Tag:Night Court
Posted on: December 30, 2011 1:22 am
 

Night Court: Rutgers gets season-making win



By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday night’s slate of games …

Game of the Night: Don’t know if Rutgers is a tournament team — I don’t think it is — but it won an 85-83 double overtime game against Florida, which is a club many still believe is Final Four-caliber. It was Rutgers’ second win against a top-10 team at the RAC this year. (It defeated Villanova in February, which feels like five years ago, since ’Nova’s essentially trended down ever since that loss.)

Win to brag about: I hope Vandy’s 74-57 win gets as much credit as it should, because it’s damn impressive. It was also the first win over a ranked team this year for the ’Dores. Is this the signal of an ascendance for Vandy? Wouldn’t shock me. I can’t quit this team. As for Marquette: Bad loss. Really bad. Get to conference play and right yourself.

Loss to hide from: Losing at Belmont isn’t really hide-worthy, but Marshall falling 79-74 … I can’t help but feel this will amount to keeping the Herd on short list of teams that JUST miss The Tournament. Bruins aren’t an easy win, but Marshall needs to take one or two of these to prove it belongs.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Rutgers guard Eli Carter went for 31 points in 46 minutes and placed himself in the race for making a Big East team at season’s end. Carter was so much fun to watch. Without him, Rutgers falls, no question.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Every Florida guard who relented to old tricks: chucking up shots and thinking for themselves instead of optimizing Voltron (Patric Young) sooner. UF will put itself in much better position if its first options on offense are Young and using Erik Murphy in different spots.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 85. Washington hit 17-of-20, 85 percent, of its free throws to pace itself to a 95-80 win over a game Oregon State.
  • 0. Grambling State remains miserable and winless, loses to LSU and doesn’t crack 40 points (69-37), further emphasizing college basketball’s problem this season.
  • 25. UNC has now won 25 straight at home, the longest streak since 1994 and also the longest streak in program history, surprisingly.
  • 4. Four straight years Harvard’s defeated Boston College. The Crimson schooled B.C. 67-46.

Three other notable results

  1. Here’s a Valley result worth sharing. Illinois State is no pushover. It starts 1-0 in conference play with a 65-61 home win against Northern Iowa. The Valley chase is going to be terrific.
  2. Cashmere Wright. The Cincinnati guard took over down the stretch (he got away with an obvious travel while doing it), helping the Bearcats steal one away from Oklahoma, which doesn’t know how to win a slippery one on the road yet. Bearcats 56, Oklahoma 55.
  3. Stanford won a thriller in its Pac-12 opener against UCLA, 60-59. The Bruins had a chance to win it at the end, but Lazeric Jones -- a Bruin I love and one who scored 26 tonight -- was blocked by Josh Huestis with three seconds to go.

Notes

  • I love late-starting West Coast Conference hoops. Saint Mary’s-BYU was good in the first half ... then SMC ran away with it, 98-82. BYU begins its WCC life 0-1 and really plenty of speculation about how good this team actually is surrounds the Cougars. Saint Mary's had a bad non-con, but it will likely make a tournament run.
  • Iona will fall from the top of the Power Pyramid Monday. It’s final game of a nine-game stretch away from home ended in a loss, an 83-75 one against Hofstra.
  • Memphis won 64-47 against Robert Morris tonight, which is a result that’s much more reassuring than most would believe. Bob Morris can play. Memphis needed this definitive kind of win. Stop looking at me like that.
  • Tonight was Fordham’s first win against an ACC team. The Rams defeated Georgia Tech, 72-66.

On tap: Missouri at Old Dominion (ESPNU, 7 ET) is a sneaky one. George Mason is at College of Charleston in what amounts to Friday’s best mid-major battle. Don’t be surprised if Dayton runs Ole Miss out of the gym. (The game is in Dayton.) West Virginia travels to Seton Hall (ESPN2, 9 ET).

