Night Court: UCLA loses again, proves it's definitely not California's best

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
UCLA stumbled again Saturday night, losing to in-state foe San Diego State. (US Presswire)

Did you miss the season debut of Afternoon Delight? If so, here's everything that went down prior to dinner. And below we've got the best and worst and noteworthy news from Saturday night in college basketball. If you're looking for anything Rick Majerus-related, I'll direct you here ...

Game of the Night: Wyoming -- yes, Wyoming -- is a team to track.

How 'bout them Cowboys? The Pokes defeated Colorado Saturday night to the tune of 76-69. Colorado's been college hoops diehards' chic team early on, but their neighbors to the north did them strong Saturday night. The Buffaloes gave it away 17 times, but aside from that, it wasn't a miserable game from Tad Boyle's bunch.

It was just Wyoming putting up a really strong effort, and that's what's encouraging here. Wyoming's just a really solid 8-0 team that's getting victories by not killing itself or getting lucky. It doesn't stand out in any statistical category except two-point field goal defense, which it was top-five nationally in prior to this game.

Mountain West is definitely improved this season. Wyoming could be the bellwether team to prove that. Four bids down the road? Right now, absolutely, considering this next team ...

That's a good win: San Diego State does what it should do.

The Aztecs won at the Honda Center -- that's in Anaheim -- over UCLA, 78-69. It was a good game, an enjoyable one ... but not one I ever thought SDSU was going to lose. UCLA's been discussed enough. We can say it still has problems, a lot to sort out, and get back to them in short time.

This is time for give Steve Fisher's team a quick round of applause for so far only losing a game on an aircraft carrier with the sun in its face against a Syracuse club I think will win the Big East. Jamaal Franklin, you led your team with 28 points and seven rebounds and showed why so many think you'll be recognized as an All-American at year's end, even if it's a Second Team mention.

SDSU is California's best, and UCLA isn't even sniffing No. 2 at the moment.

But that's a bad loss: Given how Villanova's played lately ...

Losing a home game to the Wildcats isn't good for one's rep. And Vandy's another "V" team that's taking a dive this year. The 'Dores had their butts handed to them by Nova, losing 62-52.

Players with impact

Alan Williams, a player I was roundly mocked by my colleagues for wanting on our top 50 big men, went for 29 points and 17 boards in Cal-Santa Barbara's 83-80 overtime win at a good Santa Clara club.

Mike Muscala has a chance -- a chance -- to steal Patriot League POY from C.J. McCollum. Muscala's Bucknell's lanky big with a variety of weapons. His team won 65-57 at Columbia and it was due in most part to his 29 and 19. So robust!

From earlier Saturday, listen, Louisville got a win over Illinois State, and ISU has a future NBAer in Jackie Carmichaell, but Tyler Brown threw down for 25 and looked really nice. I just watched the game on DVR. This kid is going to be Second Team All-MVC by year's end, at worst.

Numbers to figure:

  1. 15: How many teams won Saturday to remain undefeated, which means they got to December undefeated. No matter your level, I'm always impressed with such strong starts.
  2. 3: On the flip side, three more winless teams couldn't get off the schnide with their opportunities Saturday. Maryland-Eastern Shore, Northern Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe all still own a bagel in the W column.
  3. VCU has forced more than 20 turnovers five times this season. All five times, and only those five times, it has won the game.

Other outcomes of note:

  • VCU 75, Belmont 65. Rams are better than the Bruins, but I still thought this could've been a tricky spot. Signals good things for Shaka Smart's team that it passed this mini test of sorts, considering it didn't have senior Darius Theus due to injury. Belmont's now playing in the OVC after acting as landlord of the Sun Belt for the past six years. It will most definitely need to win the league tourney to get back into the NCAAs.
  • Texas Tech actually lost its first game of the season tonight. Came at the hands of Arizona, and it was a big one, 85-57.
  • Really nice mid-major game: Robert Morris beats Ohio at home, 84-76. That means the Bobcats are no longer undefeated.

Notebook:

-- If you still haven't clicked the Majerus stuff above, obviously that news is looming over the sport tonight, and will for the remainder of the weekend. So I offer you two links about the man that you should take the time to look through.

-- Saint Louis' game Sunday against Valparaiso will go on as scheduled.

-- North Texas is about one more game from being an official flop. Fell tonight to 3-5 overall and 0-1 in league play with a home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.

-- Roy Williams helps out his guys. So Jerod Haase, former Heels assistant, got a return trip to his former grounds Saturday. But UNC was kinda ticked after the IU whooping. In the end, Heels get their anger out against the Blazers with a 102-84 W.

-- From early Saturday, this is some serious irony. Consider: John Calipari and Tom Crean couldn't agree to keep the UK-IU series going. Who got IU's spot on UK's skedge this year? Baylor -- which ended Calipari's undefeated streak (something he very much coveted) at home.

-- Not related to game play, but if you missed this, the nation's No. 1 or No. 2 recruit (depending on who you talk to) for 2013 will in fact play basketball by this time next season.

 
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