Switching gears just a bit, let's discuss basketball. Quietly, Jim Boylen is putting together a pretty respectable season. The Utes are 9-5 (9-4 against teams that count) and even Joe Lunardi's Bracketology has Utah going to the Big Dance (yeah, I too was shocked!). Sure, he has them taking on a great Nova team, but still, if the Runnin' Utes make the dance, well, what a year.
Anyway, the Utes take on LSU tonight at the Huntsman Center and it's a pretty big game. Big because LSU isn't half bad, entering the game at 12-1. A victory there would go along way toward getting Utah closer to the NCAA Tournament. And for a team many thought wouldn't sniff the tournament this year, that's a big step in the right direction.
Ryan McCain, an LSU fan, e-mailed me a quick look at the Tigers, since I'm guessing most of us have not watched them this season. I thought I'd post it because I haven't really had time to think basketball with all that has happened with the football team. Here's what he wrote:
Bo Spencer (PG/13ppg) - Prototypical PG with a deadly 3PT shot, solid
D and 90+ % from the FT line.
NBA Comparison: Mike Bibby
Marcus Thornton (SG/18ppg) - Was the 2nd leading scorer in the SEC
last year. He's also deadly from the outside, solid on defense, solid
ball control and one of the best rebounding guards in the country.
He'll likely be a mid-late first round draft pick.
NBA Comparison: Joe Johnson
Garrett Temple (SF/8ppg) - This guy is the glue of the team. He has
picked up his scoring a bit lately but his value is on defense. If you
remember when LSU went to the Final Four a few years back, he was the
guy absolutley shut down JJ Reddick. Likely to be a late round draft
NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza
Tasmin Mitchell (PF/14ppg) - He was also around during the Final Four
run. He doesn't do anything great but will constantly give you 14 and
10. Strong fundamentals. Can shoot outside but his bread and better is
a baby hook shot going into the lane. Very solid rebounder. Never say
die attitude. He'll likely be a drafted in the first 2 rounds.
NBA Comparison: Sheed
Chris Johnson (C/10ppg) - This guy is a human highlight film. 6'11 and
only about 215. Very lanky with sick hops. Great rebounder and shot
blocker with a nice mid range touch. Has a lot of upside so could be a
mid round draft pick.
NBA Comparison: Tyrus Thomas
Team strengths: Solid starting 5, high pressure defense, solid outside shooting.
Team weaknesses: Not a lot of bulk inside, when Thornton struggles the
team struggles, backup PG is a true frosh (Chris Bass (brother of
Brandon Bass)) who doesn't run the offense that well. He is very good
on the defensive end though.
I'd be happy to go over the bench if you're interested.
Team stats can be found here:
docs/mb/09stats/teamcume.htm?DB_OEM_ID=52 0 0
LSU Message Board: http://www.tigerdroppings.com. There will be a in
game thread if you want to see what the other side is saying.
LSU Portal linking to damn near every LSU article posted on the
Video highlights of the best LSU hoops player of my generation:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIGwqQFaP_ s
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or7Tuqk3J1 U
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWhfc0q11z U
Tyrus Thomas dominance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHnHErnA9L g
Finally, the Godfather of LSU hoops himself, Pete Maravich (20 years
ahead of the game): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-bhv5s7yG
Should be a fun game and hopefully at the end of the night, the Utes are 10-5.