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:30 am
 

Night Court: Two unbeatens fall, Baylor escapes



By
Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Baylor went into Tuesday 12-0 and Mississippi State had won 11 in a row. On Tuesday, a Pierre Jackson layup with 28 seconds left was the difference, as Baylor stayed undefeated, winning 54-52. Mississippi State had a chance to tie, but Rodney Hood’s attempt was knocked away when going up. The Bulldogs didn’t score in the last 1:35, when Renardo Sidney fouled out and then picked up a technical foul.

Win to brag about: People had varying opinions of Louisville heading into Tuesday, but the Cardinals were 12-0 nonetheless. Then Georgetown went into the KFC Yum! Center and handed Louisville its first loss of the season, 71-68. Freshman Otto Porter had 14 points and 14 boards for the Hoyas, which held off Louisville after the Cardinals went on an 11-0 run in the final three minutes.

Loss to hide from: It’s not exactly a bad loss, but Creighton’s 12-point home defeat to Missouri State to open MVC play was not what the Bluejays needed. They came into the game as the conference favorite, but gave up 45 points in the second half en route to a 77-65 loss. Kyle Weems had 31 points and seven rebounds for Missouri State.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Coming into the season, most questioned Michigan State’s lack of a true point guard. Keith Appling quieted some of the doubters on Tuesday night, when he led Michigan State to an 80-65 win over Indiana – the Hoosiers’ first loss of the season. Appling had 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Spartans.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Northwestern wasn’t expected to beat Ohio State on Tuesday, but a 33-point loss was certainly not in the Wildcats’ plans. Drew Crawford and John Shurna combined to shoot 9-for-30 from the field, and just 2-for-8 from 3-point range. On the other side, Ohio State’s William Buford had 28 points and nine rebounds.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • UNLV scored 124 against Central Arkansas – the most points the Runnin’ Rebels have scored since 1990-91.
  • UNLV’s bench scored 82 points.
  • More from UNLV: the Rebels had 40 assists – and 36 rebounds.
  • Saint Joseph’s sophomore Halil Kanacevic had eight rebounds, 12 assists, seven blocks – and 0 points.
  • UAB’s Cameron Moore outrebounded the entire George Washington team, 24-22. 

Three other notable results:

  1. Fab Melo racked up his first career double-double, going for 12 points, 10 blocks and seven rebounds to lead Syracuse to a 75-49 win over Seton Hall.
  2. In Connecticut’s first game without head coach Jim Calhoun, the Huskies needed a big second-half run to hold off South Florida, 60-57.
  3. Darryl Bryant scored 34 points to lead West Virginia to an 83-69 win over Villanova.

Notes:

  • Terrence Jones returned after missing two games with a dislocated pinky on his left hand. He came off the bench and played 27 minutes.
  • Maryland’s Alex Len made his season debut against Albany, scored 14 points in the 83-72 win.
  • Anthony Lee scored a putback with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give Temple a two-point win over Buffalo.
  • Drake opened Missouri Valley play with a 15-point win over Indiana State.
  • Drew Gordon had 23 points and 19 rebounds to lead New Mexico to an 89-69 win over New Mexico State.
  • Purdue escaped in its Big Ten opener against Iowa, 79-76.

On tap: There’s a nice mix of conference and non-league matchups on Thursday. Vanderbilt looks to notch a marquee win at Marquette, while Florida travels to Rutgers as Mike Rosario visits his old stomping grounds. Cincinnati will try to keep its winning ways going against 9-1 Oklahoma, and Belmont plays Marshall in an underrated game. The top intra-conference battle is BYU visiting Saint Mary’s in a WCC tilt, while the Pac-12 docket is highlighted by Oregon State and Washington.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:54 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 11:56 pm
 

Night Court: Gerald Robinson might've traveled



By Gary Parrish


Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Don't let the 81-72 final margin fool you. Illinois-Minnesota was close. In fact, it was a double-overtime thriller made possible only because Meyers Leonard hit a pair of free throws to tie the score with seven seconds left in regulation. In other words, Minnesota was basically a missed-Leonard-free-throw away from starting Big Ten play 1-0. Instead, the Gophers are 0-1 in the league with a nine-point loss.

