|A Demon with a reason to smile. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Gary Parrish
Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s slate of college basketball games …
Game of the day: Indiana beat a ranked team at home for the third time this season. The 12th-ranked Hoosiers got past No. 16 Michigan 73-71 thanks to 25 points from Christian Watford. They're now 14-1 with wins over Kentucky, Ohio State and John Beilein's Wolverines, and they're undeniably good and worthy of their ranking. Put another way, it's time to start believing in what Tom Crean is doing, and I don't care that the Hoosiers haven't "won on the road" yet. You don't have to "win on the road" to be really good in college basketball. Kentucky went like 2-47 on the road last season. As it turned out, the Wildcats were OK. Their best SEC road win was at Tennessee. They still made the Final Four.
Win to brag about: Brandon Young got 26 points -- including the final three with 1.3 seconds remaining -- to lift DePaul to an 84-81 victory over a Pittsburgh team that was ranked 10th in the preseason but has now lost four straight for the first time ever under Jamie Dixon. That's bad for Pitt. But this is great for DePaul! The Blue Demons only won seven games all last season. They're now 10-4 under Oliver Purnell, who is among the best at taking programs in bad shape and making them respectable.
Loss to hide from: Remember that Penn State team that lost to Kentucky by 38 points in November? They just beat Purdue -- which means Purdue just lost to them -- by 20 points. The final score was 65-45. The Boilermakers shot a season-low 31 percent.
Player who deserves improper benefits: It's easy to forget that one of the nation's best talents is playing at North Texas because Tony Mitchell is still adjusting to college. And because he's at North Texas. But the 6-foot-8 freshman was terrific in a 78-73 overtime win over South Alabama. He went 11-of-14 from the field to finish with 34 points and 16 rebounds.
Players Referees who do not deserve improper benefits: Louisiana-Lafayette beat Western Kentucky 72-70 in overtime. Who cares, you ask? I care. Because the referees somehow let Louisiana-Lafayette play the final possession with six -- SIX! -- players on the court. (Here's the video.) Yes, the Rajun Cajuns scored the game-winning basket with six players on the court. It should've been a technical foul. But the officials blew it. So WKU lost.
Numbers don’t lie
- 5: That's the number of players you are allowed to have on the court at the same time in a basketball game.
- 6: That's the number of players Louisiana-Lafayette had on the court at the end of its win over Western Kentucky.
- 3: That's the number of officials who should be suspended by Sun Belt office on Friday morning.
Three other notable results
- South Florida won 74-57 at Villanova. The Wildcats are now 7-8.
- Colorada beat Washington 87-69 to improve to 2-0 in the Pac-12.
- Utah beat Washington State 62-60 to earn its first Pac-12 victory.
- Arizona State suspended three players Thursday for a violation of team rules. Keala King, the team's leading scorer, was one of them.
- Ole Miss dismissed Dundrecous Nelson and Jamal Jones on Thursday -- one day after Nelson was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in his home. Nelson was Ole Miss' leading scorer. Jones admitted to smoking marijuana with him.
- Class of 2012 recruit Darrick Wood decommitted from St. John's on Thursday.