News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Sunday, Jan 20th

Yesterday, like all Saturdays, was another roller coaster of a day.

-I’m going to start off in the SoCon (of all places) because the Furman v Wofford game was not the biggest thing that happened yesterday, but it was the biggest thing that happened that almost no one is talking about.  Furman received a ton of well received accolades after their wins at Loyola Chicago and Villanova, and how they cracked the Top 25.  Wofford took on even more heavyweights out of conference, but wasn’t able to pick up any wins against teams that will likely land in the top half of the bracket, but they’ve beaten pretty much everyone else, and the metrics love them.  The win yesterday, which was a thriller that seesawed back and forth, put them a full three games ahead of Furman in the SoCon standings, and I just don’t see Furman catching them.  If Wofford continues to blow through the league, I’m guessing that there will be room for them inside the bubble, especially since we’ve been told here at Hoops HD by some people that we think would know that there is an incentive to identify good teams from outside the normal multi-bid leagues.

-There are no more undefeated teams.  Virginia and Duke seesawed back and forth as you would expect, but the Blue Devils came up with some huge defensive stops in the final minutes and held on to win by just 2.  It’s very likely that one or both these teams could end up on the #1 line.  For Virginia, the loss may be more rare than you think.  Everyone remembers their loss to UMBC, but people forget that they were 47-3 in their last fifty games coming into yesterday, and were 24-1 in their last 25 ACC games, which is a pretty good league.

-Michigan also went down for the first time at Wisconsin.  Throughout the year Wisky has looked good at times, bad at other times, and decent most of the time.  I didn’t think they had it in them to knock off the Wolverines, but they did.  It’s probably their biggest win of the season up to this point even though the win came at home.

-Tennessee really had to sweat out Alabama at home yesterday, but barely held on to win.  Otherwise we’d have had three of the top four teams lose in the same day, and I don’t recall the last time that happened.

-Kansas has an amazing profile when you look at their wins, but they also have losses on there that you typically don’t see from #1 seeds.  Yesterday, they went on the road and lost to a West Virginia team that may struggle to make the NIT, let alone the NCAAs.  Most at Hoops HD keep wanting them on the #1 line, and that will probably be the case again this week, but I for one just don’t see it.

-Baylor has really turned a corner, and got a huge home win yesterday against Texas Tech.  The Bears are healthy again and have suddenly won three of their last four with the only loss being a close one to Kansas.

-Kentucky got a really nice road win at Auburn to help further their case for a protected seed.  Auburn’s next win against a team that’s likely to make the NCAA Tournament (without the auto bid) will be their first.  As great as everyone thinks they are, they still haven’t beaten a good team.

-Oklahoma knocked off Texas in the first edition of the Red River Shootout.  It was a nice win for a Longhorns team that’s been kind of schizophrenic this year.

-Indiana may be in some trouble.  They have now lost four straight, and things aren’t about to get any easier.  Purdue beat them rather handily yesterday in the season’s first edition of that rivalry.  With games at Northwestern, Michigan, at Rutgers, and at Michigan State on the horizon, Indiana is looking at a stretch where they could easily drop seven out of eight games.

-UCF has got to be the least exciting and most ignored 14-3 team from a multi-bid conference in history.  They won against Tulsa yesterday, but barely, and no one is really all that excited about them despite their bloated record.

-Stony Brook got another road win yesterday at Maine, but it was a much bigger struggle than expected.  Nevertheless, they got the W, and still have more road wins than any other team in the nation.

-A few other fun notes.  There are no more unbeaten teams, but there is still one winless team (at least against div1 opponents).  Maryland Easter Shore, Alcorn State, and Southern each picked up their first div1 wins of the season yesterday, making UNC Asheville the only D1 team without a D1 win.

-North Alabama won at the buzzer yesterday to improve to 4-1 in ASun play.  Not only is North Alabama a transitional team, but it is their FIRST YEAR of the transition!  That is a rather remarkable start.

 

-FLORIDA STATE AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC).  This is a very winnable road game for the Noles, which is kind of important since it would only be their second of the year so far.

