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All Conferences Tournament, Day 1

It’s officially tournament time for conferences around the nation in our bracket. The teams have been chosen, broken down, and ranked and now it is time to play the games. Because the games obviously would never happen, my opinions and judgments will be used to break down how I would see a game of whatever 2 teams are playing break down. With four first round games to be played, I will break up analysis into two parts, with the first two games being played today. Links 1 and 2 can be found at the bottom as always, so let’s get the tournament going! **Note** One more thing I added was that the home team would get to pick where they want to play the game, giving them a home court advantage of some sorts.

Round One: #1 Big East vs. #8 Big Ten, played at The Carrier Dome

You can bet that 30,000+ fans will come out for this one to watch the favorites of the tournament, the Big East, come out and face the young guns from the Big Ten. Two very different styles of play will be paired up in this one, as the half-court sets of the Big Ten will go up against a Big East squad that is going to want to push the ball. However, with the combination of Thabeet and Harangody/Blair on the inside, slowing the game down could be a huge factor for the Big East getting points in the paint. The Big Ten will also have their hands full with a physical and strong back court. Going through the matchups of everyone, let’s see how the game panned out.

PG: Levance Fields vs. Kalin Lucas
Lucas is a very fast guard that likes to shoot, but don’t be fooled by Fields’ size. This was one of the Big Ten’s better matchups in the game as Lucas was able to get by Fields on multiple occasions that led to some open jumpers. Lucas has a knack for finding the open shooter and did a nice job offensively. On the other end, Fields did an excellent job finding his team mates, distributing, and taking care of the ball. He finished the game with 11 assists and just two turnovers against Lucas. Lucas was probably the MVP for the Big Ten squad, and out of anyone on the team, might have the most potential. Having Coach Izzo on the sideline didn’t hurt, either. ADVANTAGE: Fields

SG: Jerel McNeal vs. Manny Harris
This was a very fun matchup in the game, featuring two shooting guards who both play much bigger than they actually are. While the Big East was on offense, Harris was able to contest McNeal on some jumpshots due to his clear height advantage, but McNeal had the advantage in the speed department which led to easy buckets. Harris was able to get open in the half-court offense and take jumpers, and finished with a respectable 15 points which led the Big Ten team. McNeal had 3 steals in the game which was a trend in the game as the Big Ten turned the ball over 18 times. ADVANTAGE: McNeal

SF: Earl Clark vs. Evan Turner
In the only 1 on 1 matchup that the Big Ten one, Evan Turner had an excellent all around game with 13 points and 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Clark’s defense looked sluggish at times in the battle of two lanky forwards. Both having huge wingspans made it tough to drive on one another, but they both found a way to make jump shots. On offense, Clark surprised everyone with his outside game, connecting on 2 three pointers. Turner did an excellent job posting up Clark who was frustrated the whole game. Turner was not faster but ran the offense very nicely which led to a few easy buckets for the Big Ten squad. ADVANTAGE: Turner

Luke Harangody led the Big East squad with 22 points in their first round win over the Big Ten.

Luke Harangody led the Big East squad with 22 points in their first round win over the Big Ten.

PF: Luke Harangody vs. JuJuan Johnson
Two very different styles of play clashed in this matchup. On offense, Johnson had his back to the basket most of the game in the post but did a nice job racking up 12 points and 11 rebounds. On the other end, Harangody fronted Johnson on multiple occasions and surprised him with his speed, leading to layups. He also was on with his outside shot and ended the game with 22 points. With Blair and Thabeet next to him, he only hauled in 5 rebounds but played his role perfectly. ADVANTAGE: Harangody

C: Hasheem Thabeet vs. Goran Suton
This matchup featured two defensive studs and that is exactly how they played in this game. They held each other to single digits in points and both grabbed double digit rebounds. For Suton, he was a force inside when McNeal and Clark would drive and held his own nicely when Thabeet got the ball in the post. He was in great position on defense and had 10 rebounds in the game. For Thabeet, the half court offense cuts did not phase him as he ended with 12 rebounds and 5 blocks. Thabeet was key against a Big Ten team that struggles to score as it is. ADVANTAGE: Thabeet

6th Man: DeJuan Blair vs. Robbie Hummel
The two did not match up vs. each other, but they both had solid games. Hummel checked in the game for Harris and Turner and played outstanding defense, nabbing two steals that led to easy points for the Big Ten. Offensively, he only hit one shot and didn’t do much else. For Blair, he used his force in the paint that led to 14 points and 9 rebounds, 5 on the offensive end. ADVANTAGE: Blair

Big East vs. Big Ten
As for the game itself, the Big East came out firing from the start. Levance Fields did an excellent job distributing the ball as Jerel McNeal and Earl Clark picked up early threes to start the game. The Big Ten struggled to find anything offensively to start the game, but came back nicely with a few outside jumpers from Lucas and Turner. Unfortuantely, the Big Ten relied too much on the jumper and, with Thabeet and Blair inside, could not get to the rim at all. Harangody paced the Big East on offense and Jerel McNeal ran the fast break as perfect as he could versus a slower Big Ten team. The Big East pulled away to start the second half and then put in Blair for Clark and switched to a 2-3 defense, daring the Big Ten to shoot outside shots. This proved to be too much in the end and the Big East easily came out on top. FINAL SCORE: Big East 74, Big Ten 67

Round One: #4 Pac-10 vs. #5 All Others, played at the Pauley Pavilion

One of the most intriguing matchups of round one features, just like the first game, two very different styles of play with the Pac-10 and All Others. The Pac-10 features a very experienced, defensive unit led by senior Darren Collison. The defensive play of Collison and Harden will be very important against an outstanding offensive back court of the All Others Conference that includes David Holston, Stephen Curry, and Lester Hudson. Inside we should see some outstanding defense which may make this game a shootout. Whoever can control the tempo should come out on top in this one.

