Hey fellas, before you get to worked up, you’re 1-10.
Well, now that we type that, it does beat the crap out of 0-11. Congrats, men, well done.
What did we learn, if anything?
Having said that, this flurry of competitive earl-season games, does give us some insight into the makeup of the participating teams – both winners and losers as we careen through the holiday season.
Duke lost its first game ever in the challenge and the primary reaction has to be “no big deal.” Wisconsin will always be a tough out at home as long as Bo Ryan is at the helm. In losing a virtually meaningless game in the grand scheme of the Big Dance, Duke did what all teams are doing this time of year – trying to establish a consistent third scorer, looking for consistent outside shooting and trying to figure out how to function smoothly in close end-game situations.
Good news for the Devils is Andre Dawkins looks to be emerging as the answer to the first two questions.
Just last week we thought Clemson’s game-ending curse had subsided when they coolly used their previous Achilles heel – the humble free throw – to win a close game. Last night, the Tigers had a meager 23 point lead and yet found a way to loose one of the pivotal challenge swing games to Illinois.
While taking nothing away from an inspired Illinois comeback – their biggest ever – Clemson has to take some heat for the loss. As Jay Bilas put it so succinctly last night in a post-game ESPN analysis, no incredible comeback occurs without a simultaneous incredible collapse. Sad, but true.
Miami is off to an 8-0 start which is impressive considering the dire pre-season predictions aimed at the Canes (picked to be 10th of 12 in the conference this season). Without superstar guard Jack McLinton, Miami has had to complete reinvent their wheel.