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The Morning Dish – Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15, 2015 The Morning Dish No Comments

We’ve had days this college basketball season that have been marked by a high occurrence of one feat or another. This Saturday was one marked by one-point games and overtimes.

A total of 13 games on Saturday were decided by one point. Another ten contests went to overtime, and none of those fell in the category competitions eventually settled by a point. In all, 23 of the 138 NCAA Division I games on Saturday were separated by no more than a point at the end of regulation. Not bad at all.

A few of the dandies:

  • No. 2-ranked Virginia held off Wake Forest 61-60, looking shaky but getting the job done again without Justin Anderson.
  • Last weekend it was St. Bonaventure that was the darling; this weekend it’s Tulane. The Green Wave scored a stunning 50-49 win at Cincinnati in which Jonathan Stark hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the Green Wave.
  • The SEC had a trio of one-pointers. Arkansas won at Mississippi 71-70, perhaps denying the Rebels a national ranking next week; Texas A&M became the latest team to nip Florida, defeating the Gators 63-62, and Auburn surprised Georgia 69-68 on the road.
  • Central Michigan rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to win at Buffalo 75-74. The Chippewas are again tied for the top in the MAC West with Toledo.
  • Murray State won its 21st game in a row, but it was not easy. T.J. Sapp had to hit three free throws with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and from there the Racers finally went on to beat SE Missouri State 94-92. Of course, Murray still has the second-longest win streak in its home state of Kentucky, after the Wildcats won their 25th straight.
  • The Northeast Conference accounted for a number of these games just on its own. Aaron Tate scored on a tip-in at the buzzer to give Robert Morris a 53-52 win over poor Central Connecticut State, which dropped to 3-24. LIU defeated St. Francis (Pa.) 79-74 in overtime, and Wagner upended Fairleigh Dickinson 83-79, also in overtime.

A few other notes from Saturday’s games:

  • 78 games were decided by single digits. Of those 78 games, 45 were decided by five points or fewer or in overtime.
  • 38 teams scored at least 80 points. While not as high of a percentage as it should be, we submit again: there are plenty of teams out there that are capable of scoring points.
  • The longest game of the day was in the Big Sky, where Montana went three overtimes with Northern Colorado before pulling out an 83-81 win.

We are nearing the end of conference play, and conference tournaments are officially just around the corner. The fun is only beginning.

Side Dishes:

  • Hoopville’s Phil Kasiecki has his recap of Saturday’s action
  • Butler forward Andrew Chrabascz is going to have X-rays on an injured hand suffered in the Bulldogs’ tough 68-65 loss to Villanova on Saturday. Chrabascz played almost the entire game but apparently was in increased pain after the game, according to the Indianapolis Star.
  • Missouri announced before its game against Mississippi State on Saturday that freshmen Namon Wright and Montaque Gill-Caesar had been reinstated to the team. Both had been suspended a week earlier and missed a pair of games. Wright scored six points and Gill-Caesar had two in the Tigers’ 77-74 loss to the Bulldogs.
  • Cincinnati freshman forward Quadri Moore has been suspended, according to a statement by the program, in which coach Mick Cronin said “we have standards both athletically and academically in our program that Quadri is not meeting.” Moore is averaging 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds per game and did not play in the Bearcats’ one-point loss to Tulane on Saturday.

Today’s Menu:

Illinois at Wisconsin (1 p.m. EST, CBS)  Not to be negative, but at this point still not sure how much we believe in the Fighting Illini-their four-game winning streak includes three of those at home, against Penn State, Rutgers and Michigan, and all of them close. Expectations for nearly any team playing at Wisconsin are low, though, so just showing well here would be a win for Illinois.
California at Utah (8:30 p.m. EST, ESPNU) 
Resurgent Cal has five straight wins but hasn’t made much national noise yet, but that would change in a hurry with a win here.
Minnesota at Indiana (7:30 p.m. EST, BTN) 
What goes for California also goes for Minnesota. The Gophers are not out of NCAA tourney contention just yet and would start getting a bit more discussion with a road win here.
Iona at Quinnipiac  The Bobcats have responded nicely after a tough start in the MAAC. Iona is the team to beat in this conference but is a little banged up and could easily go down here.
Hofstra at Drexel  Damion Lee had been the best player in the country on a bad team for much of this season, but suddenly, the Dragons aren’t that bad. Drexel has won six straight and, with a win here, would incredibly be just a game out of first in the CAA.
Valparaiso at Wisconsin-Milwaukee  The Panthers have been tough at home of late, so there’s no room for a letdown for the Crusaders after Friday’s hard-fought win over UW-Green Bay to take over the Horizon lead.
VMI at The Citadel  Rivalry of Southern Conference military schools, both of whom are coming off memorable wins their last time out. It’s good to see the Keydets back in the SoCon.

Have a terrific Sunday.

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