On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we're not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that's happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first six-or-so hours' worth of action, the perfect appetizer right before dinnertime.
The best we've seen so far: As the above video indicates, the play of the day was Cincinnati's Cashmere Wright knocking down a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to beat Alabama by two. (Also, check out Mick Cronin's eyeroll. Tremendous.)
Heading into the weekend, I honestly didn't think Cincinnati and Alabama would be that close of a game. The Bearcats were rolling, and the Crimson Tide simply didn't have the pieces to throw a true scare into Cronin's crew. A 17-4 start for Cincinnati didn't do much to dissuade me on Saturday. Then Alabama woke up, and we were in for a tremendous finish. To give you an idea, here were four consecutive plays from 1:27 to 0:41 in the second half: Nick Jacobs made a layup to give Alabama the lead; Titus Rubles responded with a runner; Trevor Releford had another layup; and Sean Kilpatrick tied it up with a layup. All of that set up Wright's heroics.
The second-best we've seen so far: Most of the attention in the Bluegrass State was focused on Lexington, where Kentucky took on Baylor -- but the best game ended up at the KFC Yum! Center, where Louisville pulled out a 69-66 win over Illinois State. Illinois State jumped out to a 17-4 lead before Louisville began chipping away. Without Gorgui Dieng to anchor the interior defense, the Cardinals didn't have much of an answer for Illinois State forward Jackie Carmichael, who ended up with 20 points and nine rebounds. Louisville tightened up defensively down the stretch, and the Redbirds fell short when a last-second 3-pointer rimmed out -- and Tyler Brown didn't get a foul call despite some contact on his shot. Brown finished with 25 points. Russ Smith led Louisville with 24 points.
Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: Baylor didn't look very good for the first month of the season, losing to Colorado and then at home to Charleston last weekend. As a result, there wasn't too much of a reason to think Kentucky's 55-game home winning streak would come to an end on Saturday. Of course, that's exactly what happened. Pierre Jackson hit big shot after big shot, leading the Bears to a 64-55 win over Kentucky. It was the Wildcats' second loss in a row and the first at home under John Calipari. Baylor had five scorers in double-figures, and Kentucky simply couldn't figure out the Bears' defense. The Wildcats turned it over 16 times and shot 4-for-22 from 3-point range.
No soup for you: If Oklahoma State wants to be taken seriously as a Top-25 team, the Cowboys can't allow 49 second-half points to Virginia Tech en route to a 10-point loss. The Hokies are a completely different team than last season, but they're still likely a middle-of-the-pack ACC team. Marcus Smart did his part for OSU with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists -- but the Cowboys only shot 4-for-23 from 3-point range. Moreover, they allowed Virginia Tech to get too many free points from the foul line. Consistency at both ends of the floor is still a question with Oklahoma State -- despite the addition of Smart. As for Virginia Tech, it's 7-0 for the first time since 1982-83.
- Not gonna lie. I was slightly leery of Will Clyburn's scoring potential at Iowa State, since his previous big numbers came as the main option at Utah. He's proving me wrong. Clyburn had 32 points as Iowa State beat BYU by 21.
- Many props to Illinois-Chicago and coach Howard Moore. UIC went just 8-22 last season -- but a road win over Northwestern on Saturday moved the Flames to 6-1 on the season. The whole team can be an all-star this weekend.
- Providence doesn't have a ton of players, but Kadeem Batts had 32 points, eight rebounds and three blocks to help the Friars beat Mississippi State.
- St. John's had way too much trouble with NJIT, but freshman JaKarr Sampson had himself a day. The athletic forward had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the win.
- Wright State's Cole Darling had 22 points in his first three games this season. On Saturday, the junior forward went for 29 in a win over Morehead State.
Other daytime action worth your attention
- Was all hyped for Creighton and Saint Joseph's. Apparently, so was Creighton. The Bluejays bounced back from a loss to Boise State earlier this week by throttling the Hawks 80-51. Doug McDermott had 23 points for Creighton.
- Miami is just a different team with Durand Scott on the floor. The Hurricanes are more dangerous and can hurt you in so many different ways. Massachusetts experienced that on Saturday, losing 75-62.
- No Seth Curry, no problem for Duke. The Blue Devils steamrolled my alma mater, Delaware, 88-50. Player of the Year favorite Mason Plumlee had yet another double-double.
- In its first game since Mike Dixon left the program, Missouri dispatched Appalachian State by 16. Laurence Bowers went for 23 points and five rebounds. The Tigers will keep getting better.
- Sure, it was only North Florida, but Minnesota had 13 blocks and 15 steals in Saturday's win. No matter who the opponent, that's impressive.
- Xavier continues to silence doubters. On Saturday, the Musketeers went into West Lafayette and knocked off Purdue, 63-57. Semaj Christon had 25 points.
- Michigan State is starting to get healthy and more dangerous as a result. Adreian Payne had a double-double off the bench, while Keith Appling had 13 points and six assists, to lead the Spartans to a 45-point win over Nicholls State.
- New Mexico is making a killing in close games. It won on a late shot against George Mason earlier this season and has five wins by single digits. On Saturday, the Lobos did it again, beating Indiana State in overtime.
Delightful (and not-so-delightful) thoughts
-- I wanted to clarify the new homecourt winning streak leaders. LIU-Brooklyn has won 28 straight games at the WRAC -- but the Blackbirds lost the season opener this season to Morehead State at Barclays Center. The school considered it a home game, the NCAA considered it a home game. As a result, Kansas and Syracuse share the lead at 25 games.
-- Providence is continuing to make due with just six scholarship players. The Friars beat Mississippi State by 10 on Saturday -- but it came at a cost. Leading scorer Bryce Cotton went down with an injury, and the extent of the injury is currently unclear. Freshman Kris Dunn can't get healthy soon enough.
-- Drexel lost again, this time to Rider. The Dragons were really supposed to be a threat this season, perhaps a team that could win an NCAA tournament game. With the rest of the CAA also performing poorly, though, Drexel could still be the league favorite.