Friday, February 18, 2011

Arizona Wins 7th Straight as Williams Clicks for 26

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 17, 2011

With much of the focus on the Big East, Big Ten and Big 12, quietly cruising up the Top 25 is the only team from the PAC-10 seemingly with any credence, the Arizona Wildcats.

The Cats have risen to #12 i the AP Poll, mostly because they lead the PAC-10, a conference that has been on the skids lately, though teams from the marginalized group actually fared pretty well in last year's NCAA tourney.

It's not like the Wildcats are running away in the regular season standings. At 11-2, they're just a game ahead of 10-3 UCLA and another 1/2 game better than 10-4 Washington. The Wildcats beat UCLA a couple of weeks ago and the score wasn't very close, but they have a rematch, Saturday, Feb. 26, on the Bruins' home court where things could go differently.

Washington handled Arizona, 85-68, back in January, in Washington, and the Huskies come to Arizona Saturday to complete the season series.

That will be an interesting game by which to gauge both squads, as the Huskies are just 4-3 since beating the Wildcats. Arizona, on the other hand, is 7-0, after having taken the measure of Washington State Thursday, by a 79-70 score.

In that game, sophomore Derrick Williams did what he's done in every game this season, score in double figures, putting down 26 points for the Wildcats on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and canning all 12 of his free throws. Williams, who has eight double-doubles this season, came close, with 8 rebounds.

Which team wins the PAC-10 won't really make much difference in the larger tournament scheme of things, because after Washington, the next best team is only 7-7, that being Washington State. The other six members of the conference all all under .500, so it is reasonable to assume that the PAC-10 will send only three teams to the tourney: Arizona, UCLA and Washington.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Walker, Huskies Halt Hoyas Streak at Eight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As tournament time approaches, teams and individual players are bent on winning key games and making statements in hope that the selection committee will award them with a comfortable seeding, preferably a six or better and close to home.

Kemba Walker and the Connecticut Huskies did just that Wednesday night, stopping Georgetown's winning streak at eight straight with a 78-70 win at the XL Center in Hartford.

Walker, who had been leading the NCAA in scoring back in November and December, was looking for his shot first against the Hoyas, though he did manage to record a double-double with 31 points and 10 assists, ripping through the Georgetown defense like a fine-tuned coping saw.

The senior point guard was 13-for-23 from the field, 4-for-8 from the foul line and added seven rebounds in one of his best efforts of the season. Sophomore forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, recently promoted to starting forward, added 23 points after scoring a career high 25 in Georgetown's win over Providence Sunday.

The win pushed Connecticut further into the mid-level morass in the Big East. The Huskies are now 8-5 in conference play, tied for 4th place with St. John's, Villanova and Louisville. The Hoyas are just a half game ahead, in third place, at 9-5, trailing 10-3 Notre Dame and 12-1 Pittsburgh.

NOTABLE: Cincinnati improved to 20-6 and 7-6 in conference with a determined 63-54 home win over Louisville, giving the Bearcats a quality win and reason to believe they'll be going to the Big Dance along with 8 or 9 other Big East teams. Near the top of the Top 25, Texas, Pitt, Duke and San Deigo St., respectively ranked 3, 4, 5, and 6, all won over unranked opposition. #11 Pudue upended #10 Wisconsin, and #18 Vanderbilt, #24 Xavier and #25 Utah State were all winners.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

St. John's Downs Marquette 80-68, Dwight Hardy Shines

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some of the Big East teams near or at the top of the conference standings may be looking over their shoulders at the surging Red Storm.

St. John's won its fourth straight Big East tilt - this one coming on the road - as they downed Marquette, 80-68, with a strong second half and 28 points from their star, senior guard, Dwight Hardy.

Tied 38-all at the break, the Red Storm pressured Marquette into numerous mistakes and outscored them 42-30 in the second half. St. John's forced 18 turnovers.

Hardy, who played all but one minute of the game, got his game-high 28 points on 7-for-16 shooting, with a pair of threes and 12 of 15 free throws. He also had six rebounds, three assists and five steals.

The Red Storm is now 8-5 after a 4-5 start in Big East play and has positioned itself nicely for an NCAA tournament bid, an honor not bestowed upon the team since 2002. The team hosts #4 Pittsburgh, the current conference leader, on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

NOTABLE: All five Top 25 teams in action Tuesday night were winners. #2 Ohio State thumped Michigan State, 71-61 sending the Spartans to their 6th loss in their last 8 games. Michigan State has slumped to 6-7 in the Big Ten and 14-11 overall. Other Top 25 winners included North Carolina, Kentucky, Villanova and Missouri.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pullen Pours in 38; Wildcats Dump #1 Kansas

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 14, 2011

On Monday, the Kansas Jayhawks received the #1 ranking in the national polls. Before the day was over, however, Jacob Pullen and the Kansas State Wildcats sent a message to their in-state rivals that rankings are fleeting things and must constantly be earned.

Pullen scored a career high 38 points in the Wildcats' stunning 84-68 upset win over the Jayhawks. Perhaps it was not only Pullen's performance, but how poorly Kansas executed on both sides of the floor that cost them not only the game, but surely their short-lived top ranking.

The shortcomings by Kansas were obvious. They were outrebounded, 29-23, outshot, 56% to 44%, and outplayed. They had 11 assists to Kansas State's 16.

Pullen, who had been previously widely criticized for his spotty, inconsistent play, was focused on beating Kansas, and so were his teammates. Led by the senior guard's 38 points on 9-for-17 shooting (5-for-6 3-pointers and 15 of 19 from the line), the Wildcats built an early lead and opened it up to double digits in the second half.

With seven minutes remaining, the contest had turned into a laugher. Kansas coach Bill Self pulled both of the Morris twins and other starters played sparingly down the stretch. The final minutes prior to the crowd rushing the court were perfunctory. Unranked Kansas State had finally found he winning formula and there would be a new #1 team in a week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Delaney, Allen Lead Hokies Over Yellow Jackets

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 13, 2011

Malcolm Delaney led all scorers in a revenge win over Georgia Tech on Sunday, scoring a season-high 33 points on 9-for-14 shooting.

The Hokies knocked off the Yellow Jackets, 102-77, avenging an earlier, 72-57 loss at Georgia Tech, a game in which Delaney was saddled with fouls, turned the ball over 8 times and scored only 8 points.

In Sunday's win, Delaney still turned the ball over five times, but made up for his miscues with three steals, five assists and six rebounds. He also went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and nailed 12 of 14 free throws.

Virginia Tech dominated the Yellow Jackets in the paint, outrebounding them 42-21. Senior forward Jeff Allen had his way inside, hitting 10 of 15 shots for 25 points while hauling in 14 rebounds. Allen tied his season high in scoring and recorded his 12th double-double of the season.

Virginia Tech took over sole possession of 4th place in the ACC at 6-4, trailing Duke, North Carolina and Florida State.

NOTABLE: The Fairfield Stags clinched at least a tie for the regular season championship in the Metro Atlantic conference with a 70-69 overtime win at St. Peter's. The Stags sit alone at 13-2 with three conference games remaining, followed by St. Peter's, Iona and Rider, all at 10-5. The Stags can clinch the title outright with a win over Marist Wednesday. The Red Foxes are 3-12 in conference action this season.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And Then There Were None... Wisconsin Hands Ohio State First Loss

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jordan Taylor scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, fueling a Wisconsin run that brought the Badgers all the way back from a 15-point deficit to defeat Ohio State, 71-67, ending the Buckeye's unbeaten streak at 24 straight.

Ohio State entered the Kohl Center seeking to remain the only undefeated team in college basketball, but, like so many times before, left the building shaken and defeated. The Buckeyes haven't won at Wisconsin in over a decade.

In an ironic twist, Wisconsin also knocked off #1 Ohio State back in October of this past football season, when the Buckeyes of the gridiron were also undefeated.

Taylor was 8-for-13 from the field, including five three-pointers. He also added four rebounds and seven assists, scoring in double figures for the 23rd time in 24 starts this season.

The Badgers are unbeaten in Big Ten action at home this season, and haven't lost there since being handled by Notre Dame, back in November in a 58-51 loss. Ranked #13 nationally, they're sure to move up in the standings come Monday afternoon. They are 9-3 in the conference, still trailing the 11-1 Buckeyes.

The last time a Division 1 team finished undefeated was in 1975-76 - well before the players on the floor today were even born - when Bobby Knight coached the Indiana Hoosiers to a national championship.

NOTABLE: Unnoticed by most fans of college hoops, Cleveland State's senior guard, Norris Cole is having a heck of a season, leading the Vikings to a 22-5 record and scoring a career high 41 points in Saturday's 71-67 win over Youngstown State. Not only did Cole put up big offensive numbers, he also crashed the boards with impunity, hauling in 20 rebounds and fell just short of a triple-double with 9 rebounds. Cole was 11-for-22 from the field with 5 threes and hit 14-of-17 free throws.

