Showing posts with label Tu Holloway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tu Holloway. Show all posts

Monday, February 28, 2011

Who Belongs? Et Tu, Xavier?

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 27, 2011

Heading into what is the final week of the regular season for the majority of conferences, the questions of bubbles and belonging have naturally arisen. This season being one of the more tumultuous of the recent past, bubble-sitting has become a crowded affair and the addition of three more teams - as the NCAA field expands to 68 - makes the watching and waiting even more exasperating.

One team nearly certain to get their ticket to the big dance is the #25 Xavier Musketeers, winning their 7th straight - and 14th of their last 15 - with a 66-62 win at Dayton on Sunday.

Tu Holloway, scoring leader of the Musketeers and tied for 16th in the nation at 20.5 ppg, poured in 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting and 8 of 9 from the charity stripe. Holloway and his teammates have compiled a solid 22-6 record and are 13-1 and in first place in the Atlantic 10 conference, holding off 12-2 Temple and 11-3 Richmond.

The Musketeers have already put down double-digit wins over both of those opponents, appearing to be the class of the league. Whether Temple (ranked 24th) and/or Richmond get in will be up to the tournament selection committee and highly dependent on how those teams fare in the upcoming conference tourney.

NOTABLE: As far as determining who belongs in this season's March Mayhem, a ot of energy is being expended on the choices from the Big East, which looks to be sending as many as 11 teams tourney-bound. The league is bifurcated, with 11 at 9-7 or better and the five bottom teams all 5-11 or worse (1-15 DePaul is at the bottom). with five teams - Cincinnati, Villanova, West Virginia, Marquette and Connecticut all sporting that 9-7 mark, reasoning can be discerned for all of them making it in, though the Mountaineers and Golden Eagles seem to be still bubbly, with respective 18-10 and 18-11 records.

20 wins is generally a good guideline, though not always, but the two aforementioned teams will have ample opportunity to prove themselves, with two regular season games and at least one conference tournament tilt remaining. In any case, the Big East will send nine teams at least, and probably all eleven with .500 or better records.

A couple of teams that may not be deserving suffered lopsided losses on Sunday. Stumbling Michigan State - 16-14, 8-8 - lost at home to Purdue, 67-47, and Maryland's 87=76 loss at North Carolina was never really close.

The Terrapins have falling into a tie for 5th place in the ACC with Boston College at 7-7. So the ACC now looks like Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech (10-4), Florida State (9-5) and maybe even Clemson (8-6). Maryland? Sorry, maybe next year.

The Big Ten was supposed to be one of the stronger conferences, but the demise of the Spartans has weakened it substantially. They are tied for 4th place with Illinois and Penn State at 8-8, leaving only Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin the only true locks.

As for the PAC-10, only UCLA and USC seem headed in the right direction, which happens to be bad news for the Washington Huskies, currently in third place (10-6), but hosting both LA teams this week. The Huskies took it on the chin from hopeful Washington St. (18-10, 8-8), 80-69. Arizona, tied with the Bruins for first place, will get either an automatic or at-large bid, but they have the look of a first round loser written all over them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Holloway Scores 33 as Xavier Wins 7th Straight; Top 25 Recap

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 29, 2011

The way Top 25 teams are falling like so many dominoes, the pollsters might want to take a look at the Atlantic 10, where two, maybe three teams should find their way into the NCAA tournament come March.

Those two or three would be Temple, Duquesne and Xavier. The Musketeers in particular have been pounding the opposition in their conference, their latest being an 85-62 romp at Richmond, in which junior guard Tu Holloway - 12th nationally in points per game at 21.1 - poured in a season high 33 points.

The victory was the 7th straight for Xavier, all against conference foes. All but one of their recent wins have been by double digits. Only Dayton and George Washington came anywhere close, losing 81-76 and 81-74, respectively.

Holloway scored from everywhere on the floor, and hit 17-of-17 free throws as the Spider defenders simply couldn't handle him.

NOTABLE: There have been more upsets this week than anyone expected; losses to Top 25 teams continue to mount. There is the distinct possibility that these wins by unranked teams are not actually upsets, but more indicative of the leveling of talent across the conferences.

Naturally, there are some teams that have risen above the fray, most notably, Ohio State, Pitt and Kansas, each which won on Saturday, though the Buckeyes and Panthers were in nail-biters. Top-ranked Ohio State went down to the wire at Northwestern, skipping past the Wildcats by a 58-57 score.

#2 Pitt withstood a challenge at Rutgers, emerging with a narrow, 65-62 victory. #6 Kansas had a much easier time with Kansas State, whipping the Wildcats, 90-66. Also in the Big 12, #7 Texas easily beat #11 Missouri, 71-58. Both the Longhorns and Jayhawks were winners at home, but look like the clear leaders in the conference.

Elsewhere, ranked teams were dropping by the hour. #23 Louisville downed #5 UConn in overtime, 79-78. The 21st-ranked Hoyas defeated #8 Villanova, 69-66, and #12 Purdue held home court for a 73-61 win over #16 Minnesota.

The biggest surprise of the day came when the Lobos of New Mexico bounced #9 BYU, 86-77, just days after the Cougars had beaten #4 San Diego State. The Aztecs regrouped on Saturday for a 96-57 rout of Wyoming.

Syracuse, ranked #9 along with BYU, lost their 4th straight game, falling at Marquette, 76-70. Penn State continued to flex its muscles at home, whipping #16 Wisconsin, 56-52.

There were more: Clemson beat #22 Florida State, the only team to have beaten Duke this season. Mississippi state beat #24 Florida, #13 Texas A&M fell at Nebraska and unranked Arkansas defeated #19 Vanderbilt, 89-78, on the Commodores' home court.

With all those losses, it's really difficult to classify these games as upsets. More to the point, it appears teams are going through growing and learning phases, as teams that didn't start well are beginning to find their ways and the crowd of traditional leaders is losing theirs.