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The College Basketball Notebook


November 22, 2010 7:24 AM

A Reason For Minnesota To Cheer

MinnesotaHoops.jpgMinneapolis is a city depressed by football, both college & pro right now and there's a lot of hope for the NBA Timberwolves. But Tubby Smith's Golden Gopher basketball team looks ready to give the Twin Cities something to cheer about, as they win a November tournament in Puerto Rico, taking out North Carolina and West Virginia to secure the title. Both of their guards came up big, with Blake Hoffarber scoring 20 in the win over the Tar Heels and Al Nolen knocking down 17 to beat the Mountaineers in yesterday's final. Post man Colt Iverson, a key to their ultimate success in Big Ten play, had 15 points and 8 rebounds in the championship game.

After a down year in Chapel Hill last year, the concerns are still running rampant for North Carolina. The Heels lost to Vanderbilt in addition to Minnesota and the backcourt is still a serious problem. Starting guards Larry Drew and Dexter Strickland scored nine points combined against Minnesota and eleven against Vandy. Forward Tyler Zeller was a positive, scoring 36 points and getting 15 rebounds over two games, but the Heel offense simply must run more efficiently or it's going to be another long year.

Both Vanderbilt and West Virginia found a budding star in the backcourt. Commodore guard John Jenkins scored 65 points in three games against Nebraska, West Virginia and UNC. The Mountaineers unveiled Casey Mitchell, who went for 31 and 27 respectively against Vandy and Minnesota.

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Georgetown won the Charleston Classic in South Carolina, with yesterday's title-game win over N.C. State being the only game of any real significance. John Thompson III had to like what he saw. His team shared the basketball, getting 21 assists and four players in double figures. They hit the boards and held a 42-33 advantage over the Wolfpack and ultimately churned out a 15-point win.

Charlotte, a potential contender in the Atlantic 10 couldn't be too happy with the results from Charleston. They were hammered by George Mason and lost again to Coastal Carolina. Their turnovers were high, although not out of line with what most teams were committing in these early season tournaments. But Charlotte didn't force enough in return. Clearly the 49ers have a lot of work ahead of them if they are going to compete in a deep and balanced A-10.


Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football ,game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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