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Top of the Arc - December 18, 2008

Dec. 18, 9:35 a.m.: George Washington’s defense put on an impressive display in last night’s 63-50 victory over American. The Colonials held the Eagles to a season-worst 33.3 shooting percentage and only three field goals over the final 13:37 in the second half. Rob Diggs had 17 points for GW, and American dropped is fourth consecutive game. Steve Goff has more on the game and the renewal of the local rivalry in his report in today’s newspaper. Since GW and American finally played again, why can’t Georgetown and Maryland play regularly during the regular season? Okay, let’s not even get into that one today.

Circle Jan. 29 right now. That is the first of probably three meetings between St. Mary’s and Gonzaga. St. Mary’s is off to an 8-1 start after winning at Oregon last night and could make things difficult for the Zags in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga has a decent chance to earn a No. 1 seed in the West Region, but the Bulldogs are no shoe-in to win its own conference. With San Diego fading, it looks like a two-team race in the WCC, and St. Mary’s should be right there.

Oregon, meantime, has played a tough schedule and has a young team, but the Ducks are 4-6 and represent one more example why the Pac-10 is not nearly what it was a year ago. Right now, the Ducks and the Beavers look like the two worst teams in the Pac-10.

Siena squandered yet another chance to strengthen its postseason resume by losing at Pittsburgh, 79-66. Siena has almost everyone back from the team that reached the NCAA tournament’s second round last season, but it dropped all three games in Orlando’s Old Spice Classic and missed another opportunity against Pittsburgh. The buzz around Siena is starting to fade, at least for now, even though it was a bit much to expect Siena to win last night's game.

Memphis Coach John Calipari worried about last night’s game against Arkansas-Little Rock, and now we know why. The Tigers offered a lackluster performance and were fortunate to survive, 59-51. After the game, Memphis’s Robert Dozier told reporters, “We just weren’t prepared. Guys came in during the warm-ups and the layup line, and you could kind of see it. Guys were just going through the motions or weren’t going hard. We just all around weren’t prepared. We played sloppy.” Without Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey around, Memphis may have a hard time remaining focused for every Conference USA game, and the Tigers don’t have anywhere close to the margin of error they had last season. Memphis will be an interesting team to follow, as always.

By Eric Prisbell  |  December 18, 2008; 9:33 AM ET
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