3-point shot: Still winning without McCollum

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
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1. Wednesday was a wild night, but one result may have more significance than any other. And no it wasn't Miami beating Duke by 27 points or La Salle beating Butler at home or Creighton losing to Drake as Wichita State was winning to take first place in the Missouri Valley. Nope, it was Lehigh -- without C.J. McCollum -- going to 4-0 in the Patriot League with a road win at league favorite Bucknell (65-62 as the Bison were 2-of-14 on 3s). The Mountain Hawks have played exceptionally well without McCollum (broken foot). Lehigh coach Brett Reed said late Wednesday night, "Right now our guys are playing with tremendous defensive energy, resiliency and togetherness. I won't say I'm surprised because I think we have talent and togetherness, but I am pleased with the way they have stepped up their defensive focus as a collective unit. When C.J. was healthy, I think, at times, our guys felt they could outscore people, but now that C.J. is out, they are valuing every possession even more."

2. Missouri coach Frank Haith hasn't ruled out Laurence Bowers against Vanderbilt on Saturday. But if he can get away with holding him out one more game to rest his ailing knee that would probably be the best-case scenario. The Tigers are 2-2 without their best big man and have seven more road games, including next Wednesday at LSU. Missouri is also hoping to get back Keion Bell (ankle) for the Vandy game. Bell didn't play in the squeaker against South Carolina on Tuesday. The Tigers were without two starters and haven't had one game this season with the projected starting five (remember Michael Dixon Jr., never made it to the season).

3. Conference USA will play a 16-game schedule next season with 16 teams. That means each team will play one rival twice and play the other 14 schools one time. The set partners will be divided along regional/geographic divisions. The likely pairings could be: Tulane-Louisiana Tech; FAU-FIU; UAB-Southern Miss; Rice-UTEP; North Texas-UTSA; ODU-Marshall; Tulsa-Middle Tennessee State; Charlotte-East Carolina. Of course, you could move a few of these around that might make a bit more sense. Overall, this league is likely going to be 16 teams vying for one bid in 2014. Tulane will move to the Big East in 2014-15 while East Carolina is scheduled to do the same in football only.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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