D3, Season 61 Topic

Recap: #8 Johnson & Wales 65, #1 Hardin-Simmons 55

Two-time defending national champion Johnson & Wales announced it has no intention of going gently into the night with a 65-55 road victory at top-ranked Hardin-Simmons. JW jumped to a 26-10 lead which the host school was able to chop down to 27-21 as JW endured a stretch of nearly seven minutes without hitting a shot from the floor. No sooner had Hardin-Simmons made that run than the tables turned. HS went the final 5:22 of the first half without hitting a shot from the floor and trailed by 13 at intermission. HS moved quickly to play themselves back into the game in the second half, pulling within 45-43 just over six minutes into the second half. They were still within four with 6:42 remaining when JW reeled off seven consectuive boints to reinstate a double-digit lead that HS was never able to threaten in the waning minutes. Marc Tolley with 18 points for JW. Jerry Wright with an impressive 14 points and 10 boards for Hardin-Simmons, which shot just 35.2 percent for the game. 

Elsewhere in the league, Louisiana moves up with a 74-60 win over Denison. Colorado continues a stealthful run into the top 10 with an 81-59 win over Gustavus Adolphus. Conn scores a big win over then-top 10 Wentworth by a 66-59 margin. Texas Lutheran avoid back-to-back losses by working overtime to topple Whittier 82-76. Merchant Marines bounce back to dispatch a top-10 squad in RIvier 75-67. Greensboro’s absence from the top 25 lasted all of one night after a 71-58 win over Calvin. 

Game of the night: #3 Louisiana (3-0) at #4 Johnson & Wales (3-0)

Yes, you’re stuck with back-to-back nights of JW, but when the night’s only clash of ranked teams involves Nos. 3 and 4 duking it out, hey, you go with it. JW puts its win streak on the line against Louisiana and big man Richard Brown, who is averaging better than 18 points and 7 boards per outing in this young season. Will there be a letdown after the road win at No. 1? Or will the two-time national champs continue to march forward? 

9/9/2012 11:39 AM
Holy smokes... it seems pretty clear to me that Johnson and Wales is the best team again this year.  I guess time will tell.
9/10/2012 6:40 AM
Recap: #4  Johnson & Wales 74, #3 Louisiana 48
JW held Louisiana to less than 33 percent shooting from the floor and forced 10 turnovers during a dominant second half as they ripped Louisiana 74-48 in non-conference play. There were no signs of a letdown 24 hours after knocking off the No. 1 team in the land for JW. Roy Black came off the bench for 18 points in as many minutes and Marc Tolley added another 17 in support as JW improved to 4-0. Louisiana had three players finish in double figures, led by William Jackson’s 14-point night, but couldn’t compensate for a bench that produced just five points in the game.

Around the league, No. 1 Millsaps won a dangerous game against Susquehanna by a 64-51 final. Trinity (TX) held serve on the home floor with a 72-61 win over a strong Yeshiva side. Newbury handed Bethany its first loss of the season in an 82-64 final. Wentworth sent Ursinus to an unexpected 0-4 start with a 96-88 win. Merchant Marine continued a strong early showing 71-56 over Eastern Oregon. Kalamazoo escaped a scare, winning 65-64 over Mt. St. Mary to remain unbeaten.

Game of the night: #2 Penn St. Altoona (4-0) at #1 Millsaps (4-0)
There are five games tonight that feature two ranked teams knocking heads, but this is the creme de la creme of those options. Two Way-Too-Early Final Four selections going head to head in an early test of hierarchy. Fasten your seatbelts!
9/10/2012 2:34 PM
Our game versus JW was humbling. It backs up my earlier comment that JW is still the team to beat. Losing at home by ten though, and always being behind...that hurts. I tried to switch the way I value recruits in this past recruiting cycle to compete, but the available guys I landed are not an improvement. So far this season Penn St. Altoona has impressed me too. I'm calling the road upset victory!
9/11/2012 4:49 PM (edited)
Truth be told, I think I asked for the game at home vs. PSA because I figured I couldn't beat him on the road after losing 4 very good seniors... we'll see soon enough!
9/10/2012 10:36 PM

Recap: #1 Millsaps 86, #2 Penn St. Altoona 73

Franklin Valera and Kenneth Prudhomme combined for 34 points and the Millsaps defense menaced PSA into 22 turnovers to capture this 1 vs. 2 clash by an 86-73 final count. Millsaps gave a taste of what was to come by opening an 11-point lead just after the midpoint of the first half. Altoona battled back to trim the gap by halftime and briefly took a lead five minutes into the second half. That advantage got to 60-56 in PSA’s favor with 10 minutes to play, but Millsaps took the lead for good on an Alexander Markey jumper from the left block with 6:04 to play. That bucket triggered a 12-0 Millsaps run and Altoona never got closer than eight. 

