By Adam Shandler
Almost Every D-I team has played a game. Uh, UCLA, we’re waiting.
Luaus aren’t big in Lexington, so the Wildcats shipped out to Maui where they logged their first game (and win) against Arizona State in the Maui Invitational. Keith Bogans exorcised his junior year demons with a 20 point, 7 rebound, 4 assist night in the 82-65 victory. Playing the part of Curtis Millage, who is sidelined for academic ineligibility, was Jamal Hill. Hill led the Sun Devils with 14 points in the loss.
In another Maui contest, Final Four participant Indiana also got their season going, trouncing UMass, 84-71. Tom Coverdale and George Leach combined for 39 points shepherding the Hoosiers to a semifinal face-off with Gonzaga tonight. The Bulldogs (or ‘Zags if you want to be like that) hammered Utah 71-52.
In other big game action, Duke squashed Davidson, 95-80, but give Bobby McKillop’s team credit. They hung tough and kept it as close as 12 for most of the second half. Elsewhere, the Ducks barely quacked in their 86-77 John Thompson Foundation championship win over Cal State-Northridge. Alabama upped their mark to 3-0 with an 80-65 win over a gutsy Middle Tennessee State squad. And UConn and Mississippi State were both victorious, in wins over George Washington and McNeese State respectively.
Hilltopper Down! Hilltopper Down! Western Kentucky was delivered a heavy blow yesterday when it was announced that starting forward Todor Pandov will be out for the rest of the season with a major knee injury. Though it’s unconfirmed, it’s believed that Pandov turned his tendons into spaghetti, with a torn ACL, MCL and miniscus which he suffered during Saturday’s loss to Arizona. With All-America Center Chris Marcus out until Mid-December, the Hilltoppers are in danger of falling out of most Top 25 polls and their prospects of winning the Sun Belt have now dimmed a bit.
Senque Leaves Game in Neck Brace: New Mexico got a huge scare last night during their 60-56 win over Northwestern State. Senior guard Senque Carey collided with Byron Allen as the latter was driving hard to the bucket late in the first half. According to an orthopedic surgeon at University of New Mexico hospital, Senque was in “serious but stable condition.” This is scary stuff. We see this happen in football all the time, but injuries like this aren’t the stuff of hoops games, on any level. The Hoopville staff sends its thoughts and prayers to Senque and his family in hopes of a speedy recovery.
How Cavalier of Chaminade: Ever hear of Ernest Pettway? The 1982 Virgina Cavaliers will never forget him. Though squirreled away in the anals of NCAA hoops upsets, the Chaminade-over-Virginia upset 20 years ago resurfaced briefly, thanks in part to last night’s rematch. Yes, it actually happened. NAIA Chaminade, that Hawaii school you hear about only around Thanksgiving time stunned Ralph Sampson and Virginia on December 23, 1982, 77-72. No such drama last night as the Cavs crushed the now-Division II host school, 86-72. Travis Watson left nothing to chance with a 16 point, 14 rebound performance.
NEC Makes Good: In a mini Coaches versus Cancer event at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY, MAAC favorite Manhattan bested Sacred Heart, 77-62, while St. Francis throttled cold-shooting, undermanned Hofstra, 72-56. In spite of the Sacred Heart loss, the NEC had a good night, going 3-1.
Capel Era: Following in the footsteps of Coach K proteges Quinn Snyder, Mike Brey and Tommy Amaker, another former Dookie begins a coaching era. Jeff Capel will drink his first gulp of head coaching action when his Virginia Commonwealth Rams open up against ailing Western Kentucky tonight.
• It’s a full slate again tonight with No. 15 UCLA looking to shake off the cobwebs in their season debut against San Diego.
• No. 23 Cincy squares off against a Florida A&M team that didn’t back down from strength-of-schedulephobia. The Rattlers are coming off a loss to Alabama.
• Marquette hopes to stay perfect when they battle Eastern Illinois in Milwaukee.
Enjoy the fun!