Night Court: Everything you need to know from college hoops' first day back

Yeah, that's right, we're going double video at the top to kick off another year of Night Court here on the blog. Two game-winners from Friday, the first one a true buzzer-beater, as Trevor Lacey took a dagger to South Dakota State. The second, Troy's Emil Jones sinks a shot with less than two seconds remaining and helps send Mississippi State back home to start what should be a season filled with losses with its first.

Now, here's everything else you need to know from college basketball's Friday night ...

Game of the Night: Kentucky beats Maryland in a thriller.

The Wildcats looked young, exciting, talented and frustrating. And a kid by the name of Jarrod Polson came in and did what Ryan Harrow couldn't do at point guard. I won't opine too much on this game, because Gary Parrish was in Brooklyn and will soon be filing his thoughts. I will say we had a night with a few really good games, and it was awesome to have such an anticipated battle not be a let-down.

What else we'll be talking about in the morning: I'm on a boat! ... No I'm not!

Jeff Borzello put up a logical column Friday night about how these games on ships have already outlasted their practicality. He's right, and from the start I was sour on having three of these things.

Another colleague put if perfectly.

However, I will say that in the wake of Ohio State-Marquette getting cancelled, and then the second one closing up at halftime, a lot of people piled on how dumb this was ... but I heard absolutely none of the sort last year. Everyone loved this a year ago, thought it was so great. Because it was. It was special and the plan really came together.

Yet now it's stupid? Now we all know what's best? There's some hindsight at play here, and I can't help but believe the actual location and time of the games -- on the colder East Coast and after the sun went down -- is really the bad decision amid all of it. Put this thing on the West Coast, play it at 1 in the afternoon, and we can probably host a hoop game on a battleship 300 times a year, in theory.

Doesn't mean we have to, or should, continue it, but if it remains to be just one game per year, let's be sure the climate's warm and tip time isn't sacrificed for TV ratings.

We'll also be discussing UCLA and Shabazz Muhammad. You can read the details (which are still hazy) over his suspension. UCLA cruised at home over Indiana State without him Friday night (86-59, and Kyle Anderson looked good), but when are we going to have more clarity on how long Muhammad will have to sit? The NCAA needs to close this case soon. It's a folly to see it spilling over into the regular season -- of course this is hardly the first time the NCAA has twiddled its thumbs like this with an eligibility case.

That's a good win: UConn with an unexpected W over highly ranked Michigan State.

The Huskies headed over to Germany and beat up on MSU in a game that ended close but didn't see much postitive behavior out of Tom Izzo's team. Goodman wrote what you need to know about UConn in that link above, so a quick thought on Michigan State. If there's a team that doesn't get fazed by these kind of losses early, it's Michigan State. Izzo just knows how to pace his team, and some tough Ls come but they never -- or rarely -- seem to set back his program.

But that's a bad loss: Florida State gets upended by South Alabama.

FSU's been an enigma of sorts in the past couple of years because, the team is so tough and reliable on D yet the offense goes through these droughts that make it so ugly to watch. Leonard Hamilton's team took a bad beat Friday night with a 76-71 home loss. For the record, FSU came in to this season ranked No. 25.

Players with impact

"Alex Len made himself some money" was the second-most common sentiment Friday night, outside of all the laughing at the aircraft carrier issues. Len, the 7-1 Maryland center, displayed an array of ability and went up against Nerlens Noel -- and thrived. He finished with 23 points, 12 boards and four blocks. If he's going to play like that all year -- and I don't know if he can or will -- but if he does, First Team All-America, easy. He was that nice Friday night.

Doug McDermott opened his player-of-the-year campaign in style, putting up 21 and 11 for Creighton in a matchup against North Texas I was really curious about. But it ended up being a flop of sorts. Creighton cruised, 71-51.

More on this from Goodman Saturday, but really great news seeing Allan Chaney come back and put up 15 points and seven snares while playing only 16 minutes an an 81-73 High  Point W over NC-Greensboro.

Who else. Hmm. Talk to me, Borzello.

Nice. Good job by Adams, who I'm still eager to see play, as much as any new player in the country.

Numbers to figure:

  1. Baylor was nasty from inside 3 tonight, hitting 34 for 42, an 80.1-percent clip.
  2. Uh, wow. Xavier -- which was without Semaj Christon -- put up 117 Friday against Fairleigh Dickinson. 
  3. How about this for an opening performance? Briante Weber of VCU had 10 steals tonight. Wow!

Other outcomes of note:

  • Rutgers got off the hook with the "bad loss" section above thanks to FSU, but it also took one on the chin by losing 56-52 to St. Peter's, a team I still don't think will win 12 games this season.
  • Love me some Mike Muscala, and lookie here, the Patriot League got a nice win tonight when Bucknell took out Purdue, at Purdue, 70-65.
  • Drexel's a team a lot of people think will win the CAA. But it got beat in overtime tonight (66-62) by a Kent State group with designs on taking back the MAC.


-- George Mason's 63-59 win over Virginia was the first time in that series' history the Patriots beat the Cavaliers.

-- Look for Isaiah Austin sit out of Baylor's cupcake game Sunday against Jackson State after the frosh five-star big man tweaked an ankle in Baylor's easy win over Lehigh.

-- Marcus Smart is the point guard at Oklahoma State who has the talent to get that team back to the NCAAs. His college debut had seven boards and seven assists.

-- Totally an afterthought on a night like tonight, but LIU-Brooklyln fell to Morehead State, and that's a bit surprising.

-- Texas eked out a 55-53 win over Fresno State, but remember, the Horns were down Myck Kabongo, who is awaiting his fate from the NCAA after flirting with the draft last year. In his place, Javan Felix had 10 points and nine rebounds (just one dime, though). UT was led in scoring by Sheldon McClellan's 20.

-- How are we feeling about Indiana receiving rings for Sweet 16 appearances?

We'll close up with this, video that proves just how dumb actually trying to play basketball off the coast of South Carolina would have been.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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