Sunday, November 25, 2012

Five Takeaways From the Weekend

It was a busy weekend in Big Sky country, so let's take a look at some takeaways from all of the games.

1. Montana misses Will Cherry - They wound up getting a 67-66 win on a late three-pointer from Kevin Henderson, but it is clear that they are missing Will Cherry. Keron DeShields and Jordan Gregory are solid players now and will be good starters eventually, but they are not good or experienced enough right now to lighten the burden on Kareem Jamar. Jamar had 11 assists on the day (including on the Grizzlies' last two buckets, but was just 2/9 from the field, scoring eight points. Cherry is a lockdown defender, but he is also a creator on offense and a guy that defenses have to pay a lot of attention to because of his ability to get to the rim or hit the midrange jumper. They miss him offensively.

2. Weber State needs to find a go to scorer - In an dreadful game to watch, Weber State fell 65-55 to Utah State. While their free throw shooting was alarming (15/27), the bigger concern was their lack of an idea of where to go at the end of the game. Scott Bamforth (four points on 1/7 shooting) and Kyle Tresnak (five points on 1/5 shooting, and wasn't even on the court in crunch time) were supposed to be their all-conference guys, but neither was a factor at the end of the game.

Davion Berry led the team with 11 points, but was just 5/14 from the floor and 1/5 from the line. Gelaun Wheelwright is obviously talented, but showed his inexperience with some poor decisions down the stretch. On paper, WSU is as talented as anyone in the conference, but they need to find a pecking order at the end of games.

3. Idaho State is winless, but not hopeless - The Bengals fell to Wright State and Central Michigan, dropping them to 0-5. But they are slowing the game down and keeping things close (CMU needed a shot with 0.5 seconds left to beat them), and as a result they are in most games. They haven't allowed more than 60 points in a game (on the flip side, they have only cracked the 50 point mark once). They aren't the most talented team, so their best chance this year may be to slow things down and shorten games. They are embracing that, and it will eventually give them a win or two that will surprise some people.

4. Sacramento State keeps racking up wins - They trailed by as many as 14 against Central Arkansas, but used a 21-5 run in the second half en route to a 71-68 win. UCA scored 45 points in the first half, but the Hornets defense was locked in after the break, allowing just 23 points in the second frame. The star of the game was Konner Veteto, who had 19 and 11 off the bench for the Hornets (Joe Eberhard also had a double-double for Sac State). Veteto has always been a productive player when he has been able to stay on the court, and he was huge in this game.

5. Portland State may be closer to the bottom than the top - Both the coaches and media picked the Vikings to finish fifth, while I pegged them at eighth before the season. So far, I'm still sticking with my pick. It's not that they are losing (recent losses to Portland and especially Oklahoma State aren't terrible), but it is the way they are losing. They seem to be getting blown out every game. They trailed 51-30 at halftime against the Pilots, and were down 53-24 at one point to Okie State. Their defense is getting shredded, and they don't seem to know where to go for points without Charles Odum and Chehales Tapscott. They have the talent to be a solid team, but thus far, they look like a long way from being able to show it.

Any other big storylines?

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  1. In other news Eastern Washington is still jacking up 3 pointers.

  2. And even more disconcertingly, not playing much defense...

  3. 3 questions for you since being a UND fan and new to following the blog extensively

    1) When is the expected return of Cherry to Montana? Still saying start to conference season?
    2) Feelings going into UND's game tomorrow against former rival South Dakota State
    3) Do you ever do a power ranking systems for the teams as the seasons go on?

  4. Thanks for the comment!

    1. The latest I have heard is that they are hoping Cherry will be back for their game on Dec 5th against Carroll College. Not for sure, but they are hoping to get him back by then.
    2. I am not optimistic, because UND still hasn't shown they can win on the road, and SDSU is a pretty darn good club. I would feel better if UND had been more competitive against Kansas State and Northern Iowa.
    3. Yep I do! Since it is so early I haven't done any yet, but probably within the next couple weeks, and then I should be doing them every other week or so throughout the course of the season.

    Thanks for reading, much appreciated!