PG: Darren Collison vs. David Holston
It was clear that Holston was going to get his points regardless of who defended him, but Collision did an excellent job making sure he could not take over the game. Holston gives up 5 inches of height to Collison which didn’t allow Holston to drive, but his range was outstanding, connecting on 5 three pointers. Offensively, Collison was able to get any and every pass off, leading to 9 assists against a weak All Others defense. Holston was pesky on defense despite the lack of size with 3 steals that led to 4 points of turnovers. In the end, Collison was able to step up to lead the Pac-10 team on offense. ADVANTAGE: Collison

SG: James Harden vs. Stephen Curry
This matchup was a little unfair due to Curry being more of a point guard and Harden being more a small forward, but it proved to be an awesome matchup at that. Both players led their respective teams in scoring, with Harden going for 24 and Curry going for 27. Neither players were able to stop the other, with Harden posting up Curry and forcing a double team and Curry beating Harden off the dribble. Defensively, Curry was able to force two steals and Harden racked up 7 rebounds. ADVANTAGE: Curry

SF: Chase Budinger vs. Mike Rose
A battle of all-around complete players was what occurred between Budinger and the senior Rose. Budinger plays outstanding defense and Rose can hurt you from anywhere on the court in what ended up being a great matchup. Rose came out firing and scored the first buckets of the game for All Others, but Budinger was able to get more comfortable in the game and ended up doing a nice job on Rose, holding him to just 14 points. On the offensive end, Budinger used spot-up feeds from Collison to connect on easy jumpers, but Rose’s speed led to three steals from the senior, resulting in 5 points. This matchup was more of a push than anything, with the slight edge to Rose due to rebounds and assists (7 and 4 for Rose, 5 and 3 for Budinger). ADVANTAGE: Rose

PF: Jordan Hill vs. Josh Heytvelt
Two very different players matched up in this one, with the offensively talented post presence in Hill going up against the rangy shooter in Heyvelt. Heytvelt, the senior from Gonzaga was able to open up lanes vs. the Pac-10 by bringing Hill out to the elbow, even though Hill ended the game with two blocks. He also played stout defense on Hill, holding him to 13 points, and grabbed 9 rebounds and a block. Heytvelt was really a non-factor on offense other than bringing Hill out, scoring just 6 points and grabbing 1 offensive rebound. Hill racked up 16 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. ADVANTAGE: Hill

John Bryant surprisingly paced a back-court heavy offense with 20 points for the All Others team in a 98-84 win over the Pac-10.

John Bryant surprisingly paced a back-court heavy offense with 20 points for the All Others team in a 98-84 win over the Pac-10.

C: John Brockman vs. John Bryant
John Bryant absolutely dominated this matchup, but he did not do so in any kind of flashy fashion, just like he has done all year for Santa Clara. Brockman plays much bigger than his 6’7”, 255 lbs. frame, but the 305 pound Bryant was able to get whatever shot he wanted on the low post. He stayed there all game, racking up 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds on the defensive end. Brockman was able to use his speed off the dribble and was able to put in 18 points, but Bryant’s presence was huge. He finished with 3 blocks and a steal and was a force inside for the All Others defensive unit. ADVANTAGE: Bryant

6th: Nic Wise vs. Lester Hudson
It’s really unfair that Hudson was not in the starting lineup, and he showed why. He finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds for the game and was all over the court, finishing with a team-high 4 steals. Wise did a nice job with Collison on the court which gave two excellent passers and drivers on the court, which kept the Pac-10 in the game. Wise finished with 10 points and 5 assists and played an all-around nice game. Still, Hudson was awesome and if he was able to get more minutes would have been even better. ADVANTAGE: Hudson

Pac-10 vs. All Others
I really underestimated the offensive power that the All Others team is putting on the court. They are all prolific scorers with the exception of Heytvelt, but all add something different. The game started off with Mike Rose and Stephen Curry hitting back-to-back threes, and from there the shooting fest was on. The Pac-10 played solid defense but against such good shooters, it’s hard to hold them down forever. Most of the points came off perimeter shooting with the solid inside play of Jordan Hill, but John Bryant was able to work one-on-one against Brockman because of the outside shooters All Others had, leading to 20 points. The Pac-10 stayed in the game, trailing by just 7 at halftime. However, the offense just wasn’t there in the second half and the All Others squad ran away with this game. FINAL SCORE: All Others 98, Pac-10 84



March 1, 2009 - Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball | , ,

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