Jimmy V Classic. As someone whose family and loved ones have been seriously impacted by cancer, this is always one of our favorite events of the season. We vividly remember the night at the ESPYs in March 1993 when Jim Valvano gave his inspirational speech, and even sixteen years later, it continues to stand the test of time. “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up” became a mantra for people of our generation, and the positive effects that the Jimmy V Foundation has produced over the years gives Valvano a lasting legacy that many of his fellow coaches, many of whom were more successful at coaching basketball, will never know. As long as this site exists, we’ll do this every year, and we’ll do it for the Green Bay Packers, Coach!
And now, on to the games… RTC Live was in the building.
- #13 Georgetown 72, #20 Butler 65. Georgetown got 25 points and 14 rebounds from as the Hoyas dominated Butler on the inside, outrebounding the Bulldogs 43-30. Perhaps Monroe’s biggest impact came on the defensive end, as he helped force Matt Howard into one of the worst games of his career as he finished 1-9 from the floor while looking intimidated in the post before fouling out. Georgetown jumped out to a 52-35 second-half lead, which Butler couldn’t bounce back from. Austin Freeman was 4-5 from deep in adding 18 points for the Hoyas, who picked up a must-needed statement win. Butler, who got 24 and 8 boards from Gordon Hayward, is not the top 10 team that many predicted they would be during the preseason right now, but this is still an impressive win nonetheless. For Butler to be in position to earn an at-large bid should it come to that, they are now probably going to have to beat both Ohio State and Xavier in coming weeks.
- Indiana 74, Pittsburgh 64. Indiana picked up their first relevant win over a BCS team (beating Iowa last year doesn’t count) in the Tom Crean era as they thoroughly outplayed Pitt in MSG tonight. Indiana go 20 from Verdell Jones and 18 from Christian Watford as they finally broke through for a good win after losing three heartbreakers this season. are going to be a dangerous team, as they do have some talented youngsters (we didn’t even get a good feel for Maurice Creek tonight), but IU may still be a year away from really being able to compete and make a run at the NCAA Tournament. Pitt, on the other hand, didn’t look like Pitt. They struggled defensively, they were beat up inside, and they settled for tough, deep jumpers. If Ashton Gibbs hadn’t been hitting from three (he had 25 on 8-25 shooting, 5-15 from three), this one could have been ugly (although, uglier than being down 17 to Indiana in this stage of their rebuild is tough to do).
Not an Upset of the Night. Illinois 79, #24 Vanderbilt 68. Yes, Vandy was the ranked team, but Illinois was ranked as recently as last week and these teams are roughly even in our eyes. A very nice intersectional matchup nonetheless. The Illini shot a lights-out 59% from the field and ran out to a 9-0 early lead that put Vandy behind the eight-ball from the beginning. Illinois guard Demetri McCamey lit up the Commodore defense for 8-10 from the field and 23/5 assts, while DJ Richardson added 16/3/3 assts in the win. The Illinois defense has been somewhat maligned thus far this season, but they did a good job tonight of limiting AJ Ogilvy’s (8/3) touches and forced Jermaine Beal into a 4-14 shooting night.
Some Mid-Major Revenge (Some Not). There were a few good opportunities for mid-majors to take down BCS teams tonight, and the little guys got a split this evening among the four games up for grabs.