Is It an Upset if Nobody Was There to See It? Ole Miss 85, Kentucky 80. We’ll get to the game in a minute, but did anyone else notice just how empty the premium seats were in the Tad Smith Coliseum tonight? What gives – an ESPN game against Kentucky, long the standard-bearer of the SEC, and the place is mostly empty at tipoff? Were all the cows already tipped over in Oxford tonight (sorry, obligatory Mississippi joke)? Well, all those at-home Mississippians missed a big chance to celebrate in what’s been a trying season at Ole Miss, as the Rebels thoroughly outhustled and outplayed Kentucky in tonight’s win. Their defense absolutely gobbled up Jodie Meeks every time he touched the ball, holding him to 4-15 from the floor, and generally shutting down everyone else but Patrick Patterson (24/7). Ole Miss, on the other hand, put three players in the 20+ column (Malcolm White, Terrico White, David Huertas), and it was difficult to believe that we were watching the same team that LSU had obliterated by 32 in Oxford a mere ten days ago. We have to give credit to Andy Kennedy for this one – it was clear his players believed they could win this game from start to finish despite all the injuries and mayhem, and they did. By FAR the best part of this game, though, was Billy Gillispie’s response to the dreadful sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards’ questions during the halftime interview. Remember kids, there are no bad questions, just bad reporters…
Road Team Power.
- Texas 78, Baylor 72. Baylor just cannot beat Rick Barnes and Texas. It’s now at 23 in a row, dating back to the Tom Penders era in Austin. AJ Abrams had 19 pts and Damion James 16/12 for the Horns, who were able to keep the home-team Bears chilly (38%) for most of the night. The bottom half of the Big 12 is really bad this year, so the Bears should still be safe, but if they ever want to be taken seriously in a national way (much less in the Big 12), they’re going to have to eventually beat Texas or Oklahoma (29 Ls in a row vs. the Sooners).
- Purdue 64, Wisconsin 63. This just doesn’t happen. Bo Ryan teams never lose consecutive home games, much less five games in a row. And yet, the Badgers now sit at 3-5 in the Big Ten race thanks to getting swept by Purdue tonight. Robbie Hummell hit a key three with just over a minute left to give the Boilermakers the lead for good, and once again Wisconsin was left to do some soul-searching. The problem for the Badgers is that their usually-reliable defense is far from it right now – Purdue connected on nearly 60% of its shots tonight, in its last four losses teams have hit at least 47%, and teams are shooting a full 5% higher against the Badgers this year than last.
ACC Tuesday Night.
- NC State 84, Miami (FL) 81 (OT). The Hurricanes are really confounding this season. Looking at their personnel on the floor, you can easily see a team that will finish in the top five of the ACC and make the NCAA Tournament. Instead, when you look at their resume, you quickly realize that the only likely tourney team they’ve beaten was Kentucky nearly two months ago. Games like tonight surely don’t help – they shot 49% and outrebounded the Wolfpack by 11, yet still lost the game when NCSU freshman Julius Mays drilled a by-the-way three with 2.6 seconds remaining in OT to win it (see below video). Miami had better get it going soon because games vs. Wake, UNC and at Duke are looming.
- Boston College 76, Maryland 67. When is Gary Williams going to hang it up in College Park? Three days after taking it up the arse at Duke for their worst loss ever in that once-illustrious series, the Terps came back home to blow a sixteen-pt first half lead in yet another head-scratcher. With only one NCAA Tourney win in the last four seasons (soon to be five), when will the Terp faithful put an end to what is clearly a coach who is simply riding out the string. As for BC, the Eagles won their third league game in a row to go to 4-3 in the conference, and what’s even more surprising is that their motor, Tyrese Rice, didn’t even play all that well (10/6 assts). It appears that BC is going to be good enough to compete with Virginia Tech, Miami and Florida St. for the bubble spots in the ACC this year – their schedule is favorable to be at .500 or better the rest of the way.
Some Other Scores.
- Eastern Kentucky 73, Austin Peay 70 (OT). EKU got the home upset to bring Austin Peay back to the pack a little in the OVC race.
- Utah 94, BYU 88 (OT). BYU shot half as many FTs but missed just as many at Utah (9), and that was the key difference in the OT. Utah’s Luke Nevill blew up for 32/10.
- Northeastern 68, VCU 63. NE got a huge road win to take over sole possession of first place in the CAA despite Eric Maynor’s 30 pts and a furious comeback that fell short for VCU.