COACHES VS CANCER CLASSIC
-Maryland defeated Michigan State 62-60. Michigan State had a chance to tie it on their last possession as they trailed 62-59, but Maryland opted to foul to prevent the Spartans from getting a three pointer off. This game should be enough to get Maryland into the rankings. Theyve been playing excellent basketball so far.
-The consolation game between Texas and Saint Johns was exciting as well. Saint Johns had a shot at winning it at the end, but came up empty and Texas escaped with a 77-76 win. It was an unfortunate loss for Saint Johns who was trying to build some momentum early on this season.
-All of the favorites won, so Alabama will face Iowa and Xavier will face Villanova in the semifinals. Alabama, who is the highest rated team in the tournament, had some trouble against Middle Tennessee. They led the whole game, but Middle Tennessee was able to keep it within reach the entire time. Xavier maintained a lead for most of the game againt VCU, but couldnt put them away either. VCU came from 12 points down in the second half to cut the lead to 1, and actually had a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime, but didnt even attempt a three pointer on their last possession and Xavier escaped with a 70-67 win. Villanova defeated College of Charleston pretty handily and Iowa pulled away from Toledo toward the end. The consolation games are today and the semifinals are on Sunday.
-AIR FORCE AT COLORADO. Air Force blew out Stanford in their last game, which earned them the right to take on Duke in the CBE Classic semifinals next week. In the meantime, they have a big in-state opponent in Colorado. The Buffs have not looked all that good so far, but this would be a huge win for them. It should also end up helping their RPI in the long run because Air Force will likely win a lot of games this year. AFA isnt all that quick, but they shoot and pass the ball extremely well and are not an easy team to beat. Colorado is trying to rebound from their blowout loss to New Mexico earlier this week.
-WICHITA STATE AT GEORGE MASON. This is the return game from last years Bracket Buster. These two also met in the Sweet Sixteen last season. Both are unbeaten, but both are also untested. George Mason won both meetings last year, but they lost a lot of their top players and struggled against Cleveland State, a rather sup par Horizon League team, in their season opener, so this one wont be easy. Still, they should end up having a fairly good year and this would be a nice road win for Wichita State if they could pull it off.
-HOFSTRA AT MANHATTAN. Hofstra needs to bounce back from their season opening loss to Charlotte, especially if they want to establish themselves as an NCAA Tournament caliber team. Because their schedule isnt all that tough, the margin for error is smaller. They need to be playing with a sense of urgency even though its this early in the season.
-CREIGHTON AT NEBRASKA. This is always a big in-state game. This is Nebraskas first div1 opponent. Creighton is 1-0 after blowing out Mississippi Valley State. From a match-up standpoint its interesting because Nebraska likes to slow the game down and play tough half court defense. Creighton doesnt have much of a transition game and matches up well against it. This series has belonged to Creighton recently as they have won the last eight meetings. It would be a nice road win for them if they can pull it off.
-CALIFORNIA AT SAN DIEGO STATE. This is a big game for San Diego State, who needs a statement win or two on their resume. Its also a big game for Cal, who is trying to build an NCAA Tournament resume of their own. Both teams could make a run at the NCAA Tourney, but neither at this point would be considered cant miss tournament teams. This would be a very nice win for either team though. SDSU struggled in their first three games, but came out of their funk in their last game. This is only the third div1 team theyve faced though. Cal won their season opener against Utah Valley State.
-DREXEL AT VERMONT. This is Drexels first div1 opponent, and its a big one. Vermont is coming off an impressive blowout win against Boston College. The one loss they had this year was to Maryland, who is very hot right now. Because of their conference they really need to rack up an extremely high win total to have a shot at an at-large though. Drexel is favored by many to do well in the Colonial and they have a lot of talent, but they had the same talent last year and it never really seemed to gel.
-MASSACHUSETTS AT PITTSBURGH. This is the second game of a round robin tournament taking place at Pitt, and UMass is the team in this tourney who has the best shot at pulling an upset. UMass has some big games OOC, but this would go a long way as far as being a statement win for them. It would also keep them undefeated. Theyve looked really good so far, but this is their first big test. The same can be said for Pitt. They appear to be a solid team who will contend for a spot in the pod system, so every game is big for them.
