Recap. Interesting weekend of games. We went into the weekend with five unbeatens, and we came out of it with only three as Vandy lost at Kentucky and Wazzu lost at UCLA. That leaves #1 Memphis, #2 UNC, and #3 Kansas as the only remaining unblemished teams. #4 UCLA at 16-1 is undoubtedly the best team of the one-loss group, which brings us to a midseason conclusion that these four teams have laid stakes as the top tier of college basketball this year. After these four teams, there is a fairly significant dropoff in talent, experience and depth. Which, of course, isn’t to say that these four are locks to make the F4 – teams sometimes stop improving, get lethargic and/or simply lose focus by March Madness. But out of the above group, we’d be absolutely and positively shocked if one of them doesn’t cut the nets down on April 7.
Where is GameDay? One other note from Saturday night. Kansas at Nebraska was the featured ESPN Gameday matchup, but for the second consecutive weekend, we noticed that the crew was offsite. Does this mean that ESPN is no longer doing live broadcasts from the schools? If so, that really sucks and is stupid and we hate ESPN and hope it dies. Seriously, though, last year, some of those sites were utterly insane before the games, and that was half of the fun. What’s the problem? (note: if they’re onsite beginning this week, we’ll issue an apology)
Saturday’s Games. Saturday was absolutely packed with games, and for the first time all season, we felt like playtime was over, and it was time for teams to get down to some real business of winning a conference. Here were some highlighted games, and our take:
- Florida 72, Auburn 56. We don’t think the Baby Gators are all that good yet, but we have to give credit to Billy D. for scheduling soft this year and giving his young guys some momentum going into conference play. 8-8 might get this team to the NCAAs, and they’re already 2-0 in the SEC.
- #2 UNC 93, NC State 62. 43-13 at the half? And NC State was supposed to compete for an ACC title this year??? Pfshaw…
- Depaul 60, St. John’s 54. The Blue Demons are now 3-1 in the Big East and appear to be clicking.
- Kentucky 79, #17 Vanderbilt 73 (2OT). This was a must-win for UK, but Vandy has to be kicking itself for dropping another winnable one at Rupp.
- Missouri 97, #16 Texas 84. Mizzou is going to be tough at home. Damion James with 27/16 in a losing effort.
- #10 Georgetown 72, Connecticut 69. Everyone has seen the Roy Hibbert game-winning 3 by now, but how smooth was that shot?
- Minnesota 76, Penn St. 73. The UK message boards continue to implode.
- Virginia Tech 67, Maryland 66. The Terps (0-2) are digging themselves a huge hole.
- #14 Marquette 92, Notre Dame 66. Um, forget what we were saying about ND the other day… carry on… nothing to see here…
- Columbia 64, NJIT 52. 0-18 now for the NJITers. 11 games to infamy.
- #4 UCLA 81, #4 Washington St. 74. We’re not sure which was more impressive – the UCLA clobbering in the first half, or Wazzu’s comeback in the late second half.
- Boston College 112, Wake Forest 73. Where did this come from???
- Purdue 75, Ohio St. 68. This one surprised us a little, considering how well OSU has been playing.
- Kansas St. 84, Oklahoma 82. A solid road win for KSU – Beastley with 32/11.
- USC 66, Washington 51. The battle between teams with great talent but not much in the way of coaching.
- Clemson 97, Florida St. 85 (2OT). Clemson was just this close to losing another home game… perhaps the collapse has been averted (for now)?
- Indiana St. 64, S. Illinois 62 (2OT). What has happened to the Salukis (7-9) this year?
- #14 Dayton 68, St. Louis 57 (OT). SLU took Dayton to OT, but only scored 2 pts in that extra period.
- #1 Memphis 68, Marshall 45. The only question is how complacent will the Tigers get?
- #7 Tennessee 80, South Carolina 56. Vols roll on…
- Drake 65, Missouri St. 54. The Drake (14-1) is a new name to watch in the MVC.
- Iowa 43, #6 Michigan St. 36. How does a top 10 team lose like this? 36 pts is pathetic with all their talent.
- #3 Kansas 79, Nebraska 58. Methodical and effective. Why wasn’t the GameDay crew in Lincoln again?
- Louisville 64, Rutgers 49. UL continues to get back on track…
- #18 Rhode Island 80, Duquesne 78. URI’s Will Daniels with 28/11.
- West Virginia 81, Syracuse 61. The Big East is gonna be tough to figure this year.
- #8 Indiana 62, Illinois 58. Does anyone get less press than DJ White (15/10)?
- Oregon 71, Stanford 66. The Ducks just don’t lose at home.
- #8 Duke 87, Virginia 65. UVa looked like it couldn’t even dribble the ball most of this game.
Update: turns out the GameDay show will begin on-site this coming weekend – boy, that Creighton-SIU matchup sure looks the stinker now, doesn’t it? Why doesn’t college hoops make weekly decisions on where to go, like football does???
January 19 Kentucky at Florida
January 26 Creighton at Southern Illinois
February 2 Arizona at UCLA
February 9 Georgetown at Louisville
February 16 Michigan State at Indiana
February 23 Tennessee at Memphis
March 1 Kansas State at Kansas
March 8 North Carolina at Duke