Win to brag about: Road wins in the Big Ten are going to be hard to come by this year, which makes Wisconsin's 64-40 victory at Nebraska worth noting. Trust me when I tell you that a good team -- a team ranked in the Top 25 -- will lose at Nebraska this season. But it won't be the 11th-ranked Badgers, who held the Huskers to just 15 field goals.

Loss to hide from: Jamie Dixon deserves the benefit of doubt given what he accomplished through eight years at Pittsburgh, but I'm losing confidence in this version of his Panthers. Their 72-59 loss at Notre Dame was their third "bad" loss of the season and second straight thanks to last Friday's home loss to Wagner. And just in case you're about to email and tell me that losing at Notre Dame isn't a "bad" loss, allow me to remind you that the Irish entered with five losses including defeats to Georgia and Maryland, and that Mike Brey is coaching without his best player -- Tim Abromaitis, who suffered a torn ACL earlier this season. So, yes, this is a bad loss -- especially for a team that started the season ranked 10th and is still, somehow, ranked 22nd.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Moe Harkless (above, at front) is one of Steve Lavin's heralded recruits who actually got eligible to start the season, and he had the best performance of his young career in St. John's 91-67 win over Providence. The 6-foot-8 wing took 17 shots, made 14 and finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds. He's now averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Who's in charge of stopping the ball in transition for Winthrop? Because whomever that guy is, that's the guy who failed the Eagles in the final seconds of regulation while Georgia's Gerald Robinson drove coast-to-coast for a layup that tied the score and forced overtime in what was an eventual 92-86 win for the Bulldogs. (Of course, a Winthrop fan sent me a clip that shows Robinson might've traveled before his layup. Click this link and check the play. I'll let you be the judge.)

Numbers don’t lie
  • 2: That's how many offensive rebounds Texas Tech grabbed against Cal State Bakersfield. But the Red Raiders still beat the Roadrunners 74-58.
  • 11: That's how many steals Western Illinois had in its 73-52 win over Eureka.
  • 38.6: That's the percentage BYU is shooting from 3-point range this season after a 79-51 win over Cal State San Marcos. The Cougars only shot 36.1 percent from beyond the arc last season, you know, when Jimmer Fredette was a part of the team.
Three other notable results
  1. Virginia improved to 11-1 with a 69-42 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. The 23rd-ranked Cavaliers got 13 points from reserve Darion Atkins.
  2. Saint Louis improved to 12-1 with a 71-39 win over Texas Southern. The Billikens held TSU to just 15 field goals.
  3. Southern Miss improved to 11-2 with a 93-48 win over Belhaven. The Golden Eagles got 24 points from Kentucky transfer Darnell Dodson.
Notes
  • Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday that he'll retire when his contract expires in 2017. Who knows if he'll actually do it? But he did actually say it. So it's news.
  • Crandall Head announced Tuesday that he's transferring out of the Illinois program. "I’m just looking for a fresh start," Head told Illini beat writer Paul Klee. "I mean, I wanted to stay. But I just can’t do it anymore. I didn’t feel like it was the right place for me."
  • Rhode Island's leading scorer, Jamal Wilson, was dismissed from the team on Tuesday. He was averaging 16.4 points per game. But Rhode Island was just 1-11 in those games, so what does it really matter?
On tap: Wednesday is gonna be a great night for college basketball. Top-ranked Syracuse is hosting Seton Hall, which is 11-1 this season. No. 12 Georgetown is at No. 4 Louisville. No. 6 Baylor and No. 15 Mississippi State are playing in Dallas. No. 13 Indiana is at No. 16 Michigan State. And my colleague Jeff Goodman will be courtside for Missouri State at No. 21 Creighton. That's where he'll get his first look at National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:49 pm
 

Night Court: Gerald Robinson might've traveled

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Don't let the 81-72 final margin fool you. Illinois-Minnesota was close. In fact, it was a double-overtime thriller made possible only because Meyers Leonard hit a pair of free throws to tie the score with seven seconds left in regulation. In other words, Minnesota was basically a missed-Leonard-free-throw away from starting Big Ten play 1-0. Instead, the Gophers are 0-1 in the league with a nine-point loss.

