Something I didn’t think I would see: Providence ahead of Connecticut in the Big East standings. PC is 4-4, UConn is 3-4.
How about this quote from PC coach Keno Davis: “We can beat anybody in the country. We have enough talent, but we have to play extremely hard.’’ I’m not sure I’m buying that proclamation, but it’s good to know Davis has that much confidence in his crew.
UConn’s win over Texas was as impressive a W as we’ve seen this season. But I knew if Connecticut was an elite team the Huskies had to win a game on the road that they’re supposed to -- and they didn’t. It’s odd looking at the Big East standings and seeing UConn ranked No. 19 yet in 11th place in the league.
Not sure there was as impressive a road performance in the SEC (save Kentucky winning at Florida) as Vanderbilt’s win at Tennessee. The Commodores got spirited production out of Jermaine Beal (25 points) and held the Vols to 6-of-20 on 3s. Vandy goes into Kentucky on Saturday with a chance to actually build a two-game lead on the Cats. Huh?
No one should fault BYU for losing at New Mexico, 76-72. The Pit is and will be one of the toughest places in the country to play, and I can tell you from years covering the Lobos that there is no opponent that gets the place as amped as the Cougars. BYU remains the MWC favorite even with the loss to the Lobos. But UNM desperately needed the win to stay in the race.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner picked up a quality road W by winning at Marshall to keep the Tigers in the C-USA league race.
Villanova’s 18-1 record and 8-0 mark in the Big East after beating Notre Dame is as impressive as any in the country. But the Wildcats' schedule is back-loaded with road games at Syracuse, Georgetown and West Virginia that will be tough to tackle.
In a 95-83 win over Texas Tech, Texas coach Rick Barnes did shorten his bench as promised. Barnes went with primarily eight players with Alexis Wangmene and Jai Lucas only getting a few minutes. The primary bench players were Gary Johnson, Jordan Hamilton and J’Covan Brown. It helped that Dogus Balbay wasn’t in foul trouble.
Duke won again at Cameron. I just don’t see the Blue Devils losing at home. So that’s eight ACC wins right there. The Devils have already won at Clemson. So that’s nine. Pick up at least two road wins out of BC, Miami or Virginia (don’t see UNC or Maryland) and the Blue Devils will likely win the league with 11 wins. That’s unless Maryland decides to string together a bunch of road wins.
It’s hard to call out must-wins, but Illinois desperately needed to beat Penn State on the road to move to 5-3 in the league. The Illini are in the soft portion of the schedule that they must dominate.
Florida is winning the games it should at home now with a 79-63 win over Georgia to move to 4-2 and move closer to an NCAA berth after two NIT years.
Drexel snuffed out Northeastern’s win streak at 11 (which was the third-longest in the country) with an impressive 61-48 win on the road.
Hard to generate buzz for William & Mary now after the Tribe lost to James Madison by a deuce to fall to 6-4 in the CAA.
Hard not to cheer for Oklahoma State to beat Texas A&M on Wednesday, the ninth anniversary of the tragic plane crash that killed 10 people associated with the program. OSU beat the Aggies to move ahead of them in the standings at 4-2 (A&M is 3-3).
Impressive that Oklahoma beat Iowa State with Willie Warren and Tony Crocker sitting out due to sprained right ankles. What a night for freshman Tommy Mason-Griffin, who had 38 points and 6 assists. Iowa State’s NCAA season is over with a 1-4 mark in the Big 12. Too much ground to make up at this juncture.
What has happened to LSU’s offense? The Tigers led Alabama at the break, but scored just 13 points in the second half. Tasmin Mitchell and Bo Spencer were a combined 4-of-18 in the 57-38 loss at Alabama. The defending SEC champs are now 0-6 in league play.
Believe it or not, Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins had an eight-point play in the Pride's 93-54 win over UNC Wilmington. He scored on a layup and was fouled. But it was ruled an intentional foul and then Wilmington’s Benny Moss got a technical for arguing. Jenkins hit all four free throws (two for the intentional and two for the technical) and then Hofstra got the ball because of the intentional foul and Jenkins scored off the inbound pass with a floater. In five seconds, the score went from 26-9 to 34-9. Wow.