Tuesday’s Den: Random stuff, and notes from the first night of college basketball

Notes from first night of college basketball:
— These teams started their season with losses to teams that aren’t Division I:
Cleveland State
Kansas City
Northern Illinois

— Other upsets of note:
Sam Houston State (+17) 52, Oklahoma 51
SE Missouri State (+10) 64, South Florida 61
Western Illinois (+10) 71, Illinois State 68
Evansville (+8) 78, Miami OH 74
Cal-Davis (+5.5) 75, California 65

— A few other upsets:
Florida Gulf Coast 74, USC 61— Andy Enfield loses to his former employer.
Stetson 83, Florida State 74— Hatters made 14-35 on the arc.
Wagner 76, Temple 73 OT
NC-Asheville 98, UCF 95, 2OT— UCF led by 10 with 3:15 left in regulation.
Quinnipiac 67, Rhode Island 62— Bobcats survived shooting 9-25 on the foul line.

— Games of the Night:
Hofstra 83, Princeton 77— Princeton led by 7 with 4:05 left to play.
Akron 81, South Dakota State 80 OT
Belmont 70, Ohio U 69— Belmont hit a 3-pointer off a side out-of-bounds play with 0:01.1 left for the dramatic win.
Oregon State 73, Tulsa 70— Good start for Beavers after last year’s 3-28 debacle. 

Ravens 27, Saints 13:
— Baltimore led 14-3 at halftime.
— Ravens converted 9-15 on 3rd down, New Orleans 3-11.
— Ravens are 11-1 ATS last 12 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Last six games, Ravens have run ball for 181.4 yards/game.
— Baltimore won four of its last five games.

— Saints’ first four drives: 13 plays, 36 yards, 2 first downs, no points.
— Only New Orleans TD came with 4:13 left, after issue had been decided. 
— Saints have been outscored 53-18 in last 2:00 of each half.
— New Orleans is 1-4 when they score less than 27 points.
— Saints lost 6 of last 8 games; their turnover ratio is minus-11.

— Indianapolis Colts fired coach Frank Reich Monday; Colts are 3-5-1 this season, trailing all nine games after the 3rd quarter. Reich went 40-33-1 as coach of the Colts; he had a different starting quarterback every season.

Colts hired their former center Jeff Saturday as interim head coach; he was working on ESPN until now, and is first NFL head coach with zero college/NFL coaching experience since 1961, when Norm Van Brocklin went from QB of the Eagles to head coach of the expansion Vikings.

Saturday played 13 seasons with the Colts, and was a 6-time Pro Bowler and 4-time All-Pro.

— QB Sam Ehlinger has started two games for the Colts; they fired his offensive coordinator after last week’s game, fired his head coach after this week’s game. Perfectly normal.

— Carolina Panthers fired two more assistant coaches Monday; they fired head coach Matt Rhule and two other assistants a month ago. Panthers also activated QB Sam Darnold, but said that PJ Walker will start Thursday night’s game against the Falcons.

— Seattle Seahawks have started rookie offensive tackles in every game this year, first time that has happened in the NFL since 1982.

— Watching the Vikings play Sunday, WR Justin Jefferson is so good; if he is single-covered, QB Cousins will just throw a jump ball in that direction, figuring that Jefferson will win that battle and make a big play.

— New Jersey Giants safety Xavier McKinney went on vacation to Mexico during his bye week; he broke his hand there in an ATV accident. He went on IR, so he’ll miss at least four games.

— Miami Dolphins gave LB Bradley Chubb a 5-year, $110M deal, with $63.2M of that money guaranteed; Dolphins dealt RB Chase Edwards and two draft picks to Denver to acquire Chubb at the trade deadline. 

If the playoffs started today, 6-3 Miami would be the #6-seed in the AFC.

— Texas A&M’s football is on a 5-game losing streak for first time since 1980; Green Bay Packers have also lost five in a row, for first time since 2008.

— I stumbled across this reality series on Amazon Prime about the Sierra Canyon High School  basketball team; kids go there from all over the country to position themselves for scholarships in college. Lebron James’ son is on the team; Dwyane Wade’s son, Kenyon Martin’s son played there in previous years.

The show takes you behind the scenes of the team, which is interesting; how many high school basketball teams play games in eight different states in one season? It isn’t at all a normal high school team, but what I’ve seen of the program has been interesting so far.

— Why do NBA players sit games out at this time of year? They can’t play two nights in a row? Are they really going to play better in playoff games in April/May because they sat out a game on November 8th?

When they were kids, these guys played AAU ball, where teams might play couple of games in a the same day, and 5-6 games in a weekend.

— There is some conference shuffling going on again this year in college basketball; the WAC and Sun Belt have both added a bunch of teams. Next year, Jacksonville State, Liberty, New Mexico State and Sam Houston State are all going to Conference USA.

— Doing my prep work for college basketball the last couple weeks, remarkable how many kids are playing at their third different college. More than a few are playing for their fourth college; not a lot of continuity around the country, which makes handicapping early season games just an impossible task, a complete crapshoot.

— This is an oddity and speaks to how kids transfer all the time now; James Madison has four players on this year’s team who have been Freshmen of the Year in a conference. None of them did it while playing for James Madison. 

— Last year, Murray State beat San Francisco 92-87 in OT in the NCAA tournament; both head coaches in that game parlayed their successful seasons into better jobs, so this year, when LSU plays Florida, it’ll be the same two coaches going up against each other- Matt McMahon, who went from Murray State to LSU and Todd Golden, who bolted from USF to Florida. 

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.