Cleveland State is 11-4 in the Horizon League, just a half game behind Valparaiso, at 11-3, but the conference is top-heavy, with Butler and Wisconsin-Green Bay both 10-5 and Wright State lurking at 10-6.

Big Least? #4 Pitt knocked off #9 Villanova, 57-54, keeping the Panthers clearly in the Big East lead, at 11-1. Notre Dame - who gave Pitt their only loss - trails the Panthers by two games at 9-3 and is followed by Georgetown and Louisville, both 8-4. With Pitt running away from the field, it poses an intriguing question, whether the Big East is really all that great and just how many teams should receive nCAA tourney bids?

The top four appear solid, but there's a gaggle of seven teams behind them all between 7-5 and 6-5, with Syracuse at 7-6. This bunch includes Villanova, West Virginia, St. John's, Marquette, Cincinnati and Connecticut, all looking very much like second or third round NCAA fodder.

Separation Days Top 25 upsets have pretty much ceased over the past two weeks. On Saturday, all twelve ranked teams which faced unranked opponents won their games, providing further separation of the Top 25 from the rest of college basketball.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fairfield Cruising to Metro Atlantic Title

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 11, 2011

The Fairfield Stags are within a game of capturing the Metro Atlantic Association regular season title after a 65-56 road win at Manhattan upped their conference record to 12-2, with just four games remaining on their MAA slate.

Chasing the front-running Stags is second place St. Peter's a 66-54 winner at Marist on Friday.The Peacocks are 10-4 in conference and host Fairfield on Sunday, Feb. 13. The Stags already have a win over St. Peter's - a 70-43 thrashing back in early January - and another win would clinch at least a tie for the regular season crown.

A win in any of their final three games - against Marist, Sienna and Iona - would then clinch the championship outright.

Sophomore guard Derek Needham was the only Stag in double figures, leading all scorers with 23 points, hitting four of seven 3-pointers in the first half and making 9 of 11 free throws. Needham was 5-for-9 from the field overall.

NOTABLE: Harvard held on at home for a 78-75 win over Yale Friday night, staying a game behind Ivy League-leading Princeton (6-0). The Crimson improved to 6-1 and 17-4 overall. Their lone loss in the Ivy was at Princeton - a 65-61 loss - on February 4.

Harvard hosts Princeton in both teams' season finale, March 5th, in a game that may determine the Ivy League champion.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Storm Does It Again, Knocks off UConn at the Garden

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's a great thing to play your home games at storied Madison Square Garden, especially when you have a coach like Steve Lavin running the show for the St. John's Red Storm. The coach, who came out of semi-retirement this season to coach the Red Storm after departing as UCLA's head coach in 2003, has St. John's scaring the daylights out of every opponent who comes to the Bag Apple.

On Thursday night, it was Connecticut's turn to be taken out to the woodshed for an old-fashioned whipping, the fourth time this season that St. John's has played rude host to a highly-ranked team. Senior guard Dwight Hardy scored a career-high 33 points for St. John's, topping the 32 he put up in his last game, a 66-59 loss at UCLA on Saturday.

Hardy had everything going, hitting 10 of 17 shots, going 5-for-8 from beyond the arc and hitting all eight of his free throws. St. John's blew open a close game with a dominant second half for an 89-72 thumping, outscoring the Huskies by 13 points in the second half.

Senior swingman, DJ Kennedy, chipped in with 20 points and 11 boards for his second double-double of the season. In recent weeks, St. John's has taken the measure of Georgetown, Notre Dame and Duke, all wins at the Garden, and are creeping up the Big East standings. At 6-5, they are now in a five-way tie with UConn, Marquette, Cincinnati and West Virginia and have seven games remaining before the Big East Tournament, which will be played on their home court.

With many predicting nine teams to come out of the conference for the Big Dance, don't be surprised if St. John's is one of them.

NOTABLE: Don't count the Michigan State Spartans out just yet. After losing five of their last six and dropping out of the Top 25, coach Tom Izzo's team regrouped at home for a 75-57 pounding of Penn State, getting a triple-double out of junior forward Dramon Green, who scored 15 points, grabbed 14 board and dished 10 assists. The Spartans recovered to 6-6 in the conference, but face a tough test at #1 Ohio State on Tuesday of next week.

It will be interesting to watch how the Spartans fare in the final three weeks of the Big Ten regular season. A permanent feature of the NCAA tournament, Michigan State is currently in bubble-land and needs to finish the season at least with a .500 record and put up a good show in the conference tournament to be considered viable for a taste of March Madness.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nolan Smith Drives Blue Devils Past Tar Heels

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nobody could say for certain, but some people at Cameron Indoor Stadium thought they saw the faint utline of a large, red "S" under Nolan Smith's jersey in the second half of Duke's comeback, 79-73, win over North Carolina.

The Duke senior, with some help from a red-hot Seth Curry, carried the Blue Devils from a 14-point half time deficit to ultimate victory over their main ACC rival. Duke had been outrun, out-rebounded and outplayed in the first half, as the Tar Heels blitzed the home team for a 43-29 lead.

But when the teams took the court in the second half, something surely had changed. The Blue Devils ground into North Carolina's lead, outscoring them 25-11 to tie the game at 54-all. Curry contributed a flurry of seven points in less than a minute during the run and Smith tallied 22 of his career high 34 points in the second stanza. Curry finished with a season-high 22 points.

Smith hit 13 of his 23 shots, and was nearly perfect in the second half after a rough start. He tossed in three of six three-pointers and added five free throws to surpass his previous career high of 33 set a month ago against UAB.

The #5 Blue Devils opened a 1 1/2 game lead on North Carolina in the watered-down ACC. Duke is 22-2 overall and 9-1 in the conference. North Carolina, which returned to the Top 25 this week at #20, is 7-2, followed by 6-3 Florida State, Clemson at 6-4 and Maryland and Virginia Tech, both at 5-4.

The Tar Heels will not forget Smith and the tale of two halves in their encounter when they next tackle the Blue Devils in the final game of the regular season for both squads, March 5, at Chapel Hill.

NOTABLE: The Big East continues to appear as the best top-to-bottom conference, as three games from Wednesday night pointed up the contentious nature of the nation's largest conference. #8 Notre Dame had to go to overtime to knock off #16 Louisville, 89-79, for their 6th straight win. In Syracuse, the Georgetown Hoyas hammered the Orange down the stretch, outscoring them 9-1 in the final 3:47 for a 64-56 victory, the Hoyas' 7th straight after a 1-4 start in conference play.

Outside Trenton, NJ, lowly Rutgers (4-8, Big East) took out #9 Villanova, 77-76 and unranked Marquette rallied from 16 points down to overtake South Florida, 59-58, on the Bulls' home court.

There are eight Big East teams represented in the Top 25, and the conference is expected to send at least that many to the NCAA tourney in March. #4 Pitt leads the conference standings with a 10-1 record.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Wildcats Top Tennessee Behind Liggins' 19

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Much has been said and written about the youthful Kentucky Wildcats and their abundance of freshmen, but the team seems to be jelling rather nicely under the tutelage of coach John Calipari and the play of a select few upper-classmen.

One of those players is DeAndre Liggins, a junior and a starter, who is an on-court extension of the Kentucky philosophy, doing what he's called upon to do well, and occasionally coming up with the big effort, as he did in the Wildcats' 73-61 win over Tennessee Tuesday night.

Liggins led all scorers with 19 points, and was nearly flawless on the court, hitting 5 of 6 shots, including both of his three-pointers, and 7-for-8 from the foul line. Liggins also collected five boards, handed out three assists and snatched five steals while turning the ball over just twice. Besides matching his season-and-career high in points, he was the cog that kept Kentucky rolling toward their 17th win against 6 losses.

The Wildcats tied Tennessee at 5-4 in the SEC East, good for second place behind surprising Florida (7-2). Kentucky was happy to be back at Rupp Arena, having lost their last four games on the road. They get another taste of road flavor Saturday when they travel to play Vanderbilt. Kentucky is ranked 18 nationally; Vanderbilt is ranked #23.

NOTABLE: ESPN offers a couple of exceptional games Wednesday night, as the Syracuse Orangemen host the Georgetown Hoyas at the Carrier Dome at 7:00 pm ET. If that's not enough of a rivalry for you, then at 9:00 pm, the surging North Carolina Tar Heels - winners of five straight - invade Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the Duke Blue Devils in a resumption of the most-storied rivalry in college basketball.

The 7-1 Tar Heels trail 8-1 Duke for supremacy in the ACC, so there's plenty on the line as Roy Williams has steadied his young Carolina troops over the course of the conference schedule and has them playing with continuity and explosiveness.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Morris Twins, Little, Prove Too Much for Tigers

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 7, 2011

The Missouri Tigers - ranked #19 in the most recent poll - have a very good basketball team, likely to go deep into the NCAA field come March, but, as proven Monday night, they still can't keep up with the big men from Kansas in the low post.