-PROVIDENCE AT MARQUETTE (Big East).  Providence has the talent to put together the type of run that could land them in the NCAA Tournament, but for now they are just 1-3 in league play and although they’ve played well in some of those losses they are still in a bit of a tailspin.

-ILLINOIS AT IOWA (Big Ten).  This is a very winnable road game for the Hawkeyes, and it’s important that they hold serve and don’t miss the low hanging fruit.

 

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Bracketology 2019: March Madness Predictions (Version 3.0)

We are only 8 weeks away from Selection Sunday as we continue to make our NCAA tourney predictions. Last March HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel correctly picked 66 of the 68 teams that made the tourney, 65 of which were within 1 spot of their actual seed, including 42 right on the money. He will spend the upcoming months predicting which 68 teams will hear their names called on March 17th. See below for his list of who would make the cut if they picked the field today and if you agree or disagree then feel free to tweet us. To see how we stack up with other websites (ranked 9th out of 127 entries over the past 5 years), check out: www.bracketmatrix.com

SEED: TEAM (CONFERENCE)
1: Virginia (ACC)
1: Michigan (Big 10)
1: Duke (ACC)
1: Tennessee (SEC)

2: Michigan State (Big 10)
2: Kansas (Big 12)
2: Gonzaga (WCC)
2: Kentucky (SEC)

3: Texas Tech (Big 12)
3: North Carolina (ACC)
3: Virginia Tech (ACC)
3: Nevada (MWC)

4: Oklahoma (Big 12)
4: Houston (AAC)
4: Marquette (Big East)
4: Maryland (Big 10)

5: Auburn (SEC)
5: Buffalo (MAC)
5: Florida State (ACC)
5: Villanova (Big East)

6: Nebraska (Big 10)
6: Louisville (ACC)
6: Iowa State (Big 12)
6: Purdue (Big 10)

7: LSU (SEC)
7: Iowa (Big 10)
7: Wisconsin (Big 10)
7: Mississippi State (SEC)

8: Indiana (Big 10)
8: NC State (ACC)
8: Mississippi (SEC)
8: TCU (Big 12)

9: Ohio State (Big 10)
9: Cincinnati (AAC)
9: St. John’s (Big East)
9: Kansas State (Big 12)

10: Seton Hall (Big East)
10: Minnesota (Big 10)
10: Syracuse (ACC)
10: Texas (Big 12)

11: UCF (AAC)
11: Temple (AAC)
11: Washington (Pac-12)
11: Arizona (Pac-12)
11: Arizona State (Pac-12)
11: St. Louis (A-10)

12: VCU (A-10)
12: Wofford (SoCon)
12: Lipscomb (Atlantic Sun)
12: Murray State (OVC)

13: Hofstra (CAA)
13: North Texas (C-USA)
13: Georgia State (Sun Belt)
13: Vermont (America East)

14: New Mexico State (WAC)
14: Yale (Ivy)
14: Loyola-Chicago (MVC)
14: UC Irvine (Big West)

15: Radford (Big South)
15: South Dakota State (Summit)
15: Northern Kentucky (Horizon)
15: Montana (Big Sky)

16: Lehigh (Patriot)
16: Rider (MAAC)
16: Abilene Christian (Southland)
16: Wagner (NEC)
16: Norfolk State (MEAC)
16: Texas Southern (SWAC)

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Under The Radar Game of the Day: Charleston at Hofstra (and Friday Recap)

For today’s News, Notes and Highlighted Games – CLICK HERE

Charleston (14-5, 3-3 CAA) at Hofstra (16-3, 6-0 CAA) – 4:00 PM EST (Pride Productions/caa.tv)

Today’s UTR Game of the Day takes us to Long Island (specifically Hempstead, New York) where the Hofstra Pride will play host to the Charleston Cougars in a pivotal Colonial matchup. Charleston is coming off of a tough loss at Northeastern Thursday night, but are already in a hole after somewhat surprising losses against Drexel and James Madison so far. The Drexel loss was especially painful considering Drexel’s Troy Harper hit three consecutive free throws with a second remaining to stun the Cougars in Charleston. Charleston has two main go-to players: Grant Riller (21.7 PPG) and Jarrell Brantley (18.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG).

