Monday, February 12, 2007

Notes and light reading

Here are some notes from yesterday's UConn-Georgia Tech game that did not make the Web version, only the print.

NOTEBOOK

Georgia Tech’s Young impresses
Freshman proves why he is one of the best in the ACC

By Brett Orzechowski
Register Staff

ATLANTA – His first-half statistics were less than glamorous, but what Georgia Tech freshman Thaddeus Young was able to do on the wing and in the post during Sunday's game has been common this season for the 6-foot-8 forward from Memphis.

Young scored seven of his game-high 14 points in the first half on a series of jump hooks and later finished a difficult three-point play to show his strength. He also had 10 rebounds, three on the offensive end, to help the Yellow Jackets add some second-chance points. He remains Georgia Tech’s leading scorer and the top candidate for ACC freshman of the year, but his play has only accelerated his maturation level.

Joining him is freshman Javaris Crittenton, the Yellow Jackets’ second-leading scorer, who was limited to two first-half shots and just nine minutes of play due to foul trouble. Crittenton added 11 points after halftime.

The two are still freshmen, though, something University of Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun took note of during his postgame press conference.

“Youth for us cannot be an excuse. ... But they’re good. ... I know they’re good. I saw (Crittenton) make plays and he’s a freshman. Young made a couple of plays, too,” Calhoun said. “I know they’re good. We recruited them.”

RPI HELP?

The game took place in Morgantown, W. Va., one of the toughest venues to play in the Big East and where West Virginia has lost to just two non-conference opponents during coach John Beilein’s tenure, but it was still a victory over No. 3 UCLA.

Calhoun took notice of the win during Saturday’s practice at the Georgia Dome.

“It just helps the league out so much with West Virginia beating UCLA and shows that the league is stronger than people think,” Calhoun said. “For everyone, it was a big win.”

The Big East is now 2-2 against Pac-10 teams this season.

FINAL FOUR ATMOSPHERE?

The announced crowd of 19,194 fell well short of what the Georgia Dome anticipated for Sunday afternoon’s dress rehearsal for the Final Four in front of a nationally televised audience.

Like the average UConn crowd, Georgia Tech fans arrived fashionably late and left early, even though the Yellow Jackets built a 22-point lead halfway through the second half. Still, the building was silent for most of the first half and there was little to appease the partisan Georgia Tech crowd, which did not fill in the conspicuous empty patches of seats.

Even though Alexander Memorial Coliseum sits one mile from the Dome, this was the Yellow Jackets’ first game this season at the site. The crowd was sparse, but the environment on the floor was different.

“It had everything you ever wanted, but of course, we have to make it to the tournament first before thinking about it, then we can get back here,” Crittenton said. “We got two games on the road coming up (at Florida State and Duke) and we haven’t won on the road in a good minute.”

MISCELLANEOUS

UConn guard Doug Wiggins’ 3-pointer late in the first half was his first field goal in four games over a span of 48 minutes. … Young’s 3-pointer with two seconds remaining in the first half for Georgia Tech was the fourth time this season a UConn opponent closed the half with a 3-pointer. … Official Jim Burr assessed a technical foul to Calhoun at 15:13 of the second half, the coach’s second of the season. .. Rob Garrison played two minutes in the second half, his first action since Louisville when he played one minute. He did not play in nine of the last 10 games.

Brett Orzechowski may be reached at borzechowski@nhregister.com

Here's some light reading - Herbert Hill, selection committee, Wright State and more

Some members of the national media were invited to participate in a mock NCAA Tournament selection. This story from the Rocky Mountain News makes a case for the task.

Some of the top players in the Big East this season have one thing on their side - experience. One of those players is Providence's Herbert Hill, who has gone from project to player.

There are few coaches in America like Creighton's Dana Altman. He's been at the school now for 13 years and will likely never leave Omaha, Neb. This is why.

The scene from Wright State's upset of Butler.

This weekend began the made-for-television drama that is Bracketbusters.

Here's a quick look at some of this week's mid-major madness.


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