The Tigers fell victim, for the 9th time in their last 10 meetings, to the #2 Jayhawks (23-1, 8-1), losing a 103-86 decision in Lawrence, KS. Missouri got off to a flashy start and was able to hang in, down by only four points at the half, but Kansas continually got the ball inside to their big men, Marcus Morris, Markeiff Morris and 6'6" "guard" Mario Little, who had a season-high 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting.

Marcus Morris led all scorers with 22 points, also going 7-for-9, with a three-pointer and 7-for-12 from the foul line plus eight rebounds, five on the offensive end. Twin brother Markeiff went 6-for-8, also with a trey, for 16 points.

The Jayhawks shot a sizzling 61% for the game, a pace the Tigers could not match, though they hit at a 52% rate themselves. The Jayhawks' 103 points was the most they've scored this season since their opener against Longwood, when they lit it up for 113.

Missouri dropped to 4-5 in the Big 12, though their 18-6 record nearly ensures that they'll be in the field for the NCAA tourney. Kansas trails Texas (8-0) by 1/2 game in the conference. The Longhorns handled the Jayhawks 74-63 in January and do not play them again.

The Tigers will get another chance - at home - to knock off Kansas in the regular season finale for both teams, Saturday, March 5th.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Jordan Taylor Leads Badgers Over Skidding Spartans

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 6, 2011

On the day that the Lombardi Trophy was returned to Green Bay, it was perfectly fitting that the Wisconsin Badgers would decimate Michigan State, sending the Spartans to their fifth loss in their last six games and the most lopsided defeat of the season.

Jordan Taylor scored a career-high 30 points as the Badgers dominated in an 82-56 win. The junior guard knocked down three of four three-pointers and was 9-for-13 from the field overall. Taylor also hit 9 of 10 free throws and handed out six assists in a game that was essentially over at the mid-point of the first half.

The Badgers led all the way and opened up a double digit lead early, expanding that advantage to a 43-25 score at the break. Wisconsin edged further ahead in the second half, eventually leading by as many as 33 points. Hitting 59% from the field and 11-of-17 (65%) from three-point range, Wisconsin's shots were as accurate as Aaron Rodgers' passes in the Super Bowl later in the day.

Ranked #19, Wisconsin moved into a tie for second place with Purdue at 7-3 in the Big Ten. Everyone in the conference is chasing runaway #1 Ohio State, the only unbeaten team in the nation at 24-0, and 12-0 in the Big Ten.

The Badgers will get two shots at the Buckeyes, the first on February 12, at home, and the second in the season finale, March 6, at Ohio State.

For now, though, all hail Wisconsin.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Brooks' 43 Not Enough to Topple Hoyas

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 5, 2011

Providence forward Marshon Brooks will surely be playing in the NBA next season; unfortunately, he and his teammates aren't likely to be in the field of 68 in this year's NCAA tournament.

Brooks blistered the Georgetown defense for 43 points - tying him for the second most points scored in a single game this season with BYU's Jimmer Fredette (Fredeette scored 47 earlier this season in a win over Utah).

Sadly, Brooks' heroic play wasn't enough to topple the #13 Hoyas, who eked out an 83-81 victory, getting to 7-4 in the Big East, mid-pack in the nation's most potent conference. Providence dropped to 3-8 in conference, but are 14-10 overall.

Brooks put on a memorable show for those in attendance, hitting 17 of 28 shots with a pair of three pointers. He was also 7-for-10 from the foul line and had 10 rebounds - 5 offensive - for his seventh double-double of the season.

With seven regular season games left of the Friars' slate, Brooks has a chance to catch Fredette, the scoring machine from BYU, who leads the nation at 27.6 points per game. Brooks is third at 24.1, just behind Northern Illinois' Xavier Silas, with 24.2. Whether he does or not, Brooks will be one of the top players most of America knows little to nothing about.

NOTABLE: Rank 'em: The Florida Gators held off a furious late rally by #10 Kentucky, holding on for the narrow home win, 70-68. Unranked Florida leads the SEC East at 7-2 and knocked off Vanderbilt (also ranked, #23) earlier this week. Look for them at about #18 in the AP Poll come Monday afternoon.

Separation Saturday: Unlike previous weekends, this one was devoid of the multitude of upsets that have been occurring throughout the college hoops season. Only two ranked teams besides Kentucky - #16 Texas A&M - 76-74 overtime losers to Baylor - and #20 Washington, who lost at Oregon, 81-76, suffered defeat on Saturday.

All other ranked teams won, many by double digits. In the one game matching up two ranked opponents, #12 Villanova cruised past #25 West Virginia, 66-50.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

At 11-1, Fairfield Stands Alone in Metro

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 4, 2011

With a 75-71victory over Iona on Friday, the Fairfield Stags have taken command of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with an 11-1 record and six straight wins.

Senior forward Yorel Hawkins surprised the Gaels - and his teammates - with a season-high 25 points, more than double his average, on 11-for-15 shooting. Hawkins worked the lane to near-perfection, adding three points from the foul line and grabbing seven rebounds, four on the offensive end.

Iona lost its 4th straight, knocking them down to 7-5 and out of serious contention for the conference title. Fairfield leads St. Peter's (9-3) and Rider (8-4) by two and three games respectively and have Sunday match-ups with those two foes over the next eight days with a Friday tilt at Manhattan this coming Friday.

Wins in those two key games would likely land the Stags the conference title, even though they play at Iona in their final regular-season game, Feb. 27. The Stags are 18-4 overall.

NOTABLE: Contentious Ivy: The Ivy league got a little little tighter on Friday as Princeton handed Harvard their first conference loss of the season, 65-61, and moved into a tie with Penn at 3-0 for Ivy lead. The Penn Quakers dispatched Dartmouth, 78-47, on Tyler Bernardini's 21 points for their 4th straight win and third in Ivy League play. Harvard sits right behind the co-leaders, at 4-1.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Wildcats Lead PAC-10 Behind Derrick Williams

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 3, 2011

Emerging as the team to beat in the PAC-10, the Arizona Wildcats began a string of three straight road games with a 78-69 victory over Stanford Thursday night.

It was the second time the Wildcats have defeated the Cardinal as they rolled to an 8-2 record in the conference behind 21 points and 8 rebounds from their do-it-all forward, Derrick Williams.

Williams, a 6'8" sophomore who leads the team in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, three-point shooting, blocks and steals, scored in double figures for the 32nd straight game, dating back to last February.

At 13-4, the Wildcats' losses have been to Kansas, BYU, Oregon State and Washington, but they'll need to find more scoring to complement Williams if they intend to advance far this March.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Utah State is Ranked, but Duquesne is Better

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It was with great interest that the impostor in this week's AP Top 25 was spotted. There, conspicuously settled in at #22, right behind Arizona, another possible fake, was 21-2 Utah State.

Upon further investigation, suspicions were confirmed, as the Aggies, despite a 10-0 conference record (in the WAC) and 16 straight wins, have played exactly nobody. By far, games against their two toughest opponents - BYU and Georgetown - both resulted in losses, and while the Aggies may eventually receive an automatic bid to the Big Dance, they look more like first round losers than bracket busters.

Elsewhere, the Atlantic-10 gets little love from the sportswriters, though three of the first nine teams receiving votes were Xavier (15-6), which, with 92 votes would actually be #26, and further down the list, Duquesne and Temple, both 16-5.

Of the three, the Dukes look like the best of the bunch, having hammered George Mason Wednesday by an 84-59 score to go 8-0 in the conference, their 11th straight win, with some of those victories over some pretty good schools - Temple, St. Joseph's, Charlotte, Dayton.

The Dukes get plenty of mileage out of 6'5" senior Bill Clark, who leads the team in scoring at 17.5 ppg, and tallied 23 in the rout of GW. Clark was 5-for-9 from the field with a pair of three-pointers and snatched 10 rebounds for his 4th double-double of the season.

Duquesne is simply on a roll. Since a December 22 loss to George Mason, they've run off those 11 wins by an average margin of victory of oh, just 19.5 ppg, the closest contest being a 75-63 win at St. Joseph's, January 5th.

It's doubtable that the Dukes will get a chance to play Utah State this season, but veteran hoops junkies probably already know how that game would turn out.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Leuer Leads Badgers over Purdue, 66-59

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maybe not the flashiest team in the nation, the Wisconsin Badgers certainly get one's attention, especially at home, where they are nearly impossible to beat.

The #19 Badgers took advantage of 10 first half turnovers by #11 Purdue and raced out to a 27-19 lead at the break only to see the Boilermakers come back to take a 46-39 advantage at the mid-point of the second half.

But Jon Leuer - who led all scorers with 24 points and tied a career best with 13 rebounds - brought the Badgers back in the later stages of the game for a key Big Ten win. Wisconsin got a key bucket from Ryan Evans with just under a minute left which gave them the lead for good at 60-59. Purdue could not muster a good shot in the final minute even though they had ample opportunity. Leuer made a couple of free throws and Evans put an exclamation point on the affair with a breakaway dunk for the final score of 66-59.