Win to brag about: Road wins in the Big Ten are going to be hard to come by this year, which makes Wisconsin's 64-40 victory at Nebraska worth noting. Trust me when I tell you that a good team -- a team ranked in the Top 25 -- will lose at Nebraska this season. But it won't be the 11th-ranked Badgers, who held the Huskers to just 15 field goals.

Loss to hide from: Jamie Dixon deserves the benefit of doubt given what he accomplished through eight years at Pittsburgh, but I'm losing confidence in this version of his Panthers. Their 72-59 loss at Notre Dame was their third "bad" loss of the season and second straight thanks to last Friday's home loss to Wagner. And just in case you're about to email and tell me that losing at Notre Dame isn't a "bad" loss, allow me to remind you that the Irish entered with five losses including defeats to Georgia and Maryland, and that Mike Brey is coaching without his best player -- Tim Abromaitis, who suffered a torn ACL earlier this season. So, yes, this is a bad loss -- especially for a team that started the season ranked 10th and is still, somehow, ranked 22nd.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Moe Harkless is one of Steve Lavin's heralded recruits who actually got eligible to start the season, and he had the best performance of his young career in St. John's 91-67 win over Providence. The 6-foot-8 wing took 17 shots, made 14 and finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds. He's now averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Who's in charge of stopping the ball in transition for Winthrop? Because whomever that guy is, that's the guy who failed the Eagles in the final seconds of regulation while Georgia's Gerald Robinson drove coast-to-coast for a layup that tied the score and forced overtime in what was an eventual 92-86 win for the Bulldogs. (Of course, a Winthrop fan sent me a clip that shows Robinson might've traveled before his layup. Click this link and check the play. I'll let you be the judge.)

Numbers don’t lie
  • 2: That's how many offensive rebounds Texas Tech grabbed against Cal State Bakersfield. But the Red Raiders still beat the Roadrunners 74-58.
  • 11: That's how many steals Western Illinois had in its 73-52 win over Eureka.
  • 38.6: That's the percentage BYU is shooting from 3-point range this season after a 79-51 win over Cal State San Marcos. The Cougars only shot 36.1 percent from beyond the arc last season, you know, when Jimmer Fredette was a part of the team.
Three other notable results
  1. Virginia improved to 11-1 with a 69-42 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. The 23rd-ranked Cavaliers got 13 points from reserve Darion Atkins.
  2. Saint Louis improved to 12-1 with a 71-39 win over Texas Southern. The Billikens held TSU to just 15 field goals.
  3. Southern Miss improved to 11-2 with a 93-48 win over Belhaven. The Golden Eagles got 24 points from Kentucky transfer Darnell Dodson.
Notes
  • Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday that he'll retire when his contract expires in 2017. Who knows if he'll actually do it? But he did actually say it. So it's news.
  • Crandall Head announced Tuesday that he's transferring out of the Illinois program. "I’m just looking for a fresh start," Head told Illini beat writer Paul Klee. "I mean, I wanted to stay. But I just can’t do it anymore. I didn’t feel like it was the right place for me."
  • Rhode Island's leading scorer, Jamal Wilson, was dismissed from the team on Tuesday. He was averaging 16.4 points per game. But Rhode Island was just 1-11 in those games, so what does it really matter?
On tap: Wednesday is gonna be a great night for college basketball. Top-ranked Syracuse is hosting Seton Hall, which is 11-1 this season. No. 12 Georgetown is at No. 4 Louisville. No. 6 Baylor and No. 15 Mississippi State are playing in Dallas. No. 13 Indiana is at No. 16 Michigan State. And my colleague Jeff Goodman will be courtside for Missouri State at No. 21 Creighton. That's where he'll get his first look at National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:43 pm
 

Night Court: Gerald Robinson might've traveled

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Don't let the 81-72 final margin fool you. Illinois-Minnesota was close. In fact, it was a double-overtime thriller made possible only because Meyers Leonard hit a pair of free throws to tie the score with seven seconds left in regulation. In other words, Minnesota was basically a missed-Leonard-free-throw away from starting Big Ten play 1-0. Instead, the Gophers are 0-1 in the league with a nine-point loss.

