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Live Blog: Arkansas Pine Bluff stays perfect, NMSU keeps at-large dream alive

There’s a giant game in the Mountain West, too.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It happened to Saint Bonaventure. It happened to VCU.

Will it happen to Rhode Island too?

The Rams take their perfect A-10 start (6-0) to Dayton, where an uneven, rebuilding Flyers team has still been able to knock off two of the league’s other supposed contenders in the past few weeks. Out West, the two Mountain West frontrunners meet as Boise State (6-1) travels to Nevada (6-0) in a giant game.

But, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to call Saturday night’s game historic. Nevada enters 17-3 overall and 6-0 in the MW; Boise State sits at 16-3 and 6-1. The historic aspect? It’s the first time in Nevada basketball history, which spans 104 years, that two teams with a record of 16-3 or better have faced each other. The closest previous occurrence came in 2007 when 17-1 Nevada played at 14-4 New Mexico State.

Check back throughout the day to follow that and the rest of the mid-major action that remains unaffected by the goings on in D.C.

Notable games (all times Eastern)

  • Rhode Island at Dayton, 1:00 PM, CBS Sports Network
  • Georgia Southern at Georgia State, 2:15 PM, ESPN3
  • Hofstra at College of Charleston, 4:00 PM, SportsLive
  • Mercer at UNC Greensboro, 5:00 PM, ESPN3
  • Sam Houston State at Lamar, 5:30 PM, ESPN3
  • Utah Valley at New Mexico State, 6:00 PM, ESPN3
  • Austin Peay at Belmont, 6:30 PM, no stream (sadly)
  • Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky, 7:00 PM, Stadium
  • Boise State at Nevada, 10:00 PM, ESPNU
  • UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara, 11:59 PM, ESPNU

UPDATE: 10:03 PM

This live blog is on its last legs so we’re just going to use the pun. Wright State was wrong Saturday, as the Raiders dropped their first Horizon game at Milwaukee.

The loss drops Wright State into a tie with Northern Kentucky, as both teams sit at 7-1 after the Norsemen downed Green Bay earlier in the day.


UPDATE: 9:06 PM

The SWAC has not belonged to Texas Southern thus far this year, creating a storyline that we haven’t had over the past three seasons.

Arkansas Pine Bluff remained the lone unbeaten team in the league by holding on against Prairie View A&M on Saturday. The Golden Lions opened up a 15-point halftime lead before seeing Panthers pull within 65-63 on a three-pointer by Troy Thompson with just under a minute left.

The Golden Lions would eventually ice the game, and got a career-high 39 points from Martaveous McKnight. The junior knocked down a jumper on the possession after that late Thompson three, and scored from all over the court (13-20 FG, 3-6 3PT) in the big road win.

There’s plenty of SWACtion left but UAPB — which made its lone NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010 — has been the story thus far.


UPDATE: 8:06 PM

New Mexico State is, maybe, hanging on to an at-large chance with a solid RPI and win over Miami. If it does exist, the Aggies got past a tricky home game Saturday against Utah Valley with an 86-59 win.

NMSU’s top-20 KenPom defense showed up again, holding the Wolverines to just 37.3 percent from the field. They bottled up a hot-shooting UVU team, particularly Conner Toolson. And the Aggies front line made breakout center Akolda Manyang a non-factor (1 points, 0-3 FG) right from the beginning.

NMSU still has to make the return trip to Orem, and host Grand Canyon, but the path to an unbeaten WAC season became marginally more likely.


UPDATE: 6:15 PM

Reed Timmer scored six points in the final 44 seconds as Drake held off Missouri State to move to 6-2 in the Valley. The Bulldogs now sit at first place in the Valley on Jan. 20. Because you saw that coming.


UPDATE: 5: 47 PM

NCAA Basketball: Southern Mississippi at Old Dominion Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes will on the 100 Miles of Hate in the C-USA tonight. If you can solve the riddle that is Stadium, you should watch.

In the meantime, Old Dominion’s defense throttled yet another team, holding FAU to just 0.89 points per possession and turning over the Owls 21 times. It completed a taking-care-of-business trip to Florida for the Monarchs, who knocked off FIU earlier in the week.

They’ve got a week off before traveling to Charlotte, before a big two-game home stand against Middle Tennessee and UAB. Western Kentucky is rolling ahead of tonight’s game with the Blue Raiders, and looks all the better by association as Purdue continues to lay waste to a bad Big Ten.

But don’t forget about ODU. The Monarchs are sitting at 6-1, winners of 10 of their last 11 games, with the lone loss coming to the Hilltoppers. They’ve got an underrated point guard in Ahmad Carver, four players averaging double digit scoring and the 37th most efficient defense per KenPom. They’re going to be a factor in the C-USA race.


UPDATE: 5:14 PM

Let’s appreciate a couple of 31-point outbursts.

The first was not terribly surprising. Bryson Scott went off for 31 points (15-16 FT) in an exciting win over North Dakota State. It was the sixth time the senior star has scored 30 or more this season, and pushed Fort Wayne into a tie for third in the Summit. Here’s a crucial and-one he had late against the Bison.

The other 31-point outing wasn’t as predictable. North Florida sophomore Noah Horchler, the fifth-leading scorer in the Ospreys’ up-tempo offense, went off in a 100-80 win at USC Upstate. Feasting on a Spartans defense that has given up plenty of points in the paint, Horchler went eight-for-14 inside the three-point arc, and also went nine-for-10 from the free throw line.


UPDATE: 4:26 PM

Eastern Washington is off to a nice 4-2 Big Sky start, and is trying to keep pace with front-running Montana and others against Southern Utah. The game is currently in overtime, and interesting enough on its own. But how about this concise way of communicating the score?

It just seemed worth preserving this fine use of social media.


UPDATE: 4:15 PM

Flush with controversy, Saint Louis went out and beat UMass by 19 points.

If you want read about what’s going on with the program, this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article is probably your best bet.


UPDATE: 3:45 PM

Time for a mea culpa!

You can’t forget about the NEC, and this is a big one. Robert Morris (6-1) and Wagner (5-2) face off, and if you can navigate the interwebs well enough to find it, you should watch it.

According to KenPom, the NEC has better top-end strength than it has had in recent years. Three teams sit in the KenPom top-185, and RMU and Wagner are two of them.


UPDATE: 3:33 PM

URI did in fact do what Saint Bonaventure and VCU could not. The Rams stretched their winning streak to 10 games with an 88-74 win in Dayton, which was the first of its kind for URI.

Josh Cunningham had a career-high 32 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 21 Dayton turnovers and another balanced backcourt attack by URI. Four players scored in double figures for the Rams, including 24 points by Jared Terrell.

Though Davidson sits at 5-1, it’s beginning to look like the Rams (7-0) are at a different level than anyone else in the A-10. Six of their seven league wins have come by double digits, and their KenPom rating (29) is a significant jump from the next best (Davidson, 62). That said, the Rams do have tough remaining road games at Davidson, VCU and Saint Bonaventure.