THE FIRST THING I DID THIS MORNING WAS CHECK THE OVER-UNDER for tonight’s Virginia-Miami game (9 p.m., ESPNU). As you’d probably expect, it’s low: 116.5. Given that the Hurricanes are favored by eight, you’re looking at a projected final score of 62-54.
Considering Virginia won the last meeting between these two teams 52-51 and Miami won its most recent game (over Clemson) 45-43, a 62-54 final tonight would represent a veritable tsunami of points.
I BRING THIS UP ONLY SO I CAN POSE THIS QUESTION: Do you equate high scores to entertainment? Because if you do, college basketball might not be for you right now. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had a fine article two days ago exploring the drop in scoring in college basketball.
Division I teams are averaging 68.1 points per game this season — down more than seven points from the high-scoring heyday of 1990. Ranked teams seem just as likely as unranked to sputter offensively. Last night, No. 25 Notre Dame slugged out a 51-42 road victory over No. 22 Pitt. ESPN’s featured game on Saturday — Texas at Kansas — wound up being a bust when the Longhorns scored only 15 points in the first half en route to a 73-47 loss.
THE ARTICLE PRESENTS SEVERAL THEORIES TO EXPLAIN THE DECLINE: the rise of physical zone defenses, the deepening of the 3-point line, the early exodus of top players to the NBA, etc. Regardless of the reasons, I’m curious as to whether the scoring drop has affected your enjoyment of the game.
I suppose I’ve never been one to wax poetic about the fluidity and beauty of basketball. Maybe it’s because I never played it at a high level. To me, the attraction of college hoops lies not in the action itself but in the atmosphere — bouncing students, deafening arenas, tight finishes. You can still get those without a ton of points, but given a choice, I’d prefer 89-88 over 54-53. I wouldn’t say the same thing for baseball, where I favor pitching duels over slugfests.
How about you? In your opinion, how much does the decrease in scoring affect your enjoyment of the game? I’ll hang up and listen.
SPEAKING OF SCORING: Crooked Road already got a jump on this in the comments section, but Berman has a nice feature today on Reggie Williams of the Charlotte Bobcats, who twice led the nation in scoring when he was at VMI. Berman (and Williams) draw some parallels between Williams’ role with the Keydets and Erick Green’s with this year’s Hokies.
TOURNEY TIME: Another big day for high school hoops. You can find all your matchups here.
NAME THAT TUNE
They got these pictures of everything
To break us down, yeah, to break me down
They make us hate and we make it bleed
But I got a lover, yeah
And she shows me how
To understand it, yeah to understand
I got a brother and
Well, he show me how
To make amends, yeah to make amends with it