Night Court: Slow day in hoops sees No. 1 Spartans remain on top

By Eye on College Basketball staff | CBSSports.com

Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Saturday …

Game of the Night: Butler moves to 4-0 under new coach Brandon Miller.

It was no doubt a down day for college hoops on what was a really big footbal Saturday. (Check out all our coverage of that here.) But at least Butler, which some thought coming into this season was the eighth or ninth-best team in the Big East, is off to a nice start. The Bulldogs got their fourth win thanks a 16-2 run on the road in the closing minutes against Ball State. The final: 59-58. Facing an 11-point deficit, Butler did what Butler's done so often in recent years under Brad Stevens.

Only Stevens isn't there anymore. I'd like to believe he and Miller shared a conversation on Saturday, or will on Sunday, about what transpired.

This is also one of the more storied midwest rivalries in college hoops. Saturday's meeting was number 105 between the two. Butler's dominated the series as of late, winning 12 of the past 14 games.

What else we'll be talking about in the morning: Michigan State will keep its top spot in the rankings.

Sparty was given a nice challenge by Oklahoma in Brooklyn, but the No. 1 Michigan State team held off Oklahoma by winning 87-76. The Spartans will certainly remain on top in our Top 25 (and one) come Sunday morning. Keith Appling came up huge for MSU, helping keep the team ahead amid a continual push by Oklahoma throughout the second half. The MSU senior point guard finished with 27 points and had only two turnovers.

After opening the game with a 22-11 deficit, Michigan State closed out the first half with a 34-9 run and establish the tempo and style. Have to credit Lon Kruger's Sooners, who dropped their first game tonight, by not giving way to a deep and well-rounded MSU team. Keep an eye on the Sooners. Michigan State continues to build up a nice reputation with is non-conference schedule, even if a few of the victories have been less than pretty.

Cameron Clark sent notice on his ability, scoring 32 for Oklahoma.

That's a good win: What does it say about UNC's rep that I'm putting the Heels here?

You can read about North Carolina from Gary Parrish right here. It's touch-and-go for the Heels right now without P.J. Hairston, and no one knows when or if he'll be back in uniform. As for the win, Richmond's no slouch. I think the Spiders are at worst a bubble-conversation team this year -- with a good shot of snagging an at-large bid come March.

North Carolina had some tests from the Spiders early on, but pulling away and getting a double-digit (82-72) win was good for this group. Don't know how much it helps against Louisville tomorrow, but it's way better than the alternative, which would've been an afterthought of a game against Fairfield. The Tar Heels are fascinating. Some think they're not a top-25 team right now. I don't know what to believe. Keep it close against Louisville tomorrow, and they could have a case.

But that's a bad loss: Miami University falls to Wilmington, and not the Wilmington you'd guess.

So, appparently this 65-63 loss by the RedHawks Saturday was only the second time in 16 years (credit: @bubbaprog) that a Division I team dropped a game to a Division III squad. Miami was by no means expected to do good things this year, but it's always a total egg-on-face situation whenever a team of scholarship atheltes drops a game to a ragtag bunch of dudes who are paying their way through a tiny school. Good for the Wilmington (OH) players for getting this win. They'll remember it forever.

Players with impact

  1. Thirty-three points and 15 rebounds for Doug McDermott in Creighton's 10-point win over Tulsa. Just another day for the All-American.
  2. Marshall's Elijah Pittman continued his outstanding offensive play in a win over UNC-Wilmington, going for 35 points and seven boards. He is averaging 29.4 points through five games.
  3. Eastern Michigan's Ray Lee and Texas-Arlington's Brandon Edwards engaged in a heckuva battle. Edwards went for 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Lee countered with 38 points – and the win.
  4. Sean Armand dropped 30 points for Iona in the Gaels' surprisingly easy win over George Mason.
  5. It's been apparent for a while now that Stony Brook's Jameel Warney is a high-major player in the America East. He had 23 and 19 on Saturday.
  6. Louisiana-Lafayette's Shawn Long has now had at least 20 points and 14 rebounds in three separate games this season. Saturday brought 24 points, 17 boards and five blocks.

Numbers to figure:

106-101: One of the more underrated rivlaries nationally is New Mexico State and UTEP. On Saturday, NMSU ompleted the non-conference season sweep of UTEP, beating the Miners by nine on the road. The Aggies defeated UTEP last week at home by 13. The Aggies now lead the series by five games.

14-3: That's the run Toledo went on to end the game against Detroit, overcoming a nine-point deficit in the final three minutes.

28-1: That's the run Eastern Washington opened the game with against LIU Brooklyn.

Other outcomes of note:

  • It wasn't pretty for Louisville against Fairfield, as the Cardinals shot just 37.7 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from 3-point range – but they still won, 71-57.
  • Memphis bounced back in a major way from its blowout loss at Oklahoma State, getting a combined 32 points and 11 rebounds from freshman forwards Austin Nichols and Nick King in a 39-point win over Nicholls State.
  • It wasn't 43 points, but Frank Kaminsky went for 21 points and six rebounds to help No. 12 Wisconsin get past Oral Roberts, 76-67.
  • Missouri had three players in double-figures, but freshman forward Johnathan Williams III had 17 rebounds as the Tigers beat Gardner-Webb to stay unbeaten.
  • Justin Anderson has been up and down in his new bench role with London Perrantes moving into the starting lineup, but he had a versatile nine points, five boards, four assists and two 3-pointers as the Cavaliers cruised past Liberty, 75-53.

Notebook:

-- Roy Williams on whether he will coach P.J. Hairston again: "There's no doubt in my mind that I think I will. But I don't know." Uh oh.

-- After being on the losing end of a one-point game on Friday, Seton Hall bounced back with a much-needed one-point victory over Virginia Tech. Matt Norlander was on the scene.

-- Boise State reached the 100-point mark for the third time this season, against New Orleans. The Broncos won't get their first test until December, when they face Utah, Kentucky and Saint Mary's in a four-game span.

-- William & Mary's lone win of the season was over Liberty. The Tribe had just lost at home by double-figures to High Point. On Saturday, though, they went into Rutgers and knocked off the Scarlet Knights, 72-62.

-- Utah is 5-0 after beating Savannah State. Larry Krystkowiak off to a good start.

-- In a battle of unbeatens, Utah State knocked off Mississippi State, 81-68. Preston Medlin had 21 points for the Aggies.

-- Boston University ended UC-Irvine's three-game winning streak, while also snapping its own two-game losing streak. D.J. Irving had 18 points and six assists for the Terriers.

-- Look at these games Sunday: Louisville vs. North Carolina, Harvard at Colorado, VCU vs. Georgetown, La Salle vs. Providence, and then Charlotte vs. Michigan.

-- The headliner will pit two Hall-of-Fame coaches against one another: Rick Pitino vs. Roy Williams. Gary Parrish has more.

-- One of the biggest prep school tournaments of the year was happening this weekend, as well. Jeff Borzello has his Saturday Notebook.

 
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