If you were out of the loop this week, you didn’t miss much. There have been light slates every single night as many schools had finals this week. You know, STUDENT-athletes, things of that nature.
Now that it’s over, it’s time to get back into action, and today is a great day for it. There’s quality matchups all throughout the day at both the Power 5 and mid-major level. If you can’t find a game to watch today, you hate fun.
As always, we’ll pop in periodically with updates as we see fit.
A few games of note. All times Eastern.
Stephen F. Austin at LSU, 1 p.m., SEC Network
Michigan State vs Oakland, 2 p.m., ESPNU
Davidson at Virginia, 2 p.m., ACC Network
Vermont vs St. Bonaventure, 4 p.m.
Charleston at Rhode Island, 4 p.m.
Northern Iowa vs Iowa State, 4:30 p.m.
Middle Tennessee vs Auburn, 6 p.m., SEC Network
Oregon at Fresno State, 6 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Bucknell at VCU, 6 p.m.
Arizona at New Mexico, 8 p.m., CBS Sports Network
New Mexico State vs Illinois, 8 p.m., BTN
Utah at BYU, 11 p.m., ESPN2
UPDATE: 6:16 p.m.
You can make the argument that the matchup between Vermont and St. Bonaventure was the best game between mid-majors today. It lived up to the hype, and the Bonnies came away with an 81-79 win thanks to some late game heroics from Matt Mobley.
Take a look:
This is a huge win for a St. Bonaventure team that still has hopes of an at-large bid. It doesn’t carry as much weight as a win over a Power 5 team would, but Vermont is rated very well by analytics, which will help the Bonnies come Selection Sunday. If Vermont wins the America East as many expect them to do, this game will look good on the Bonnies’ resume.
UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.
UMass made quite a statement on Saturday, knocking off Georgia at home in a game that it led from the start. UMass scored the first seven points of the game and built a 19-point lead by intermission behind 12 first-half points from Luwane Pipkins.
Pipkins had 17 points and six assists to lead the Minutemen. Carl Pierre came off the bench to score 15 on five made threes. The team shot 12-22 for the game from beyond the arc.
After a 3-5 start, UMass has now won three in a row and back-to-back home games against KenPom top-75 teams (they beat Providence last week). UMass still doesn’t figure to be a top-three Atlantic 10 team, but when the best teams in the league have to go to the Mullins Center, pay attention. They might not come out unscathed.
UPDATE: 3:37 p.m.
On a Saturday packed full of mid-major action, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks looked to continue their impressive start against an LSU team looking for a win in Baton Rouge.
It was a matchup that was back-and-forth from beginning to end, making it quite clear to the national audience watching on SEC Network that they were headed for a spectacular finish. In earning their 10th win of the season, the Lumberjacks relied on Ivan Canete’s hot hand to rack up 20 points, including a late three-pointer that helped propel them to the win.
Indeed, the finish of this game was thrilling, especially how hectic the final 35 seconds were. Watch for yourself:
First, the Lumberjacks manage to recover the ball in a scrum under the basket before finding Canete for a contested three that somehow found the bottom of the net.
Then Tremont Waters showed off some skills of his own by knocking down a three right in front of Aaron Augustin.
As for the rest of the game, well...you’ll just have to watch for yourself.
It was an incredible ending to a game that should scare Mizzou, which will face Stephen F. Austin in Columbia this Tuesday.
UPDATE: 2:11 p.m.
NC State loses a buy game to UNC Greensboro. The epitome of brutality.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 16, 2017
The day is still young, but we already have our first case of brutality courtesy of UNC Greensboro. The Spartans went into Raleigh and took down NC State, 81-76.
The win pushes UNCG’s record to 8-3, and they’re very steadily creeping up in Kenpom. Going into the game, they were ranked at No. 115, and could very well crack the top 100 with a couple more wins. They’ll be right there with Mercer and Furman in the SoCon race.
Also, here’s the updated brutality leaderboard.