Night Court: Oregon loses, Wisconsin survives, UNC remains a mystery
It was a Sunday with only 23 games total, but plenty of them were terrific and featured ranked teams.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s terrific Sunday …
What we’ll be talking about in the morning: Wisconsin remains unbeaten after Fran McCaffery's ejection.
A separate post, with video, of McCaffery's meltdown is here. It was the first time these teams have met as ranked team in ages, and it was a good game. Really good. Fran's ejection taints things, and it will call into question as to whether Iowa would've won without those technical fouls. Regardless, Devyn Marble went for 27 and the Hawkeyes had their chances down the stretch. Sam Dekker had an unusually irregular/quiet game for the Badgers, until a big 3 late gave the team a push, a two-possession lead, and helped create separation that lasted until the final horn.
If you're Iowa, you can't feel too bad. Consider
Iowa's three losses -- Villanova, Iowa State, Wisconsin -- by a combined 12 points.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) January 6, 2014
Bo Ryan's team is probably about to enter a massive national push of publicity and respect. Most college hoops fans probably can't name one player outside of Dekker, if that, but that should be changing. Heck, Frank Kaminksy went for more than 40 earlier this season, remember. Josh Gasser can be a joy to watch, and him alongside Ben Brust and Traveon Jackson probably makes for the most underrated backcourt in the nation right about now.
The 15-0 start is the best in 100 years of Badgers basketball.
Sixty-eight in a row. Over. That was Kansas' streak of victories against non-conference opponents at Phog Allen. Hadn't dropped one since 2006, when Bill Self's team lost to Oral Roberts, a program Self coached at back in the day. Given San Diego State's paltry history (until the Steve Fisher era), it's not hyperbole to call this the biggest win ever. It wasn't expected, and it's an announcement for this program that a second-weekend NCAA tourney appearance can come true in this of all season. Here's Borzello's post on the game.
My thoughts? Kansas will probably never win a game that sees Perry Ellis not score until 8:13 remains in the second half. It will probably never win a game that sees only six field goals from Jayhawks in the first half.
But it's only Self's ninth loss at Phog Allen in more than 10 years at the school. Jan. 10, 2009, was the last time Kansas lost four games this early in season.
I couldn't love the effort from the Aztecs more. Skyler Spencer had six blocks. Josh Davis -- the team's best rebounder, who snags 25 percent of defensive rebound chances when he's on the floor -- had a humongous game on the boards (14). He was around the rim and completely unblocked at times. The Aztecs entered this game allowing 53.3 per game and allowing 0.91 points per possession, tops in the Mountain West and one of the best rates in the nation. It was holding opponents to just 38.8 percent off 2-point shots. Kansas was 31.7 percent from 2-point range on Sunday, about 26 percent below its season average.
Now let's step back and take a look at the season so far. Most encouraging for San Diego State? The team's only loss this season has come against the undefeated, No. 1-ranked Arizona Wildcats. What a resume. What a team. This was more SDSU winning than Kansas losing, by a long shot.
Game of the day, Vol. 2: Colorado gives Oregon its first loss of the season.
This one was overshadowed by SDSU-Kansas, and all the football, but it was a pull-and-tug affair until the final five minutes. You couldn't expect Oregon to take a four-day trip to Utah and Colorado, two teams with 25 wins combined as of Sunday night, and make it back without a scar. The Ducks fell 100-91 in part because Colorado's Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie supplied 50 percent of those Buffalo points. And the two of them -- two of the top 10 players in the Pac-12 -- were able to be productive against a really solid group of guards that Oregon offers.
This was no uspet; Colorado was at home and has wins this season over Harvard and Kansas as well. But Tad Boyle's team probably earned some nice long-term interest with this victory. I don't think Oregon will have more than five losses come Selection Sunday. Mike Moser had 24 and seven in the loss for Dana Altman's team, which next gets Cal on Thursday, at home.
Andy Enfield's quote to his USC team about UCLA playing slow, back in October, makes for some tasty Bruins schadenfreude. For the first time in 16 years UCLA got to the century mark against the Trojans, beating them 107-73 in a non-competitive game that showcased UCLA's talent, but even more so, highlighted how far Enfield has to go in building that Trojans program. For UCLA, Bryce Alford, yes, the coach's son, had a career-high 20. The Bruins' best threat on offense, Jordan Adams, had 21. Who's next for this team? Ah, the Arizona Wildcats arrive Thursday night. Big-time game.