Hofstra comes into this afternoon’s matinee with a thirteen-game winning streak that includes six straight league wins along with wins against two other teams favored to win their respective leagues: Stony Brook (in the America East) and Rider (Metro Atlantic). There’s no shame in their only three losses, either – an overtime loss at VCU and games at Maryland and Marshall. Justin Wright-Foreman averages a whopping 26.5 points a game for the Pride.

FRIDAY RECAP

-Maryland passed another tough road test with a 75-61 win in Columbus last night against Ohio State. The Big Ten now has 3 tiers of teams – 3 potential protected seeds in Michigan, Michigan State and Maryland in the top tier. Ohio State is in the second tier of teams (including Indiana, Purdue, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin) that are also NCAA contenders as well.

-Buffalo continues to impress after a relatively easy win at home against Eastern Michigan. The Bulls have two pretty winnable games at Northern Illinois and Kent State next week.

-Even when Xavier brought their B+ game to Villanova, it was still not enough to counter a hot-shooting Wildcat team that ended up hitting 15 3-point shots in a ten-point victory at home. While Villanova continues to look like a team that has a shot at winding up as a protected seed, it puts Xavier in absolute must-win mode at home against Providence and Marquette next week if they are to harbor any postseason hopes.

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Saturday, Jan 19th (and Friday Night)

CLICK HERE for this week’s Hoops HD Bracket Rundown Video Podcast

-Michigan State handed Nebraska their first home loss in a rather impressive showing. They are definitely playing like a #2 seed because those are the types of games that are not easy to win.

-In UTR news, Belmont lost to Jacksonville State for the second time this season.  With two conferences losses, the chances of Belmont catching Murray State are pretty much zero.

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-VIRGINIA AT DUKE (ACC) (***Spotlight Game***).  It’s rare that you see two teams that are ranked #1 going at it.  To be fair, Duke isn’t likely to be ranked #1 next week after losing at home to Syracuse, but as of now each of them is #1 in either the coaches or AP poll.  Both are also on pace to get a #1 seed, and this is the kind of win that can help cement a team onto the #! line.  It should be fun!!

-MARYLAND AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten) (Friday).  Maryland has been playing extremely well lately, whereas Ohio State has been playing decently well.  This is a win that would help

-EASTERN MICHIGAN AT BUFFALO (MAC) (Friday).  Buffalo shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one, staying in the rankings, and staying unbeaten in MAC play.

-SAINT JOSEPH’S AT SAINT LOUIS (Atlantic Ten) (Friday).  SLU is unbeaten in A10 play and has a shot at an at-large if they can avoid stubbing their toes against non-tournament claliber teams, which is basically everyone in the conference

-XAVIER AT VILLANOVA (Big East) (Friday).  Nova seems to have turned the corner since conference play starts, and a win gets them to 5-0 and keeps them on track to earn a really good seed.  Xavier is pretty far behind the pack, but they can get caught back up if they can string together some wins

-MICHIGAN AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten).  This is a tough road test for Michigan, but they’ve certainly taken and passed tough tests before.  It would also be a huge signature upset win for Wisconsin if they’re able to pull it off.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT MIAMI FL (ACC).  This is a winnable road game for a UNC team that’s not necessarily in a tailspin, but also not flying all that high at the moment either.

-TULSA AT UCF (American).  Despite the bloated record, UCF’s schedule is very flimsy right now and they need to hold serve at home.

-FLORIDA AT GEORGIA (SEC).  Florida needs to string together quite a few wins in order to get within range of the bubble.

-ARKANSAS AT OLE MISS (SEC).  Arkansas has a few decent things on their resume, but they’ve still got quite a bit of catching up to do.  Ole Miss has been one of the bigger surprises of the season and will remain in solid shape if they can continue to hold serve.

-ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE (SEC).  Right now we have Alabama as a team that’s inside the bubble, and Tennessee as a team that’s on the #1 line.  With the Vols playing at home they shouldn’t have too much trouble remaining on pace for a #1 seed.

-KANSAS AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big 12).  In most years this is a very tough road game to win, and a win that looks really good on a team’s resume.  This year, it’s a winnable road game that would almost look bad on a resume if they weren’t able to win it, especially if Kansas is gunning for the #1 line.

