Night Court: Who started the new year the right way?

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
T. (USATSI)
Steve Fisher and Josh Davis have the Aztecs at 11-1 and looking great yet again. (USATSI)

Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's first day of the year ...

Game of the night: San Diego State opens MWC play on the road with a win.

It was at Colorado State, a team that's not nearly as formidable this season as it was last, but it's still impressive to start conference play by stealing one in an opponent's gym. The Aztecs won with a 71-61 differential. The 11-1 start is the second-best start in program history. SDSU's only loss? To Arizona. Yeah, the undefeated, No. 1 team in the land right now.

The Aztecs are looking really nice right about now, and even with a second loss this weekend -- if it comes -- they'll probably still be a top 25 team come Monday. More on that in a moment.

Steve Fisher's team was able due to more than 40 points in the paint. And Colorado State only turns it over 8.7 times per game, but they gave it away 14 times Wednesday night. The Rams took a minor hit when backup guard Dwight Smith badly twisted his right ankle with 3:30 to go.

Next for SDSU? A biggie. At Kansas on Sunday. Tough task, and the Aztecs have the athletes to make it interesting, but hard to see how Fisher's team can steal one in Phog Allen.

That's a good win: UNLV starts with a win in league play.

I know it was playing Fresno State but A) It's a thin night and B) it's UNLV. Lots unknown about the Rebels, who got this one on the road and are now 1-0 in the Mountain West. Plus, in a weird way, positive that it was a comfortable 75-62 W in a game that Vegas shot 1-16 from 3-point range. Ooh, man.

Overall the team is 10-4 and winners of seven straight after starting the season 3-4. Granted, the recent wins have all been over tomato cans, but I think Dave Rice's team needed any kind of boost of confidence. They've got two easier home games coming up, giving them a good shot at being 12-4 when they head into New Mexico on Jan. 15

But that's a bad loss: Boston College drops its 10th loss of the season.

It came to Harvard, which isn't a "bad" loss, but at this point the Eagles are unquestionably playing below a level almost everyone thought they'd be at. Now they're 4-10 after dropping a 73-58 decision at Harvard on Wednesday. Ryan Anderson had 17 and nine, leading the way for Steve Donahue's team, but there isn't enough around him and Olivier Hanlan to give BC a shot at getting to .500. Will the team even be able to reach double digits? I'm as fascinated as I am let down by a team that really should be better than this.

How bad did it get? Click to 1:55, and keep an eye on Donahue. Thanks, @JohnEzekowitz.

Players with impact

Willis Hall of Charleston started his 2014 off right. He went for 26 points and 21 rebounds in his team's win on the road against Davidson. It was just the second time this season a player's earned the rare 20-20; Stony Brook's Jameel Warney did it in November to Detroit Mercy. This only happened four times last season.

Justin Jackson was a stud for Cincinnati and came so close to the also-rare five-for-five: getting at least five points, rebounds, steals, blocks and assists. His line from Wednesday: 17 points, six rebounds, five steals, five blocks, three assists.

Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith have turned into a tremendous rebounding duo. They combined for 29 snags on Wednesday, with Birch going for 17 boards and 14 points.

Numbers to figure

6: The number of consecutive losses Boston College has to Harvard. If you'd have mention a streak like this as possible to an Eagles -- or Crimson -- fan as recently as 2007, you'd be laughed out of Massachusetts. Overall, Harvard's got a very long time before it can come close to getting this series at .500. BC holds a 32-15 edge.

300: Tommy Amaker's career win total in light of the victory for Harvard.

Other outcomes of note:

  • Cincinnati started its American Athletic Conference existence by winning at home over SMU. The Bearcats beat Larry Brown's team 65-57. The good sign is that UC is winning despite a cold streak from Sean Kilpatrick, who's shooting 20 percent from the field in his past two games.
  • Temple is now below .500. Seems weird. The Owls were taken out at Rutgers, 71-66. Meanwhile, Rutgers is 7-7, which is pretty good for where the program should be right about now. Wally Judge -- yep, the former K-State big man -- had five blocks.
  • Dunk City is just an 8-7 team, but a 75-62 win over Lipscomb today put FGCU at 2-0 in the Atlantic Sun.
  • Mercer, which was the preseason pick to win the A-Sun, wasn't competitive in losing on the road to North Florida. An 85-73 final. Bears are now 1-1 in the league and 10-5 overall.
  • It's going to be a rare down year for Davidson, which is now a 4-10 team after falling to a solid Charleston club, 76-64.
  • Northern Kentucky won 67-65 over Stetson thanks to a tipped rebound with three ticks to go by Jake Giesler.

Notebook:

-- We posted a Missouri Valley Conference primer earlier today. Indiana State started off as it should have, beating lowly Loyola of Chicago 70-58.

-- Big get for Texas A&M, landing SMU transfer Jalen Jones.

-- From New Year's Eve, via College Basketball Talk.

 
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