Sorry about the Dickie V, but it really was. Blazers 67-57 over 16th ranked (ESPN/USA Today) Butler. Jamarr Sanders was awesome: 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting and 3 of 4 from trifecta land. Also added five assists. Aaron Johnson ran the floor great chipping in four assists, double digit points (I think 11) and added eight rebounds. That's the shortest guy on the floor doing that kind of rebounding–he's probably 5' 10" at best. Elijah Millsap had 11, not his greatest night offensively, but he came up big with some key steals and scores in the second half.
George Drake, Howard Crawford and the bench came up huge, too. Total team effort.
The Blazers defended, holding Butler to 34 percent shooting, and 5 of 20 from trey land. Butler missed shots, but the Blazers played hard all night on the defensive end.
Saw comrades Hurley, Watts, Stutts and, of course, O'Neal, at the game. Good to see you guys. Great crowd. Don't have the final numbers but between 7-7,500 fans probably. Made a lot of noise, too. Fired team up. The team went in the stands after the game to greet the crowd. It was exciting and fun.
Do I think this team is a tourney team? Absolutely. Just need to keep playing like they have been at home and win as many as possible on road. There is athletic ability (defense, rebounding), good shooters and yes, there is plenty of depth. Once they get to tourney, who knows? They're totally capable of making a run.
Blazers now 11-1. This is a fun 40 minutes of bball. Really a blast.
Two road games coming up at Virginia on Dec. 30 (Wed. at 7 p.m.) and at Arkansas (Sat. Jan.2 at 11 a.m.). No TV scheduled yet. May change closer to game time. Will keep you posted.