Saturday proves road conference wins won’t come easy again this season
What a loaded Saturday. And we haven’t really gotten into the thick of the season yet. Will the results below have long-term effects for postseason bids? In most cases, only minimally. But the landscape of D-I was fairly consistent in one aspect: Road wins did not come easily. They normally don’t. Let’s inspect the scores.
The worst losses
Purdue lost on road at Wisconsin, 73-66. Only a “worst” loss because the Boilermakers failed to start 15-0 for the first time in program history. Wisconsin is starting to show signs of being a 5-seed or better. Remember, it was a 5 last season. Don’t think less of Purdue; think more of UW. Bo Ryan, you are terrific. We’re down to three undefeateds left in the land.
Let’s immediately address Oklahoma State 81, Texas Tech 52. What happened? As of Sunday morning, Texas Tech was ranked No. 22. That will vanish quicker than a loose dress on prom night, though. What a turnaround in a week for Travis Ford’s team, which I saw put u
West Virginia, as predicted here, lost on the road against Notre Dame, 70-68. I’ve got a gentleman’s disagreement with Sporting News‘ Mike DeCourcy over WVU losing as many as six games before The Tournament. I said three weeks ago it would happen. You know your opponent didn’t come to play when you make one field goal in the final 13 minutes and still get out with a win.
San Diego State, what are you doing losing on the road to 8-8 Wyoming the game after taking out New Mexico? The win over the Lobos is nearly canceled out now.
Marquette. Oh, Marquette, Marquette, Marquette. Golden Eagles lost their second close game in seven days against Villanova. Buzz Williams is praying his team doesn’t see Jay Wright’s when the Big East brackets are set in seven weeks.
Boston College didn’t show up, fell 72-56 in South Carolina against Clemson. Could Skinner be out at season’s end?
Southern Illinois, clinging to at-large dreams, fell at home to 6-11 Drake.
Richmond playing its way out of bubble talk: team lost on the road to Saint Louis, 63-58.
The best wins
Vegas’ 74-62 win over a New Mexico team that, I don’t care what you say, is one of the 20 best in the nation, only further emphasizes the point: The Mountain West is the fifth-best conference in the country.
Though the student section in Atlanta was piss-poor, the 71-67 Georgia Tech win was one I didn’t see coming. But why are students from a ranked team storming the court after a win? So, so weak.
Mississippi State gets a win against Ole Miss on the road. Who needs Renardo Sidney?
Hey, look at Minnesota! The Golden Gophers will keep Ohio State out of the rankings after Tubby Smith’s team got the job done with a 73-62 victory. If I asked you which team had the better record, be honest, you’d guess Ohio State. But the 11-5 Buckeyes are now behind the 12-4 Gophs in the Big Ten. Interesting subplot for when these teams play again: Players from both sides nearly came to blows after the game.
As suspected, the UConn-Georgetown game came down the last minute. Hoyas have a healthy home win, 72-69. UConn can’t put together four straight complete games. But damn if Stanley Robinson isn’t fun to watch.
I’d like to thank Missouri and Kansas State for making me look good again. The Tigers got a big resume-booster with a 74-68 win over Frank Martin’s team.
Northern Iowa is the best team in the Mizzou Valley after its 59-44 win against Illinois State. A little more water-and-oil going on in that conference that I wanted.
Seton Hall was in need of a win just as much as any other Big Six team and it won against a group that was predictably willing to oblige. Pirates 83, Cincinnati Bearcats 76. Both clubs have five losses now.
A 95-87 loss is what Florida found in its road tilt against Vanderbilt, which is now 12-3. I guess the Gators’ season isn’t saved, after all.
Baylor, it still of one loss, dismantled the nation’s most disappoint team, Oklahoma, with a 91-60 win.
On the periphery
No. 19 Gonzaga 81, Portland 78. Game wasn’t a gimme, and this was Portland’s last gasp at misguided wishes of at-large dreams. Or something.
No. 25 Brigham Young 83, UTEP 77. The Cougars didn’t have sharp-shooter Jimmer Fredette and still got the win. Team is 16-1. Team is beastly. Team is one of the 15 best in the nation.
North Carolina State: officially reeling after losing at home to Virginia, 70-62.
Elsewhere in the ACC: Miami should probably enter the polls Monday after surviving Wake, 67-66, at home yesterday. The Hurricanes are 15-1. Post on them coming Monday.
Plenty of people were fretting over the possibility of Kentucky losing to Georgia yesterday, but it never came to be. Wildcats 76, Georgia 68.
Can everyone else come over to my side on the St. John’s debate? Red Storm fell against Louisville yesterday, falling to 10-5.
Alabama won at approaching-unwatchable LSU, 66-49. But the Tide is 11-4, and Cornell fans are loving every additional win ‘Bama can get.
USC continues to play like its season doesn’t mean anything, which it doesnt. Trojans fell to Cal, 67-59.
Two loss teams to know about: Louisiana Tech, Karl Malone’s alma mater, is now 15-2; Coastal Carolina is 16-2.