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College basketball live blog: Gonzaga and San Francisco highlight a snowy Saturday slate

Opportunities are abundant for another Saturday of conference play.

NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: 6:30

Were you watching basketball instead of the Colts-Chiefs? If so, you’re smart, unlike some group of people that definitely doesn’t include the person writing this.

The 4:00 window had a couple of “upsets” to note. Out west, Pepperdine went on the road and picked up a really good win against San Diego. Lorenzo Romar might be onto something in LA.

In Conference USA action, those who are still skeptical of North Texas will feel some slight vindication as the Mean Green dropped a close one to UTSA. North Texas is still 16-2, but are yet to beat a top 100 team.

San Diego State continued to disappoint with a 14-point loss to Air Force. Relative to preseason expectations, the Aztecs might be the biggest disappointment this season.

The big dogs out west come out to play later tonight. We’ll check back as the evening rolls on.

- Chris Schutte

UPDATE: 4:48

Well the 2:00 games were fun.

While some of the less informed were watching Duke and Florida State, intellectuals like ourselves were switching furiously between VCU vs. Davidson and Illinois State vs. Loyola.

Kellan Grady’s 21 points on 7-10 shooting helped the Wildcats overcome a 14-0 run from VCU in the second half to knock off the Rams and take over first place in the Atlantic 10 (for now) with a 3-0 record.

VCU led by 10 with under eight minutes to go, but the Wildcats spent the next six minutes outscoring the Rams 21-4, a run highlighted by a game-tying triple from KiShawn Pritchett with 2:19 left. VCU went scoreless for almost the final four minutes of the game, as Davidson held on, 64-57.

Over in the Valley, Loyola hit its free throws down the stretch to edge an Illinois State team that refused to go away.

The Ramblers led for almost the entire second half, but Matt Chastain tied it on a dunk with 2:37 left. And while Loyola did not hit a field goal the rest of the way, Clayton Custer and Lucas Williamson combined to go 6-6 from the stripe.

Up three, Loyola locked down in the final possession, preventing the Redbirds from getting a clean look to tie. Zach Copeland missed a tough look as time expired and Loyola won, 67-64.

- Russell Steinberg

UPDATE: 2:24 p.m.

The noon slate of games is just about over, and while there were no insane results, it served as a nice appetizer for what’s to come.

The final score may not have shown it, but Miami (OH) gave Buffalo a test for about 30 minutes before the Bulls pulled away. Buffalo used a 19-2 second half run to take control and improve to 15-1 overall and 3-0 in the MAC. Jeremy Harris, who dropped 34 on Toledo earlier in the week, led Buffalo with 17 points.

Yeah, Buffalo’s the runaway favorite in the conference. After that... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Toledo is 0-2 in the league and Ball State also lost this afternoon, falling to previously 0-2 Ohio.

In non-MAC news, Bucknell won a thriller over American, 55-54. Here’s Nate Sestina’s go-ahead three with just over a minute to go:

- Russell Steinberg

Folks it might be cold outside, but the action on the court is heating up!

We got a couple inches of snow here in Indianapolis, which seems to be the case in a decent portion of the country. No worries. That sets up perfectly for sitting inside and binging college basketball for twelve straight hours.

As is the case with every Saturday of conference play, there are opportunities for teams to make a move in the conference standings and to improve their chances at reaching the NCAA Tournament.

The biggest opportunity today comes from the WCC. San Francisco hosts Gonzaga in what is probably the biggest game of the year for the Dons. If they win, the path to an at-large gets a significant boost. Lose, and the margin for error becomes that much slimmer. For what it’s worth, KenPom likes the Zags by seven. Should be a fun one.

There’s also fun matchups in the Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Ivy League and Conference USA. Settle in, have a beverage or two, and follow along for what should be an exciting day of hoops.

Also, if you’re on site at a game, send us a pic! We might throw it up on our Instagram.

Some games of note (all times Eastern):

Miami OH at Buffalo, 12 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Louisiana Monroe at Georgia St., 1 p.m., ESPN Plus
VCU at Davidson, 2 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Princeton at Penn, 2 p.m., ESPN Plus
Illinois St. at Loyola Chicago, 2 p.m., ESPN2
Valparaiso at Southern Illinois, 4 p.m., ESPN3
North Texas at UTSA, 4 p.m., ESPN Plus
Northeastern at William & Mary, 4 p.m.
East Tennessee St. at Mercer, 4:30 p.m., ESPN3
Furman at UNC Greensboro, 5 p.m., ESPN3
Cal St. Bakersfield at New Mexico St., 6 p.m.
Hartford at Vermont, 7 p.m., ESPN Plus
Western Kentucky at Marshall, 7 p.m.,
Nevada at Fresno St., 8 p.m., ESPNU
Gonzaga at San Francisco, 10 p.m., ESPN2