
Last night's Washington/Marquette game was an ultra-entertaining two-hour block of hoops, so it's frustrating that the ending was so completely awful and poorly executed. With only a few ticks on the clock and the ball firmly in UW's hands, point guard Abdul Gaddy, who was 2 for 10 shooting at the time, decided to take over. Inexplicably.
Gaddy wasted little time getting the ball to the other end of the floor. But he didn't stop. He just kept attacking as defenders cut off his angle to the basket. This left no remaining time to pass the ball off, and with opposing players swarming him at all sides, Gaddy double pumped in the air and let off a prayer as time expired. Millions tuning in on ESPN watched in awe as the ball proceeded to fly, fly, fly over the backboard and clank around in the fixtures behind the basket. C-L-U-T-C-H. Game over.
But we see it all the time. Gaddy's confusing move is a perfect example of a player forgetting everything he's been taught leading up to the biggest moment of a game. Age and experience level aren't even the real culprits here, as we've seen it happen with seniors all the way down to freshmen. While it's hard to say this situation actually "cost" Washington the game, this was still a legitimate possession, and there was enough time on the clock for Gaddy to throw an outlet pass to one of his teammates for a "real" look. Late game brain farts, ladies and gentlemen. They'll kill ya.
* Fran McCaffery ejected as his Hawkeyes go flat against Northern Iowa (Des Moines Register)
* (The Post-Standard)
* Mizzou's Ricardo Ratliffe missed a shot, and somehow it didn't even count. SCANDAL! (Kansas City Star)
Memphis - It seems odd after roughly 20% of the season that last night's trip to Miami was Josh Pastner's first true road game of the year. But after a competitive opening half, the Tigers managed to outscore the 'Canes by 16 after the break and put the game on ice. A definite confidence-builder.
Iowa - Go ahead and blame the officials if you wish. The Hawkeyes shot just nine free throws compared to 33 for Northern Iowa in one of the most lopsided intra-state rivalries we've seen this year. Iowa head coach Frank McCaffery was sent packing with under five minutes in the game, but it didn't matter. Losing by 20 points is an eye-sore.
- The improvements from year one to two are impossible to ignore. Barton recorded his fifth 20+ point game in seven opportunities on Tuesday, as the Tigers picked up their first road win of the season. Best of all, the sophomore guard chipped in 14 rebounds, four steals and three assists in addition to his game-high 27 points.
5 - Number of times Kansas' Jeff Withey blocked Long Beach State's 6'8" forward T.J. Anderson. Withey finished the game with nine blocks along with 13 points and 13 rebounds.