Saturday’s Den: There’s a lot of stuff going on these days…….

— The college basketball season is only 12 days old, little early to be making judgements, but ACC teams are 12-22 ATS so far this season, 7-15 as a favorite, 5-7 as an underdog.

Louisville and Florida State haven’t won a game yet; Syracuse lost to Colgate, Pitt has losses by 25-31 points.

Lot of teams around the country are in total rebuilds; will be interesting to follow which coaches are the best builders.

— Right now, Pac-12 is the #6-ranked conference, but their teams have already lost 10 games against teams ranked #120 or lower, five teams outside the top 200, two teams outside the top 300. UCLA/Arizona are their only teams ranked in the top 30.

Bruins’ loss to Illinois Friday ain’t going to help their seeding come March; this league needs a couple high profile wins to boost their resume.

Virginia 86, Baylor 79— An inspired Virginia team upset Baylor, in their first game since the tragic events in Charlottesville last week, when three Virginia football players were murdered.

Virginia scored 1.28 points/possession, which is great; they were 27-35 on foul line (Baylor was 12-14). Bears shot 11-26 on arc but still lost.

First 10:00 of 2nd half, Virginia outscored Baylor 30-7; Tony Bennett is a great freakin’ coach.

Illinois 79, UCLA 70— Resume-building win for the Illini, who outscored UCLA 51-33 in the second half. Terrence Shannon had 29 points, 10 rebounds; he made 8-9 on the arc.

Pretty good twinbill at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas;

Loyola Marymount 84, Georgetown 66— Sometime in the next few months, someone in the Georgetown administration is going to have to tell Patrick Ewing that he is being fired- I would not want to be that person on that day. Ewing is a Georgetown legend, and he is also a very large person.

Hoyas are 8-27 in their last 35 games; in Ewing’s tenure, Georgetown is 26-63 in conference games- they did win the Big East conference tournament two years ago, but finished that season 13-13, losing by 23 to Colorado in the first round of the NCAA tournament. 

Not sure what direction Georgetown would go in next, but this direction isn’t working. Losing to a lower-level WCC team by 18 on a neutral floor, after losing to Coppin State, is a red flag.

Cal-Fullerton 94, Pacific 92 2OT— 3-1 Titans win a tight game despite going 21-41 on the foul line. Four Titans played 38:00+. Fullerton has now won consecutive games in double OT. 

Kansas 82, Southern Utah 76— Bill Self’s suspension is now over, and just in time; visiting Thunderbirds led this game by a hoop with 12:00 to play. Southern Utah outrebounded the Jayhawks; you lose by 6 at Kansas, SUU should be a threat in the WAC this winter. 

Myrtle Beach tournament:
In the first round Thursday, all four underdogs won SU; you don’t see that a lot.

Friday, UMass nipped Murray State 71-69 on a 3-pointer with 0:00.7 left. Minutemen trailed by 10 with 6:37 left to play. UMass will play Charlotte in the tournament final Sunday.

Charleston tournament:
Virginia Tech will play the host school Charleston in Sunday’s final; Hokies won the last two days by a combined six points. Charleston won its two tourney games by 23-10 points.

Colorado 103, Texas A&M 75— Buffs added two transfers from Ivy League teams this season, one from Yale, one from Princeton. Unusual.

Jalen Gabbidon scored 11.3 ppg for a good Yale team LY; he is playing 23.4 minutes a game for Colorado this year, scoring 9.8 ppg.

Ethan Wright is averaging around 14 minutes a game as a backup PG; he shot 38.8% on the arc for Princeton last year.

Today’s basketball requires much more imaginative recruiting; you poach players wherever you can.

— Underrated fact: Michigan State has had only two basketball coaches since 1976, when I was a junior in high school. Jud Heathcote, Tom Izzo, that’s it.

— Sam Houston State is an under-the-radar mid-major program; they’ve had nine straight winning seasons. This is the Bearkats’ second year in the WAC, after moving up from the Southland Conference.

Sam Houston already has wins this season over Oklahoma, Utah; they’re forcing turnovers 27.6% of the time, which is very good. Bearkats start four seniors; they played ten guys 13+ minutes against Utah. Interesting team.

Jazz 134, Suns 133
Surprising Jazz improve to 11-6 this season.
Lauri Markkanen scored 38 points for Utah.
Devin Booker scored 49 for the Suns.

Golden State 111, New York 101— Warriors are 0-8 SU on the road for first time since 1990, but they’ve won their last six home games, are 7-9 now.

— Tennessee Titans won in Green Bay Thursday night, their 7th win in eight games, but then late last night, their offensive coordinator got a DUI, about a half hour after the team plane landed in Nashville. Not good.

Apparently there is a rule against having alcohol on team flights; the NFL is investigating.

— So far this season, on their opponents’ first drive of a game, Arizona Cardinals have allowed 5 touchdowns, 4 field goals on 10 drives, an average of 54.9 yards/drive— not good.

On their opponents’ first drive of the second half, Arizona has allowed only two field goals, an average of 10.8 yards/drive. They make good halftime adjustments.

Cody Bellinger was MVP of the National League three years ago; now he’s a free agent- the Dodgers didn’t tender him a $18M deal for 2023. Bellinger can re-sign with LA for less money, or test the free agent waters (or both, eventually).

Dodgers have pared $100M off their payroll so far this winter; they interested in Aaron Judge?

— SS Carlos Correa is a free agent; Minnesota traded for Kyle Farmer Friday, so Correa won’t be back in the Twin Cities. 

Twins also traded 3B Gio Urshela to the Angels, for a 19-year old minor league pitcher. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.