- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Morning After is our semi-daily recap of last night's best basketball action. But it doesn't matter what it is. What matters is its plan.
No. 6 Florida 72, Florida State 47: We -- and by "we," I mean the collective college hoops consciousness -- have spent a lot of time this season talking about the best teams in the country: Indiana, Duke, Michigan, Louisville, Ohio State, Syracuse and Kansas. One team we seem to not quite talk as much about is, you guessed it, Florida. And that probably needs to stop.
Of course, it's not like Wednesday night's utter demolition at Florida State was all that new. This Florida team had already demolished a couple of opponents better than FSU (which entered Wednesday night's game with three home losses, including to Mercer and South Alabama) in Wisconsin (74-56) and Marquette (82-49). With the possible exception of a 13-point win over Central Florida, the Gators have yet to win a game that could be described in any way other than "demolition." They're just steamrolling people.
This has to do, as it did last season, with the Gators' efficient perimeter offense. Kenny Boynton is still doing his high-volume long-range thing, Erik Murphy still stretches the floor, and guards Mike Rosario and Scottie Wilbekin are threats in their own right. But there are some major differences in this year's team which are impossible to ignore. The first is defense: The Gators, always mediocre on the defensive end of the floor last season, are suddenly guarding like a top-five efficiency defense. The other reason is Patric Young. After two seasons of looking like a beast but hardly ever touching the ball, the massive Young suddenly leads Florida in usage rate. He's actually getting the ball on the block. He's scoring it when he does. Weird, right?
Combine these stylistic tweaks and wholesale defensive improvements with a Florida State team that can't score to save its life and doesn't defend anywhere near as well as in recent seasons, and it shouldn't be all that surprising to see Florida just utterly destroy their rivals on said rivals' home floor.
Whether you were surprised or not, the bottom line is this: Florida is one of the best three or four teams in the country. Let it be known.
Colorado 70, Colorado State 61: If you checked out from this game early, you can be forgiven. After all, with 1:33 left in the first half, Colorado led 42-17. At that point, it appeared as if this game was going to be just one more Wednesday night blowout. I already had the title of TMA ready to go: "Blowout Wednesday." (I know! Creative, right?)
This was not a blowout, far from it. Colorado State came storming back in the second half -- an impressive feat given how impressively loud that Colorado home crowd was -- and cut the lead on a Wes Eikmeier bucket to 54-51 with less than seven minutes left in the game. But Colorado locked in on defense and CSU started dropping a lot of possessions; the Rams scored just one point over the next five minutes. By that time, the Buffaloes had put together another insurmountable lead.
This game was truly excellent in a variety of ways, but no one shone brighter than Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie. A couple of days after mocking CSU fans for rushing the court after last year's victory, and calling Colorado State the "little brother," Dinwiddie went out and dropped 29 points on 8-for-10 from the field, and hit a bunch of key free throws to seal the game down the stretch.
After the game, Dinwiddie told the AP he had a lot of respect for Colorado State, but, "backing up the comment is great. They were on my Twitter -- a lot."
Memphis 84, Ohio 58: This is exactly what Memphis needed. The Tigers and coach Josh Pastner in particular have been harangued for the past two weeks for their limp performance in the Bahamas; the suspicion that Pastner was a nice guy and a great recruiter who couldn't coach was becoming loudly entertained. So Memphis couldn't afford to have a weird, skittish, just escape-or-God-forbid-lose sort of game Wednesday night. They needed a solid win. Thanks in large part to two newcomers (Geron Johnson and Shaq Goodwin, who combined for 14-of-19 from the field and 41 points) and capable ballhandling against a turnover-rabid Ohio defense, the Tigers got much more than that.
Everywhere else: Winning at Washington State always feels tricky, especially when Brock Motum and DaVonte Lacy go for 23 and 22 combined. It is even more difficult when your starting point guard shoots 1-for-11 from the field on his first 12 field goals. But Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos' 13th attempt was a game-winner with two seconds left, and the Zags escaped Pullman with a gasping two-point win. You should definitely watch this video. ... New Mexico got behind early but eventually topped USC, which looked better but still, you know, eh. ... Dayton beat Alabama at Alabama, and I swear to the basketball gods Dayton is the most unpredictable and mind-bending basketball program in the country. ... Temple handled a Villanova team that has a long way to go. ... Don't look now, but Charlotte is 8-0 and actually has a good win -- at Davidson -- worth bragging about. ... Saint Louis held on against the Fightin' Tony Mitchells, who got 18 and 8 from Mitchell and 21 points, seven assists and seven rebounds from guard Chris Jones and nothing from anywhere else. ... And, finally, I know the game was slow, and I know Virginia can defend, but goodness are the Volunteers struggling to score. In losses to Georgetown and UVa, the Volunteers have scored .68 points per possession. Basketball that bad should come with a Surgeon General's warning label.