Win to brag about: Road wins in the Big Ten are going to be hard to come by this year, which makes Wisconsin's 64-40 victory at Nebraska worth noting. Trust me when I tell you that a good team -- a team ranked in the Top 25 -- will lose at Nebraska this season. But it won't be the 11th-ranked Badgers, who held the Huskers to just 15 field goals.

Loss to hide from: Jamie Dixon deserves the benefit of doubt given what he accomplished through eight years at Pittsburgh, but I'm losing confidence in this version of his Panthers. Their 72-59 loss at Notre Dame was their third "bad" loss of the season and second straight thanks to last Friday's home loss to Wagner. And just in case you're about to email and tell me that losing at Notre Dame isn't a "bad" loss, allow me to remind you that the Irish entered with five losses including defeats to Georgia and Maryland, and that Mike Brey is coaching without his best player -- Tim Abromaitis, who suffered a torn ACL earlier this season. So, yes, this is a bad loss -- especially for a team that started the season ranked 10th and is still, somehow, ranked 22nd.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Moe Harkless is one of Steve Lavin's heralded recruits who actually got eligible to start the season, and he had the best performance of his young career in St. John's 91-67 win over Providence. The 6-foot-8 wing took 17 shots, made 14 and finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds. He's now averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Who's in charge of stopping the ball in transition for Winthrop? Because whomever that guy is, that's the guy who failed the Eagles in the final seconds of regulation while Georgia's Gerald Robinson drove coast-to-coast for a layup that tied the score and forced overtime in what was an eventual 92-86 win for the Bulldogs. (Of course, a Winthrop fan sent me a clip that shows Robinson might've traveled before his layup. Click this link and check the play. I'll let you be the judge.)

Numbers don’t lie
  • 2: That's how many offensive rebounds Texas Tech grabbed against Cal State Bakersfield. But the Red Raiders still beat the Roadrunners 74-58.
  • 11: That's how many steals Western Illinois had in its 73-52 win over Eureka.
  • 38.6: That's the percentage BYU is shooting from 3-point range this season after a 79-51 win over Cal State San Marcos. The Cougars only shot 36.1 percent from beyond the arc last season, you know, when Jimmer Fredette was a part of the team.
Three other notable results
  1. Virginia improved to 11-1 with a 69-42 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. The 23rd-ranked Cavaliers got 13 points from reserve Darion Atkins.
  2. Saint Louis improved to 12-1 with a 71-39 win over Texas Southern. The Billikens held TSU to just 15 field goals.
  3. Southern Miss improved to 11-2 with a 93-48 win over Belhaven. The Golden Eagles got 24 points from Kentucky transfer Darnell Dodson.
Notes
  • Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday that he'll retire when his contract expires in 2017. Who knows if he'll actually do it? But he did actually say it. So it's news.
  • Crandall Head announced Tuesday that he's transferring out of the Illinois program. "I’m just looking for a fresh start," Head told Illini beat writer Paul Klee. "I mean, I wanted to stay. But I just can’t do it anymore. I didn’t feel like it was the right place for me."
  • Rhode Island's leading scorer, Jamal Wilson, was dismissed from the team on Tuesday. He was averaging 16.4 points per game. But Rhode Island was just 1-11 in those games, so what does it really matter?
On tap: Wednesday is gonna be a great night for college basketball. Top-ranked Syracuse is hosting Seton Hall, which is 11-1 this season. No. 12 Georgetown is at No. 4 Louisville. No. 6 Baylor and No. 15 Mississippi State are playing in Dallas. No. 13 Indiana is at No. 16 Michigan State. And my colleague Jeff Goodman will be courtside for Missouri State at No. 21 Creighton. That's where he'll get his first look at National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 23, 2011 11:21 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 11:42 pm
 

