Thursday, February 08, 2007

New name, same great results.

B. Anthony is here to continue the great college basketball knowledge. Susan is gone, but her tradition of picking winners lives on! Like my namesake, Carmelo Anthony, who showed he could dominate college basketball by going to the hoop, I dedicate today's teams and picks to teams who score close to the basket.

Coaches always harp on getting easy shots, and getting to the basket, but players, and some new age commentators, continue to tout the rewards of the 3 point shot. Now don't get me wrong, I love to hoist the 3, and love it even more when my team hits a late 3 to cover, but these teams are seldom national champions, or teams that cover on a regular basis. Take the ball to the hoop, score in the paint or at the free-throw line, and you will be a top 10 team.

For example, I don't like Pitt, but they keep winning, and actually drilling teams, by just getting it in the paint. They started this years ago with Ben Howland, and Jamie Dixon is continuing the trend. UCLA has the style out west, and even though Aaron Afflalo is a pure shooter, he still scores a majority of his points on the free-throw line and going to the basket! Below are my top 5 teams at scoring in the paint. It is no surprise that these are highly ranked teams.

Florida- Noah and Horford, will constantly pound the glass, get put backs, fast breaks and easy buckets. Brewer is at his best going to the hoop in the open court. Best team in the country is only getting better.

Washington State- They work the ball around until a good, close shot avails itself. Tony Bennett, (did not leave his heart in SF) but he did leave the run and gun style when he was in diapers. His dad pounded it into his brain that each possession matters, and this is a very efficient offensive team that will change the way Pac-10 basketball is played and viewed. He and Howland are a big reason the Pac-10 will have 6 dancers this year and will be known as a top 3 Conference every year, for years to come!

Pitt- As previously noted, they just win. Aaron Gray is ugly, but his hands are soft and his guards are not afraid to lob it in to him, or mix in a few pass fakes to find him on the block. When was the last time you looked at a top 20 ranking and didn't see the name of this team? Not pretty, but effective!

North Carolina- Hansborough also fits the mold of not pretty, but damn effective. He is the Hustleberg incarnate! And, did you notice how often Lawson is driving to the hoop for the scoop shot, or lefty lay-up. When he is going to the hoop, we get the cover. ( He sealed that deal last night). And while we are looking at that, let's not forget the lefty dunks, lay-ups, and 6 foot bank shots that you get every night from Brandan Wright! Oh by the way, he shoots 64.3% from the field!!!!

Memphis- They are not a traditional post up team, but Dorsey is a monster, and their whole team attacks the rim off the dribble. You want to see big, look at the size of these 3 players.

Hashim Bailey
Kareem Cooper
Joey Dorsey

Calipari did some idea swapping with Vance Wallberg (new coach at Pepperdine) and now runs an offense that spreads the court for constant penetration. Wallberg dominated California JC ball with this style, and Calipari has the athletes to make it work. How hard can it be to get college kids to buy into the idea of penetration? They think about it 24/7 why not use it in hoops!?

Wisconsin leads a host of other teams, but the 5 above will be teams you can count on succeeding under pressure, because they will be near the basket.

On that note, I will feature some of these teams in today's picks.

Memphis -9 @ Uab; Enough said. This league is a one trick pony, and only Central Florida has an outside chance of joining Memphis in the dance.

Washington State -5 vs. Stanford; Revenge on their mind, they will out execute Stanford, make their free-throws, and get the Lopez Twinkies in foul trouble.

VCU- 6.5 vs. George Mason; They handled George Mason on the road by 13, why are they only giving up 6.5 at home? Can you say 2006 Final four. Get over the hype, VCU is hands-down the best team in this league. They will solidify this tonight.

Oh, I better have a dog in here!

Arizona State +15 @ Oregon; As I stated previously, Oregon is overrated and on the down slide. They don't defend, and don't really go in the paint. They will win this game, but not without giving up some points to a plucky Sun Devils squad. 88-79 Ducks, take the points!


B. Anthony


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