It turns out Wichita State’s beat downs travel just fine.
The Shockers bludgeoned LSU in the Battle 4 Atlantis, setting up a 2013 Final Four rematch with Louisville (more on the Cardinals’ half of the deal below). There’s not much to talk about here - the Shockers are deep, maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t have doubted them and Johnny Jones is still coaching LSU.
Almost 24 hours later, Valpo and BYU had a different kind of semifinal rematch. You can read all about the Crusaders big win here.
Here is some other notable mid-major action from Thanksgiving Eve:
Nevada’s record-setting comeback
Oakland friends, you know we love you. The Grizzlies built a 16-point half time lead, but Nevada started the second half on a 12-2 run and eventually pulled off the biggest comeback in Great Alaska Shootout history. It can’t feel good now, but the Grizzlies won’t face two players as talented as Cameron Oliver (22 points) and Marcus Marshall (25 points) at the same time the rest of the season, save for their game against Michigan State. Oakland should fatten up and roll into a two-game swing against the Spartans and Georgia at 9-1.
As for Nevada, the Wolfpack have responded to the season-opening loss at St. Mary’s with solid wins against Oregon State, Iona and Oakland. Oliver does seem to have fallen into the trap of trying to show scouts he can shoot. After 60 three-point attempts all last season, he’s already got 17. But he’s hit 10 of them, so there isn’t much to complain about right now. Marshall has been as advertised, and Lindsey Drew has been solid at the point. This is a team to watch.
Vermont done in at the buzzer
The Catamounts overcame a 12-point half time deficit but fell to Houston on a Devin Davis’ buzzer-beating layup in the Gulf Coast Showcase championship game. Vermont leaves Florida with wins over Wofford and Hofstra, and should leave with some confidence too. Ernie Duncan had a career high 33-points in the Hofstra win, including seven three’s. The Catamounts get Yale at home on Saturday in a game you’ll want to mark down.
Old Dominion puts a scare into Louisville
If you could find it, or are tight with Mark Cuban, you would’ve seen ODU push the No. 10 Cardinals to overtime in the Battle 4 Atlantis. We haven’t seen much of the Monarchs this year (just three games), but they’ve locked down two good offenses (Louisville, Richmond). The frustrating part for the C-USA is that a win would’ve put new life into the league’s shot at multiple bids. ODU does still get VCU and URI, and Marshall and MTSU theoretically could get into the conversation with spectacular non-con runs, but it’s still looking like a one-bid conference.
The ho-hum 27-point rally on the road
Utah Valley set a program record by rallying from a 27-point deficit to beat Denver, with career high scoring nights from Kenneth Ogbe (28 points) and Jordan Poydras (23 points). Mark Pope was happy, to say the least, after the game.
"I just wish all of our students and fans could have seen this," said Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope. "We could not have played worse and could not have been more disoriented in that first half. I didn't have to say much at halftime. Our guys rallied each other like good teams do and they did something amazing. It's an unbelievable job by our guys. I'm so proud of what these guys showed us tonight. This is a huge step forward and a great night for us. I couldn't be more proud."
This another in a run of solid wins the WAC has picked up thus far. There’s no Indiana or Georgetown (are we still including this?) on this list, but there’s some quiet quality for the hodge-podge league: Cal St. Bakersfield (Fresno State, UC Santa Barbara), Grand Canyon (Albany) and UMKC (Bowling Green, Murray State).
- Chris Beard-less Little Rock, which beat St. Bonaventure on Monday, picked up another solid win over Central Michigan.
- UT Martin is now at 5-1 after beating Duquesne in a great start to the Antony Stewart era.
- Princeton finally got in the win column with a 71-55 victory over Lafayette.
- This time the Citadel gave up 127 to Arizona State. The beat goes on.
- Missouri State coughed up a 9-point half time lead to DePaul in a 68-66 loss. Insert DePaul joke here, but this would’ve been a nice win for a team trying to climb up the Valley.