Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Alabama #12? Give Us a Break!

Auburn 81 Alabama 57
It was already pretty bad that Alabama was still in the Top 25 this Monday. But ranking them at 12 was a bit unrealistic. The Tide had lost already at Arkansas and Vanderbilt by an average of 24 points, and then barely got by Georgia (78-76) at home on Saturday. Those performances should have given voters a clue that the Crimson Tide was not exactly rolling along.

So, the massive egg laid by Alabama last night in Auburn should seal their fate. This is, however, the same group of voters who watched Arizona lose three straight and four of five, and only drop them down to #17, so really, what can we expect except more mindless rankings in weeks to come.

In their game against Auburn, the Tide shot a sub-par 38%, including just 5-19 (26%) from beyond the arc. Not only that, but Auburn was allowed to shoot 58% from the field. Alabama actually had the lead by a point at the half, but the meltdown in the 2nd half was catastrophic, as they were outscored 46-21.

Let's see. They can't shoot and they can't defend. Top 25 material? I think not.

St. John's 71 Notre Dame 68 - Notre Dame has had problems on the road and they continued at the one venue that really matters in the Big East, Madison Square Garden.

The Garden hosts the Big East Tournament but it's also home court for the Red Storm, who have now won 2 straight there, having beaten Syracuse 64-60 on Sunday. St.
John's didn't do anything special in the win over the Irish, they just did everything a little bit better than the other guys - a formula for success no matter what sport you're playing. Of course, when the other guys only shoot 36% from the floor and 60% at the foul line, as Notre Dame did, you don't have to play that well.

Senior forward Lamont Hamilton did most of the damage for St. John's, leading his team with 23 points while pulling down 12 rebounds. Notre Dame's Russell Carter did his best, pouring in 32 points on 10-20 shooting (4-9 3s), but it simply was not enough. Besides his stats, the rest of the team was 12-42, with Rob Kurz leading the brick-fest at 1-8. Yes, the Big East is a tough conference, especially when shots aren't falling.

In other Top 25 action, #16 Air Force buzzed TCU, 72-39, #23 Indiana seems destined to be kicked into the "also receiving votes" category after losing at Illinois, 51-43. Virginia Tech's Zabian Dowdell hit 15-18 free throws en route to 30 points and a 92-85 road win at Miami. Dowdell, a senior guard, has scored in double figures in every game this season except a 63-62 loss at George Washington, when he tallied only 6 points. Dowdell is averaging 21.5 in ACC games and his 18 ppg overall is good for 4th in the conference.

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