Wednesday, December 26, 2007

City Six

We’re two months into the college hoops season, and frankly, it’s probably been that long since my last update. Let’s take a look at City Six basketball and see how the season is going.

Villanova 9-1

W Penn 87-61

W Temple 101-93

They’re unbeaten in the city so far, and with two games left, they’ll probably maintain their dominance. They’re just so far and away better than the rest of Philadelphia. Their only loss on the season is against NC State, a mediocre ACC team whose best player is a big guy, who you would expect to be about to beat the Wildcats. Scottie Reynolds is leading the team in scoring again, but perhaps the biggest key to their season as they enter Big East play is how well their two other experienced players do: Dante Cunningham and Shane Clark. Both of these guys having taken larger roles in the offense this year, and they’ve improved their averages from a year ago. These two juniors are really the only big plays Jay Wright has to work with, so as Cunningham and Clark go, so do the Wildcats.

Temple 6-5

L Villanova 101-93

W Drexel 64-51

Temple is in its second year under Fran Dunphy, and once again, they’re playing a pretty tough schedule. With games against Tennessee, Florida and Duke, the Owls are pretty much asking for punishment. Dionte Christmas and Mark Tyndale are once again providing the scoring, but they’re not getting so much from anyone else. They’re still a pretty young team, so Temple is going to go through some growing pains in A10 play. Someone besides Christmas or Tyndale is going to have to step up before this Owls team breaks through and stops sputtering around .500.

St. Joe’s 5-4

The Hawks have had a couple tough losses to top 25 teams. Besides maybe Holy Cross, all of their losses are against tough teams, so they might be a little better than their record indicates. Like Temple, Phil Martelli is working with a pretty young team. Pat Calathes, Ahmad Nivins and Rob Ferguson are veteran players, but some of the younger players on this team could help get the Hawks back onto the national scene very soon.

La Salle 4-6

I hate to just keep saying “they’re a young team” for everyone that isn’t Villanova, but the Explorers are. Unfortunately, their best player will not be back for next season. Darnell Harris leads the team in scoring as a senior. They don’t get much scoring from anyone else, so other guys need to chip in for La Salle to start playing better. Two of their others players, Rodney Green and Ruben Guillandeaux, are sophomores, so when they continue to get better, the Explorers could start winning some games.

Drexel 6-5, 0-1

W Penn 67-59

L Temple 64-51

After a strong 06-07 campaign, Drexel looked to build on their success with a potential tournament berth. Unfortunately for the Dragons, it looks unlikely. They lost three key players, and they haven’t adequately replaced their ability. Frank Elegar is the best player on the team for the second consecutive season, but he doesn’t have any help. I know Bruiser Flint runs an aggressive defensive style of play, but someone else needs to score points. Tramayne Hawthorne has been turning the ball over more than last year, and the Dragons cannot afford to make many mistakes. If their huge loss to George Mason is any indication on how conference play will go, the CAA will not treat Drexel kindly this year.

Penn 4-7

L Drexel 67-69

L Villanova 87-61

It was expected to be a down year for the Quakers. They weren’t the preseason favorite to win the Ivy League for the first time since Herbert Hoover’s presidency, but they’ve had a rougher go of things than anyone expected. Mark Zoller and Ibrahim Jaaber were great players, and it’s tough to replace guys that completely carried the team. Two of Penn’s key players, Tyler Bernardini and Jack Eggleston are freshmen, so their experience now is going to help the Quakers in the future.

There’s my uninformed outlook on City Six basketball. Look for me to continue to be uninformed in later entries.

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