Night Court: Wagner delivers upset of the night



By Matt Norlander


Whether you're checking in late on Festivus or getting around to reading on Christmas Eve, thanks for stopping by. Friday had some good hoops, day and night. Here's everything you need to know …

Festivus’ best game: West Virginia and Baylor played an ugly but entertaining in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational. Baylor won in overtime, 83-81, after the 'Eers sort of puked the game away. Afteward, Bob Huggins had to be earnestly, physically escorted into the bowels of the arena after something -- a fan? -- set him off. Baylor remains undefeated and the Final Four hype will begin to gain some steam (I remain skeptical of going that far with these Bears).

On Santa’s Good List: Have loved what Las Vegas has become. Its 85-68 win over Cal tonight was a very nice one, and so Dave Rice's team will have a fantastic Christmas now that it's off to a 13-2 start with multiple wins over tournament teams. UNLV is legit, to say the least.

On Santa’s Bad List: The UNLV win also reinforces, for about the 29th time this season, just how bad the Pac-12 is. West Coast hoops fans may be sick of hearing about it, but it's truly astonishing -- truly, truly astonishing -- the Pac-12 could be this bad three years in a row. Should never reach this point. Cal can lose to UNLV, fine, but it's losing big to Sweet-16-or-better teams this year, and it doesn't speak well that the Golden Bears could be the Pac-12's best team by a sizable margin three weeks from now.

Who deserves plenty of gifts under the tree: Danny Hurley and his Wagner Seahawks went into the Steel City and got one of the best wins in program history, a 59-54 decision against Pitt. The NEC, with LIU, Robert Morris, Wagner and Central Connecticut State should be the best mid-major league race this year. Hurley will surely get a lot of love if the Seahawks show promise of getting to the NCAA tournament. A lot of hoops scribes know him well and are eager to write about his success.

Who should receive coal: Being a little harsh here, but Nasir Robinson can't have five-turnover games and fail to get into double digits against inferior teams if he's to be a top-five Big East big man. Robinson's inability to alter Wagner's swagger was a big part of why the Seahawks didn't get turned around tonight.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 42.9. That's the effective field goal percentage for Morehead State tonight, yet it still won 62-54 over Ball State. Shooting that badly yet still winning somewhat comfortably is rare.
  • 0. Towson fell 65-49 to Vermont Friday night. The Tigers had zero wins in 2011. Here's to flipping to January for Pat Skerry's team.
  • 11. Perry Jones and Quincy Miller combine to give Baylor 11 points and it still wins? Take it and run, Scott Drew.
  • 23. That's the approximate number of cookies, varying in shapes and sizes that I've downed since 7 p.m. I'm on pace to shatter a personal record by Christmas night.

Three other notable results

  1. Southern Illinois is terrible, and Clemson needed overtime to beat the Salukis 83-75. The Tigers will definitely not be dancing this season.
  2. Louisville rallied late, Russ Smith is becoming a folk hero there, and behind his 23 points the Cards remained undefeated, made me look good, and won 70-60 against Western Kentucky.
  3. Uncomfortable that Maryland needed a run late to beat 3-11 Radford, 65-60. Again: these kids just want to be at home.

