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LIVE BLOG: UMBC, Bucknell and other late afternoon thoughts

NCAA Basketball: MD Baltimore Cty at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

On any given Sunday can....Vermont take down Kentucky?

That’s the big question on this college basketball season’s third day. The dream, high in the clouds as it may be, has a little more momentum after the Wildcats’ uneven win over Utah Valley on Friday night.

KenPom gives Anthony Lamb and the Catamounts a seven percent chance of winning at Rupp. There’s a 100 percent chance we’re glued to that game.

And speaking of KenPom win probabilities, Jacksonville — which got hammered by UAB on Friday — is given a four percent chance of knocking off Georgetown. That’s double (!) the odds Arkansas State had last season before stunning the Hoyas. Will lightning strike two years in a row? Probably not, but we can dream there too.

Follow along with us today for these and other games. You know you want to. (All times Eastern).

Monmouth at Seton Hall. 1:30 p.m., FS1
UMass at Harvard, 2:00 p.m.
Vermont at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Texas State at Air Force, 4:00 p.m.m ESPN3
Navy at Miami (FL), 4:00 p.m., ACC Network
Morehead State at Lipscomb, 5:00 p.m., ESPN3
Bucknell at Arkansas, 6:00 p.m., SEC Network
Princeton at Butler, 6:00 p.m., CBS Sports Network

UPDATE: 8:10 p.m.

2017’s first weekend of college hoops is winding down. Thankfully we’ll get to do it all week. Here are some thoughts on the late afternoon games from someone that tragically did not have access to Pac-12 Network (Arizona-UMBC) or CBS Sports Network (Butler-Princeton).

  • I’m going to take issue with the NCAA’s official account saying UMBC was “little trouble” for Arizona. Sure, the Wildcats did eventually win by 25 points and that’s quite a margin. But this was an eight point game with 13:37 left and the upset sense was tingling. Jairus Lyles was incredible (31 points, 5-8 3PT), especially as UMBC frustrated Arizona in the first half. Vermont will deservedly get the headlines today, but the Retrievers had their own competitive moments against a loaded opponent. It wasn’t a terrible day for the AE.
  • Let’s go from celebrating a 25-point loss to bemoaning a 29-point loss. That’s not inconsistent, right? Arkansas is a good team that traditionally plays well at Bud Walton Arena. But Bucknell’s 101-73 loss to the Razorbacks seemed a bit...underwhelming? Even after a tough, last second loss at Monmouth on Friday, it seemed reasonable to think that a veteran Bison team would put together a quality game in Fayetteville. That didn’t happen, though Zach Thomas (24 points, 10 rebounds) continued his torrid start. Bucknell will be just fine but do play UNC and Maryland over the next week.

  • Princeton couldn’t crack Butler in its opener, with some questionable officiating thrown in. Amir Bell (22 points) and Myles Stephens (21 points) had good outings, and Devin Cannady (12 points) will look to break out Wednesday against BYU, a team he scored 18 points against in last year’s opener.
  • After a hard-fought overtime loss at Marshall on Friday, UT Martin rallied to give Illinois all it could handle in a 77-74 loss. The Skyhawks appear to be a team that will have no trouble scoring in the OVC, and have gotten an early boost from Jacksonville State transfer DelFincko Bogan. After nice outing in the opener, the junior did good things all over the court against the Illini (23 points, 6 assists, 7 steals).

UPDATE: 6:27 p.m.

Ah, Texas Southern. You were so close!

After a season-opening loss to Gonzaga on Friday, the Tigers turned around and blitzed Washington State in the first half on Sunday. They went to the locker room with a 42-24 lead, and led by as many as nine points with just 5:17 left.

But a Cougar comeback — aided by plenty of TSU turnovers — forced overtime, where they would ultimately win 86-84. It was a missed opportunity for the Tigers, whose annually-brutal non-conference schedule has them staring at an 0-13 start. They don’t play at home until Jan. 1, with games against Ohio State, Kansas, Oakland, Baylor, TCU and others until then.

This was likely — as it proved out — TSU’s best shot at a win. The Cougars’ don’t figure to very good, and this wasn’t as comically imbalanced as your typical PAC-12/SWAC match up. The Tigers have former UMass star Donte Clark (22 points, 14 rebounds), former Auburn center Trayvon Reed (5 points, 15 rebounds) and blazing point guard Demontrae Jefferson (22 points, 6 assists).

That talent, along with forward Kevin Scott (19 points), should do to the SWAC what it did the Cougars in the first half. It’s just too bad they couldn’t hang on and take the zero out of the win column.

UPDATE: 4:42 p.m.

George Mason almost made a bad month even worse for Louisville by nearly upsetting the Cardinals at the YUM Center. The Patriots led by as many as six points (46-40) with just over 12 minutes to play before Deng Adel did a bunch of athletic things and saved Louisville.

But how about Dave Paulsen and GMU?

The Patriots (sort of) snuck up on the A-10 with a 20-win season a year ago, and it looks like yet again their lean rotation will give teams fits. Otis Livingston literally didn’t come off the court (40 minutes, 3 points, 3 assists), and Jaire Grayer (39 minutes, 20 points, 10 rebounds), Justin Kier (37 minutes, 18 points) and Goanar Mar (36 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds) barely sat.

Mar, a freshman playing in just his second game, held up well against Louisville as the de facto big in GMU’s undersized lineup. Grayer and Kier were also particularly impressive late, making some big plays to keep Louisville from pulling away until the very end.

Maybe the Patriots will be a factor in that wide-open A-10?

UPDATE: 4:23 p.m.

UMass-Harvard did not fail to disappoint anyone who can afford the Ivy League Digital Network.

With less than 18 seconds left in the game, the Minutemen’s Luwane Pipkins drilled a three to tie it before Bryce Aiken did something amazing for Harvard:

With that win, Harvard moves to 2-0 on the season before heading into a matchup with Holy Cross, which will be a fascinating game. First to 47 points wins.

UPDATE: 3:51 p.m.

Monmouth will not have its fairy tale weekend, after all.

The Hawks hung with No. 23 Seton Hall for a good portion of the first half, trailing just 24-22 with 7:43 left in the opening frame. But a late Pirates’ run sent the Hawks into the break down 16, and they couldn’t recover in a 75-65 loss despite playing well in the second half.

Monmouth had some trouble containing Bucknell on the offensive glass on Friday, and this exploded against the bigger, more athletic Pirates. Seton Hall grabbed 19 rebounds, which let them control the game despite not shooting particularly well. The Hawks predictably got another good game out of Micah Seaborn (16 points), and may have found a star in Deion Hammond. The freshman scored 17 points (3-6 3P) after scoring 13 points (2-4 3P) in the opener.

Still, let’s send a round of applause should to the Hawks. Beating Bucknell in the opener was impressive, as was playing long stretches of competitive basketball against a top-25 team. It seems that even with the personnel losses, King Rice has a MAAC contender.

UPDATE: 3:17 p.m.

Quick afternoon score update:

The biggest story is that Louisville is currently down 41-36 to George Mason as we near the midway point in the second half.

Elsewhere, Eastern Michigan is struggling with Michigan Dearborn at the half with only a six-point lead, but Elijah Minnie has 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists.

Toccoa Falls, who last yesterday by 101, is only down 33 points to Mercer as the second half is underway.

Omaha is hanging with Oklahoma early. Let’s see how long it lasts.

In the NEC, Central Connecticut is keeping it close with Rutgers, down by one at the half.