Well, well. We’ve finally arrived at a Saturday that is (mostly) all about college basketball.
It started in the wee hours, with No. 22 Nevada dropping a second-straight close game to a quality Big 12 team. The Wolf Pack may now be in a difficult at-large spot with no opportunities left for statement non-conference wins.
You, however, are not in a difficult spot when it comes keeping up with the mid-major action today. Start by checking out Russ’s weekend preview, and then swing back here throughout the day to get caught up on these and other games (all times Eastern):
- Kentucky vs. Monmouth (in New York), 12 PM, ESPNU
- Yale at St. Bonaventure, 2 PM, ESPNU
- Valparaiso at Ball State, 2 PM, ESPN3
- Lipscomb at Tennessee, 2:15 PM, SEC Network
- Penn at Dayton, 3 PM, NBSCN
- FGCU at UT Arlington, 3 PM, ESPN3
- Ole Miss at Middle Tennessee, 6 PM, Facebook Live
- Utah State vs. Utah (in Salt Lake City), 8 PM, Pac-12 Network
- New Mexico State at New Mexico, 9 PM, ESPN3
UPDATE: 4:37 p.m.
By now, you’re probably aware of what Tayler Persons did to Notre Dame earlier this week.
Well, he pretty much did the exact same to another Indiana-based team today, this time introducing Valparaiso to his late-game heroics.
That shot lifted Ball State to a 71-70 victory over the Crusaders.
Now seriously, compare that shot to the one he took against Notre Dame on December 6th:
The shots are nearly identical. Same stakes, same spot on the court, same result.
For Ball State, that’s two big wins in a row with MAC play looming large. For Valpo, that’s a second straight loss, and it has a tough matchup with Northwestern next week that could extend the streak to three.
UPDATE: 5:19 p.m.
Dayton loses a buy game to Penn. The epitome of brutality.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 9, 2017
Dayton was 13-0 against the Ivy League before falling 78-70 to Penn.
Antonio Woods led the 8-4 Quakers with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Sam Jones added 15 points for Penn in an off-the-bench effort. Penn has won three straight games, and five of its last six.
Penn shot nearly 60 percent from behind the arc and made 13 of 18 free throws.
Dayton’s Josh Cunningham led all scorers with 21 points and also had eight rebounds. Reserve guard John Crosby added 15 points, four rebounds and three assists. Dayton has fallen in three of its last four games.
Against the Quakers, the Flyers missed 15 threes, turned the ball over 14 times and got to the foul line just five times. Kostas Antetokounmpo — younger brother of Giannis —has been fun to watch in spurts this season, but the 19-year-old freshman finished with just seven points on six shots. Dayton is 4-5 on the season.
UPDATE: 6:00 p.m.
VCU head coach Mike Rhoades addressed the media after his team’s 90-67 loss to Seton Hall in Newark. Watch it here and get a great view of the back of Adam Zagoria’s head.
VCU press conference after loss to Seton Hall https://t.co/NfTWidGqaS— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) December 9, 2017
UPDATE: 8:11 PM
Just when you were wondering whether FGCU was legit...
THAT is how we pick ourselves up after two losses.— FGCU Men's Hoops (@FGCU_MBB) December 9, 2017
21-game regular-season homecourt winning streak is over for UTA.
The nation's #2-ranked mid-major team goes down.#DunkCity #ASUNMBB pic.twitter.com/iZi9WqaLMb
This was a giant win for the Eagles — so much so that we’re okay dropping in a tweet that references a poll other than our own. Of FGCU’s four losses coming into this game, two were to Middle Tennessee, which is excusable. The same goes for an early season road loss at Bowling Green.
But falling at home to FAU earlier this week? That raised some flags for a team that is loaded with talent. You can put the flag down after FGCU shot 52.6 percent from three and toppled a very good UT Arlington team. The balanced offensive attack that makes the Eagles so dangerous was on display, with Brandon Goodwin (23 points), Christian Terrell (16 points) and Zach Johnson (13 points) all with good games. USF transfer Dinero Mercurius also got loose (16 points).
On the Mavericks side, they’ve now dropped two-straight after a loss earlier in the week at Northern Iowa. While UTA is now 1-3 against KenPom top-109 competition, the Mavericks have been in each of those losses. They’ll be fine.
UPDATE: 10:26 PM
San Diego State, what happened?
The Aztecs blew a 14-point lead at home and fell to Cal in the final seconds. That wouldn’t be especially frustrating for SDSU except for the fact the Golden Bears seemed hyper-vulnerable after getting blasted by Central Arkansas earlier in the week.
Maybe that worked against SDSU.
"I expected them to compete tonight," [Wyking] Jones said. "I actually felt really, really good about this game. I knew our guys would play with a chip on their shoulder against these guys because the mentality of San Diego State is they come in and try to out-physical you."
The Aztecs on the whole have looked good in Brian Dutcher’s first season. The defense has remained elite, the usual suspects (Trey Kell, Jeremy Helmsey) have played well and newcomers (Devin Watson, Matt Mitchell) have added a punch. This loss, however, is a bit of a head-scratcher, and it’s the third time they’ve blown a lead and fallen to a Pac-12 school.