What everyone will be talking about over their morning coffee:
I know that Eastern Kentucky was the preseason favorite for many in the Ohio Valley Conference, but early season results have been mixed for the Colonels. They beat the bad teams well enough, but against good competition, they have lagged.
Youngstown State and North Carolina State (and there are some doubts about the Wolfpack) were able to handle them with no problems.
So with VCU on the slate, a team that was ranked at one point this year and just forgot how to play in Puerto Rico (Distrations!), it is conceivable that this would be yet another loss and not even a close game.
But the Colonels pushed VCU to overtime, and had a chance to win this one at the buzzer. Perhaps it is a combination of the two forces here: EKU isn't as bad against good teams as we thought, and VCU isn't as good as we thought, period. I tend to lean toward the latter right now with VCU, which is why they no longer seem to me like the team most likely to walk out of the Atlantic 10 with the conference title.
Sacrilege, I know.
Side of bacon:
Here is another one where you wouldn't necessarily expect things to have been this close. I give San Diego all the credit for fighting through injuries to make this one a game.
This one says something about the West Coast Conference in total this season though. We made a big deal about how long the league went without a loss to begin the year. And you have gave like this where there are seemingly overwhelming odds in one team's favor and the scrappy underdog almost pulls it out.
The WCC is on a tear this season, and based on the early showings, they should have multiple teams make the NCAA Tournament, and probably make a strong showing that will be a shock to anyone who hasn't watched this league all year.
I am not saying that San Diego will be one of those teams, but having the depth in the league like this helps to make everyone better overall in the long run.
- High Point is really not the same team without a second post man in Allan Chaney. You have to feel for the kid whose body just keeps stopping him from playing the game he loves. The lack of that body led to an 80-45 loss by the Panthers to Georgetown in a game that was never in doubt. High Point couldn't do anything inside against the bigger Hoya defense. They couldn't shoot at all from outside either, going just 3-for-21 from 3-point range, and shooting 28.1 percent overall. John Brown finished with eight points and seven rebounds in this ugly loss.
- Long Island couldn't stop Brian Oliver off the bench for Seton Hall and dropped one 92-81. The Blackbirds actually shot the ball fairly well, but going against 14 3-point baskets is tough. This is usually how mid-majors win against the big boys, not lose!. Jason Brickman had 19 points and nine assists in the loss.
- I questioned Wright State not too long ago, and I am going to have to question them again here. The Raiders lost 62-59 to North Carolina A&T. No offense to the Aggies, but this is a game that the Raiders should not be losing. It was another night when they lost the rebounding edge, they were out-shot, and they just generally didn't get it done when it mattered. The Raiders may require some closer inspection. Matt Vest led the way with 15 points in the loss. The Aggies got 12 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes from Bryan Akinkugbe off the bench, and Richaud Pack led the starters with 15 points in the win.
- I am not going to say that Northern Illinois is going to be good, but kudos to the Huskies, who won their second nonconference game of the season against a Division 1 team on Thursday. The 64-57 win over Dartmouth doubles the same mark against Division 1 nonconference foes from last year. And they did it with some decent shooting, going a respectable 46.5 percent from the floor. Abdel Nader who? Darrell Bowie had 12 points -- half of which came in the final four minutes -- and seven boards to lead the way for Northern Illinois. Gabas Maldunas had 18 points and eight boards for the Big Green in the loss.
- Rider and Monmouth traded 3-pointers in the closing minutes of the game with the Broncs coming out on top 89-83 in a little MAAC action. Both teams had 11 triples in the game, in a contest that was probably scarcely looked upon outside of the fan bases thanks to the combined records of the two schools. Anthony Myles led the way for Rider with 28 points, and four of the 3-pointers, while Daniel Stewart had 21 points and seven rebounds in the win. Deon Jones scored 24 for Monmouth to go with seven rebounds, three assists and four steals, and Max DiLeo kept it close off the bench with two 3-pointers and eight points overall.