How about that? This team keeps seeming dead and buried and then comes storming back. A week ago if you had said we were going to go on the road and beat Creighton, I'd have thought you were crazy.
I'd have thought it would be down to Ed attacking like he did in the end at home against them. We have had some really bad breaks this year, but this week we came about half an inch from losing to SHU and probably no more than that from going into OT today. I am not trying to be a downer, I am just noting how maybe the breaks aren't as cruel recently as they had been.
Quentin Goodin is a complete stud. Sure, he shot 1-10 from inside the arc against Creighton, but he also played 38 minutes and turned the ball over twice, one of which was during that manic final minute where not much was getting called. He's maybe not a guy you can rely on to go 4-7 from deep, but it was nice to get today, and at least he can make opponents pay when they give him the LAJ treatment. Also, 5 steals. Just a monster, monster performance for him today against a tough team in a tough venue. If there's a game in which he sucks, gets in foul trouble, or gets hurt, we're in deep trouble. So far we've gotten 73 minutes of better than adequate work from him.
Let me start by saying that was fun. For whatever reason, this team seems to have gained a little bit of energy that they didn't necessarily have earlier in the year.
As you all have said, Q is a stud. Jones also went 8-8 from the field and had his way with a potential lottery pick offensively when he wanted. Bluiett is finally playing like we all hoped he would, and some others have stepped up as well. I won't speculate on the tournament yet, but do we have a chance to finish 2nd in the BEast? Were there right now and still have Butler and Nova at home.
If we finish second in this conference, this is Coach Mack's best work yet. We thought we'd have some front court depth in Ekiyor and Myles and Ed starting at guard right now. This team is a hangnail from needing 20 solid minutes out of Cullen Barr. Mack and the staff have rolled Goodin and Jones in on the fly and have this team in position to play into a really nice resume. They've got a bunker mentality right now. I was certainly more ready to fold against Creighton than they apparently were. If they can get the kinks that come with being on about Plan E for the year ironed out, they'll be playing in the second weekend again.
More like Plan Q... I should be working for USA Today by now.
Anyway, I think we certainly have a shot at second in the conference if we keep getting production from our bigs. Gates' role really hasn't changed without Ed, but he has been a revelation in the defensive glass the past two games. I hate the cliche of someone just suddenly willing himself into success, but I think something has definitely clicked for Kaiser since Ed went down. Whatever it is, he has been a huge difference maker in the final minute of both games since then.
I know the power rankings have kind of gone by the boards since I got a real job, so I'm going to make the case here that Goodin is the most irreplaceable player on the roster right now. If we lose Tre we're in trouble, but JP can slide over into his role a little bit and Kaiser can step into the rebounding void. Losing JP is basically that process in reverse. Losing a big man means basically the same shuffle we've seen all season. Mal... I like him, but he doesn't have a case here.
On the other hand, if Q's leg falls off, we're pretty much done. We have no other options at point, which is why he played 38 minutes against Creighton. As a freshman. In front of like 20,000 angry Omahans. We're riding or dying with Goodin right now. If we lose him, we might as well try to reschedule the season as a series of three-on-three games. Just close your eyes and imagine 40 minutes of JP and Mal sharing point guard duties.
To wrap this up, and because it's what everyone is asking today, who are you guys picking tonight? I've got the Patriots, 31-17.
I'm going Falcons, think they win by 2 TDs. A more complete team.
I'll be honest, I have only watched one complete NFL game this year and it involved the Browns, so it barely counts. I am going Pats because they have had so much success recently and Tommy Touchdown usually comes up big in the clutch. 27-17.
Like Bryan, I haven’t been able to watch much Sunday football this season, but I have been able to glean from the wisdom of drive time talk radio. Here’s what I’ve gotten: Matt Ryan is elite, unless he loses this game; Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever and/or the beneficiary of a bunch of cheating; the Patriots are flawed; the Patriots are angry; Tom Brady is going to play until he’s 50; the Falcons have a really good wide receiver. I’m going to draw on the accumulated wisdom of the masses and say the Patriots win, 33-18.