Larry Ness' 10* CIT Game of the Year (5-0 GOY run): Larry's 5-0 with his 10* GOY plays in the CBB tourneys since last Sunday! In the "minor" tourneys he won his NIT Game of the Year (Sun) on Nevada & his CBI Game of the Year (Mon) on Oregon St (not included is a LEGEND win Weds with Pitt/But Ov). Larry completes a 'triple crown' of winners on Sunday with his 10* CIT Game of the Year!
Game: Oakland at Utah St. Mar 25 2012 6:05PM
Prediction: Utah St.
Grade: Winner (100)
Reason: My 10* CIT Game of the Year is on Utah St at 6:00 ET.
Stew Morrill’s accomplishments at Utah State are quite special, as he entered this season having led the Aggies to 12 consecutive postseasons, winning at least 23 games each season. The only other schools which could say that were Kansas and Gonzaga (pretty good company). However, Utah State lost FOUR, senior starters off LY’s team. The do-everything 6-7 Wesley (14.8-8.0) and 6-9 Bendall (6.5-5.8) up front plus guards Williams and Newbold. PG Pane (11.8) was the lone returning starter and the 6-7 Jardine (7.5-7.0) was the only other returning contributor of note. Pane has played well all season (12.4-3.61-4.1) but the 6-7 Jardine (7.7-7.7) was lost for the year with a foot injury after just three games. However, Utah St ‘caught its stride’ down the stretch and has added three consecutive home wins here in the CIT. There was a non-cover vs Cal State Bakersfield (a team that’s better than most think) and 'covers’ over Idaho (76-56!) and Loyola-Marymount (77-69), a team with some notable road upsets this year. Oakland has gotten this far led by guard Hamilton (26.3-3.8-5.0), who has averaged 32.7 PPG in the team's three CIT wins and actually 32.6 PPG over his last 10 games. Fellow guards Bader (15.7), Lucas-Perry (7.9) and Bass (7.1) plus the 6-5 Valentine (11.4-7.1) and the 6-10 Petros (8.8-7.1) comprise what is basically a six-man rotation. Oakland has little depth and just one starter over 6-5, which hasn’t hurt them yet with wins over Bowling Green, Buffalo and Rice. However, I feel like the Golden Grizzlies will not be so ‘golden’ here in Logan. Talk about a team ‘jelling’ at the right time. Sophomore guard Medlin has come into his own this tourney, averaging 22.3-6.0-4.7. Pane is averaging 13.0-4.3-6.0 and up front, the 6-6 Reed (13.0-6.0) and the 6-7 Grim (12.3-6.3) are both exceeding their seasonal stats in this tourney. Depth has been provided all season by guard Berger (6.0-3.3) plus frontcourt players like the 6-7 Clifford 94.4-3.5) and the 6-5 Bruneel (4.2). Stew Morrill is known for his various defensive schemes and most rank them with some of the most creative in all of college hoops. At the other end of the court, Oakland will have to deal with Morrill’s patented motion offense, which will regularly give Medlin and Co. good perimeter ‘looks!’ Let me note that Morrill is a woeful 1-9 in NCAA games with Utah St but here in the CIT, he’s poised to earn a postseason title. His teams are a remarkable 99-6 over their last 105 home games and let’s make it an even 100th win here, in game 106, with “plenty of room to spare!”