If you spent all of November watching football and you missed the start of college basketball season, here is some of what you missed…….
13) Gonzaga 89, Duke 87— Finals of Maui Classic was a terrific game; Duke led 2-0, but that was it- they were down by 16 with 15:54 left, before tying game late. Zags made 10-19 on the arc, and they were playing without Tillie, who made 47.9% of his 3’s last year.
12) Virginia 53, Wisconsin 46— Predictably slow-paced game (58 possessions) in final of the Battle for Atlantis. Teams combined to go 6-28 on arc; Badgers only got to foul line three times and forced only five turnovers (-8). If you bet the under, this was a rocking chair game.
11) Kansas 87, Tennessee 81 OT— Vols start three seniors, two juniors, led by 8 early in 2nd half, but three Jayhawks played 40:00+ in this OT thriller. Kansas made 44% of its 3’s in its 5-0 start. Tennessee is #36 experience team, Kansas #283.
10) Virginia Tech 89, Purdue 83— Finals of Charleston tourney elevated Hokies into the top 25, which they may have floundered by losing at Penn State last night. Tech outscored Purdue 19-7 on foul line. Both teams made over 40% of their 3’s.
9) Duke 118, Kentucky 84— Result like this in a season opener distorted everyone’s view of the season; did Duke become a little overrated because they played so well in this game? If you’re John Calipari, how do you restore the young Wildcats’ confidence- they were down 91-54 at one point.
8) Louisville 82, Michigan State 78 OT— Chris Mack has a tough job, following Rick Pitino at a place where the fanbase isn’t exactly patient, but this win gets him off on the right foot.
7) San Diego 70, Colorado 64— Toreros are #6 experience team in America; they’re 5-1 with a 3-point loss at Washington. The middle of the WCC is better this season than it has been for a few years. San Diego starts four seniors, so this is a big year for them.
6) Buffalo 99, West Virginia 94 OT— Bob Huggins has young guards this year, which isn’t a good thing, but Buffalo is really good and should dominate the MAC. Bulls were down 69-56 with 8:05 left in regulation, but they forced 19 turnovers (+8) and got a great road win.
5) UConn 83, Syracuse 76— Orangemen don’t leave home before Christmas too much; they made only 23.3% of their 3’s in their first five games. This was Danny Hurley’s first statement win as the new UConn coach, coming in New York City, where it was like an old Big East conference tournament game.
4) Michigan 73, Villanova 46— Wildcats graduated four guys from LY’s national champs, and Michigan took its frustrations out for losing the national title game to Villanova eight months ago- this game was 49-17 at one point. Another early season brickfest, with teams combining to make only 8-32 on the arc.
3) Ohio State 64, Cincinnati 56— Good road win for Buckeyes squad that is experience team #281, while Cincy is #131 in experience. OSU led 55-39 with 5:23 left, before Bearcats made a late run but fell short. Buckeyes also have a road win at Creighton already.
2) Seton Hall 83, Miami 81— Finals of Wooden Legacy tournament in Fullerton; when they announce the Field of 68 in March, games like this will carry some weight, even though it was played almost four months before Selection Sunday. Pirates are #233 experience team; this is a great win for them.
1) Texas 92, North Carolina 89— Longhorns look to be improved this year, after going 30-37 the last two years. Texas lost to Michigan State the next night, but they’ve got this win and a neutral court win over Arkansas- the #256 experience Longhorns hope to be a factor in March.