Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Curry and Griffin live up to expectations

Although I’m usually not a big fan of gimmicks, I must commend ESPN on their college basketball marathon yesterday. At midnight, I got a chance to get a sneak-peak at Memphis and future star Tyreke Evans, who was unimpressive in the action I saw before I went to sleep.

Yesterday morning, my Drexel Dragons knocked off the Penn Quakers in a game played at 10 am, which was also the first time Drexel has ever hosted Penn in basketball. UNC looks like they could win the championship even without Hansbrough and Ginyard, either that or Kentucky is going to be very bad this year, or maybe even a little bit of both.

UAB looked pretty good in the first half against Arizona (although the game came down to the wire well past my bedtime).

But of course, the game of the night yesterday was Davidson at Oklahoma, which did not disappoint. Davidson, of course, is powered by superstar Stephen Curry. Oklahoma is led by 2009 #1 NBA draft pick Blake Griffin. Both players put up impressive numbers played big roles in the outcome of the game on off nights!

Blake Griffin was outscored by his brother Taylor in the first half and only had 4 points while Curry had 17 points, but missed the last 6 minutes of the half with foul trouble. Yet, Griffin finished with 25 points and 22 rebounds and Curry had 44 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists when the fat lady sang last night in Norman.

Get this about Curry – he only shot 41% from the field and 40% from three (he was 14-14 from the charity stripe). He could have very easily had 50 points in this contest. Oklahoma tried all they could to keep the ball out of his hands, but what likely saved them was Curry’s first half fouls and fatigue.

Curry went through a stretch where he missed three straight 3’s off the front of the rim and he also missed a few floaters and fingerolls that could have upped his total to fiddy. I don’t know if his size will play well in the NBA, but he is the most exciting player and best shooter the game has seen in a long, long time.

As for Griffin, he’s the truth. He doesn’t have much range, but he can handle the ball very well and even led some of the Sooners’ fast breaks last night. He’s good from the line and unstoppable from close range. He’s a ferocious rebounder and is very tenacious when it comes to finishing. His brother, too, was impressive. He reminds me of a Paul Millsap kind of player.

Moving forward, Davidson will be much better when the tournament comes around, as their role players will become more acclimated to playing in the spotlight. The “White Lobster” Bryant Barr was 1-9 from the field, including 1-7 from downtown. In fact, besides Curry, the rest of the team shot horribly -- 12-39 from the field (31%), 4-14 from 3 (29%), and 6-12 (50%) from the line. If his team continues to play this poorly, Curry will be a shoe-in for player of the year, as he can and will continue to carry them.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma could be tough team, but there are a few things about them that troubled me. Their outside shooting was poor and needs to improve. Willie Warren can fly and Jeff Capel needs to turn him loose. I assume he will as Warren gets more experience. And perimeter defense needs to improve, as regardless of who you’re playing against, you can’t give up 44 to a guy.

As for the game, it was one of the better regular season games since maybe the Texas-Oklahoma State triple-overtime game a few years ago when Mario Boggan squared off against Kevin Durant. I can’t wait to see either one of these teams again.

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