by Britton Barthold
The 9/10 House Ball Wednesday games were near perfect. Luckily, I was able to attend all but one of these games, and I can say, House was at its finest. With two overtime thrillers and another game coming down to the wire, there is plenty to say and critique this week. So once again, sit back, grab a snack, and read up. Let’s go. (Brackets indicate previous ranking)
1.  Stanford (7-0)
Stanford remains the unanimous #1 after continuing its winning ways this week, giving Georgia Tech the business this week with a 39-17 win. Georgia Tech kept it close going into halftime, but the relentless press and attack of the Stanford defense got to the Yellow Jackets, and there was no turning back. Sophomore Sean Edgar, one of Stanford’s top scorers, says the team “possesses the immaculate ability to turn on the second gear at any moment”. Edgar and fellow sophomore Colin Minicus continue to dominate as one of the league’s best guard combos, but it doesn’t end there. Sophomore Jack Wells possesses the great ability to grab boards and hit an open jumper, while sophomore John Foley always keeps the adrenaline pumping. Stanford has it all going at the moment, and if the scary defense of this team continues to roll, they can pull off a perfect season.
Sunday Game vs. Washington
Washington continues to struggle, and I don’t see them turning it around against Stanford. Schofield will be tough, but Stanford pulls it out.
2.  Missouri (7-1)
Watching Missouri play in person was pretty cool. They defeated Kentucky 40-33, and had a pretty well-rounded supporting cast. We can start with sophomore MVP candidate Timmy Graham. Graham did it all: scoring, rebounding and playing intense D. No one knows how he does it, but it’s gotta be the hair Cotton; it’s beautiful. Feathered and lethal. You just don’t see it nowadays. Graham has some great support too out of sophomore Burke Blatney, while sophomore Tyler Grant plays phenomenal D while being a viable third option. Freshman underdog Mac Keating also added a free throw, so I’m pretty sure the next Rudy will be based on him. Blatney also had some words for Kentucky, saying, “that’s what happens when you put a mediocre team up against the house ball superpower.” Seems legit. With a dominant five along with Coach Graham at the helm, this team is nothing short of dominant.
Sunday Game vs. Syracuse
This will be a painfully close game to call, as Syracuse is hot as of late, but Missouri will pull this one out, as the tight defense will give the Drakes no room to visit 3-land.
3.  Georgetown (6-2)
Georgetown avoided a scary one against UConn, but managed to win the double-OT thriller in what will become a nominee for Game of the Year for the end-of-the-year awards. Once again, a high-energy performance was brought to the court by sophomores PK Brannigan and Andrew Mathew. Some stellar defense from sophomores Michael Parsley and Connor Gonzalez-Falla also helped in the win. Sophomore Mark Evanchick put himself for Big Man of the Year with an astrophysical game, dominating the boards while hitting the occasional jumper. Sophomore Andrew Clarke also played a big role on the boards when Evanchick was out, and was a crowd favorite entering the overtime periods, giving the team a much-needed moral boost. It then ended on what Mark Evanchick calls a “Dikembe Mutombo-like swat of Jack McCann.” If Georgetown can focus on a more dominant defense while continuing to score, they can be a possible winner against Stanford in the final week of the season.
Sunday Game vs. Kentucky
The attack and energy of Georgetown will be a lot for Kentucky to handle, and I think this one will go to Georgetown as they hope to rebound from a scary close game against UConn.
4.  North Carolina (4-4)
North Carolina found its mojo again after recovering from a two-game skid by defeating Kansas 35-33 in triple-OT. The team avoided the usual 2nd half collapse after tying it at halftime, as sophomore Jack Kniffin lead the team’s offensive attack. Freshman Emmet Sheehan played tough on the boards and continues to be the sleeper of this year’s House season. Sophomore and team leader Brendan Seiler found his groove late while a clutch tip off to start the third OT by myself allowed sophomore Kevin Klingman to hit a game-winning lay-up. Seiler had some words at the end of the game directed towards the rest of the league, saying “UNC is the most underrated team in the league. Come playoff time, no one will stop us. To all the teams that think you can beat us, ‘CHILD PLEASE’”. Words of wisdom from the team’s leader.
Sunday Game vs. Georgia Tech
Expect the Heels to start their first 2 game winning streak of the season against the young Yellow Jackets. Also, 5’1” freshman phenomenon Brett Durbin will probably dunk over Brian Keating this game. It’s going to happen.
5.  Duke (4-3)
Duke was without superstar sophomore guard Jack Murray on Wednesday, causing sophomore big man Aidan Coyle to take over the duties of the guard position. Coyle did a solid job, dishing assists like he was working at a soup kitchen, but in the end, they fell short to a hot Syracuse team. If Murray had attended, the result may have been a bit different, but he didn’t, and Syracuse took advantage and won it out. Duke is still a legitimate contender coming in a few weeks, but attendance needs to be more consistent, so that Coyle and sophomore Gianni Filippone don’t have to carry the team alone.
Sunday Game vs. UConn
Duke will win this if Jack Murray shows up. If not, UConn could pull off another upset to send Duke on a two game skid.
6.  Syracuse (4-4)
Syracuse defeated Duke last night 42-39. Yet, I don’t give them I higher ranking due to if Jack Murray had shown up, this would’ve been a different story. The battle between sophomores Aidan Coyle and Dolan Gregorich was entertaining for those watching, but in the end, the 3-balls from sophomore twins Matt and Chris Drake, along with freshman Logan Buckner’s threes, were too much against the Duke defense. After starting 1-4, ‘Cuse is on a three game tear, beating UNC, Washington and Duke during the span. The Blue Devils were the perfect opponent to defeat to give Syracuse the respect they want going into the final stretch of the season.
