MID-WEEK NEWS AND NOTES
-Last week I was big on Boise State, especially with their big win at Creighton. They followed that up by going into Utah and getting blown out of the gym, out of the state, and over the moon. Utah shot the lights out, especially in the first half, and a lot of credit has to go to them for playing as well as they did, but it was still kind of surprising and discouraging to see that Boise, whom I thought was good, just had no answer in their 76-55 loss.
-Ohio was another team that I was big on and that appeared to be playing well, but was also blown out of the gym on Wednesday night. They went into Memphis and looked good for the first ten minutes, but then Memphis poured it on in the final thirty and the Bobcats simply had no answer in their 84-58 loss. Having said that, a lot of credit needs to be given to Memphis, but I was expecting more out of Ohio.
-Charlotte had played a fairly weak schedule, so I wasn’t paying too much attention to their 8-0 start, but last night they went into Davidson and played an exciting, intense and close game against a good team in a hostile environment, and came out with a win. Davidson was just 4-3 coming into the game, but two of their losses were close games against Gonzaga and New Mexico away from home, so I still believed them to be good. They still could be, but they’re running out of chances to demonstrate that on their profile. As for Charlotte, they’ve been in rebuilding mode for years, so for them to be starting off 9-0 and have a big win against a rival on the road has got to have them feeling good.
-Gonzaga picked up their first true road win of the year last night against rival Washington State, but it wasn’t easy. They appeared to have a comfortable lead late in the game, but Wazzu hit a flurry of three-pointers to get back into it. It took a last second shot for the Zags to hold on and win.
-Wednesday was a big night for the Atlantic Ten. In addition to Charlotte’s big win, La Salle won easily against Penn State to improve to 5-1, Dayton won at Alabama to improve to 6-2, Temple stayed unbeaten on the year with their win at Nova (Temple has a big game coming up against Duke), Saint Louis held off North Texas to improve to 5-3, and shouldn’t have too much trouble winning their next four games, and Butler continues to play strong. Add in the kinds of years that Xavier and VCU are having, and the fact that Saint Bonaventure and Richmond have also managed decent records, the Atlantic Ten has more than held its own in the out of conference slate.
-Colorado followed up their loss at Wyoming with a big win at home against what had previously been an unbeaten Colorado State team. The Buffs jumped out to a huge lead early and it appeared to be a blowout. Colorado State made the score respectable, but it still wasn’t enough to get over the top.
Like the Atlantic Ten, the Front Range Conference is off to a good start. The problem is, the Front Range is a mythical conference, not a real conference. Colorado, Colorado State, Wyoming, and Air Force all have good records out of the gate and are teams to keep an eye on. As for Denver and Northern Colorado, well, not so much.
TONIGHT’S HIGHLIGTED GAMES
-CREIGHTON AT NEBRASKA. The Huskers are expected to be weak, but at 6-1 you can’t write them off yet. You may be able to write them off soon, but not yet. Creighton is highly ranked at 7-1, but this is their first true road game, and it should be a hostile environment given the rivalry these two teams have.
-LONG BEACH STATE AT SYRACUSE. LBSU is in major rebuilding mode, and shouldn’t be much of a match for Syracuse, who has looked like a #1 seed whenever I’ve watched them play.
-VANDERBILT AT XAVIER. Vandy is having a major down year. Xavier wasn’t expected to be strong, but a win will get them to 7-1.
-ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK AT CINCINNATI. UALR is a respectable 7-0, but Cincinnati should have little trouble remaining unbeaten on the year.
-RHODE ISLAND AT PROVIDENCE. This is a rivalry game, but given how poor URI has been the last couple of years it has lost a lot of luster. A win can get Providence to 7-2.
-UCSB AT SAN DIEGO STATE. San Diego State has not lost since their season opener against Syracuse and can improve to 7-1 today.