-STEPHEN F. AUSTIN AT ARKANSAS. A win for the Razorbacks gets them to 2-0.
-ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD (nondiv1) AT BUTLER. This is a sandwich game before Butler goes on to the NIT semifinals.
-IDAHO STATE AT BYU. BYU played well in their opener, but lost to a very tough UCLA team. They shouldnt have too much trouble picking up their first win today.
-VALDOSTA STATE (nondiv1) AT GEORGIA. Georgia needs to bounce back from their loss to a pretty good Western Kentucky team. Playing div2 opponents is a good way to do that. A win will do nothing for their NCAA Tournament resume, but it should help their mental health.
-MONMOUTH AT HOUSTON. Houston struggled in their season opener with Rhode Island, but ended up winning in overtime. Still, a sub par performance for a tournament caliber team. Nevertheless a win gets them to 2-0.
-TENNESSEE TECH AT KANSAS STATE. Kansas State looked very impressive in their win against Rutgers, especially since they were on the road. A win today gets them to 3-0, which is a nice start to their season.
-NORTHWESTERN STATE AT LOUISVILLE. This is the season opener for Louisville. Northwestern State is 1-1, but they nearly pulled off the upset at Oklahoma State, so this is a very quality opponent that could beat Louisville if they overlook them.
-EASTERN MICHIGAN AT MARQUETTE. Marquette will be competing in the CBE Classic semifinals next week, so this is a bit of a sandwich game for them. They blue out Detroit in their last game, but have been overlooking teams and dont want to do that today. A win gets them to 3-0.
-ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF AT NEVADA. Nevada should have little trouble getting their second win against a div1 team.
-BROWN AT PROVIDENCE. This is a cross town series that Providence should dominate, which would improve them to 2-0.
-CANICIUS AT WEST VIRGINIA. A win gets the Mountaineers to 2-0 against div1 competition. They have yet to be tested though.
-Another exciting game from last night was New Mexico State at LMU. New Mexico State opened up a huge lead and appeared to be running away with it, but LMU mounted a rather bizarre comeback. Everything a team needs to do in order to mount a comeback LMU pretty much failed to do. They missed freethrows, they turned it over, and it seems as though everytime they were beginning to build momentum, theyd be called for a technical foul. New Mexico State just couldnt score at all and eventually, after hitting eleven straight fieldgoals, LMU got the lead. They hit a three pointer in the final seconds to give them the 71-69 win.
This was also one of the most poorly officiated games Ive seen in quite some time. I normally dont mention officiating, but this was ridiculous. It was as if the refs were trying to soak up as much of the spotlight and didnt want the players to take it away from them. There were four technicals called, three of which were on LMU and none of the four appeared to be necessary. At another point New Mexico State center Martin Iti
was called for an intentional foul away from the ball for what appeared to be inadvertent contact. Most refs wouldnt have even called any sort of foul, much less an intentional. LMU head coach Rodney Tention was ejected after receiving his second technical.
At the end of the game, LMU hit a game winning shot with one second to go. The clock stopped since there was less than a minute in the game, but LMUs bench stormed onto the court before time had expired. For the sake of gamesmanship its probably good that a technical wasnt called LMU, but if they had called one it would have been the only legit technical called the entire game. At least the officiating was awful for both teams. I think thats called equal opportunity incompetence.
This is a bad loss for New Mexico State because they dont play a tough schedule and their margin for error is not all that big when it comes to the overall number of losses.
MICHIGAN AND OHIO STATE
-Michigan blew out Harvard and Ohio State blew out Eastern Kentucky. Something tells me that wont be much of a consolation for whoever loses the big football game today, but at the very least both are undefeated in basketball. After the noise from the game dies down in a week or two, it appears that both schools will have good basketball to look forward to and there should be a lot of enthusiasm for both teams as the season progresses. Its just hard to get excited about a team blowing out a bunch of cupcakes early on.
Unfortunately I wont even get to see the football game because Ill be at a wedding. The wedding is in Ohio, which explains why the church was available. I dont really care who wins, but it would be an interesting game to watch. I can also say that if any of my friends or family ever get married in the month of March, theyll receive a nice gift from me as well as my best wishes, but what they wont receive is my actual presence at the wedding.