Wisconsin hosts Michigan State on Sunday, February 6, hoping to add more pain to the suddenly suspect Spartans' season. Michigan State had been ranked as high as #2 earlier in the season, but the losses have mounted as the season progressed. The Spartans are an unusual 13-8 and 5-4 in conference play, having lost three straight before upending Indiana, 84-83, on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Wright Tallies 24 to Lead Hoyas over Louisville

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 31, 2011

College basketball - like all sports - has its highs and lows, but Georgetown senior guard Chris Wright has really been on a roller coaster ride over the past two games.

In Saturday's 69-66 win at Villanova, Wright spent 30 minutes on the court, but hoisted only three shots, missing all of them and finished the game with zero points. It was the first time he'd been held scoreless since the Big East tournament in 2008, when he was a freshman.

Back on his home court on Monday, Wright's fortune changed dramatically, as he led the Hoyas to their fifth straight win, a frenzied 62-59 victory over #15 Louisville, with a game high 24 points and a personal season high point total. Wright hoisted 14 shots, made eight of them and went 8-for-8 from the foul line, adding five boards and three assists.

Louisville came back from an 11-point deficit in the second half to briefly take a late lead, but Wright's diving scoop shot and Hollis Thompson's three-pointer put the Hoyas ahead until Wright made two free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining to ice the contest.

Georgetown, ranked #13 nationally, is just 5-4 in the Big East, caught in a traffic jam with eight other teams between 6-3 and 5-4. They are all desperately chasing 8-1 Pitt, though the feeling is that the Panthers won't survive the remainder of their season without at least one more loss.

The Hoyas are off until Saturday, when they host a dangerous, but unranked, Providence squad.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh, Those Johnnies! Hardy Gets 26 as St. John's Humbles Duke

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 30, 2011

Following the spate of wins by unranked teams over those in the Top 25 (we're not calling them "upsets" anymore), Coach K and his Duke Blue Devils should have seen their annual trek to Madison Square Garden as more than a jaunty visit to the Big Apple for a win and some shopping.

St. John's Red Storm was ready and waiting for the #3 Blue Devils and came out with incredible energy and ran past Duke defenders like they weren't even there. In the first half - totally under the control of the Johnnies - they raced to a 46-25 lead to essentially put the contest to rest. Duke didn't help its cause by missing its first ten three-point attempts and hitting just one three in the first half. Meanwhile, St. John's was scoring on dunks, layups and short jumpers.

Duke tried to rally in the second half, to little avail, as the Red Storm just kept shooting and hitting, going 32-of-55 for the game (58%). They only shot five three-pointers, making three of them. when the buzzer sounded at the end of 40 minutes of frenetic St. John's styling, Duke had not only been vanquished, but humiliated, 93-78, the highest point total for the season for St. John's and the most - by a whopping 14 points - that Duke had given up all season.

Senior guard Dwight Hardy led the scoring party with 26 points, going 9-for-13 from the field with a pair of treys and 6-for-6 from the line. Fellow senior Mark Brownlee added 20 points and 9 rebounds. Seven st. John's players scored, five of them were in double figures.

Duke's Nolan Smith led all scorers with 32 points - one off his season's high. He and Kyle Singler (20 points) were the only Blue Devils in double figures.

The loss was just the second of the season for Duke (19-2) while St. John's improved to 12-8, ending a string of three straight losses and five in their last six. The win concluded a run of eight straight games in which the Red Storm faced a ranked opponent. They went 3-5 over that stretch, but the schedule doesn't get much easier. The Johnnies face Rutgers on Wednesday, then fly out to UCLA for a Saturday game before returning to New York to host #5 Connecticut.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Holloway Scores 33 as Xavier Wins 7th Straight; Top 25 Recap

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 29, 2011

The way Top 25 teams are falling like so many dominoes, the pollsters might want to take a look at the Atlantic 10, where two, maybe three teams should find their way into the NCAA tournament come March.

Those two or three would be Temple, Duquesne and Xavier. The Musketeers in particular have been pounding the opposition in their conference, their latest being an 85-62 romp at Richmond, in which junior guard Tu Holloway - 12th nationally in points per game at 21.1 - poured in a season high 33 points.

The victory was the 7th straight for Xavier, all against conference foes. All but one of their recent wins have been by double digits. Only Dayton and George Washington came anywhere close, losing 81-76 and 81-74, respectively.

Holloway scored from everywhere on the floor, and hit 17-of-17 free throws as the Spider defenders simply couldn't handle him.

NOTABLE: There have been more upsets this week than anyone expected; losses to Top 25 teams continue to mount. There is the distinct possibility that these wins by unranked teams are not actually upsets, but more indicative of the leveling of talent across the conferences.

Naturally, there are some teams that have risen above the fray, most notably, Ohio State, Pitt and Kansas, each which won on Saturday, though the Buckeyes and Panthers were in nail-biters. Top-ranked Ohio State went down to the wire at Northwestern, skipping past the Wildcats by a 58-57 score.

#2 Pitt withstood a challenge at Rutgers, emerging with a narrow, 65-62 victory. #6 Kansas had a much easier time with Kansas State, whipping the Wildcats, 90-66. Also in the Big 12, #7 Texas easily beat #11 Missouri, 71-58. Both the Longhorns and Jayhawks were winners at home, but look like the clear leaders in the conference.

Elsewhere, ranked teams were dropping by the hour. #23 Louisville downed #5 UConn in overtime, 79-78. The 21st-ranked Hoyas defeated #8 Villanova, 69-66, and #12 Purdue held home court for a 73-61 win over #16 Minnesota.

The biggest surprise of the day came when the Lobos of New Mexico bounced #9 BYU, 86-77, just days after the Cougars had beaten #4 San Diego State. The Aztecs regrouped on Saturday for a 96-57 rout of Wyoming.

Syracuse, ranked #9 along with BYU, lost their 4th straight game, falling at Marquette, 76-70. Penn State continued to flex its muscles at home, whipping #16 Wisconsin, 56-52.

There were more: Clemson beat #22 Florida State, the only team to have beaten Duke this season. Mississippi state beat #24 Florida, #13 Texas A&M fell at Nebraska and unranked Arkansas defeated #19 Vanderbilt, 89-78, on the Commodores' home court.

With all those losses, it's really difficult to classify these games as upsets. More to the point, it appears teams are going through growing and learning phases, as teams that didn't start well are beginning to find their ways and the crowd of traditional leaders is losing theirs.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Harvard, Princeton Look Like Class of Ivy League

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 28, 2011

Last season, Cornell was the team from the Ivy League that made significant noise in the NCAA tournament, knocking of Temple and Wisconsin before finally falling to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet 16.

It's a down year for the Big Red this time around, though. With most of their starters having graduated, Cornell is just 4-13, 0-3 in conference and at the bottom of the Ivy League standings. The torch has been passed to traditional rivals Princeton (13-4) and Harvard (14-3).

Those two are atop the Ivy League, though Princeton has just one win in conference, it's only game, while Harvard went to 3-0 Friday night with a 77-66 win over Columbia.

Sophomore Kyle Casey came up big for the Crimson, with a season-high 17 points to go with 13 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. At 6'7", 215, Casey does most of his work close to the rim, leaving the outside open for Christian Webster, who nailed 4-of-5 three-pointers in the win.

Harvard has put together a string of seven straight wins, including victories at Boston College and George Washington. They've won 12 straight at home, dating back to last season.

So far, Harvard has only been badly beaten by UConn and George Mason, both of those coming on the road. Their December 4 loss to Michigan was a squeaker, 65-62. The play at Princeton next Friday, February 4.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vandy is Dandy in SEC: Tops Miss. St. on Road

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jeffrey Taylor lit up the Mississippi State Bulldogs' phantom defense for 25 points and stole a win on the road, 81-74, reinvigorating the Commodores with their first SEC road win after a couple of tough losses at Georgia and Tennessee in recent weeks.

Boosting the record to 3-2 in the conference, the Commodores remain two games behind SEC East leader Florida (5-1) and tied with Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, though the way they played against the Bulldogs - regarded as one of the best in the SEC West - they may be on the verge of breaking away from the pack.

Taylor, the 6'7" junior forward, who also had 3 steals and 5 boards, scored from everywhere on the floor, hitting three treys and a number of in-close baskets by hitting the offensive boards. The game was close throughout, but Vandy showed considerable grit in the closing minutes, making shots while Dee Bost and the Bulldogs were missing theirs.

Ranked #19 in the AP poll, the Commodores return home to face Arkansas on Saturday before a key test at Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 2nd.

Notable: Proving that the Big East has no lock on upsets, the Indiana Hoosiers downed #20 Illinois, 52-49, and Michigan upset #25 Michigan State, 61-57, in Big Ten action. For the Spartans, the loss was their 4th in the conference, evening their record at 4-4, but it probably marked the end of their being ranked, as they drop to 15-8.

