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Archive for November 21st, 2007

GAME(S) THREAD: Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge

Posted by Jeff Nusser on November 21, 2007

Friday vs. Montana, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday vs. Mississippi Valley State, noon
Sunday vs. Air Force, 2:30 p.m.

With the Apple Cup coming up this weekend — and yours truly will be there, celebrating, win or lose thanks to the end of a certain quarterback’s career (but that’s a topic for the football blog) — news on the Cougar hoopsters has been sparse now that the season is fully under way.

With Thanksgiving on tap tomorrow, and since I’ll be traveling to the west side and unsure if I’ll be able to get to a computer, I figured I’d throw up the game(s) thread for the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge going on this weekend in Spokane.

The bad news is that once again, none of the games are on TV. The good news is that from here on out, virtually every game is.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the games this weekend here, which I probably will do if I can get to a computer at some point. Realistically, none of these games should pose much of a challenge, but’s Reggie Rankin thinks Friday’s game against Montana could be a land mine waiting to happen for the Cougs, listing the game under his “upset watch”:

The Grizzlies are poised for a run at the Big Sky Conference. They are led by two preseason all-conference first-teamers, Jordan Hasquet and Andrew Strait, who has been mentioned for conference player of the year honors. Senior guard Matt Martin and sophomore point guard Cameron Rundles work the perimeter and give Montana a balanced and experienced attack along with Hasquet and Strait. … Coach Tony Bennett’s pack defense is as good as any in the country, but Montana’s inside-out attack puts the Grizzlies in the game.

We’ll see. He did put the Ducks on his upset watch as well …


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Crazy night in Pac-10 hoops as UCLA survives scare, Ducks go down

Posted by Jeff Nusser on November 21, 2007

Some were surprised by UCLA’s near upset against Michigan State last night. I was not.

You saw a perfect example of why I don’t have the Bruins ranked No. 1 in my Top 25: They just are not the same without Darren Collison. He is the juice in that engine. He directs the offense, giving it tempo and flow, and is absolutely nails on the defensive end, wreaking havoc with his multitude of steals — 2.2 a game last year.

That the Bruins had the talent and guts to come back in that game says a lot about them, and it was impressive. To do that with all the young players they have against a team that returned all its players, and do it without your team MVP? That’s really saying something. And if you haven’t gotten a look at just how good Kevin Love is, he’s reason A-1 why the Cougs probably can’t win the Pac-10 title this year.

UCLA will be the best team in the country … just not right now.

The other big news of the night was Oregon’s upset loss to St. Mary’s. Informed minds saw that as a potential upset, what with the Ducks traveling for a true road game at the WCC school. It’s easy to chalk up the loss to an unbelievable performance by true freshman Patty (yes, that’s his real first name) Mills, who dropped 37 on the unsuspecting Ducks.

But their problems were bigger than that last night. The No. 12 team in the country never even had the lead against the Gaels after the midway point of the first half. They gave up 61 points in the second half, and sent St. Mary’s to the line 36 times. Some of that was probably due to late fouling, but you get the picture.

In my Top 25 comments, I singled out Tajuan Porter as the key for the Ducks, and that I wasn’t sold on him as a floor leader in the absence of Aaron Brooks. Well, he scored just 13 points last night with one assist and two turnovers. He also shot nine 3s, making only three.

Porter might be 5-foot-6, but he’s no point guard, and Ernie Kent’s insistence on fitting a square peg into a round hole because he has no other true point guard on the roster will be a constant problem for the Ducks this year. On nights when the offense isn’t scoring 90 points, Oregon is going to struggle.

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