College football took center stage on Saturday with championship games, but college basketball gave us plenty as well. We had great rivalry games, many intriguing matchups, and some other results of note from a busy day full of games. It was a good taste of what Saturdays will be like most of the time from here until March.
With that in mind, here are some quick thoughts on some of the day’s games.
Arizona 68, Gonzaga 63: Another tight game between these two teams, another big win for Arizona, who needed it since the Wildcats were looking the part of a team trying to figure things out early on.
Georgetown 79, Syracuse 72: The Orange’s first game without Jim Boeheim on the bench didn’t go well, as they were behind by 21 before making it a ballgame. Georgetown, meanwhile, picked up its best win of the young season and third in a row after a 1-3 start.
Providence 74, Rhode Island 72: An absolute thriller of a rivalry game between two teams that will only get better as the season goes along, making this game even more memorable by then.
Kansas 75, Harvard 69: This isn’t the best team Harvard has had in recent years by a long shot, but they gave Kansas all they could handle and then some. Give the Jayhawks credit for pulling it out behind another stellar effort from Frank Mason III.
Purdue 70, New Mexico 58: As good as A.J. Hammons is and can be, his sidekick, Isaac Haas, is having a big year as well and had 21 points in this one. They are overwhelming teams with their size, out-rebounding New Mexico 51-28.
Xavier 95, Western Kentucky 64: The Musketeers are rolling, quiet as it’s been kept, with their best start in years.
California 78, Wyoming 72 (OT): Jordan Mathews pulled through in the extra session, scoring 11 of his 14 points. This was a better matchup than many realized, and Josh Adams had a big 32-point losing effort for the Cowboys.
Arizona State 67, Texas A&M 54: Although this game was in Tempe, it was a bit surprising that the Sun Devils were basically in control all along, leading by 25 at one point. Fortunately for the Aggies, this alone isn’t going to ding their NCAA Tournament hopes since they have wins over Texas and Gonzaga and still have to play Baylor before SEC play.
Wisconsin 76, Temple 60: The Badgers are quietly 6-3 and appear to have gotten over their tough start that included a season-opening loss to Western Illinois.
Dayton 86, North Florida 71: The Ospreys were able to hang with the Flyers for a while, but Dayton pulled away to go to 6-1.
NC State 99, Bucknell 86: The Bison certainly gave the Wolfpack all they could handle for much of the game, aided by Cat Barber being in foul trouble at one point.
Ole Miss 74, UMass 64: A nice win for the Rebels, coming up to Springfield to knock off the Minutemen thanks to a huge second half from Stefan Moody, who scored 24 of his career-high 30 points in the second half on 7-10 shooting (he was 9-18 overall).
Missouri State 64, Oklahoma State 63: Not a good one for Travis Ford’s squad, as Missouri State came into this game 1-5, though they include losses to good teams they played tough.
South Carolina 81, USF 63: This game was most noteworthy for having two Hispanic head coaches, but it’s worth noting that South Carolina is now 8-0 and looks more and more like they might be about to turn a corner under Frank Martin.
Northwestern 81, SIU-Edwardsville 56: Quietly, the Wildcats are looking like they could be a sleeper in the Big Ten, as they’re 7-1.
Oregon State 66, Nevada 62: The Beavers are now 6-1, a good start with their influx of young talent. Wayne Tinkle is making things happen in Corvallis.
Richmond 82, Northern Iowa 67: One of the sleeper matchups of the day went rather decisively to Richmond, as Terry Allen remains on a roll with 21 points and seven rebounds in this one.
Oral Roberts 70, Tulsa 68: While not as bad as last year, the American Athletic Conference isn’t having a memorable run in non-conference, and this is another hit. Oral Roberts is good and a local rival, but if Tulsa is to be an NCAA Tournament team, they win a game like this.
Wichita State 68, Saint Louis 53: The Shockers badly needed Fred VanVleet to return and a victory, and got both. VanVleet didn’t have a career game, but just having him out there had to be big for this team.
Evansville 85, Murray State 81 (OT): In improving to 7-1, the Purple Aces snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Racers.
Southern Illinois 95, North Texas 63: The Salukis are 8-1 for the first time since 2003-04, getting 27 points from Anthony Beane, who remains hot.