Head coach Tom Izzo dismissed guard Korie Lucious from the team for undisclosed violations of team rules. Lucious was leading the Spartans in assists ad was usually the first man off the bench. with his departure, Michigan State can probably be moved from NCAA bubble team to definitely out of the tournament this year, just a season removed from a Final Four appearance.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cougars Slash Aztecs; Buckeyes Stand Alone

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BYU, the 9th-ranked team in the nation, mauled #4 San Diego State, 71-58, as Jimmer Fredette pumped in 43 points - a point more than he had in his last game and his second-highest single-game point total of the season - leaving the Ohio State Buckeyes as the only undefeated team in college basketball.

The Cougars, facing San Diego State for the first time this season, took advantage of home court with the nation's top scorer (27.4 ppg), busting the game open late in the second half. Fredette had one of his best performances of the season, hitting 14-of-24 from the field, with five three-pointers. He also nailed 10-of-11 from the foul line. The 43 points was surpassed only by the 47 he put up at Utah on January 11.

BYU (20-1, 6-0) has won 10 straight, and 14 in a row at home, extending back into last season. San Diego State dropped to 20-1, and 5-1 in the Mountain West, where they now trail the Cougars by a game. The rematch comes February 26 at San Diego State.

NOTABLE: The Big East keeps surprising everybody with its depth as upsets continue to pour in this week. Notre Dame knocked off Pitt on Monday; Seton Hall dumped Syracuse, Tuesday, so it was fitting the Providence took the measure of #8 Villanova, 83-68, Wednesday night. The Friars, just 2-6 in conference games, sent the Wildcats to their second conference loss and a 5-2 record, tied with Louisville and UConn for second place in the Big East, behind 7-1 Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Buckeyes Pound Purdue; Buford Leads with 19 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Although the game was billed as a Top 25 match-up with intriguing conference implications, Purdue's visit to #1 Ohio State quickly turned from a contest to a rout, with the Buckeyes cementing their hold on the top spot in the polls and the Big Ten with a one-sided, 87-64 victory that was a done deal within the first fifteen minutes.

Ohio State used an 11-0 run to establish a 20-point half time lead which ballooned to as many as 31 in the second frame. Though JaJuan Johnson led all scorers with 22 points, Will Buford was the best of six double-figure scorers for the Buckeyes, with 19 points on deadeye shooting. The Ohio State junior was 6-for-8 from the field, including 5-for-6 on three-point shots.

The top-ranked Buckeyes improved to 21-0 and 8-0 in the Big Ten. Purdue, their closest pursuer, is 6-2. Yhe Buckeyes, along with #4 San Diego State, are the only unbeaten teams in the nation.

NOTABLE: While Ohio State looks to make a shambles of the Big Ten, the Big East gets more interesting and contentious by the day. After Notre Dame knocked off Pitt on Monday, Seton Hall went into the Carrier Dome and absolutely decimated Syracuse, 90-68, sending the Orange to their third straight loss following an 18-0 start to their season. Jeremy Hazell, back from a wrist injury that sidelined him for 13 games, led the scoring parade with 28 points.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hansbrough, Irish Burn #2 Pitt

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 24, 2011

On a day in which the Pitt Panthers rose to the #2 team in the national polls, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame invaded the Peterson Events Center and spoiled the fun with a slowdown offense and a big night from senior guard Ben Hansbrough.

What Notre Dame did with its aptly-named Burn offense - which relates to "burning the clock" - was to slow down the pace and use up 25 of the 35 seconds on the shot clock before going into their offense. The tactic worked well enough to keep the Irish within five points (28-23) at the half, after which they turned loose their point guard.

Hansbrough scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, as Notre Dame assumed the lead and kept the Panthers at bay. He scored 13 of the last 18 points for the Irish, mostly on drives to the hoop from the top of the key. The slowdown offense and Hansbrough's deft ball-handling resulted in a huge, 56-51, road win for the 16th-ranked Irish and the end of a 20-game home winning streak for Pitt.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Leuer, Gasser Lead #18 Badgers over Northwestern

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 23, 2011

When Jon Leuer is hitting his shots, the Wisconsin Badgers are tough to beat. That became evident early on in Sunday's tilt at Northwestern. Leuer hit eight of his ten shots, including a 2-for-2 effort from 3-point land, for a game-high 19 points in just 21 minutes of floor time. The Badgers stormed to a 45-26 lead at the half and cruised to a 78-46 victory as freshman Josh Gasser recorded the first triple-double in school history with 10 points, 10 assists and 12 rebounds.

The Badgers improved to 15-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten, good for third place in the conference standings, behind 7-0 Ohio State and 6-1 Purdue. The Boilermakers play at Ohio state this Tuesday night.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brown Scores 23 as Longhorns Cut Down Kansas

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 22, 2011

Led by sophomore J'Covan Brown's 23 points, the Texas Longhorns stormed Phog Allen Fieldhouse and snapped the nation's longest home winning streak, knocking off #2 Kansas, 74-63.

The streak had gone 69 games, since a 69-64 loss to Texas Tech on February 3, 2007, but the Longhorns didn't look like the team to break it in the early going. Kansas opened the game on a 10-0 run and led 35-23 as the teams left the court after one half.

The second half was all Texas, as the #10 Longhorns outscored the Jayhawks, 51-28, completely turning the game around. Brown hit a pair of three-pointers on consecutive trips to give Texas the lead and Jordan Hamilton, who had 17 points and 9 rebounds, helped the Longhorns build and maintain their advantage down the stretch.

Coming off the bench, Brown hit 6-of-10 shots, including 3-of-6 threes. He was 8-of-10 from the foul line. His game-high scoring burst was also his season high.

The loss by Kansas was their first of the year, after 18 straight wins, leaving just #1 Ohio State and #6 San Diego State - both 20-0 - as the only unbeaten teams in the country. Texas (16-3) now supplants the Jayhawks in first place in the Big 12, at 4-0.

NOTABLE: The Syracuse loyal jammed the Carrier Dome with the largest crowd this season to see a college basketball game (33,736), but #7 Villanova hit their three-pointers and handed the #3 Orange their second straight loss, 83-72. Winning in the dome seems to be becoming a habit for the Wildcats. No Big East team has more wins in the building than they do.

Elsewhere, #1 Ohio State won a nick-and-tuck road contest over the 20th-ranked Fighting Illini, 73-68. The Buckeyes look like a sure bet to remained ranked at the top for the second consecutive week.

#8 Connecticut handled Tennessee, 72-61 and #5 Pitt easily outdistanced DePaul, 80-50, and #4 Duke won, 83-59 at Wake Forest.

On the losing end, Vanderbilt got the measure of #22 St. Mary's, 89-70, hitting 52% from the filed and 50% (11-of-22) from three-point range. In Providence, the Friars upended Louisville, 72-67.

Matt Howard Turns in another Strong Performance for Butler

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2011

Butler's senior leader, Matt Howard - who was the Horizon League's Player of the Year as a sophomore - is making a bid for the same honor this season.

Through Friday night's 81-75 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay, Howard led the Bulldogs in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks, and, conference-wide, was second in both scoring and rebounding.

Howard aided his cause, and that of the Bulldog's quest for their fifth straight Horizon League regular season title, with 29 points and 16 boards, leading Butler to their 14th win against 6 losses. Tied with Cleveland State and Wright State (who beat Butler, 69-64, this past Sunday) in second place at 6-2 in the Horizon, the trio is chasing 7-1 Valparaiso for the league's top spot.

The Friday night effort by Howard was his fifth double-double of the season. He's scored in double figures in 18 of Butler's 20 games this season.

Butler defeated Valparaiso, 76-59, back on January 1st, and the two teams will meet in a rematch - at Valparaiso - on January 29, the first of three straight road games for the Bulldogs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Badgers Take Down Hoosiers behind Taylor's 28

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of just two Top 25 teams in action on Thursday - the other was #20 Washington, which dispatched Arizona, 85-68, and retained the PAC-10 lead - the Wisconsin Badgers got a bit of a test from Indiana, but in the end managed to prevail at home, 69-60.

Led by their signature defense, the Badgers turned around a 34-30 deficit at the half with ball pressure and timely scoring, getting a career high 28 points from junior guard Jordan Taylor, who hit 9-of-15 shots from the field, including three treys and went 7-for-7 from the charity stripe.

Taylor also handled eight rebounds and dished four assists.

The Badgers improved to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten. They are currently tied for third place with Michigan State and Illinois behind 6-0 Ohio State and 5-1 Purdue. They've won 14 straight games at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Longhorns Bust Up Aggies on Jordan Hamilton's 27

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jordan Hamilton had 27 points and 8 rebounds and the #10 Texas Longhorns prevailed in their showdown with #11 Texas A&M, bruising the Aggies, 81-60.

