Randy Bennett ponders where the teams on his nonconference slate are from. Don't worry, Randy, you won't have to leave Moraga to play Jackson State or Bethune-Cookman.
First of all, we'd like to wish you the very happiest of Thanksgivings. We really appreciate everyone that has made this community so special. With that in mind, I urge to you do your worst as, if you are at all like me, your day will consist of 20 minutes of binge eating followed by several hours of what can only be described as food coma. Ah, I can barely wait.
In case you are waiting in anticipation for the Turkey to be served, here are a few interesting reads to hold back the drool..
-- Being a Denver native and resident, I was quite proud to watch Saint Mary's get taken down by the Pioneers of Denver. DU, which is best known for its hockey and up and coming lacrosse team, beat the Gaels by a score of 70-58 last night. While it was definitely a major upset, Denver looked like they were the better team basically throughout the game. They led by six at half, got it up to ten halfway through the second half, and walked away with a 12 point win. They connected on 10 of their 20 three point attempts and did a great job of letting Matt Dellavedova and Rob Jones get their points and shut down everyone else. Jones and Dellavedova both had 20+ points but only one other Gael connected on multiple field goal attempts and that was Mitchell Young with two. If SMC can not rally to win the West Coast Conference title, they can probably view this loss as when their bubble burst. Not only is this a really, really bad loss (and I say that with the love of a Denver native) but they have not set themselves up with many opportunities to get good wins outside the conference. Their nonconference slate is literally putrid. Their next few games are against vaunted programs such as San Francisco State, Cal Poly, Jackson State, Bethune Cookman, and Kennesaw State. You can't make this stuff up. December 22nd against Baylor is going to be incredibly important for SMC.
-- Speaking of schedules...a number of Gonzaga's nonconference opponents have gotten off to very slow starts. Starting with Saturday's opponent, Western Michigan. The Broncos are 0-5 on the season and were recently dominated by Purdue, 80-37. Notre Dame has dropped their last two games to Missouri and Georgia. The Missouri game was particularly horrendous as the Irish lost 87-58. ND has some good pieces in place but they have struggled to put it all together thus far. Arizona and Bulter have also both struggled early on this year and have multiple losses. Both teams were in action last night; Butler barely eeked out a win over Gardner-Webb and Arizona lost to San Diego State.
-- In case you are looking to expand your brain while you expand your stomach, this is a nice read from Addicted to Quack, SB Nation's Oregon blog. Advanced Statistics in college basketball are becoming the norm and for a good reason. While many seem to think that stats only tell part of the picture, the Advanced Stats that guys like Ken Pomeroy report really are changing the way many look at the game. I swear, it isn't hard to understand. For the most part, these stats normalize for the pace of play. Take a gander over to AtQ.
Once again, have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving!!!