-NC STATE AT NOTRE DAME (ACC).  NC State has looked really good at home against non-tournament teams (and Auburn).  I think they’re good, but I don’t think their resume is nearly as good at their ranking at the moment.  They’ll get their chances.  Notre Dame isn’t a great team, but it would at least be a road win for the Wolfpack.

-INDIANA AT PURDUE (Big Ten).  We’ve got two teams that will probably land in the top half of the bracket, and it’s a rivalry, and it’s two teams who have room for improvement on their resumes.  Quite a bit at stake here!  Should be fun!

-PITTSBURGH AT SYRACUSE (ACC).  Pitt is squarely on our bubble at the moment, and a road win like this would to a ton to push them in the right direction.  Syracuse is by far this year’s most schizophrenic teams.  They’ve lost at home to Old Dominion, and they’ve won at Duke (albeit while Duke was battling injuries).  You just never know what’s going to happen.

-CINCINNATI AT WICHITA STATE (American).  Wichita is having a rough year, but it’s still not the easiest thing in the world to go into the Round House and win.  Cincinnati has a bloated record, but it isn’t stock full of big time wins, so their margin for error is not huge.

-WAKE FOREST AT VIRGINIA TECH (ACC).  VA Tech has a very winnable home game and should be able to bounce back after getting creamed by Virginia earlier in the week.

-KENTUCKY AT AUBURN (SEC).  For weeks I’ve been railing on Auburn for barely having any decent wins, let alone good ones.  They’re at home today against a Kentucky team that looks like a protected seed, and can completely remedy that if they’re able to pull off the win.

-TCU AT KANSAS STATE (Big 12).  K State has flipped the switch and gone from looking like an NIT team to looking like a protected seed.  TCU doesn’t have any bad losses, but has yet to pick up any really good wins yet.  That can change with a road win today.

-LOUISVILLE AT GEORGIA TECH (ACC).  This should be a winnable road game for Louisville that they can add to a resume that’s already pretty good and is continuing to get better.

-SAINT JOHN’S AT BUTLER (Big East).  The Johnnies look decently strong, but they still have some work to do, and any games they’re able to win on the road will help.  Butler is on the outside looking in right now, and needs to string together some wins to get back on the right side of the bubble.

-CALIFORNIA AT WASHINGTON (Pac Twelve).  Washington should be able to land inside the bubble if they continue to dominate the Pac Twelve and hold serve in the games they’re supposed to win.  At this point, that’s pretty much all of them.

-PENN AT TEMPLE (Big Five).  The last time Penn played a Big Five game, they knocked off Villanova, and had a very strong looking resume!!  Since then, THEY’VE SUCKED!!  Temple has been getting better and better (seemingly rather quietly) and is in good shape to be in a position to get an at-large bid.

-TEXAS TECH AT BAYLOR (Big 12).  This is a winnable road game for a Texas Tech team that’s looking to bounce back from a loss to Iowa State.

-NORFOLK STATE AT SAVANNAH STATE (MEAC).  The Team of the People!!!  They try to even out their MEAC record at 2-2.

-OKLAHOMA STATE AT IOWA STATE (Big 12).  Iowa State is looking more and more like a protected seed, especially after their big road win at Texas Tech.  They should be able to hold serve at home in this one before heading to Kansas.

-SOUTH CAROLINA AT LSU (SEC).  South Carolina was horrendous out of conference, but since league play began they’ve looked fantastic.  They’ve still got a long way to go, but they are hardly a team you can take for granted.  LSU is also unbeaten in SEC play and will be looking to hold them off at home.

-UMASS AT VCU (Atlantic Ten).  VCU is almost out of strikes, but not entirely.  They need to blow through this league, which they are good enough to do, in order to be in position to get an at-large bid.

-OREGON STATE AT ARIZONA (Pac Twelve).  Both teams are on the outside looking in right now, and they both have at on of work to do to get caught back up with the pack when trying to earn an at-large.