The Longhorns opened with a flurry, while the Aggies couldn't get the ball in the bucket, opening a 20-5 lead at the start of the contest. From there. A&M tried to rein in the Texas shooters, and got to within five points, but could not get much closer than their 39-27 half time deficit after the Longhorns went on another scoring spurt.

Hamilton, Texas' leading scorer, hit 10-of-14 shots from the field, including three 3-pointers. He was part of a Longhorn front court assault aided by 18 points from freshman Tristan Thompson and 14 by senior Gary Johnson.

Texas shot 58% for the game and also canned 19-of-22 free throws. The Longhorns outrebounded the Aggies, 33-25 and produced 16 assists to the Aggies' 7.

The result left Texas tied with Kansas for the Big 12 lead at 3-0. A&M and Colorado sit 1/2 game behind, at 3-1. The win broke a 13-game Aggie win streak and boosted the Texas record to 15-3 overall. The A&M loss was just their second of the season, leaving them at 16-2. They were last beaten by Boston College, 67-65.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kentucky Stumped by Alabama, 68-66; Green Leads with Double-Double

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One look at the SEC standings is not enough to understand what's going on in this topsy-turvy conference. The only ranked team, #12 Kentucky, is a mere 2-2, having lost both of their road games - to Georgia on January 8, and Tuesday night at Alabama, 68-66.

The Wildcats, a team that usually has its way against less-basketball-minded SEC opponents, is very good, but also very youthful, depending largely on three freshmen to carry the scoring load.

Facing the Crimson Tide on Tuesday, the three kids - Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Brandon Knight - got their points (17, 16 and 14, respectively), but came up a field goal short against Alabama, the team that appears to be their chief rival in the conference.

Leading the wave for the Tide was junior JaMychal Green, the 6'8" forward who was unstoppable in the paint for much of the evening's festivities. Green led all scorers with 18 points and had 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. The Tide led by as many as 20 points in the second half and had to hold on for dear life as the Wildcats unleashed a furious comeback, ending with Jones launching a shot from 45 feet as the buzzer sounded.

The shot wasn't close and Alabama survived what may have been a "must win" kind of game for them, improving to 11-7 after early-season losses to Seton Hall, Iowa, Purdue and Providence, among others.

But that's what the roster of SEC teams looks like. Lots of 4, 5 , 6 and 7-loss records, spread evenly throughout the league. If Kentucky continues to flail about on the road, expect others, notably Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi State to pick up the slack and find their ways into the national rankings.

While the SEC may send only three to five teams to the NCAA tourney in March, those who do arrive will have been well-seasoned and through the grinder of one of the more overlooked, but most contentious conferences in the country.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Robinson Leads Panthers Past Orange, 74-66

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 17, 2011

The greatly-anticipated Big East showdown between #3 Syracuse and #5 Pitt turned into a circus when Pitt scored the first 19 points of the game and then Syrcuse returned the favor by scoring 17 straight. When it was all sorted out in the second half, the superior rebounding ability of the Panthers - who outrebounded the Orange 44-30 - and the exceptional interior play of Nasir Robinson, resulted in a 74-66 home victory for the Panthers and the first loss of the season for the Orange.

Robinson scored a season-high 21 points to lead all scorers, hitting on 8-of-12 shots from the field, mostly within three feet of the hoop. He also added 7 rebounds as the Panthers took control of the Big East standings. They now lead the conference at 6-0, while the Orange drop to 5-1. Both teams are 18-1 overall.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Washington Pounds Cal; Rules the PAC-10

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 16, 2011

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with a season-high 27 points and distributed the ball with 13 assists - a career high - as the Washington Huskies cruised to a 92-71 win at Cal.

The chief beneficiaries of Thomas' largesse were Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday, who scored 22 and 23 points, respectively. The 13-4 Huskies raced out to a 48-33 lead at the half, holding the Golden Bears at bay for the win. In five conference wins, the Huskies have soundly defeated their opponents, with three of the wins coming on the road - at USC, UCLA and Cal - winning by an average margin of 17.4 points. Their lone loss was a 58-56 setback at Stanford last week.

The Huskies lead the PAC-10 race by 1/2 game over Arizona (4-1), whom they face on Thursday, Jan. 20.

NOTABLE: West Virginia continues to prove one of the toughest unranked teams from the Big East. On Sunday, they held sway at home, topping #8 Purdue, 68-64, improving to 12-4, while giving the Boilermakers their 3rd loss against 15 wins.

The Big East was also the stage for the upset du jour, where the upstart St. John's Red storm sent Notre Dame back to Indiana with a 72-54 thumping. St. John's improved to 4-2 in the conference and 11-5 overall.

For the celebration of Martin Luther King Day, ESPN will be airing a quartet of exceptional match-ups. The festivities get underway at 3:30 pm with #7 Villanova at #10 UConn, followed by #21 Kansas State at #15 Missouri at 5:30 pm. At 7:30, the highlight of the day, as the 5th-ranked Pitt Panthers host undefeated #4 Syracuse. The hoops-junkie delight finishes up with #3 Kansas at Baylor at 9:30 pm. All times are Eastern.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Aggies Down Missouri in OT for 13th Straight Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 15, 2011

It was #15 at #14 when the Missouri Tigers met the Texas A&M Aggies at College Station on Saturday, and for a while it looked as though the lower-ranked Tigers were going to have their way, but the Aggies surged late to tie the game at 77 and win it, 91-89, in overtime.

Sophomore forward Khris Middleton scored 11 of his team's 14 point in the extra session, finishing with a game-high 28 points for the Aggies' 13th straight win, a 3-0 record in the Big 12 and a share of first place.

Middleton hit 9-of-16 shots, including a pair of threes, plus canned 8-of-10 from the foul line. He also had seven rebounds and four assists. The Aggies haven't lost a game since a 67-65 loss to Boston College on November 25. Middleton has scored in double figures in all but three A&M contests. The Aggies are 16-1

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gaels' Glover hits for 25 with 17 Boards in OT Win at Rider

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 14, 2011

with the major conferences idle Friday nights, it provides CBD a peek at some of the better teams from small conference, like the Metro Atlantic, the eventual champion of which will receive an automatic NCAA Tournament invitation.

At the top are Fairfield, which suffered its initial loss in the conference on Friday, losing a heartbreaker, 66-65, at Loyola which snapped an 11-game winning streak. The Stags are 5-1 in the conference, 12-4 overall and tied with Iona for the Metro lead.

Iona was pushed to the limit at Rider College, finally escaping with a 100-96 win in overtime. Topping both scoring and rebounding stat columns for the game was Michael Glover, the Gaels' 6'7" forward who dropped in 25 points and ripped down 17 boards in the win.

Averaging a double-double (21.5, 10.5), Glover accomplished the feat for the 11th time this season and equalled his career best in rebounding. While the Gaels improved to 5-1, Rider dropped to 4-2 in the Metro, so there's more drama to come from this mostly Northeast urban conference.

The Gaels play at Fairfield on February 4 and finish their regular season at home with a visit from the Stags on February 27. Those two games are likely to go a long way toward providing a regular season champion unless Rider rises and continues to compete.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mountaineers Climb Over Providence, 93-63

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 13, 2011

Of the various conferences in the country, the Big East is probably the deepest, and thus, the most difficult for a team to gain recognition. Remember, this is the conference in which undefeated Cincinnati didn't even make the Top 25 rankings this season until they were 15-0.

Coach Bob Huggins probably feels that his West Virginia squad is equally shunned by the polls and pundits. After all, they did reach the Final Four last season, and have a record of 11-4, deserving of some respect, though in the Big East, four losses at this juncture makes you an also-ran.

In Thursday's 93-63 romp over Providence, the Mountaineers served notice to the rest of the conference that they were in it to win it. After opening the Big East schedule with back-to-back losses to St. John's and Marquette, they've won three straight and have the players and system to get them through the remaining games with a solid record. John Flowers, a 6'7" senior forward, dominated the contest with the Friars, scoring a season-high and game-high 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting and added six rebounds, five blocked shots, three steals and five assists. Providence simply had no answer for him or fellow front-man Kevin Jones, who chipped in 19 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

The Mountaineers take a break from the Big East in the coming week, hosting Purdue on Sunday, january 16 and Marshall, Wednesday, January 19.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seminoles' Kitchen Throws in Sink; Blue Devils Stopped

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The widely-held belief that Duke could roll through their ACC schedule without a loss evaporated under the bright lights of Tallahassee's Donald L. Tucker Center, where the Florida State Seminoles proved to be more than the Blue Devils could handle, again.

Florida State is not unused to knocking off highly-ranked, unbeaten Duke squads. In fact, they do it with amazing regularity. The Seminoles knocked off top-ranked Duke squads in 2002 and 2006, both times on the Seminoles own hardwood. Wednesday night's 66-61 upset was the charmed third time in a decade.

