Tryptophan Thursday

By - November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day from my hometown of Philadelphia, where the prevailing mood around my mom’s house is worse that chipper but slightly better than suicidal four days after Donovan McNabb shredded his ACL.

Gonzaga scored its first high-profile scalp of the post-Morrison era Wednesday night with an 82-74 victory over second-ranked North Carolina, demonstrating that team basketball is continuing to close the gap with the All-Star machines comprised of AAU studs being assembled by traditional powers like Carolina and Kansas. The Zags had never beaten an opponent ranked as high as No. 2 in program history before last night’s coup.

The big winner in all this? That would be the Mustachioed One himself. Gonzaga coach Mark Few noted following the victory that Morrison, a forward with the Charlotte Bobcats, would be collecting money from some of his teammates around the locker room — namely UNC alums Raymond Felton and Sean May — in light of the upset over their Tar Heels.

More musings from another active night in college hoops:

  • Why I watch college basketball: A school tabbed for sixth place in the Horizon League has become the biggest story of the young season after its third victory in 10 days over a team from a power conference. After engineering upsets over Notre Dame and Indiana to win the NIT Midwest Regional, Butler (5-0) confounded Tennessee with a commanding defensive effort last night to advance to Friday night’s championship game against No. 23-ranked Gonzaga. The Bulldogs limited the Volunteers (4-1) to 3-of-29 shooting from the floor during the second half

  • Stephane Lasme recorded the second triple-double in Massachusetts history with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocked shots as the Minutemen (4-1) coasted to a 63-49 victory over St. Francis (N.Y.). Who notched the first? That would be current Boston College coach Al Skinner, who had 27 points, 18 boards and 10 assists against St. Peter’s on Dec. 28, 1973.

  • No. 23-ranked Boston College (2-1) won’t have that little number next to its name for much longer. Nine days after suffering an embarrassing 14-point loss to Vermont at Conte Forum, the Eagles dropped their second straight contest with a 73-64 setback at Providence (2-1). BC junior Sean Williams blocked a career-high 12 shots in the losing effort.

  • So far, so good for high-scoring Houston, which improved to 3-0 with a 96-61 victory over Grambling. Robert McKiver is averaging 28.0 points and 6.0 assists for the Cougars, who travel to Saint Louis on Saturday for their last real challenge prior to a Dec. 17 meeting with Arizona in Tucson.

  • Speaking of the No. 15-ranked Wildcats (3-1), Lute’s side has this scoring distribution thing down to a science. In an 86-57 triumph over Samford (1-3), each of Arizona’s starters logged double figures while none scored more than 14 points. Chase Budinger, Mustafa Shakur and Marcus Williams scored 14 apiece while Jawann McClellan added 12 and Ivan Radenovic contributed 10.

  • Fifth-ranked UCLA (4-0) is your Maui Invitational winner after an 88-73 result over No. 19 Georgia Tech (5-1), bringing the Wayne Duke Trophy to Westwood after three convincing victories at the Lahaina Civic Center. Darren Collison, who has thrived at the one spot as the successor to Jordan Farmar, was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after scoring 15 points and dishing seven assists in the title game.

Posted by at 10:55 AM on November 23, 2006

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