-FURMAN AT WOFFORD (SoCon).  This game is a little bigger than normal UTR games.  Furman has the best win out of any team in the SoCon with the road win at Villanova, but they’ve already lost two league games.  Wofford is probably the best team in the SoCon.  If Furman loses this one and falls three games behind Wofford I do not think they will catch up, and without a first place finish I do not think they can earn an at-large bid.  Wofford doesn’t have a big win, but they still might be able to play their way onto the bubble, or even inside of it, if they can run away from the rest of the league.

-OKLAHOMA AT TEXAS (Big 12).  This is a conference rivalry game between two likely NCAA Tournament teams that both have room to improve.  Texas is another very schizophrenic team who has some big wins, but also some questionable losses, and a win like this could really stabilize their resume.  Oklahoma has a lot of decent wins on their resume, but this would be one of their better ones if they’re able to pull it off.

-HOUSTON AT SOUTH FLORIDA (American).  This won’t be the easiest road game for Houston to win, but it’s still a game they should be able to pull off without too much trouble, and improve to 4-1 in true road games.

-DEPAUL AT SETON HALL (Big East).  Seton Hall is solidly in the field for now, but they aren’t so far in that they can afford to go into an absolute tailspin.  It’s important that they hold serve at home against a very much improved, but still not very good DePaul team.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT VANDERBILT (SEC).  Mississippi State has a very slimsy resume, and haven’t beaten anyone that’s solidly in the tournament.  That will still be the case even if they win against Vandy, but it will at least give them another true road win. Right now they only have one.

-PENN STATE AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten).  Minnesota just got blasted by a horrendously bad Illinois team earlier in the week.  It’s important that they do not lose to Penn State at home.  That would be two losses in a row to teams that will probably not even be in the NIT.

-COLORADO STATE AT UTAH STATE (Mountain West).  I should just give up on Utah State, but I suppose if they win out or come close to it the committee will at least take a strong look at them.

-OREGON AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Twelve).  It’s hard to feel good about anyone in the Pac Twelve.  They all still have work to do, but both of these teams have shown that they are perhaps good enough to blow through the league and earn a bid.  That being said, winning today is rather essential for both teams.

-BYU AT SAN FRANCISCO (West Coast Conference).  San Francisco is a good team with a resume that just doesn’t measure up, and may not ever measure up if they’re not able to beat Gonzaga.  If they’re unable to win on the road against the Zags, which is probably the case, then they at least need to win all the rest of their games.

UNDER THE RADAR

-STONY BROOK AT MAINE (America East).  Stony Brook has more true road wins than any team in the country.  They have a chance of getting another one today and staying on top of the conference

-BINGHAMTON AT VERMONT (American East).  Vermont needs to keep winning to keep pace with Stony Brook

-GEORGIA STATE AT TROY (Sun Belt).  It hasn’t always been pretty, but GA State is unbeaten in SBC play and has a pretty decent resume overall

-SOUTHERN MISS AT OLD DOMINION (Conference USA).  If Old Dominion can win out (much easier said than done) then there may be room for them inside the bubble.

-UNC GREENSBORO AT EAST TENNESSEE STATE (SoCon).  There are four really good teams in the SoCon, and these are two of them.

-UC IRVINE AT CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE (Big West).  Ivrine’s home loss to Long Beach State was a bit of a backbreaker, but they still look to be one of the better teams in the league and should end up with a manageable seed in the NCAA Tournament if they can blow through the rest of league play and win the auto-bid

-RICE AT NORTH TEXAS (Conference USA).  UNT is trying to improve to 17-2 on the year.

-NORTH FLORIDA AT LIBERTY (Atlantic Sun).  Liberty is trying to keep pace with Lipscomb and earn home court advantage in the ASun Tourney.

-MURRAY STATE AT SIUE (Ohio Valley).  Murray State should blow through this game, and really blow through the rest of their schedule

-NEW MEXICO STATE AT UTAH VALLEY (WAC).  I think New Mexico State can continue to run through the league, get a manageable seed in the NCAA Tournament, and make someone’s life hell in the Round of 64

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Hoops HD Bracket Rundown: January 17th

The seedlist and bracket reflects games played through Thursday, January 17th at 10pm, est.  They rank teams based on what they’ve done up to this point, not where they think they’ll be ranked in March.  