Holiday notes

  • Wagner hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since '78, when it knocked off Alabama. P.J. Carlesimo was coach.
  • Tonight's loss marks just the third loss outside the Big East for Pitt at the Pete.
  • Ohio is 11-1 for the first time in 70 years, according to someone who went there.
  • We'll see how it throws punches in the Big East, but at 11-2, Providence has played as well as you could've expected it to so far.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:35 pm
 

Night Court: Mizzou win more than Braggin' Rights

By Jeff Goodman

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court almost every night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBB on Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)

Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: I know this one should probably be in the "Win to brag about" category because, well, it's called the Braggin' Rights Game. However, this was the premiere matchup of the day's slate and for a while, it appeared as though Missouri was going to run away with another victory -- as the Tigers have been doing virtually all season. However, Illinois made a huge second-half comeback to take the lead before Kim English, Ricardo Ratliffe and Phil Pressey all made critical baskets in the final two minutes of the game. Missouri can brag about this victory -- and also the fact that the Tigers remain unbeaten. 

Win to brag about: Rice went into College Station and Ben Braun's team came away with a huge road win against a Texas A&M team that began the season ranked in the Top 25. Arsalan Kazemi had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the victory -- his 36th career double-double. 

Loss to hide from: Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory understands this will be a rebuilding year, but still - losing on its home floor to Mercer out of the Atlantic Sun?  This is a bad one for the Yellow Jackets - especially since they had won nine straight against Mercer. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Doug McDermott sat on the bench for the majority of the first half due to foul trouble, but had 18 of his 27 points after the break to help give Creighton a home win over Northwestern. McDermott was 10-of-14 from the field, 3-of-5 from deep and made all four of his free throws -- in addition to grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists in the 87-79 win. 

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: West Virginia forward Aaric Murray, who is sitting out after transferring from La Salle, was arrested in his hometown of Philadelphia on Thursday morning and charged with possession of narcotics. 

Numbers don’t lie:

700: Bob Huggins' 700th career victory wasn't easy. West Virginia needed overtime to get past Missouri State in Las Vegas. 

58: Don't challenge Indiana guard Jordan Hulls to a foul shooting contest. He set a Big Ten record with 58 consecutive free throws - which is also 10th in NCAA history. 

15-19: That's what Michigan forward Evan Smotrycz is shooting from beyond the arc over the past four games. 

9: That's the number of consecutive wins by Georgia State and its new coach Ron Hunter after a victory over Georgia Southern. It broke the school mark of eight straight set by Lefty Driesell in 2000-01. 

Other notable results:

Butler went out to the west coast and got an impressive win at Stanford against a Cardinal team that many have now put as the Pac-12's top team. 

Georgetown has played Memphis twice this season, once in Maui and tonight at the Verizon Center. The Hoyas have swept Josh Pastner's team -- which has lost three of its last four games. 

Florida took down its in-state rival, Florida State, in Gainesville, 82-64. 

UMass improved to 10-3 with a home victory against a Davidson team that was coming off a huge road victory in Kansas City against Kansas. 

Notes:

Memphis native Jarnell Stokes, considered one of the elite big man in high school, committed to Tennessee and plans to enroll and play for the Vols this season. 

Kentucky's Terrence Jones missed his second consecutive game against Loyola (Md.) after suffering a dislocated finger against Chattanooga last week. 

Miami leading scorer Malcolm Grant missed the win against Charlotte and went back home to New York due to a death in the family. 

Ohio State freshman LaQuinton Ross, who became eligible last week, made his debut and scored five points in just four minutes for the Buckeyes in their win over Miami (Ohio). 

Florida State sophomore point guard Ian Miller made his season-debut and scored seven points in the Seminoles loss to Florida. 

On tap: 

There are a few games that lead the way on Friday night. 

- Baylor vs. West Virginia in Las Vegas, 9 p.m. ET

- Cal at UNLV, 5 p.m. ET

- Missouri State at St. Mary's in Las Vegas, 11:30 p.m. ET

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:21 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:28 am
 

Night Court: Virginia gets by Seattle, barely

By Gary Parrish

Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Virginia entered 9-1 and ranked 24th, which is why it was surprising to see the Cavaliers get pushed by a Seattle team that was on a five-game losing streak. But boy did Virginia get pushed. Tony Bennett's team trailed at the half, was in a one-possession game in the final minute and only won 83-77. Where would they have been if Mike Scott hadn't gone for 34 points and 14 rebounds? (Answer: Out of the Top 25 on Monday.)

