We notched an easy winner last night with St. Mary’s putting a hurting on a decent Cal Poly squad last night. The 8.5 point line because quickly irrelevant and the Gaels stormed to a quick double-digit lead in the first few minutes and cruised to a 30-point victory. Granted, a win over Cal Poly isn’t reason to start booking Final Four travel plans, but St. Mary’s is now 8-1 with a few quality wins. Given the massive unexpected struggles that Gonzaga has experienced and the stumbles (and fisticuffs) in Provo with BYU, don’t sleep on the Gaels being a contender in the WCC this season.
The barren week of college hoops continues as us die-hards look for something, anything to cling to until Saturday’s absolute explosion of awesomeness (more on that later in the week). The best games on the slate tonight are 7-2 Ole Miss hosting 8-1 Louisiana Tech (don’t look at Ole Miss’s schedule… too late! Their losses are George Mason and Seton Hall), Duke favored by over 30 at home against Georgia Southern (that one’s on TV!), Texas A&M Corpus Cristie taking their 7-2 record at 14.5 points into the Kohl Center to try and pile on the Badgers misery, and one legitimately GOOD game, VCU and Georgia Tech in a chance to see if the Jackets are back to respectability.
So, all in all, not a great menu, but still better than last night. Here’s my favorite play of the day.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Monmouth Hawks at Georgetown Hoyas -9
You know Monmouth. There the guys with the wacky bench antics that sprung to national fame. What is left out of that story, is the REASON those bench antics ever saw the light of day was that they were busy beating Notre Dame and USC on a neutral floor and losing to Dayton on that same floor by just three. It was an impressive a three-day spurt as just about anyone in the country has authored and it came from a team picked sixth by their own coached in the MEAC.
It’s probably fair to revise that prediction, but also fair to temper some expectations. A good three days in a Thanksgiving tournament in November doesn’t mean this is a tournament team, but it DOES mean they might start to think they are, and brimming confidence is important before true road games in college basketball, especially in well-known gyms where opponents aren’t supposed to have a good shot to win.
A road win over Georgetown would EASILY be the best win on their impressive resume. And I don’t think they are going to get it. Georgetown is a legit Top 25 team and their win over Syracuse reaffirmed that position. They have a nice 10-point win over Wisconsin on a neutral floor and played Duke and Maryland really tough to the final possessions. They did lose to Radford, but that was the very first game and have put in some impressive work since then. They also struggled with UNC-Wilmington this weekend. They are a bit inconsistent as a team, and will need to play well to win tonight, but I think they will. They have covered in five of their last seven games.
In the end, Georgetown has something that Notre Dame and USC did not; a dominant VERY big inside presence. Monmouth showed they can hang with good guards and wings. Will they be able to contend with Georgetown’s size tonight? I think it will be a bit too much. Keep in mind too this is a TRUE road game, not a neutral floor at noon on a Holiday weekend in Orlando. In two of their three real road games they have lost by double digits, including to the same USC team they beat on a neutral floor and to Canisius.
Don’t expect too many bench antics tonight. Monmouth has had an UNREAL early season, far better than anyone could have dreamed of or asked for. But going INTO Georgetown and winning is a far different task than they’ve faced so far this season. I think the supreme size and athleticism of Georgetown wears down the Eagles, limits almost ALL second shot attempts and generates around 15-18 turnovers.
Look for G’Town to stretch the lead in the second half and get the double-digit victory.