Chad is joined by a full panel and once again acts as arbitrator as they collectively build a seed list line by line, and debate and discuss each team as they go.  There are disagreements as to which teams should be on the #1 line and who some of the other protected seeds should be.  They also debate where some of the teams like Virginia Tech, Auburn, NC State, and others who have bloated records but lack quality wins belong.  They cover every team as they go down the list.

Below is the bracket of the seedlist, but don’t look at it until you’ve watched the show.

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

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Hanging with the Hausers: HoopsHD is in the house for Marquette-Georgetown

HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel has spent the past few months covering several Georgetown basketball home games, with a very special reward coming in March. Even though he has met his quota, he will still cover a few more games to keep from getting rusty.  Tuesday night Marquette came to DC for its 26th overall meeting with Georgetown.

No pregame meal at the arena this time: Nando’s Peri Peri courtesy of my favorite season ticket holder (thanks Sam!). Georgetown was nice enough to put me back on the baseline, which gave me a great view of a ranked opponent after seeing a bakery full of cupcakes for 2 straight months:

SR C Jessie Govan was apparently stunned to see me as well:

And away we go:

I saw the nation’s leading scorer Chris Clemons score 45 PTS when Campbell visited DC in November so I was excited to see what Marquette PG Markus Howard (the #4 scorer in the nation at 25.8 PPG) would have in store for us. Fortunately I took a couple of nice photos of him early on:

  

Unfortunately, he played only 3 minutes before sitting out the rest of the game due to a lower back strain. Had you told me in advance that Georgetown’s Mac McClung would outscore Howard 24-0 I would have told you that Marquette’s 3-game winning streak was going to come to a crashing halt…but that is why they play the games. Howard’s entire team picked up the slack in the 1st half: Sam Hauser scored 10 PTS while making jump shots from all over the floor, his younger brother Joey ran the offense with 4 AST in the 1st 20 minutes, and Theo John did his damage in the paint with a baby hook, layup, and a pair of big dunks:

Georgetown was bolstered by the return of Trey Mourning, who made his return to the court after missing the past 6 games due to a concussion via a dunk of his own. McClung, who missed 4 games of his own during the past month, looked great with 14 PTS via a pair of threes as well as a couple of floaters high off the glass:

Coach Patrick Ewing huddled up with his team to see where he could find some offense since Govan/James Akinjo were underwhelming with a combined 2-8 FG:

The surprising solution: SR Kaleb Johnson, who played big-time off the bench with 10 PTS on a perfect 4-4 FG in only 9 minutes of 1st half action:

Akinjo was never able to find his shooting touch (finishing 1-10 from the field) but Govan got it going in the 2nd half with 10 PTS including 2-2 3PM:

McClung also made a pair of long-range shots in the final 20 minutes to finish with a team-high 24 PTS, but the law firm of Hauser & Hauser saved the day for the Golden Eagles. It is hard to imagine a 6’9” freshman taking charge of the team in the absence of his star teammate with no advance notice, but that is exactly what Joey did: he played every single second of the 2nd half, finishing with 10 PTS/8 REB and tied his career-high with 6 AST. However, big brother Sam was truly golden in the 2nd stanza: 3-6 from behind the arc, a jumper in the lane to cap a 14-0 run and give his team a 57-51 lead, a fadeaway jumper to take a 72-70 lead, and even a pair of FTs with 3 seconds left to set a career-high with 31 PTS and put the finishing touch on a huge 74-71 road win:

In the postgame press conference I asked Coach Ewing if his game plan changed at all after Howard left the game for good. He said that it did not change at all because “our goal is to play our game”:

Then I inquired whether McClung had to do anything different due to Akinjo going cold from the field and Govan getting into foul trouble. He responded that he just “tried to stay aggressive and make shots whenever my teammates get me the ball”:

I did not get a chance to ask Coach Steve Wojciechowski any questions but he was rather hoarse so that was probably for the best:

I ran out of the arena and caught the last subway train home with only a few minutes to spare: all in all it was a good night. Check back in the weeks ahead for our continuing coverage.

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