Sunday Game vs. Missouri
Unfortunately, this three game win streak will come to an end against a hot Missouri. The defense of Tyler Grant will prove too much and will not allow for an open shot for the Drakes.
7.  UConn (4-4)
UConn put up a legit fight against Georgetown, but early mistakes proved fatal for the Huskies. UConn started the game 0-5 from deep, but sophomore Jack McCann stopped this nonsense with two deep balls that were NOT bank shots. McCann’s overall play was good, good enough to maybe put him in the end of the year polls for Offensive Player of the Year, or maybe—generously—MVP. UConn was down by six at the end of the game when freshman Nick Percarpio drained two threes to put the game into overtime. However, in the final OT, McCann’s game winning shot fell short due to the disgusting block by Andrew Mathew. UConn definitely has grown and learned over the past few games, and if McCann stays hot, they can make a push in the playoffs.
Sunday Game vs. Duke
Like I said before, if Murray doesn’t show, McCann could have himself a game, as his current play is his best all season. Even if Murray shows, it should be a tight one, but UConn may fall short. I’m going with Duke here, but I wont be surprised if UConn pulls it off.
8.  Kentucky (3-5)
Kentucky caught a tough break against Missouri this week. They only lost by seven points, showing that this team can finally find its groove. Sophomore twins Christian and Bobby Trifone played some great basketball, handing out assists and nailing jumpers. Kentucky, however, needs to get more shots out of sophomore Lee Gardella and freshman Dillon Jones while the Trifones are out. Sophomore Andrew Mercein should continue to play physical, as Graham’s height was a bit unfair for Mercein. Kentucky has the talent and the strength with the Trifones and Mercein, and a good shooter in Gardella (if he takes advantage of the opportunities). I can see the Wildcats being a great team for an early round upset of a higher ranked opponent, so don’t take these guys too lightly.
Sundays Game vs. Georgetown
Kentucky has had a tough schedule, and playing Georgetown after Missouri proves it. Georgetown will take this one, but Kentucky has two light games to end the year. Look for two straight wins there.
9.  Miami (2-5)
The U showed up this week, as the ball movement was key in this game. Connor Mulliken continues his great season, but freshman Peter Marren was the story here, putting up 18 points along with a huge three late in the game to close it out. If this keeps up, Miami can maybe get a better seed heading into the playoffs to get a better chance at making a run this post season. They have a pretty decent schedule ending the season, facing Kansas, UConn and Syracuse to end it off. If they can take two out of three of those, which they can, they can easily catapult themselves into a better position for the postseason.
Sunday Game vs. Kansas
This should be a good one, in a good and bad way. But I think in the end, Miami will finally get a win streak going and improve to 3-5, regardless if “someone” comes for Kansas.
10.  Georgia Tech (2-6)
Georgia Tech played the best team in the league and had them on their knees at halftime. Sophomore Mark Schmidt and freshman Brian Keating brought it early, but the relentless Stanford attack was too much in the 2nd half for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets failed to produce 20 points, putting up 17 against the league’s best defense. Georgia Tech remains a mystery, as they’ve beaten two pretty solid teams in Duke and Syracuse, but have been smacked around by teams like Miami and Washington. The size factor doesn’t help, though Keating makes up for the lack of height with some sort of strength, and Schmidt makes the occasional shot. They need to feed it more to sophomore Nick Murphy in the post, and allow for other shots to get open.
Sunday Game vs. North Carolina
The sheer size of North Carolina will be too much, but the trio of Seiler, Kniffin and Klingman on the shot will also be a lot to handle. It will be close, but in the end, Tech drops to 2-7.
11.  Washington (2-6)
Washington lost a close one to Miami this week, spoiling a much-needed win for this Huskies squad. Sophomore Jamie Schofield continues to have an MVP season, and with the return of sophomore defensive freak Sam Giorgio, this team can finally find a few wins to close the season. The shooters are there for Washington, with production coming from the brotherly duo of freshman Teddy and sophomore Charlie Burke, along with Schofield and sophomore Conor Raymond. The high scoring is also there, but there just has to be a little more support on the defensive side of the ball, as one man can’t do it all unfortunately. Things get a bit worse, as they play Stanford and North Carolina next, and finish off the season against Kentucky. Hopefully, they can grab one of those games and with it hopefully avoid taking last in the final standings.
Sunday Game vs. Stanford
Stanford is a fast-paced, dangerous team, and I think Washington will stick with them early and often. But the 2nd half is where Stanford does work, so I expect the Cardinal to take this one and for Washington to drop four straight.
12.  Kansas (1-6)
This mostly all-freshman team has been having a down year. They’ve come so close to winning in so many games, yet fall short time and time again. However, they are probably the biggest team in the league if you take all the heights and average them out. They dominate the boards, yet only have one true scoring option in sophomore Dylan Griffin at the point. Freshman Charlie Wright provides some insurance for Griffin, but this team still needs that definite second source. The great big news now is that Kansas has acquired sophomore sports legend Matt Sealy. Some even doubt his existence, but I’m pretty sure he exists. This is exactly what Kansas needs, but I still don’t think it’s enough for this team to get a close shot at the title.
Sunday Game vs. Miami
Hopefully, Sealy makes his debut, but I still believe either way, Miami can grab this win and continue to push for a higher seed.
That’s it for this one, but I have a bit of news that some people will hopefully like. The 9/10 House Ball Awards will be given out at the season’s end, with awards being such as:
Most Valuable Player
Freshman of the Year
Big Man of the Year
Best Three Point Shooter
Mr. Bank Shot Award
Game of the Year
Mr. Put the Team on my Back Award
Moment of the Year
League members will vote upon the awards. Any other award ideas would be greatly appreciated, and any nominees you can think of, please let me know. See you on Monday for the new rankings.