by Brian Seymour
Well, that didn’t take too long. North Carolina announced its return to national prominence with an impressive win over the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks, 67-56, in a semifinal of the Preseason NIT in New York.
UNC freshman Rashad McCants scored 25 points and a mixture of tough Tar Heel defense and sloppy play by Kansas led to the blowout. UNC will meet Stanford in the final on Friday night in a battle of unranked teams which won’t be unranked for long.
Speaking of which, looks like we might have erred in not including Stanford among our preseason Top 25.
The Cardinal knocked off No. 6 Florida, 69-65 in the Preseason NIT’s other semifinal, the second straight win over a ranked opponent for Stanford. A big offensive rebound and putback with 18 seconds by Rob Little broke a 65-65 tie. Little ended up with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Indiana wins Maui Invitational: No. 20 Indiana pulled away from Virginia to a 70-63 win and the championship of the Maui Invitational. Indiana made some big 3-pointers in the second half to break open a close game. Indiana coach Mike Davis’ Hawaiian shirt was suspiciously absent however. No. 17 Kentucky defeated No. 22 Gonzaga 80-72 in the third-place game.
Top Five teams fatten up: No. 1 Arizona, No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 5 Texas beat up on some intrastate cupcakes — Northern Arizona, St. Francis (PA) and UT-Arlington, respectively. Northern Arizona kept things close with the Wildcats for about 15 minutes, but eventually succumbed, 101-66. It could end up being a costly victory if center Luke Walton is seriously injured. Walton left the game with an ankle injury and his status is not yet known. Another intrastate rivalry ended in an upset, as Georgia Tech upended No. 13 Georgia, 83-77.
Memphis players suspended: The epic saga of Crime and Punishment at Memphis added another chapter with one-game suspensions handed down to Billy Richmond and Clyde Wade for their role in a fight Monday night in a 78-54 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
BSU’s Wooden Award candidate out for season: Ball State’s Mid-American Conference and NCAA Tournament hopes were dealt a blow as preseason All-American and Wooden Award candidate Theron Smith announced he will sit out the rest of the season to allow his tendonitis to heal. Smith, who bypassed the NBA draft to return to BSU for his senior season, is planning on petitioning the NCAA for a medical redshirt, which would allow him to return for the 2003-2004 season.
• Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, biscuits…
• OK, seriously…There won’t be much college basketball to conflict with your helpings of turkey and football. The only interesting game looks to be Montana against No. 10 Michigan State in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout. Unless that Mississippi Valley State vs. Texas-Pan American tilt interests you. Happy Thanksgiving from Hoopville!