Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday night’s slate of college basketball games. We covered the early portion today, with the debut of Afternoon Delight …
Game of the Night: We're going with a game you probably didn't see: Southern Miss' 86-82 win over Ole Miss. The game was tied with less than two minutes to go, and So. Miss held off the Rebels' rally -- a good sign.
Who knows how good the latter truly is, but I'm thinking USM can challenge in the C-USA all the way at the top. With the win, Larry Eustachy's team, which just reinstated Darnell Dodson (WTF?), is 8-2. Dodson did not play Saturday night.
Win to brag about: Gonzaga has never truly fallen back in the class of other mid-majors because it’s schedule so tough over the years, and with that scheduling it does peel off two or three nice wins per season. Saturday, the Bulldogs got such a win, a 71-60 one over Arizona. Gonzaga’s probably a better team, but this was a good time to check and make sure.
Win to brag about, No. 2: It’s these kinds of wins that are strong, not necessarily month-making, but prove you have the stuff to make deep tournament runs. Vegas pwned Illinois to the melody of 64-48 at the United Center. UNLV could be anything from a 4 to a 12 seed right now. Don’t know where it will end up. I do know it has the potential to reach the Elite Eight.
Loss to hide from: Villanova got beat down badly by intra-city rival St. Joe’s, 74-58. But it was nice to see a storied intra-city rivalry end in a blowout yet void itself of any thrown punches or head-stomps. In Philly no less! (Have I managed to tick off all affiliated fans now?)
Loss to hide from, No. 2: Vandy got taken down by Indiana State – at Vanderbilt. The 61-55 final gives Vandy skeptics a real reason to howl right now, as the ‘Dores are playing with Festus Ezeli, a guy Goodman and I think is the team’s best player/asset. But even though ISU will be a factor in the Valley, Vandy needs to be winning this game by 10 points. Troubling.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Reggie Hamilton scored 41 points and won his team’s game like this (via Summit Madness).
Oakland 82, Valpo 80. Hamilton's awesome. Best player in the league (yeah, I guess better than Nate Wolters. Grr.)
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: I know Ezeli's still coming back from an injury, but four rebounds and foru points in 22 minutes doesn't vault Vandy into the elite. Those numbers gotta rise soon or the Commodores are just "good."
Numbers don’t lie
- 11-16. Villanova is 11-16 in its last 27 games.
- 23-0. That’s the first-half run Syracuse got out to against N.C. State, the run that cushioned the Wolfpack comeback. SU won, 88-72. Orange will be the top-ranked team when the calendar flips to 2012.
- 28. VCU forced 28 UNC-Wilmington turnovers. The Rams won of course. 87-64.
Four other notable results
- Northern Arizona had its head coach step down last week. Saturday, Northern Arizona beat Arizona State, 69-68.
- Alabama’s good but it’s got issues I’m not sure it will overcome. The Tide cannot score in bunches, and it caught up with them tonight in Kansas City against Kansas State. Frank Martin’s team is nondescript this year, but it should make the NCAAs. Wildcats won, 71-58.
- Belmont will be out of the Non-BCS Power Pyramid Monday Morning. The Bruins fell 66-61 to 3-5 Miami University.
- New Mexico's 66-56 win over Oklahoma State shouldn't come as a surprise. The Lobos are better at so many spots. Lobos were stout on D, too. Oklahoma State will be an NIT team and scare here and there in the Big 12. New Mexico can win the Mountain West.
- Lots to prove, but Lon Kruger getting Oklahoma to 8-1 at this point deserves a mention.
- Terrence Jones dislocated his finger in tonight’s game against Chattanooga.
- Murray State still undefeated with win over Arkansas State.
- Per Run the Floor, “For the first time since Nov. 22 Josh Smith was on the floor once today for more than 10 consecutive possessions (11).” Kid’s fat. It’s sad. And a problem.
- Northern Illinois is still winless (0-10) after falling to Southern Illinois today.