Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yes, I'll take it

Keep it going, Tay.

So I had to follow Auburn's 112-47 71-59 victory over Georgia last night via the magic of live stats--and not even Auburn's charming animated Livetracker, but's just-the-facts-ma'am statsheet approach--and there was a point in the second half when Auburn was up 79-26 (sorry ... I got a little over-enthused in that first half) 49-23 with 15 minutes to play and ... well, the oddball hideousness of Penn St.-Illinois kind of drew me in, and I started reading a list of the 50 worst footy fans as named by the Times of London (don't ask), and the next thing I know I look down and Auburn's up eight ... and then six. I could just feel the "season of lost opportunities-in-microcosm" post starting to write itself ...

And then Auburn naturally righted the ship--there's a reason comebacks from 264 29-point deficits don't happen all that often--and it wound up a comfortable 12-pint victory. And after a little while, when the terror had passed, I could realize the following things:

--Auburn has won four straight SEC games. Sure, the league's beyond terrible, three of those games were at home, and the fourth came against one of the worst SEC teams put together this decade, but four SEC games in a row! Plus, the last three have all come by double-digit margins. I'll take that.

--Auburn led Georgia in Athens by a score of 45-19 at halftime. It was only 22 days ago they led Texas Pan-American by 11 at the half. So yes, I'll take the 26-point lead ta the break, as well as the 38-9 lead with 5 to play in the half. Honestly, it's hard to blow leads that big.


Auburn outshot the Dawgs, outrebounded the Dawgs, and got the line more often on the road. If Barber and reed hadn't decided to turn the ball over 11 times between them and--stop if you've heard this one before--the free throw shooting hadn't been a disaster, this game would have been a 20-point laugher. It's worth repeating: on the road.

--Quantez Robertson showed no ill effects of his doghousing last week, scoring 8 points on just four shots and chipping in 6 boards and a steal in just 23 minutes.

--This conference could not possibly be more open. LSU appear to be the conference's truly good team, but even they've won their last three games by a total of 10 points. Kentucky's a one-man-show who just got pounded by Vandy. Tennessee got horse-whipped in Oxford last night. Florida's only a few days removed from giving up 84 points to these same toothless Bulldogs. South Carolina snuck past a rotten Tide team by two last weekend and lost in Starkville last night. And so it goes. There's no reason the Auburn that's shown up for the last four games can't win this league's conference tourney. It's never been more obvious.

So maybe it didn't end up being the 99-31 victory I thought we'd get part of the way through the first half. It's still a win, still a reason to keep cursing the home losses to Florida and Vandy, still cause to keep watching


jd said...

I honestly thought at one point we'd hold them to single-digits in the first half.

Also, since you're up there, can you do some research into my theory that the Big Ten's basket diameters are smaller than the rest of the country's? I know they play good defense up there, but 38-33? Good God! Texas-Oklahoma was higher scoring. In football. It seems like there's never a game in the 70s or 80s in that conference. Teams finish with point totals in the 30s and 40s (and even win with point totals in the 30s and 40s!) far too often to chalk it up entirely to good defense.

Jerry Hinnen said...

What I think is REALLY interesting about it, jd, is that it's the same kind of thing in football. Think about it--Wisconsin, Ohio St., Michigan St., Iowa ... every single one of those teams won by cramming it down your throat with some plowhorse back and backing it up with good D. The basketball philosophies are the exact same: grind it out, don't run in transition, play straight-up hard-nosed man-to-man D and crash the boards like crazy. I've got a friend who had awesome seats to Michigan-Michigan St., and he said MSU could be Memphis if Izzo wanted them to be--they're all freaking specimens, athletically. And Izzo has them thumping around the same way Dantonio sent Ringer into the line 30 times a game. I've always I felt like there was a reason 6-10 gazelle (Durant) went somewhere else and the lumbering behemoth (Oden) wound up in the Big 10. Drawing a parallel between the entire "Midwestern mindset" and its athletic teams' conservatism seems way too easy, but I have to wonder.

easyedwin said...

Cannot see the right side of the stat window, JH.