RTC corresponent Ryan ZumMallen contributed to tonight’s ATB.
#1 Falls – Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate. Virginia Tech 78, Wake Forest 71. It seemingly never fails – whenever Wake starts to get the nation’s attention, the Deacs cave like Roger McNamee in front of a Congressional hearing. We watched most of this game, and two things were apparent from the get-go: 1) the Deacs were not sharp on either end of the court (evident by Va Tech running out to a quick 30-14 lead); and 2) it is clear to us that Wake relies too much on pure athleticism and skill rather than actual execution and know-how. This was especially true in the last few minutes of the game when Wake continuously took forced shots and made inexplicable fouls instead of managing the clock effectively, even though the game was still in the balance. From the 1:42 mark, Wake threw up five desperate-looking three-pointers (making none), even though the lead was never greater than six points until there was 0:14 remaining. Additionally, the Deacs fouled Virginia Tech eight times during the same period, and even though the Hokies were missing their FTs (7-14 down the stretch), the smarter move would have been to simply play defense (remember, Wake was #2 in defensive efficiency coming into this game) and continue running the offense to get layups and dunks. Didn’t happen. We’re not buying the Wake was mentally fatigued argument; the Deacs need to learn some discipline to maximize their potential this year. As for Virginia Tech, at one point in the second half they were shooting 70% for the half and 56% for the game, which shows just how effectively they were picking apart that Wake defense. Malcolm Delaney, AD Vassallo and Jeff Allen combined for 53/21, as the Hokie won their fifth of six against Wake in the last few years. We’re not ready to anoint the Hokies as an NCAA team just yet, but at 3-1 in the ACC and only one loss in their last nine games (@ Duke), they’re a team to keep an eye on.
Next Best Upset of the Night. Northwestern 70, Michigan St. 63. A Tom Izzo team faithfully followed tradition and lost to a team they should have beaten, allowing Northwestern forward Kevin Coble to hang 31 on the Michigan State defense in a 70-63 Coble, Craig Moore and Michael Thompson combined to score just one point less than Michigan State. Izzo had this to say about losing at home despite outrebounding his opponent 39-19: “That’s what happens when you don’t make shots.” Ha! Or when you commit 18 turnovers and only force seven yourselves.. MSU’s 28-game home winning streak was snapped, and the Spartans drop to 5-1 in Big Ten play while the mighty Wildcats improve to 2-4. Wildcats
More Tremendousness on a Wednesday Night.
- Connecticut 89, Villanova 83. UConn point guard AJ Price nearly doubled his scoring average in the first half tonight, as the #3 Huskies held off a scrappy Villanova team to win, 89-83. Price had 20 by halftime and abused ‘Nova for a career-high 29, outdueling the Wildcats’ leading scorer tenth place with a 2-3 conference record. If Haseem Thabeet can properly execute a dropstep at some point this season, the Huskies are right up there with Pitt as conference favorites. – held scoreless for the game’s first fifteen minutes, and finishing with 14. How good is the Big East right now? A 14-4 Villanova team currently sits in
- UNC 94, Clemson 70. Avoiding upsets likes those that befell the likes of powerhouses Wake Forest, Michigan State and (of course) Bryant last night, the #6 Tar Heels continued their complete dominance over #9 Clemson with a 94-70 victory. poured in 25 on 9-15 shooting to lead the way. The victory improved North Carolina’s home record against Clemson to… wait for it… 54-0. For those of you who think you’ve figured out how to stop , I hope your idea had nothing to do with elbowing him in the teeth because THAT DOESN’T WORK. The human-like-robot-warrior just shoved in a mouthpiece and kept on trucking his way to 20 and 10.
Almost As Good As Cleveland St. Marshall 53, SMU 50. Just watch.
Better than Cleveland St. and Marshall. South Carolina 70, Florida 69. This would have never happened under Dave Odom.
51-Pick Up. NJIT 61, Bryant 51. Definitely RTC-worthy. Check our post on this here.
Other Scores of Narrower Interest.
- Iowa 73, Wisconsin 69 (OT). UW’s Jordan Taylor drilled a 30-foot three at the buzzer to send this game to overtime, but Iowa held on behind David Palmer’s 21/7. Interesting stat – all five Hawkeyes hit at least one three in this one.
- Kentucky 73, Auburn 64. Jodie Meeks watch: 31 pts (5-8 threes), 0 assists, 5 turnovers. UK should be ranked next week.
- Missouri 97, Oklahoma St. 95. This was a big win for Missouri on the road tonight. They nearly blew a 15-pt lead with four minutes remaining, as OSU missed seven chances to tie or take the lead in the last two minutes. Mizzou has a favorable Big 12 schedule and already sit at 3-1 – this looks like an NCAA team to us.
- Oklahoma 72, Nebraska 61. This game was much closer than the score indicates. Blake Griffin had 27/18 as he faced constant double- and triple-teams. Only when Nebraska had a very late scoring drought did the Sooners take over and put them away.
- Baylor 83, Kansas St. 65. Wow, how quickly did KSU go from must-watch tv to irrelevance? Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn came off the bench for 33 pts on 9-12 from three-point land. Baylor at Oklahoma should be a great one this weekend.
- UNLV 76, BYU 70. Wow, it was understandable when BYU lost to Wake at home, but we didn’t see them losing a 13-pt halftime lead at home to conference foe UNLV three weeks later. UNLV’s Wink Adams led the way with 22 pts for the Rebels.
- Arizona St. 53, Arizona 47. Remember when the Wildcats would run and gun? Things have changed in the desert. What’s interesting about this one is that Jamelle Horne was indeed spotted on the floor in the final minute of a close game. Yes, Russ Pennell must enjoy playing with fire.
- Northeastern 58, George Mason 57. Northeastern got a necessary home win to tie up GMU at the top of the CAA standings (along with VCU) when Manny Adako’s layup gave them the lead for good with 25 seconds remaining.
- Louisville 78, Rutgers 59. No RAC troubles for the Cards tonight, as T-Will dunked everything in sight on his way to 23/11/4 stls. The Cards shot 60% as a team and are looking more and more like the team everyone thought they’d be when the season started.
- Xavier 84, St. Bonaventure 64. XU dominated St. Bonnie from start to finish in a balanced effort (11 players scored for Xavier).
- Davidson 83, Furman 43. Steph Curry watch: 30/5/5 stls on 12-18 (6-10 threes). Is anyone surprised?
- Miami (FL) 75, Florida St. 69. This was a must-win for Miami to keep itself in the race for 4th place in the ACC this year.
- LSU 81, Mississippi St. 57. LSU is absolutely manhandling teams at home. Too bad they have six road games remaining in the SEC.
- Northern Iowa 66, Bradley 61. UNI continues to impress in another home win against a competitor for the MVC crown, Bradley.