((ed. note: We welcome part of the Hardly Workin' Network- Greg Burton's faithful companion, Broseph, to the fold... he's gonna talk stuff and tell you who to pick on a daily basis... please follow appropriately...))
We can all harken back to our video game playing days when we used to put up ungodly numbers on the basketball court taunting our opponents with slam dunk after slam dunk. Imagine the surprise when a real life school was able to put up video game numbers on a regular basis. This school is located in the town of Grinnell, Iowa which is halfway between Des Moines and Iowa City.
Grinnell College put up 124.9 points per game and made 20.4 three pointers in the 2001-02 season. They topped that by scoring 126.2 points per contest in 2003-04. By then, everyone had heard of them. ESPN jumped on the bandwagon in February of 2005 airing their game against Beloit. Naturally, the Pioneers couldn't handle the spotlight and lost 86-85 in one of their lower scoring outputs.
"The System" as it's called in Iowa is pretty basic. Full-court press on defense and a lot of three pointers on offense. They also use hockey-like line changes subbing in five new players every 35 to 40 seconds. The mastermind of this system is David Arseneault who is beginning his 22nd season there this year. The Pioneers won three conference titles and have been a constant atop their conference. Oh yeah, Arseneault also has led the College's women's golf team since 2000. No word on whether or not they use speed golf as a strategy there as well.
It's been awhile since someone mentioned this team so it's time to catch up with the Pioneers. They are 7-4 so far this season including an impressive 150-90 victory at home against Principia. In that game, Griffin Lentsch shot 13 of 21, scoring 36 points in just 15 minutes of action. The team made 29 three-pointers in 71 attempts. It's almost hypnotizing reading the school's play-by-play chart. Just take a look at the 13 minute mark of this game against Principia and tell me it doesn't give you a headache.
GOOD! 3 PTR by Griffin Lentsch 13:55 28-8 H 20
ASSIST by Scott Kaitz 13:55
13:38 28-10 H 18 GOOD! JUMPER by Zimmerman, Todd
FOUL by Augustus Karisch (P1T1) 13:38 MISSED FT SHOT by Zimmerman, Todd
REBOUND (DEF) by Jack Adams 13:38
SUB IN : Joe Rogers 13:38 SUB IN : Beal, Stanley
SUB IN : Matt Skelly 13:38 SUB OUT: Sydness, Kenny
SUB IN : Aaron Levin 13:38
SUB IN : Patrick Maher 13:38
SUB IN : Jack Adams 13:38
SUB OUT: Griffin Lentsch 13:38
SUB OUT: Xander Strek 13:38
SUB OUT: Scott Kaitz 13:38
SUB OUT: Kale Knisley 13:38
SUB OUT: Augustus Karisch 13:38
MISSED 3 PTR by Aaron Levin 13:27 REBOUND (DEF) by Angle, Colin
13:20 28-12 H 16 GOOD! JUMPER by Gillman, Jeremy
13:20 ASSIST by Angle, Colin
GOOD! 3 PTR by Aaron Levin 13:13 31-12 H 19
ASSIST by Patrick Maher 13:13
This year's roster features players from New Jersey, Minnesota and Arizona among others. Recruiting can't be too difficult when your coach comes in and says we need you to shoot and play full-court defense. I can't imagine too many players would turn that down. Somewhere Paul Westhead is smiling watching Grinnell. If only we could get the chance to see these two teams on the same court. Until that time arises, men everywhere will do their best to recreate this on their PS3's and X-Box 360's
Florida International/North Texas Over -- A pair of the worst defenses in the Sun Belt go at it as North Texas hosts Florida International. FIU is allowing almost 74 points per game playing defense much like their coach's former NBA team the New York Knicks. They have allowed under 70 points just once away from home giving up 92 to Louisville and 88 to Marshall in their respective places. The good thing for FIU is that they have a potent offense that has improved over the last six games with two big additions of Dominique Ferguson and Alex Legion. The Golden Panthers have scored at least 70 points in six straight games and nine of their 15 games overall. Eric Frederick (15.2 ppg) leads the Golden Panthers with DeJuan Wright (13.8 ppg), Legion (12.2 ppg) and Marvin Roberts (11.1 ppg) also chipping in. They'll face North Texas who scores over 78 points per game and gives up over 70 as well. They have four double digit scorers led by Tristan Thompson (17.3 ppg) and Josh White (14.6 ppg). UNT has scored at least 70 in six straight and 13 of their 16 games overall. They play at a faster pace and have been playing a lot of shootouts at home. Last year's game between the two at North Texas was a 80-70 win for FIU. This should be another shootout like that one.
North Carolina -6 -- The shorthanded Virginia Tech Hokies head to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina on Thursday. VT is down to eight scholarship players and two walk-ons as they have been decimated with injuries. Despite that, they still have a powerful duo in Malcolm Delaney (18.6 ppg) and Jeff Allen (13.4 ppg). The problem is that they lack the options on the interior to combat the size and skill of UNC. Jeff Allen is prone to foul trouble leaving Victor Davila as one of the only other options on the inside. That won't be enough with Tyler Zeller and John Henson patrolling the middle for the Heels. Zeller averages 14.5 points per game while Henson chips in with 9.9 ppg. Freshman Harrison Barnes is slowly rounding into form despite scoring only 28 points over his last three games. North Carolina outrebounds their opponents on the offensive glass by 29 and 65 on the defensive boards. North Carolina has won four straight and seven of their last eight with the loss coming by two points against Texas. The Tar Heels have won eight of their last 11 against Virginia Tech. They'll make it nine of their last 12 with a win and a cover on Thursday.
CS Fullerton +5.5 -- The Titans and Mustangs take the court for Big West action on Thursday night. Cal Poly is 6-8, 2-1 in the Big West and are doing it on the defensive end. They really need to considering they score only 54.6 points per game which is 178th overall in the nation. Defensively, they allow only 57.9 points per game. Their last two games were 43-39 and 48-43 road victories. They are only 2-2 at home this season with one of those losses coming to Cal-State Monterey Bay. The Mustangs rely on David Hanson (14.9 ppg), Shawn Lewis (13.3 ppg) and Will Donahue (8.4 ppg) for the majority of their scoring. The Titans meanwhile are 6-10, 2-2 in the Big West. They score 71.4 points per game while allowing 74.1 ppg. This team has improved since adding Andre Hardy to the lineup. Over four games, Hardy is averaging 15.3 points per game. He joins Orane Chin (14.8 ppg), Jer'Vaughn Johnson (14.8 ppg) and Devon Peltier (13.8 ppg) to do the damage offenively. The Titans have won two of their last three including a nice victory at UC-Riverside on the 8th. The Titans don't mind playing defense games either beating San Diego and Pacific in games that failed to reach 65 points. Fullerton has the firepower to keep this close and maybe win the contest.