Elsewhere, Calvin used an 11-0 second half run to knock the aura of invincibility from the defending national champions with a 69-65 win over Johnson & Wales. Hardin-Simmons endured a late-game push from Merchant Marine to win 58-56. Wentworth clipped Sewanee by a bucket in a batter of one-loss teams, 81-79. Connecticut remains unbeaten on the season with a 63-60 win over Whittier. Kalamazoo dodges disaster again, this time in overtime over Scranton 73-72 to stay perfect. Baptist Bible also dodges a threat to its unbeaten record with a 63-61 escape at Bridgewater St. Albertus Magnus wins a battle of unbeaten teams, 80-66 on the road at Franklin. 

Game of the night: #25 East Connecticut St. (5-0) at #18 Buena Vista (5-0)

Skipping over a higher-ranked top 25 clash involving 4-1 teams to focus instead on a pair of unbeaten ranked squads. It’s the first-ever meeting between ECSU and Buena Vista as cjones4mvp and westcoast22 prepare to throw down. The winner should enjoy a nice springboard effect up the rankings. There’s lots of 5-0 vs. 5-0 games at the bottom end of the rankings tonight — we might start to see a hierarchy of Rupp’s second tier starting to take shape after tonight. 

9/11/2012 10:47 AM
I see I'm as good here as my fantasy pool. JW loses after I talk about them, and my upset call wasn't close.
9/11/2012 4:48 PM
Posted by sublightd on 9/11/2012 4:49:00 PM (view original):
Our game versus JW was humbling. It backs up my earlier comment that JW is still the team to beat. Losing at home by ten though, and always being behind...that hurts. I tried to switch the way I value recruits in this past recruiting cycle to compete, but the available guys I landed are not an improvement. So far this season Penn St. Altoona has impressed me too. I'm calling the road upset victory!
I think it just shows the value of Ath and Def.  Those are really the only two things this team is good at right now.
9/12/2012 12:26 PM
Well there was no game of the night last night, but both Newbury / RHIT and Johnson & Wales / Wentworth Tech would have been good candidates.  I'm sorry to say my GNE brethren came up on the wrong side of both.  Even a 2-4 RHIT is always dangerous, as nacho played just 7 players in the upset, and fantastic FT shooting won the day.  Wentworth had just been shellacked by Penn St Altoona the night before in a 79-53 blowout.  I guess they came out angry, because they shot over 50% against J&W, a feat which probably only 1 or 2 teams, if any, have done in the last couple seasons.

Tonight the game of the night is surely the matchup between the #3 and #4 ranked teams, Trinity and Penn St Altoona.  I still hope to see rednu officially pick this game and write about it, but I'll be picking PSA for the win.

Rednu, thanks as always for this great thread.
9/13/2012 2:13 PM
Sorry guys...I hit the road and forgot to update yesterday with the game wrapup (which actually would have been a good one, since Buena Vista won it on a floater with seconds remaining...). Not sure if I'll be able to do much at the convention that I'm at right now or not. Probably depends how many rounds I last in "microbrew roulette" tonight with some of my fellow attendees...

9/13/2012 6:45 PM
Okay, home from my convention just in time to hit the off day here. Again, my apologies for the abrupt break in the thread flow. 

EIght teams carry unbeaten records into the conference stretch of things: Penn St. Behrend (Sim, Freedom), Palm Beach Atlantic (osgonlz, USA South), Tufts (zmark513, NESCAC), Suffolk (chichisteve, GNE), Buena Vista (westcoast22, Iowa), Millsaps (brianxavier, University), Defiance (carl3298, Heartland) and Colorado (bdpoor, So. Cal.). Will anyone get to the conference tournament at 26-0? 

At the other end of the spectrum, there are seven schools still searching for their first victory of the year. Six are sims and I'll protect the ID of the lone human on the list. At least two of those teams are ensured of a victory as two of the seven are from the Minnesota conference while two more are from the Heartland. Someone's 0 will have to go!

So let's hear some pre-conference reports from folks on how you're doing vs. how you thought you'd be sitting at this stage of things. My W. New England team had its non-conference path derailed early when a fractured ankle sidelined one of my expected key contributors. He's still not back at 100 percent, but even hobbled he helped us end on a three-game win streak to give us momentum. That said, GNE play will be brutal on my young squad and we will not be a factor for the postseason this year. 
9/16/2012 11:33 AM
I scheduled tough non conference hoping my strong ATH/Def could carry me to some wins...almost pulled one out at Kalamazoo losing by one, and lost to New York U and Texas Lutheran by 10 and 15 respectively...I am pleased with the opening win over Howard Payne. I would have been happy with 6-4 or 7-3 and i ended 5-5..I'm hoping that a good performance in a relatively strong Skyline will give me a shot at the postseason...

