Georgetown's Porter continues to shine
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 22:02
With all the astounding events that transpired this past weekend in college basketball, it would be an injustice to concentrate on just one moment. Sure, I could use this whole column to describe my irrefutable love for Otto Porter, the man who singlehandedly sliced up the Syracuse Orange. I could go on an essay-length tangent about Kendall Williams, New Mexico’s point-guard who dropped 46 points (in other words, as much as the entire Syracuse roster had on Saturday) against a really, really good Colorado State squad. I could even talk solely of bubble teams: the ones who drastically improved their NCAA Tournament chances over the weekend (North Carolina, Villanova, Temple), the ones who didn’t (St. John’s, Alabama, Iowa), and those whose résumés continue to keep me up at night (St. Mary’s, Kentucky, Virginia).
I could do all of those things individually, you see. Or, in a move that is more proficient than a Kemba Walker step-back jumper, I could combine all the insanity into one. Without diminishing the legends of Mr. Porter or Mr. Williams, that is what I did. With that, let the weekend headlines begin.
The fact that Georgetown’s Otto Porter scored 33 in a win over Syracuse alone is staggering. But wait, there’s more.
Porter tallied eight rebounds, two assists, and five steals to go along with his career-high 33 points. He had 20 more points than the next highest scorers in the game, C.J. Fair and James Southerland. No other Georgetown player scored over seven points. Of the 36 total made field goals between the Hoyas and the Orange, Porter had a third of them. But wait, there’s still more.
The soft-spoken sophomore from a quaint Missouri town had more points than the entire Syracuse starting five (32). He drilled five triples (Syracuse made four as a club), connected on seven two-pointers, and was a perfect 4-4 from Dwight Howard’s least favorite vacation spot. Porter had 16 points in the first half and 17 in the second. And, in what’s probably the coolest stat of them all, he was solely responsible for making a Carrier Dome full of a record-high 35,012 patrons sound like your local library.
Otto Porter was knocked for never having played AAU ball. He has been knocked for being too passive, too unselfish (Kobe, I’ll explain later), and too laid-back. Now, the lone knocking directed at Porter is at his doorstep, in the form of NBA front-office executives. His Hoyas are 21-4 overall, winners of nine straight, and now lead the Big East by a full game. Porter is not purely a big reason why; rather, he is the reason why. And I’ll have the privilege of seeing him live, Wednesday night, in Gampel Pavilion.
No Magic in Hinkle This Time
My Thursday night was devoted to Hoosiers, as I was captivated once again by Jimmy Chitwood’s silky-smooth jumper, Norman Dale’s coaching antics, and Hickory High’s ultimate Cinderella story which culminated in a state title. Irrefutably one of my top-5 all time movies, I still shake my head in amazement when I remember it is Hinkle Fieldhouse that hosts the championship game at the end of the film. Yes, mind you, the same Hinkle Fieldhouse that is home to the present-day Hickory Huskers: the Butler Bulldogs. As I prepared to watch the Saint Louis-Butler game at Hinkle on Friday night, I knew there was no way Brad Stevens and his guys were going to lose.
Lose is just what Butler did, though. St. Louis won the game 65-61, completing a season-sweep of the Bulldogs in a victory that put them atop the Atlantic-10 league standings. It is becoming more and more apparent that the Billikens, who like Georgetown has reeled off nine consecutive wins, may have some magic of their own. At the very least, they are playing with a heavy heart due to the death of former coach Rick Majerus.
St. Louis is as balanced as they come, with six players averaging between 7.1 and 12 points per game. They yield 58 points per game to opponents, a number that is tops is the A-10 and 14th nationally. Heck, Brad Stevens went as far as calling the Billikens a Final Four team. And, if anyone knows anything anymore, it’s Brad Stevens. As of Monday night, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had St. Louis as a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I think it’s time for an updated bracket, Joe.
Who Does Kendall Williams Think He Is?
I knew that Kendall Williams was good. I saw him score 17 points in a win over Davidson in a tip-off marathon matchup back in November. He put up 15 points and 5 assists a week later versus UConn to help New Mexico capture the Paradise Jam title. The Kendall Williams that showed up at Colorado State, however? Yeah, I have no idea who that guy is.
His previous season-high scoring output before Saturday was 24 (twice), while the most trifectas he hit in a game was four in a win at Cincinnati. That all changed against a Colorado State frontline that leads the nation in rebounding.
46 points and 10 three-pointers later, the whole nation is now somewhat acquainted with the Lobos’ 6-foot-4-inch junior point. (Note: Williams didn’t even play the whole game, as he was benched in the second half for a stretch with four fouls!). New Mexico, with six top-50 RPI wins to their credit, has the potential to ruin your bracket come March if slept upon. Of course, if Williams continues to put up Jimmer-like numbers in the Mountain West Conference, the Lobos may just shut down your entire office pool.
Do We Really Need More of the SEC?
The Southeastern Conference might be the kings of college football, but when it comes to the hardwood they are the servants building the moat outside the castle. With only one lock for the NCAA Tournament (Florida), the SEC is behind mid-major leagues (albeit great ones) like the Mountain West and Atlantic-10 in conference RPI. Mississippi State and Auburn have 16 wins together on the year. So why, oh why, did the basketball gods punish us this weekend with bonus SEC hoops?