Win to brag about: There's nothing independently great about beating Texas-Pan American. But St. John's closed on a 7-0 run in the final minute to come from behind and beat the Broncs 66-61, and 7-0 runs in the final minute to win a game by five points are worth bragging about.

Loss to hide from: UCF beat No. 8 Connecticut earlier this season. Remember? Good. Now try to make sense of the Knights losing 61-60 to a Louisiana-Lafayette team that entered with a 5-8 record featuring losses to North Dakota State, Lamar, San Francisco, Cal State-Fullerton, Duquesne, Kent State, Ole Miss and Robert Morris. Confusing, isn't it?

Player who deserves improper benefits: Harrison Barnes looked like a National Player of the Year candidate in No. 5 North Carolina's 82-63 win over Texas. The sophomore wing took 15 shots, made nine and finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds. The 26-point effort snapped a two-game stretch in which Barnes had twice gone 4-of-12 from the field for nine points.

Another player who deserves improper benefits: Wendell McKines got 23 points and 17 rebounds in New Mexico State's 82-62 win over McNeese State. The 6-foot-6 forward got 20 points and 16 rebounds in NMSU's previous game, a Monday win over Southern. That means he's averaging 21.5 points and 16.5 rebounds in his past two outings. (Note: I didn't even need a calculator to figure that out.)

Player(s) who do not deserve improper benefits: Oklahoma State's starting guards -- Keiton Page, Markel Brown and Reger Dowell -- combined to shoot 3-of-14 from the field and turn the ball over seven times (while getting just one assist) in a 69-52 loss to Alabama. That is not a good look for OSU's starting guards. It's terrible, actually.

Numbers don’t lie
  • 3: That's the number of consecutive games Arizona State has lost. The latest was a 68-65 loss to Fresno State. The Sun Devils' record dropped to 4-8.
  • 7: That's the number of 3-pointers John Jenkins made in Vanderbilt's 89-58 win over Lafayette. The junior guard was 9-of-12 from the field overall. He finished with 27 points.
  • 10: That's the number of losses Hartford had before its 89-86 loss to Marist. So the Hawks now have 11 losses and zero wins.
Three other notable results
  1. Indiana State moved to 9-2 with a 50-35 win over Lousiana-Monroe. That record represents the best start for ISU in 30 year.
  2. Murray State moved to 13-0 with a 78-54 win over UT-Martin. It marked the first of what will be many OVC victories for the 22nd-ranked Racers.
  3. Cincinnati moved to 8-3 with a 101-53 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Bearcats are now 3-0 since losing Yancy Gates for his role in the brawl against Xavier.
Notes
  • Saint Joseph's 81-72 win over Coppin State moved Phil Martelli into a tie with Bill Ferguson on the school's all-time wins list. It's a nice achievement overshadowed by Martelli's refusal to release Todd O'Brien to play at UAB.
  • Jelan Kendrick scored the first points of his college career in Ole Miss' 68-56 loss to Middle Tennessee State. The Memphis transfer finished with eight points, three assists and three rebounds. He mostly played point guard.
  • Jarnell Stokes will announce his college decision on Thursday at 6:30 CT. The 6-foot-8 forward from Southwind High in Memphis will pick between Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis and Tennessee. Multiple sources have told CBSSports.com that Stokes is likely to pick Tennessee, and that the plan is for him to enroll there this semester and play for the Vols this season. But it should be noted that Stokes was spotted wearing a Memphis hat around town less than 24 hours before his scheduled announcement. So who knows?
On tap: Thursday provides the last nice night of games before Christmas. No. 9 Missouri vs. No. 25 Illinois is the best game of the night. But Memphis at No. 16 Georgetown, Florida State at No. 11 Florida and Northwestern at No. 23 Creighton are also good non-league matchups.
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com