News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Wednesday, Dec 5th


-If you took the night off last night, you missed quite a bit of fun.  We had multiple overtime games, multiple Big Ten games that came down to the wire, and some other close calls.

-I’m gonna start with a game that most people probably missed because it was a UTR game, and that’s Lipscomb v Belmont.  This is a fun and long running rivalry that has gotten a lot more fun in recent years.  They play twice a year despite it not being a conference game, it’s called the Battle of the Boulevard because the two schools are three miles apart on the same road.  They’re also both conference frontrunners, and last night was the fourth straight time it has come down to the wire.  The game seesawed back and forth, and it ended with Lipscomb getting a three point shot off at the buzzer after inbounding the ball with less than a second to go, and it didn’t go in.  It was the second time Belmont had beaten Lipscomb this year, but these are the only two games that Lipscomb has lost.  Their wins include at TCU and at SMU, and they are the clear frontrunners in the Atlantic Sun.  Don’t be surprised to see both these teams in the NCAA Tournament, and if one or both of them blow through their conferences, we may see them pretty close to the bubble.

-Indiana picked up their second straight 2-point Big Ten Conference win as they defeated Penn State on the road.  It’s a real nice resume win for the Hoosiers, and kind of setback for a Penn State team that we thought would be really good this year (and still may be), but is now just a modest 4-4.

-Northwestern suffered their second straight 2-point Big Ten Conference loss in a thriller against Michigan.  Michigan has looked as good as anyone in the country last year, and has blown out three ranked teams.  Northwestern played a fantastic game and had a chance to pull the upset and pick up a huge resume win, but came up just short.  It’s a little soul crushing for the Wildcats, but it is far from their only opportunity at a big win.

-Providence v Boston College isn’t quite the rivalry it used to be now that it’s not a conference game, but it still has some heat, it’s still a fun series, and it’s still usually a thrilling game.  Last night was no exception as the game seesawed back and forth and went into overtime before Providence was able to pull out the win.

-Oklahoma got a really nice win against Notre Dame in the Jimmy V Classic.  I wasn’t that big on the Sooners, but they are making it impossible for me to just brush them off.

-Miami FL is making it very easy for me to just brush them off.  They lost their third straight last night, and their second straight to an Ivy League school, as Penn beat them rather handily.

-The postgame interview of the evening belongs to Georgia State coach Ron Hunter!  After coming from behind to beat Alabama with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, he proclaimed that they were 2-0 in the SEC, and therefore in first place!

-West Virginia is in trouble.  It’s better to be in trouble in early December than it is in March, but they have not looked good at all this year.  They lost to a Florida team last night that had also been struggling, but that didn’t even have to sweat last night to beat the ‘Eers.



-OHIO STATE AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten).  Ohio State is looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, and shouldn’t have too much trouble against an Illinois team who’s program appears to be getting better, but just isn’t quite there yet.

-MARSHALL AT DUQUESNE.  Both teams are out to decent starts that are better than the kinds of starts we’re used to seeing, but probably not good enough to indicate that they’re NCAA Tournament teams without the automatic bid.  Still, this would be a nice win for whoever pulls it off.

-NORTH TEXAS AT INDIANA STATE.  This game is flying way under the radar, but both teams come into this with just one loss, and the Trees have won five straight.  We may be continuing to hear from them as the season goes along, at least on the Under the Radar show.

-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT.  We weren’t expecting too much out of Vandy.  Then the season started and they looked better than we expected.  Now, the injury bug has hit them hard with Darius Garland being out for the year.  They have a crosstown feud to deal with tonight as they begin to adjust to life without him.

-VCU AT TEXAS.  Texas is coming off a surprising home loss to Radford and is looking to bounce back.  VCU is coming off a somewhat surprising loss to Old Dominion and is not just looking to bounce back, but to pick up the kind of win that would indicate they belong in the tournament.  I don’t think they’ve got it in them, but they will certainly get the chance tonight against their old head coach, and I’ve certainly been wrong before.