On a night in which the Blue Devils couldn't score inside, they shot horribly from outside as well, making just 11 of 35 three-point attempts and shooting 31% overall. Florida State nailed 6 of 13 treys and shot 44% from the field, with senior guard Derwin Kitchen providing much of the offense at critical junctures. He led all scorers with 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting which included 3 triples. The 6'4" shooter hauled in 10 rebounds, dished 3 assists and made 3 steals for good measure.

The Seminoles improved to 12-5 after losing three of their last four games. The loss was the first for Duke since March of 2010, when they lost a conference game to Maryland. Their 25-game winning streak was the second longest in school history.

NOTABLE: A number of ranked teams appear to be headed for unranked status as conference play separates the men from the boys. #22 Georgetown was easily handled by visiting Big East rival Pitt (6), 72-57. The 14-5 Hoyas are a pure flash in the pan, having now lost three straight and four of five in Big East play.

Likewise, #18 Louisville looks overmatched in the Big East, the most competitive conference in the country, losing 88-74 at #7 Villanova. Though the Cardinals are 13-3, their losses have come recently and their 2-1 record in Big East play includes wins over confernence doormats, Seton Hall and South Florida.

#21 Kansas State looks to be leaving the Top 25 ranks after a 74-66 home loss to Colorado. Along with them should go #24 Georgia, road losers at Vanderbilt, 73-66. The Wildcats are 0-2 in the Big 12; 13-3 Georgia defeated Kentucky on Saturday, but are now 1-1 in the SEC. Earlier losses to Temple and Notre Dame are telling.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fredette Goes for 47 as Cougars Rout Utes

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BYU's Jimmer Fredette had the kind of night most players only dream about, scoring 32 in the first half and 47 overall as the #11 Cougars topped Mountain West opponent Utah, 104-79, improving to 17-1 for the season.

Fredette was hitting from everywhere, even throwing in a 40-foot bomb just before the first half buzzer sounded to give BYU a comfortable 53-42 lead at the break. Fredette finished just two shy of his school record 49 points, set last season. The 47 points was his high for the year, and against Mountain West opponents, he is averaging 36 points in three games, all Cougar wins.

The 6'2" senior from Glens Falls, NY, hit 6-of-9 from three-point range and 16-for-28 overall, adding 9-of-9 from the free throw line. In his 35 minutes on the hardwoods, Fredeete managed to dish out 6 assists and grab four rebounds.

NOTABLE: The Big Ten gets wilder and more wide open every day, with the possible exception of #2 Ohio State. On Tuesday, Michigan State, dropped out of the Top 25 this week due to a 66-62 loss at Penn State, got back on track with a 64-61 overtime win against #20 Wisconsin. The Spartans regained a degree of respectability as the Nittany Lions took down #16 Illinois, 57-55 and #12 Texas - to whom the Spartans lost 67-55 back in December - blasted Texas Tech, 83-52.

In case anyone is worried that the Nittany Lions will upset them next, they play Ohio State on the 15th and Purdue on the 19th.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Maquette Dumps Notre Dame with Barrage of Treys

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 10, 2011

Proving once again that playing in the Big East is not for the faint of heart, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame entered the Bradley Center in Milwaukee for a regional showdown with the Marquette Golden Eagles.

The Irish were sporting a #9 ranking in the AP poll, released earlier in the day, and a 14-2 record, their only losses at kentucky and Syracuse. By the time the Irish were through, they were 14-3, and wondering how they hit only three of 16 3-point shots while the Eagles were burying 12 of 17 from beyond the arc. The result was a 79-57 rout as a trio of Marquette shooters rained down threes all night long. From three-point range, Darius Johnson-Odom hit 3-of-5, scoring 13 points, Joe Crowder made 4-of-6 and tallied 18, but Dwight Buycks was the most deadly. He nailed 7-of-9 shots from the floor, including all five of his three-point attempts, for a game-high 21 points.

Maquette put the Irish away early in the second half and were never threatened after opening up a double-digit lead. The win was a key one for the Golden Eagles, 12-5, and on the fringe of the Big East conference and probably a bubble team come March.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Villanova Sends Cincinnati to First Loss as Fisher Scores 21

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 9, 2011

The number of undefeated teams shrank by one on Sunday when the Villanova Wildcats popped Cincinnati's balloon with a 72-61 win at the Pavilion.

The game was not in doubt after the Wildcats went on an 18-4 run to take a 39-23 lead into half time. Corey Fisher scored 20 of his game-high 21 points in the first half, helping extend Villanoa's home winning streak to 45 straight, a streak that began in January of 2007.

Fisher hit 3 of 5 three-pointers and was 4-for-8 overall, but nailed 10 of 11 free throws, grabbed five rebounds and dealt four assists. Fisher has scored in double figures in all but three of the #7 Wildcats' games. Villanova is now 14-1 and 3-0 in the Big East, while Cincinnati dropped to 15-1 and 2-1 in the conference.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

8 Top 25 Teams Dropped; #23 Washington Wins 6th Straight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 8, 2011

No fewer than eight teams ranked in the Top 25 - some close to the top of the list - were defeated on Saturday, making it one of the biggest upset days of the season.

Before venturing into that morass of missed opportunity, a number of ranked teams managed wins, notably in the Big East, where Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame and UConn all came away victorious, but the performance of the day was by 6'9" senior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who scored 24 points to go with 15 rebounds for the 12-3 Washington Huskies in their 103-72 win over Oregon State, their sixth straight win and fourth in the PAC-10 without a loss.

Bryan-Amaning hit 11-of-14 shots from the field, mostly in the paint and around the rim, notching his fifth double-double and scoring in double figures for the 12th time this season. In the rebounding department, five of his were on the offensive glass.

As for the upsets, there were so many it was difficult to keep track. Early in the day, Colorado bumped off #9 Missouri, 89-76, West Virginia hammered #13 Georgetown, 65-59, and Georgia held court at home to down #10 Kentucky, 77-70.

As the afternoon wore on, many fans glued to the NFL playoff games, Houston bumped off #19 UCF, Oklahoma St. dumped #17 Kansas State and Penn State kicked #18 Michigan State.

Two overtime games capped the day's action, as South Carolina outscored #22 Vanderbilt, 11-3 in the extra session for an 83-75 win and #8 UConn survived a trip to the Lone Star State with an 82-81 OT win over the Longhorns.

The day added up to one which should provide significant movement in the rankings due out on Monday, and highlights the intense competitiveness operating in the college hoops sphere. No game is a gimmie now that January has arrived.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sophomore Andrew Smith Leads Butler Blowout

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 7, 2011

The 2009-10 hoops season was a memorable one for the Butler Bulldogs, reaching the NCAA finals and finishing with a 33-5 record after losing, 61-59, to Duke.

This season has not been nearly as gratifying. The Bulldogs are currently unranked with an 11-5 record, uncharacteristic of the perennial Horizon League champions, though perhaps the schedule was a bit too optimistic.

An early loss at Louisville was amplified after the Bulldogs were beaten on their home court by Evansville, and then suffered back-to-back road losses to Duke and Xavier. That dropped them out of the Top 25, but on February 3rd, they suffered their worst loss of the season, a 76-52 beating dished out by 8-8 Wisconsin-Milwaukee, their first conference loss.

The Bulldogs regained some of their confidence Friday night with a convincing, 79-56, win over Cleveland State, shooting 48% as a team and forcing the Vikings into 18 turnovers. High scoring honors went to sophomore center Andrew Smith, who recorded a career high with 22 points on 7-for-9 shooting and hitting all eight of his free throws.

Smith, a 6'11" native of Indianapolis, also hit the glass with gusto, wiping off five offensive and five defensive rebounds for his first collegiate double-double.

Butler is 11-5 and into the heart of their conference play. A January 16 date at Wright State looms large.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Yancy Gates Has 25 and 14 as Bearcats Claw Xavier

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 6, 2011

The widely-anticipated showdown between crosstown rivals Xavier and Cincinnati quickly became a runaway for one team and a showcase for the enormous talents of enormous Yancy Gates.

After Xavier raced out to a 10-4 lead, Gates led a 22-5 Bearcat run that ended all argument over which was the best team in the Queen City. Gates, a powerfully-built Cincinnati native at 6'9", 260 pounds, led all participants with a game high 22 points and 14 rebounds, both season-high totals for the big man. Cincinnati won in a rout, 66-46, holding Tu Holloway, the Musketeers' leading scorers and one of the top point-producers in the nation, to a season-low five points.

Prior to last week, the Bearcats - despite being undefeated - were unranked in the national polls. Now at 15-0, some pollsters and even casual watchers have raised an eyebrow and given the Bearcats the nod of approval, spotting them at #24 in Monday's poll. Xavier slumped to 8-5.

