Traveling: This Week in Basketball (2.9)

Think of “Traveling” as “The Skimm for Basketball.”

Life is busy. You got your job, family, friends. It’s hard to keep up with everything going on in the basketball world.

So, every Monday and Friday here on Medium Rare Basketball, we will consolidate 5-10 of the big NBA and college basketball stories into one place that you can easily read through while traveling to work or that first bathroom break of the day.

Monday will recap the weekend, Friday recaps the week.

Let’s begin.

bear ref

Did you see that Cavs game?

Cleveland beat Minnesota in overtime, 140-138. The two teams combined for an NBA record 40 threes. 40!

Thirteen players scored in double figures. Two more players had nine apiece. I think one of the guys from the concession stand chipped in six points for the Cavaliers.

The game saved the best for last. LeBron with the big block followed by this game-winner. 

Then the Cavs blew up the roster

No team was busier than the Cavs during the NBA Trade Deadline.

Cleveland shipped off Isiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, and Iman Shumpert.

That list includes a Hall-of-Famer, a former MVP, an almost MVP (Isaiah Thomas), and the low-key funniest player in the NBA (Channing Frye).

They brought back Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and George Hill.

The result?

We’ll see. Definitely got younger, more athletic, better defensively. But the Cavs have less than 30 games to figure this out (and I guess the playoffs too. This is how good LeBron is; the Cavs are going to use the Eastern Conference playoffs as practice time).

Oklahoma City over Golden State 

Russell Westbrook loves the revenge game. The Thunder took down Golden State in Oakland, 125-105. Durant/Curry/Draymond/Klay all played 30+ minutes.

Russ did Russ things, 34-9-9. Paul George had a big night with 38 points.

Blake Griffin is working in Detroit

Don’t sleep on the Pistons!

Detroit is tied for the No. 8 seed right now and 4-0 with Blake Griffin. Blake and Drummond are complimenting each other nicely and check this out, Andre Drummond pulled down 27 rebounds against the Brooklyn Nets.

Let’s Talk College

What’s going on with St. John’s??

On Friday, February 2nd, St. John’s was 10-13, 0-11 in Big East play.

Five days later, they went out and beat Duke in Madison Square Garden then Villanova in Philadelphia.

I don’t have the guts to do it, but if there was ever a year to roll with a 16 seed over a 1, this would be it. St. John’s wasn’t just last in their conference, they were 0-11!

This also gives St. John’s a weird resume for a potential tournament bid. Their first twelve conference games were definitely tough, their next six games lighten up. They’ve got the two Villanova and two Xavier games out of the way. Creighton out of the way and don’t have to go to Hinkle (pause quick for Ted Cruz “basketball ring.)

If the Johnnies can run the table, finish 7-11 in the Big East, that might be enough. Who has two better wins than @ Villanova and Duke on a neutral? I would not want to see them in the tournament; especially if they come in as a No. 16 seed.

North Carolina over Duke

Before Thursday night’s game, the series had been dead even, 50-50, in the last 100 matchups.

Joel Berry II, Kenny Williams, Cameron Johnson, and Luke Maye all looked really good. This game proved to me not to overthink things in March; just pencil Roy Williams into the Sweet 16, maybe further. Tune in for Keith’s Carolina BBQ for more info on the Tar Heels.

And then Duke, quietly on a 2-game losing streak. Losers of three of their last four. Jamen, what’s going on brother?

West Virginia’s got their mojo back? Maybe?

The Mountaineers were in free-fall, lost five out of six. But last week they pummeled Kansas State (89-51) then swept the season series against Oklahoma with a win in Norman (75-73).

Purdue’s first loss on American soil

Purdue lost two games in an early-season tournament down in the Bahamas and then won 19 in a row.

Winning streak came to an end at home against Ohio State.

Was Purdue looking ahead to their matchup Saturday against Michigan State? Nah. The best-kept secret in college basketball is the Big Three Ohio teams.

Ohio State – 21-5 and 12-1 in the Big Ten. Very quietly tied for first place.

Xavier – 22-3 and 10-2 in the Big East, tied for first place.

Cincinnati – 22-2 and 11-0 in the American. Alone in first place.

Can we get three Ohio one seeds?? And don’t shortchange Toledo, I see you over there leading the MAC.

Signature wins in the SEC

Tennesee swept the season series against Kentucky with a 61-59 win in Lexington.

Texas A&M kept their season alive with an 81-80 win at Auburn. The Aggies are still just 5-6 in the SEC, 16-8 overall, but have three solid resume wins: Auburn, West Virginia, USC. Big game Saturday against Kentucky.

And that’s it.

Enjoy your Friday, have a great weekend. See you Monday for another edition of Traveling.

Still hungry for more basketball? Consider these ebooks

How to Fix Professional Basketball (and college too) 

Don’t Hate the Warriors: How Golden State Gradually Built a Super Team

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