13) Will any of this season’s scheduling oddities become normal in the future? Will playing two games at one site over 2-3 days, which reduces travel, become the new normal, or will things go back to the way they were last year?
Friday nights have always been a slow night for college hoop, but this year, Fridays have been busier than Wednesday/Thursdays. I’m guessing the TV people would prefer leaving Fridays to the NBA and getting college games back to mid-week dates, but that remains to be seen.
12) Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats recently signed a contract extension that will pay him $3.225M/year, not bad for a guy who, eight years ago, was a high school Math teacher and the basketball coach at a Michigan HS. He taught at the school for 11 years; now he’s rich.
Alabama is 19-6 this year, 14-2 in the SEC; they’ll be a high seed in the NCAA’s.
11) Oklahoma State 94, Oklahoma 90, OT— Cade Cunningham scored 40 points for OSU, in an impressive one-man show. Cunningham’s brother was hired as an assistant coach by the Cowboys last year, as an inducement for his brother to come to Stillwater.
Whatever they’re paying the brother, it ain’t enough. Oklahoma State will play in the NCAA’s before they get their probation from the NCAAs. Cunningham will be a walking advertisement for the Oklahoma State program when he plays in the NBA.
10) Louisville 80, Duke 73 OT
— Cardinals blew a 12-point lead, but pulled away for the OT win.
— ESPN’s Jay Bilas (a Duke alum) calls most Duke games, but he was at Kansas-Baylor, so ESPN showed they give Duke no special treatment— Chris Spatola was the analyst. He is Coach K’s son-in-law.
9) Kansas 71, Baylor 58— Bears lose for first time in 18 games; this was their second game back after a 21-day COVID pause. Selection Sunday is two weeks from today, so their first game in the NCAA Tournament is 18-19 days away. Will they have their legs back by then?
8) North Carolina 78, Florida State 70
— This was Roy Williams’ 900th career win; 482 at Carolina, 418 at Kansas.
— Florida State led this game by 16 in the first half.
— Peaks/valleys: Carolina got hammered at home by Marquette during the week.
7) Upsets of the Day:
— Tennessee Tech (+10.5) 71, Murray State 61
— Northridge (+10) 90, Bakersfield 87
— Rider (+9.5) 78, Saint Peter’s 65
— Vanderbilt (+9.5) 75, Ole Miss 70
— Auburn (+8) 77, Tennessee 72
— Bradley (+8) 67, Drake 61
— Oregon State (+7) 73, Stanford 62
— Boston College (+7) 94, Notre Dame 90
6) Texas Tech 68, Texas 59:
— Longhorns are 4-6 in their last ten games, after a 10-1 start.
— Tech’s win snaps a 3-game losing skid.
5) Morehead State 89, Belmont 82, OT
— Belmont lost twice this week, after starting the season 24-1.
— Morehead was 31-39 on foul line, Belmont 14-19.
4) Auburn 77, Tennessee 72— Tigers pull the upset without star G Sherife Cooper, who is out for the year. Excellent coaching job by Bruce Pearl, but also a disturbing loss for Tennessee, which looked lackluster in defeat. When network TV guys say it on the air, it had to be obvious.
3) Arkansas 83, LSU 75— Razorbacks have won six in row, nine of last ten games. LSU takes lot of quick shots and doesn’t pass the ball so much- they’re 4-6 in their last ten games, after they started the season 10-2.
2) Gonzaga 86, LMU 69— Gonzaga is the last unbeaten team in the country which puts the target right on their backs. Zags have one single-digit win the entire season (December 2nd vs West Virginia); when they have to play a close game in the NCAA’s, will that hurt them?
1) There are a lot of teams who are capable of beating anyone on a given day, but it seems like there are very few teams who are consistently good. Winning a national title takes six wins a row, the last four (or five) over strong teams.
The eventual national champ this year may be a team that gets help from upsets elsewhere in their bracket, not unlike Kansas in 1988.