-OKLAHOMA STATE AT TULSA.  Both teams have a lot of catching up to do if they want to get into the fray of relevance.  Winning tonight would be a nice start.

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT MISSOURI STATE.  WKU is still looking for their first true road win.

-SAINT LOUIS AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS.  The Salukis got off to a kind of sluggish start, but they have won five of their last six and their last three by double digits, so they could be stepping onto the level that we thought they’d be at.  They have a big game tonight against a pretty good Saint Louis team that really needs this win because, quite frankly, they play in an A10 conference that is predominantly made up of sub-NIT caliber teams this year.

-TEMPLE AT VILLANOVA (Big Five).  Temple hasn’t generated a whole lot of chatter this year, but they are 7-1 on the season and have won two true road games.  If they can pull off the win tonight against a Nova team that has struggled in most of their games then they will probably be catapulted into national relevance, not to mention pick up a huge win on their resume, not also not to mention win some major Big Five bragging rights.

-NEBRASKA AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten).  Nebraska is in the rankings and has a smattering of decent wins on their resume.  Picking up their second true road win, along with a conference win, will keep their momentum going.  Minney needs to win this game to help get their season back on on track.

-UTAH STATE AT BYU.  Utah State is off to a fantastic 7-1 start with some pretty nice wins away from home.  BYU is a modest 5-4, but all five wins have come at home and they should be pumped up for this game given the rivalry that the two schools have.

-IDAHO AT WASHINGTON STATE.  It is very rare that either one of these teams are in the hunt for the NCAA Tournament, but I still really like this rivalry.  Did you know that the two rival schools are about eight miles apart (7.4 according to Google Maps)?  Did you also know that they’ve never met in the NCAA Tournament?  Geez, I don’t think there is any other college basketball rivalry where that is the case!!

-DENVER AT AIR FORCE (Front Range).  We at Hoops HD Love the Front Range!!!!  Actually, as much as we love the Front Range, surely there is a better game on than this one.  Okay, moving along….

-SAN DIEGO AT SAN DIEGO STATE.  These two have played some exciting games in recent years, and this year seems to be more evenly matched than normal.  San Diego State still has an outside shot of playing their way inside the bubble, but they really need to start racking up some wins.  San Diego comes in with just two losses and is a team that we think will make some noise in the West Coast later this year, so it should be a fun match-up.

-ARKANSAS AT COLORADO STATE.  This is a tough road game (and the first true road game) for an Arkansas team that has played a lot better than what we were expecting this year.  Still, it will be good for the Razorbacks to get that first true road win on their profile.

-TCU AT SMU.  These two teams have been playing for a long time, but only recently did it become a game where both teams looked like they could be NCAA Tournament caliber teams.  Having said that, both have gotten off to slower starts than we expected, so in addition to being a rivalry game it’s a big resume and momentum game as well.

-WASHINGTON AT GONZAGA.  Stay up late for this one!  This rivalry goes beyond just the fans and extends into the administrations, although they seem to be on much better terms now.  At least the series is back.  Gonzaga is ranked #1 and playing for a #1 seed in the Tournament, and Washington is trying to pick up what would probably be their biggest win of the season, at least in terms of their resume.

-SAN FRANCISCO AT CALIFORNIA.  The Dons are coming off their first and only loss of the season against a really good Buffalo team.  Although they are the road team, they are the far better team that Cal and should get the win.


BUY GAMES (and other games worth mentioning, but not highlighting)

-Lafayette @ UConn
-Mount Saint Mary’s @ Saint John’s
-Ohio @ Xavier – Ohio is 5-2 and may put up a bit of a fight
-Hartford @ Duke
-VMI @ Virginia Tech
-Le Moyne (nondiv1) @ Buffalo
-Brown @ Butler
-Western Carolina @ NC State
-Central Arkansas @ Louisville
-Detroit @ Toledo – Toledo can improve to 8-1
-Pine Bluff @ Texas Tech
-UNC Wilmington @ North Carolina
-LMU @ Cal State Fullerton – LMU trying to improve to 9-1

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