November 10, 2009
New season, new opportunity to resurrect the Cram Session, a semi-daily melange of last night's most important hoops action. Some mornings it won't want to get out of bed just yet.
North Carolina 88, FIU 72: What's all the fuss? When Isiah Thomas and FIU brass heard they were slated to play North Carolina in Isiah's coaching debut, they wigged out. Last night proved they were overly worried: The Tar Heels never really turned up the tempo on FIU, playing a casual style throughout, and Thomas's Panthers were able to stay in the game for much of the first half. The important thing for FIU and Isiah is that no one got embarrassed. And no one did. (And hey, look at that: FIU is No. 6 in Kenpom's 2009-2010 team ratings. Cherish it, Zeke.)
Ohio State 100, Alcorn State 60: We have learned nothing. A quick flip to the Big Ten Network for Ohio State-Alcorn State yielded very little pertinent information. Evan Turner is now playing point for the Buckeyes, which will mean fewer minutes for P.J. Hill and Jeremie Simmons; will that help fix the perimeter defending woes that saw OSU give up such a high percentage of outside shots last season? It's reasonable to assume so. But Alcorn State was not a very helpful barometer.
Syracuse 75, Albany 43: Eat that, LeMoyne. Any Syracuse backers worried about another horrendous upset can rest easy: Jim Boeheim's 'Cuse showed little residual effects from a rather embarrassing loss to D-II LeMoyne in a scrimmage last week. Syracuse's zone swarmed Albany, forcing 32 (!) turnovers in the process, and Syracuse only made 2-of-17 from beyond the arc. A little bit better shooting, and this would have been an even bigger blowout.
California 75, Murray State 70: Late night upset avoided. Speaking of avoiding upsets, Cal did exactly that last night, cutting a Murray State lead to three with 2:30 left in the second half before eventually taking over and sealing the game in the final minute. Cal coach Mike Montgomery is blaming this on Cal's suddenly high profile, but to the Murray States of the world, Cal is always high-profile. The close call might have more to do with Cal's defense, or lack thereof (103.8 adjusted efficiency).