Notable: #20 Illinois shot 70% from the field and absolutely swamped Northwestern, 88-63 to win their third straight Big Ten win without a loss, improving to 13-3 overall. A litmus test for the Fighting Illini comes in another week when they play at Wisconsin on the 15th of January, then return home to face Michigan State and Ohio State on the 18th and 22nd.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Duke Rolls to 14-0 As Nolan Smith Dazzles with Career High 33 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The top-ranked and undefeated Duke Blue Devils rolled to their 14th straight win with an 85-64 blowout over UAB.

Leading the Devils and all players in scoring was senior Nolan Smith, who tallied a career-high 33 points, also dishing five assists and bringing down seven rebounds, four on the offensive end.

When Smith wasn't beating multiple defenders to the hoop on slashing drives, he was ringing it up from the outside, hitting 2-of-5 three-pointers while going 11-for-22 from the field. Smith also went 9-for-10 from the foul line and was aided by fellow senior Kyle Singler's 15 points, which pushed his career point total over 2,000, making him the 11th Duke player to achieve that lofty goal. The all-time record for a Duke player is 2,769 points, set by J.J. Redick, who has since moved on to the NBA. Singler is sure to follow in those footsteps.

Smith has been on a tear for the Blue Devils of late, scoring at least 22 points in each of Duke's last five games. He leads the team in scoring and assists, at 19.6 points and 5.6 assists per game, respectively.

Notable: Jimmer Fredette lit up the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas as the #15 BYU Cougars went on the road to knock off #25 UNLV, 89-77. A season high for Fredette in scoring, he tickled the twine on 12-for-25 shooting from the field, including 7-for-13 on three-pointers and added 8 of ten free throws.

Other Top 25 winners included #3 Kansas, #6 San Diego State, #9 Missouri, #11 Purdue and #19 UCF. Memphis, ranked #21, fell to unranked Tennessee, 104-84.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Baylor Cruises as Dunn Hangs 43 on Morgan State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Last season, the Baylor Bears compiled an impressive 28-8 record, making its way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tourney, where they were knocked off by eventual nation champion, Duke, in the third round, 76-71.

After that kind of performance, much was expected of the Bears this season, led by shooting star LaceDarius Dunn. The Baylor bandwagon was derailed in December with three losses in a four-game stretch after a 7-0 start.

Beaten by Gonzaga, Washington State and Florida State, the Bears were looking more like bubble babies than bracket busters, but since rebounded with wins over Texas Southern and, on Tuesday, Morgan State, topping the Golden Bears, 89-72.

The game was an eyeful for all manner of Bears, golden or otherwise, as Dunn erupted for career-highs in scoring, with 43 points, and three-pointers, canning 10 of 18. Baylor took a 42-40 lead into the half, but blew out their opponents, outscoring them 47-32 in the second half, fueled by Dunn's hot hand. He finished with a stat line which included 13-of-22 from the field, 7-for-7 from the foul line, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 37 minutes.

While Dun is among the nation's leading scorers at 23.4 points per game, the jury is still out on Baylor as the team heads into conference play January 8 at Texas Tech. The Bears may remain a mystery until later in the month, when they face Kansas at home on the 17th and travel to Kansas State on the 24th.

NOTABLE: It was a rough night for the Razorbacks. Not only did their football team fall to Ohio State, 31-26, in the Sugar Bowl, but 12th-ranked Texas Longhorns blitzed them on the hardwoods, 79-46.

#2 Ohio State battled to a 73-68 win at Iowa, getting 24 points from freshman Jared Sullinger.

In the Big East, #5 Pitt toughed out an 83-79 win at Providence, while Notre Dame kicked Georgetown, 73-70, handing the Hoyas their second loss in three Big East Games. Pitt beat them in their conference opener on Dec. 27, 78-63.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Pullen Returns, Scores 24 in K-State Victory

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 3, 2011

Jacob Pullen returned to the Kansas State lineup after a three-game suspension and lit up little Savannah State for 24 points on Monday night, leading the Wildcats to a 92-61 rout and their 12th victory against three losses.

The 17th-ranked Wildcats felt Pullen's absence in the first game he missed, a 63-59 loss to UNLV, but rebounded with easy wins over the University of Missouri Kansas City Kangaroos and North Florida.

Pullen, seemingly no worse off for the time he missed, nailed 9-of-11 shots, including 4-of-6 three-pointers, grabbed 3 rebounds and handed off 5 assists.

Pullen and teammate Curtis Kelly were suspended for recieving free clothing from a local store. Kelly is still suspended and not eligible to return until January 15.

A 6'8" senior, Kelly was averaging 10.3 points and 4 rebounds per contest, numbers that the Wildcats hope to replace with other players, but they were happy to have Pullen, their leading scorer, back in time for the start of Big 12 play, which begins - for the Wildcats - on January 8 at Oklahoma State. Kansas State hosts Colorado on the 12th and Texas Tech on the 15th, when Kelly is expected to return.

NOTABLE: Dick Vitale has been a vocal supporter of "the Johnnies," St. John's Red Storm, and that faith was validated with a 61-58 victory over #13 Georgetown Monday night. The Red Storm's Dwight Hardy led the way with 20 points. St. John's is 3-0 against Big East foes and 10-3 overall.

The Big East has seven teams in the most recent AP poll, as unbeaten Cincinnati replaced Louisville near the bottom of the Top 25, at #22. The Cardinals fell out after dropping a 78-63 decision to Kentucky on New Year's Eve.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Freshman Barton Pours in 24 for 11-2 Memphis

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 2, 2011

With December losses to Kansas and Georgetown, the Memphis Tigers may not be as good a team as some which have come before, but at 11-2, they are getting the notice of the pollsters at least, who have installed them at #21 in the national rankings.

The Tigers have some good, young talent, including freshman guard Antonio Barton, who pumped in a career-high 24 points as the Tigers outshot Tennessee State Sunday, by a 91-86 score.

Barton, a 6'2" recruit out of Notre Dame Prep in Baltimore, was money from everywhere on the court, hitting 6-of-8 from the field, including 5-of-6 three-pointers. He also made 7-of-9 free throws. Barton has scored in double figures in only five of Memphis' 13 games this season, but if the Tigers' offense can get him open looks, he may emerge as a deadly shooter as teams solidify their lineups heading for the NCAA tournament. He's hitting 53% from the field and 57% from beyond the arc.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Crowder's 29 Lifts Golden Eagles over West Virginia

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kicking into the new year, most of the important action was within the Big East, where #5 Syracuse improved to 15-0 on the strength of a 70-58 home win over #15 Notre Dame and #9 Georgetown cemented their #9 ranking with an 86-75 throttling of DePaul. The Hoyas are 12-2.

The best performance of the night came out of a game between two overlooked teams that will likely vie for the 8th or 9th Big East spot in the NCAA tournament come March. Marquette held serve at home with a 79-74 win over pesky West Virginia, getting a game-high 29 points from junior forward Jae Crowder.

Crowder put on quite the shooting clinic, hitting 12 of 14 shots from the field, including 2-of-4 on three-pointers, helping the Golden Eagles improve to a respectable 10-4. He also hit the boards hard for 8 rebounds, handed out 5 assists and made 4 steals in 39 minutes, the most he's played all season. His 29 points was a career high for the 6'6" native of Georgia.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Knight, Harrellson Provide Spark for Wildcats in Win over Louisville

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting together for their annual contest to determine bragging rights for the state of Kentucky, Louisville coach Rick Pitino and his troops welcomed John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats into KFC Yum! Arena (sorry, that's what they're calling it these days) for a New Year's Eve celebration between the 11th (Kentucky) and 22nd-ranked teams in the nation.

It didn't take long for the Wildcats to feel perfectly at home in Louisville's venue, however, as the Wildcats raced to a 35-24 lead at the half and rode easy layups by Josh Harrellson and expert shooting by Brandon Knight to a 78-63 triumph.

Harrellson, conveniently left open near the basket on far too many occasions, dipped in 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting and snagged 14 rebounds as the Wildcats used their superior size and passing skills to dominate in the paint. The Wildcats outrebounded the Cardinals 36-24, and when Harrellson wasn't collecting easy entry passes, freshman Brandon Knight was making hay from the perimeter. Knight nailed 4-of-6 three-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points. Both Knight and Harrellson recorded career highs in scoring for the 'Cats.

Both Louisville and Kentucky have compiled 11-2 records thus far in the season.

Notable: There's still no love from the pollsters for the Cincinnati Bearcats, who went to 14-0 with a blowout, 70-53, win over Seton Hall. The Bearcats are also 2-0 in the Big East, and while they've beaten only DePaul and Seton Hall, they've been by huge margins. Come on, Man! 14-0 has to count for something.

An unbeaten team that hasn't escaped the purview of the polls is #7 San Diego State, now 15-0 thanks to a 93-50 bombing of Occidental. The Aztecs have never been ranked so high.

After losing their Big East opener to Pitt earlier in the week, #4 Connecticut had to go into overtime to down the upstart Bulls from South Florida, 68-61. Kemba Walker, still leading the nation in scoring at 26.7 points per game, had 24 for the Huskies, now 11-1.