9/16/2012 10:05 PM
...Sorry, my team is Mount St. Mary's in the Skyline Conference
9/16/2012 10:06 PM
I'll jump in... happy with Millsaps run so far.  I am happy to be ranked so high with losing 4 seniors, 2 of whom were excellent players.  I am not sure of the potential this team has - lots of room to grow with 4 freshmen, and still have a high ceiling.  

I am essentially starting 4 back-up players right now (PG/SG depending on other team, SF, PF, C).  Due to the press defense causing us to go at least 10-11 deep, this doesn't seem to hurt.  Obviously Johnson and Wales has found this to be true, as he starts at least one freshmen every year it seems.  I even risked it against Rose-Hulman Tech and it worked fine (although that probably has a lot more to do with his team only playing 7 guys - which is killing him this year).

I hope this team can break thru to the final four.... but after last's years undefeated regular season and loss in the Sweet 16, I'll take nothing for granted.  

I think this team still hasn't faced some of the best squads out there this year - as many on my schedule are having down years so far.  But I did have big wins against USMM, Penn St. Altoona (although I benefited from playing PSA at home).  And I am sure several of the other teams I played will improve their RPI in conference play.... so right now they just look like solid wins rather than outstanding.

It looks pretty wide open for the national title this year.

9/17/2012 1:07 PM
I'll contribute a few thoughts as well from the (usually) quiet E8 conference. My 9-1 Vassar squad has done pretty good so far this year against a middling nonconference slate of mostly 100 to 150 RPI teams.  I've sqeezed out a bunch of 5 to 10 point victories on the road against teams that are competitive but that I should have beaten--so I've been holding form, though biting a few nails along the way.

I've avoided the bad nonconference loss or two that I usually seem to conjure every season, and managed not to schedule any 250+ RPI creampuff/RPI killers, so I'm sitting pretty good with a 6 RPI (though very-early-projecting as only a 5-seed in the NT).  I did get dismantled by Rivier during my only true test (and at home, too, where I rarely play in nonconference)--so I'm already worrying about being noncompetative versus the top teams and headed for yet another 1st or 2nd round NT loss.

To be fair, though, this isn't one of my better teams--lower than I like in ATH and DE (never my strongest suit, but even worse after my top 3 defenders all graduated last season and I have nobody left with a 50+ rating in DE), and no dominant player--scorer and/or rebounder--in the post or even on the perimeter (though Woolsey is close as a PG with 90 SPD, 79 PE, 94 BH, and 75 PA).  Been mixing and matching my top 4 post players pretty successfully in the SF/PF/C slots, depending on the opponent, but I'm wishing I had one more good backup guard--especially a PG, since my only other good one usually starts at SG.  Overall, though, I'm pretty happy with a well-rounded if not dominant team; my scoring has stayed pretty good, and I'm in the top 25 in D3 in all of the shooting % categories.

Conference play shouldn't be too rough--the E8 is barely a top 20 RPI conference (I long for the days...20 seasons or so ago now...when we were regularly a top 5 to top 10 conference)--but middle of the pack is better than the bottom, where we found ourselves too often a few seasons ago.  My RPI (and NT seed projection) will drop some during conference play, but shouldn't plunge too far and I'd be happy with a 6- or 7-seed in the NT.  I'm assuming I won't have more than 2-3 losses in conference play--I could conceivably run the table, but I don't think my squad is quite that good.  I'm still pretty confident I'll have Vassar's 37th straight NT bid, though.  A Sweet 16 is probably about as much as I can hope for this time, though I'd like to be pleasantly surprised; I do try to remember that my last NT champ game appearance in season 48 was done as an 8-seed.

The one odd thing in the E8 is what is going on with my compatriot jtgraves' Union squad--I have no idea how that squad (overall rating=551, 24th overall in D3, and only slightly inflated with a high DU rating) is 1-9, including 5 losses to 200+ RPI Sim teams (plus 2 more in his exhibition games).  He's not changing defenses and is starting his best players--all upperclassmen.  My fear is that he'll turn things around drastically during conference play and hang me with 2 or 3 losses (including in the CT), knocking me down to the lower echelons of the NT seeds.  All I know is that if he wins the CT, he'll be one of the most dangerous 16-seeds out there.

Enough rambling...time to get to my gameplanning.

9/17/2012 7:57 PM
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