Night Court: Sean Woods' outburst overshadows on-court action

Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Wednesday night …

Game of the Night: Michigan holds off Pittsburgh down the stretch at MSG, 67-62.

We knew going into the Michigan – Pittsburgh at the NIT Season Tip-Off that we would have plenty of physical inside play and a barrage of 3-pointers. What we didn’t know, though, was that Michigan would be the more physical team and that Pittsburgh would get its edge from behind the arc. Pittsburgh got the early lead, but Michigan chipped away and was simply the better team over 40 minutes. The Wolverines were impressive on the glass, and also had four players in double-figures. When Nik Stauskas is knocking down shots, this is a tough team.

What else we’ll be talking about in the morning: Sean Woods’ outburst against Kentucky.

The Morehead State coach did a phenomenal job with Mississippi Valley State last season, and he has Morehead State playing well this season – but he will not be remembered for that on Wednesday night. With fewer than six minutes remaining, guard Devon Atkinson was whistled for a foul – and Woods was not happy with his body language. He shoved Atkinson toward the huddle, and continued to scream at him just inches from Atkinson’s face. Most people felt Woods went too far with his berating of Atkinson. In the game, Kentucky pulled away late to win by 11.

That’s a good win: Illinois wins Maui Invitational by beating Butler.

No one really knew what to expect of Illinois this season. There was a new coach in John Groce, and there were some good pieces but also a lot of leftovers from a team that collapsed last season. After beating Butler to win the Maui Invitational, though, we have some answers. The Fighting Illini didn’t have the most difficult road to the title game, but handily beating Butler by 17 puts them at 6-0. Brandon Paul is an all-around producer, while Tracy Abrams has been steady at the point. Inside, Groce is getting good minutes from a variety of players. They could be a sleeper in the middle-of-the-pack in the Big Ten.

But that’s a bad loss: DePaul’s unsuccessful season continues.

DePaul seems to want to make a regular appearance in this section. The Blue Demons fell to Gardner-Webb earlier this season – and lost on Wednesday night to Western Kentucky by nine in Cancun. Western Kentucky has some decent players, but shooting seven percent from 3-point land and getting outrebounded by the Hilltoppers is not something DePaul should be doing.

Players with impact

  1. Air Force is now 5-0, after guard Michael Lyons went for 29 points, seven rebounds and four assists in an 86-72 win over Montana State.
  2. Georgia State’s Manny Atkins and R.J. Hunter combined for 51 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the Panthers beat South Alabama.
  3. In his first game back from injury, Manhattan’s George Beamon had 29 points and seven assists to lead the Jaspers over Hofstra.
  4. Three of the best performances came in losses: South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit had 31 points and 11 rebounds; Delaware’s Devon Saddler went off for 32 points; and Tennessee State’s Kellen Thornton had 27 points and 16 boards.

Numbers to figure:

4: Iowa made just four 2-point field goals all night against Wichita State, yet the Hawkeyes kept it close for much of the game. 4-for-31 from inside the arc.

10: Marquette turned the ball over 10 times against USC – yet the Trojans had just one assist. Limiting points in transition helped Marquette beat USC, 72-64.

20: Florida State shot just 2-for-10 from 3-point range against North Florida, winning by eight. In three games this season, the ‘Noles have shot better than 46 percent from 3. In the other two, they have shot less than 25 percent.

1: Kansas State’s Will Spradling crashed into press row on Wednesday, spilling soda all over’s Jeff Goodman and his laptop.

Other outcomes of note:

  • Delaware put up a good fight, but cramping by Jamelle Hagins and Jarvis Threatt did them against Kansas State. The Wildcats were too good on the glass and escaped with a three-point win.
  • As mentioned above, Wichita State moved to an impressive 6-0 with a win over Iowa. Junior college transfer Cleanthony Early has been a stud early on, going for 25 points and nine boards.
  • Texas was able to leave the Maui Invitational with a win, handling Mississippi State, 69-55.
  • Syracuse wasn’t a good matchup for Princeton, and it showed. The Orange forced 19 steals, easily beating the Tigers by 20.
  • North Carolina bounced back against Chaminade, cruising to a 112-70 win. 


-- Best shot of the day: Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey wearing a George Washington jersey – and nothing else – to the press conference. He went to George Washington as an undergrad.

-- Old Dominion is now 1-4 after losing at home to VMI. The Monarchs lost a lot from last season, but no one expected them to get off to such a bad start.

-- What’s wrong with Denver? The Pioneers fell to Colorado State in a game they weren’t supposed to win, but they just didn’t look good. Chris Udofia had just two points.

-- Not sure there’s going to be a less-hyped BCS-conference battle than Boston College vs. Auburn. BC won by one.

-- Three noteworthy injuries: Seton Hall’s Patrik Auda broke a bone in his foot and is likely out for the season; Marquette’s Vander Blue suffered a left knee sprain and is day-to-day; and Florida State’s Ian Miller missed Wednesday’s game with a bone bruise in his right foot.

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