But that's a bad loss: Guess who.
Hey, I called it (um, just ignore some of the other ones!), because ... well ... didn't it seem too perfect? North Carolina went into Wake Forest, lost control of the game in the second half, and ultimately dropped the game, 73-67. Then this happened.
The Heels were miserable from deep, shooting 2-15, and relied way too much on shots without challenging Wake on the interior, where it seemed to have an edge. UNC will be unranked come tomorrow's polls, as it probably should be, I guess. Whatever. We'll talk about them on the Monday podcast.
A word on Wake: Now an 11-3 team, Jeff Bzdelik has a chance to shut a lot of people up. The ACC is vulnerable in a lot of spots, and if he can get to 20 wins this year (definitely possible), then he should really be in the conversation for league Coach of the Year. That's getting ahead of things now, though. As is, the Demon Deacons have won 11 of their first 14 games, by far the most during the Bzedlik reign.
Still unbeaten: Wichita State showing no signs of slowing up.
The Shockers rocked Northern Iowa, and that undefeated talk is going to continue. Best start in school history, a 15-0 record now, after winning 67-53 on Sunday. You might also start to hear some comparisons about this year's Wichita State team and the Gonzaga group from a year ago, which of course earned a No. 1 seed that had some controversy to it. The coincidence here is that Wichita State upset that Gonzaga club last March, its second of four wins that got Gregg Marshall's team to the Final Four, something Mark Few's not been able to achieve.
Players with impact
- High scorer to this point: Sidney Sanders, Jr. of Fairleigh Dickinson, who had 31 in the team's 86-67 win over Hofstra.
- Kyle Anderson had a double-double and tied career high with 23 points, also snaring 12 rebounds and dishing five assists for UCLA.
- Murray State won 91-77 over Tennessee Martin, and Jarvis Williams went for 20 points and 15 rebounds.
- Fred VanVleet went for 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and didn't turn the ball over. Wichita State is loaded with guys who produce, kind of like how Iowa State can have one of five guys be an MVP on a given night. And then there's this:
Fred VanVleet's last 3 games: 48 points(14-29 FG, 11-12 FT), 10 rebounds, 13 assists, 6 steals, ZERO turnovers. @franfraschilla— Shocker GT (@ShockerGametime) January 5, 2014
Numbers to figure
15: This is also now the longest winning streak in school history for the Shockers.
Two: How many times -- EVA -- Duke and UNC have started ACC campaigns by each losing their first game. Via.
104: Straight wins for San Diego State when leading with five minutes to go. Kind of an amazing streak, to be honest. Then there's this.
KU shot 17 of 57 (29.8 percent) in loss to SDSU, second worst in Self era behind TCU loss last year. That was 29.5 percent.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) January 6, 2014
Other outcomes of note:
- The Wolverines had no trouble at home against Northwestern. Glenn Robinson III did play despite a tender ankle. Wolverines won 74-51. The Wildcats and their fans will be waiting yet another year before the NCAA tournament is a possibility.
- Closer than it needed to be, but the Golden Gophers won 82-79 at home over Purdue. Richard Pitino wins his first Big Ten game. Gophers are 12-3, better than most expect through 15 teams. And Austin Hollins is one of the best dunkers in college hoops. Here are two of his game-high 18 points.
- Arizona State had no problems against Washington State, winning 66-47 at home. But that horrible double-digit home loss to Washington on Thursday still lingers.
- Minor outcome, but bad news for Missouri State: it fell at lowly Loyola of Chicago, dropping an 89-57 outcome. Hideous loss. The Bears, a veteran team, have no excuse.
- Villanova 91, Providence 61. That is how you beat 'em down, as they say. Wildcats showing they can be elite by whipping inferior opponents like this.
-- Former Indiana big man Luke Fischer announced on Sunday morning he will transfer to Marquette. That is huge news for that program. Fischer has talent to be All-Big East down the road.
-- Nasty slam. Hat tip, CBT. Guy plays for Southeastern Louisiana.
-- I gotta know how it stayed on.
-- Aaron Jordan is a solid guard prospect in the 2015 class. Who got him? Illinois, on Sunday.
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