It's the most wonderful time of the year for me. A time when college basketball reigns supreme on the Worldwide Leader for more than 24 straight hours. And while not all of the games on the 2014 College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon schedule were marquee matchups, it did give Arkansas fans a good look at several upcoming opponents.
SMU traveled to Spokane to face Gonzaga, who is once again ranked pretty high in the preseason and will probably get bounced out of the NCAA Tournament before the Sweet 16. Auburn for whatever reason thought it was a good idea to play basketball at Colorado, and got their heads handed to them.
Florida blew a big second half lead to Miami (FL) and lost at home inexplicably. The Gators just didn't have it in the second half, and gave up 48 points after halftime to the Hurricanes. Iowa State flirted with a teased Georgia State in Ames for a half. The Cyclone starters combined to score 76 of the team's 81 points. GSU's Ryan Harrow (yes, the former UK guard) also played a nice game for Iowa State, shooting 6-for-22 and turning the ball over five times.
Oh, and what the hell, Clemson? You already losing to Winthrop? #SECBasketballFever has gotten so bad it's invading the ACC. Did you see what Winthrop did after they beat you, Clemson? They taunted you. The University of Winthrop's men's basketball team managers taunted you. Unbelievable.
Alabama barely knocked off Western Carolina. Apparently WCU isn't a guaranteed win like they are in football. Poor Anthony Grant, too. He'll likely be searching for another job after this year. Should have never left VCU.
Another one of Arkansas' nonconference opponents, Iona, played in the wee hours of the morning Tuesday. The Gaels traveled to Wofford (wherever that is, and yes I'm too lazy to Google it) and LOST. We're, for the most part, two games into the season and Arkansas' opponents are already losing to Winthrop and Wofford. Woof.
Anyway, I was a soldier and stayed up for most of the tip-off marathon and took some (not so serious) notes on the games I watched that featured future Razorback opponents. My notes on SMU and Iowa State are decent, but once Auburn-Colorado rolled around, I lost a majority of my sanity. Here are my notes from my tip-off marathon near all-nighter:
Georgia State at Iowa State – (UA at ISU Dec. 4)
- Watching this game, despite Georges Niang's struggles, got me really excited to watch he and Bobby Portis battle in Ames. They probably won't be matched up on one another because Niang is more of a tweener and Portis can play the 4 or the 5, but it's a chance to see two Wooden Award Watchlisters go at it, and I'm pumped.
- Shooting guard Naz Long could be a serious problem for Arkansas. Long shot 40 percent from deep last year, and is already off to a hot start making 5-of-12 Monday night. He's not afraid to chuck it at the rim. Watch out for G/F Dustin Houge, too. He may be undersized, but he's an animal.
- The turnover battle will also be something to keep an eye on when the two meet. Cyclone guard Monte Morris just does not turn the ball over. He finished last season with a near 5:1 assist to turnover ratio (28 TOs in 1,013 minutes).
SMU at Gonzaga – (UA at SMU Nov. 25)
- SMU has too many kids with the last name Moore (Sterling, Nic and Ben).
- 11:56 p.m. - Arvydas Sabonis' son dunked on the whole SMU team and most of the DFW area.
- The effect of not having an elite scorer like Emanuel Mudiay and big man Markus Kennedy reared its head and proved costly in a game like this.
- 12:01 a.m. - I realize Sterling Moore's real name in Streling Brown and I feel stupid.
- Gonzaga started the "OVER-RATED" chant with a few minutes to go. JUST STAAAAAHP and realize that by chanting this you are downplaying the quality of your win.
- The Mustangs are eventually going to be really good this season. They didn't click on offense, but it's still early in the schedule. Gonzaga is a legit team for now. Kevin Pangos is my spirit animal.
Auburn at Colorado – (AU at Arkansas Feb. 10)
(Disclaimer: I lose my sanity during this game, and my notes got weird.)
- This game tipped off just after 12:04 a.m. CST, which is 11 p.m. Mountain Time. I'm trying to imagine what a Bud Walton Arena crowd would look like for a game that started this late.
- Colorado students threw confetti in the air after the Buffs' first bucket. If Arkansas students did that, they would get reprimanded and might not get their names put on Senior Walk.
- I've watched Auburn a little this season, and the one constant other than being not good at basketball is that Cinmeon Bowers likes to flex on all of us after he does positive things. I've determined he is a homeless man's Glen "Big Baby" Davis.
- 12:23 a.m. - I'm getting tired of the Dish "Hopper" commercial featuring has-beens Brian Bosworth and Matt Leinart. I can't believe the marathon was sponsored by the Hopper.
- 12:26 a.m. - I like Bruce Pearl, it's just a shame his players just aren't that good at shootyhoops.
- 12:30 a.m. - Every team has that one
scrubguy or two who is the first off the bench to dish out high fives to the five guys on the floor. I hate that guy. And for Auburn, it's freshman Stephen Bass.
- 12:40 a.m. - It's halftime and Pearl has sweated through his sweater as the Tigers trail 38-34.
- FINAL: Colorado 90, Auburn 59 – Pearl's fingerprints are all over this Auburn team. They may not be extremely talented, but they hustle and they scrap. He'll get this thing turned around eventually, but it's going to take some time. Niagara transfer Antoine Mason did not play because he had a bone in his ankle. Mason was second in the NCAA in scoring last season (25.6 PPG). Auburn's best offense was "give the ball to KT Harrell and get out of his way," but they didn't run it enough, instead going for the "jack up the first decent look you get from 3-point range."
Iona at Wofford – (Iona at UA Nov. 30)
- I went to sleep when the Auburn game ended after 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. when this one began, and I wish I had just gone back to sleep.
- Here's the box score. I don't know what to make of losing to Wofford. The Gaels overcame a slow start to lead at halftime before melting down in the second half. They are led by David Laury, who scored 23, and A.J. English, who added 22. There's some talent on the roster, but I expect a 30-point win to close out November for Arkansas.