Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a college basketball Saturday

— Big X went 7-3 against the SEC Saturday in the last Big X-SEC Challenge; SEC will get the last laugh when they poach Oklahoma/Texas away from the Big X down the road, but for this year, there is no doubt that the Big X is the best league in the country.

— West Virginia 80, Auburn 77
Texas Tech 76, LSU 69
Oklahoma 93, Alabama 69

West Virginia/Texas Tech/Oklahoma have a combined Big X record of 4-20, so of course they went 3-0 against the SEC Saturday.

— Oklahoma 93, Alabama 69— Lot of people were touting Alabama as the best team in the country, and they may still be, but they played their worst game here. Sooners scored 1.27 points/possession, led by 17 at the half in a shockingly easy win.

— West Virginia 80, Auburn 77— Mountaineers’ senior guard Erik Stevenson is a 23-year old senior who has seen the country as a college ballplayer:
2018-20— Wichita State, 68 games
2020-21— Washington, 26 games
2021-22— South Carolina, 30 games
2022-23— West Virginia, 21 games

Stevenson scored 31 points in this game; he takes difficult shots, but he made them in this game, going 10-17 from floor, 7-10 on arc. West Virginia is a bubble team; they’ll need Stevenson to be very good down the stretch to make the Field of 68.

— Baylor 67, Arkansas 64— Bears were 21-24 on foul line, Arkansas 6-11. Razorbacks have lost six of last nine games, have some injury issues- they used a 7-man rotation in this game, and only two of the seven guys scored more than 7 points.

Hogs led by 8 early in second half; Bracketology has them listed as an 8-seed, Eric Musselman is a very good coach— he’s coached two NBA teams, but they need to start winning some games pretty soon.

— Kansas 77, Kentucky 68— Jayhawks snap a 3-game losing skid; Bill Self is a great coach, he’s never had a 4-game losing skid at Kansas. He has experienced losing as a head coach, though.

Self’s first head coaching job was at Oral Roberts; he went 6-21 his first year there, in 1993-94, with a 16-game losing streak. He went 10-17 the second year, but then 39-16 the two years after that, and he starting climbing the coaching ladder, all the way to the top of the college game.

— Western Illinois 81, South Dakota State 73, OT— Rob Jeter has the Leathernecks headed for their first winning season in 10 years; they’re 14-8, 7-4 in the Summit League, after going 36-104 in Summit games the previous nine years.

Western Illinois trailed the Jackrabbits 39-17 in this game; they were down 18 with 8:48 left in the game. They out-rebounded South Dakota State 45-28.

— Oral Roberts 73, Omaha 64— Golden Eagles are 19-4, 10-0 in Summit League; they’re four games ahead of everyone else in the league, but Bracketology has them listed as a 12-seed, so they better win the Summit tournament if they want to make it to the NCAA’s.

— Milwaukee 75, Northern Kentucky 74— Norse led this game by 23 at one point, 47-27 at halftime, but Milwaukee stormed back for the road win. BJ Freeman was 3-10 from the floor, but 17-17 on foul line for the victorious Panthers.

— Louisiana 94, Georgia Southern 87— Ragin’ Cajuns were down 19 at the half, but they wound up shooting 31-40 on foul line and improved to 8-2 in the Sun Belt, tied with Marshall for first place. All five Louisiana starters scored in double figures. 

— Clemson 82, Florida State 81— Clemson led this game 16-2 early on, but they were down 3 in last minute and needed a 3-point play from Chase Hunter with 0:04 left to nip the Seminoles, who made 13-30 3-pointers.

Clemson is having a dream season; they’re 18-4, 10-1 in ACC games, and only play one senior. Pat Riley called this type of season The Innocent Climb, when players first develop a trust that everyone is working towards the same goal and that greatness can be achieved, without anyone caring who gets the credit. Tigers are 8-2 in games decided by 8 or less points.

— Saint Mary’s 57, BYU 56— Grinding, slow game (only 58 possessions) but the Gaels prevail and have now won nine D-I games in a row- they’re 8-0 in WCC, a game ahead of Gonzaga.

Bracketology has them listed as a 7-seed, but they also haven’t played the Zags yet- they play in Moraga next Saturday.

— Hofstra 85, Charleston 81— We talked about this the other day; this was Charleston’s first CAA loss, their first loss anywhere since November 11, but now they probably need to win the CAA tournament to make the NCAA’s. A loss in the CAA tourney would be another bad loss; Hofstra is hovering around the #100 mark— five of their top seven players are seniors, though.

— Creighton 84, Xavier 67— Bluejays have won four in row, seven of last nine games; they shot 66.7% inside arc in this a game, a game with only 13 foul shots taken the whole day.

Creighton is shooting 56.2% inside arc, their opponents 46.2%; they’re still only 6-7 against top 100 teams, but they’ve played really well the last couple weeks.

— St Bonaventure 61, VCU 58— Bonnies are 11-11, 5-4 in A-15, despite having a whole new team this year; they’re #358 out of 363 teams in continuity. Mark Schmidt is an excellent coach; how some big $$$ program hasn’t gobbled him up is beyond me.

Draw a 100-mile circle around Olean, NY; tell me how many big-time high school players live in that circle, then explain to me how St Bonaventure is 100-49 in conference games the last nine years. 

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.