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Saturday Notes – January 9, 2016

January 10, 2016 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments
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Saturday gave us a number of games with results of note. We had close calls for a few top teams and a few teams get much-needed signature wins, while others are still seeking such a win. Conference races are taking shape early, and one major conference continues to show that fans should strap themselves in for a wild ride.

There is more than that, though. A mid-major that had a great non-conference run is already looking like at least as good a race as expected, though we’re only four games in.

With that, here are notes from a number of the day’s games.

Kansas 69, Texas Tech 59: Tubby Smith has the Red Raiders playing well, but still seeking a signature win at this point.

Maryland 63, Wisconsin 60: Wisconsin looks like one of those teams that will be just a little short all year. This game was there for the taking, but Melo Trimble came up big.

Georgia Tech 68, Virginia 64: The Yellow Jackets have competed, but needed a win like this. Being home after two road games to start ACC play certainly helped.

North Carolina 84, Syracuse 73: By beating the Orange in Jim Boeheim’s return to the bench, the Tar Heels get the first 4-0 ACC start under Roy Williams, a surprising stat considering they have won two national championships in his tenure. Syracuse, meanwhile, is 0-4.

Baylor 94, Iowa State 89: The Bears needed a signature win, and got it – on the road, no less, as this was in Ames, marking the second straight year the Bears won there.

USC 103, Arizona 101 (4 OT): If you haven’t already figured it out, the Pac-12 is going to give you quite a ride this season. This game probably tops them all thus far, but there was already a high bar to clear just from last weekend’s games. With this, Arizona got swept in LA and is 1-2 in the Pac-12.

Oregon State 77, California 71: See above on the Pac-12’s competitiveness. Enjoy the ride this season.

South Carolina 69, Vanderbilt 65: A good win for the Gamecocks, while the Commodores are now a concerning 8-7 overall and 0-3 in the SEC.

Florida 68, LSU 62: LSU couldn’t keep its momentum going, and this would have been another necessary quality win for the Tigers to continue regaining some ground with their resume.

TCU 58, Texas 57: Two decades. That’s how long it had been since TCU had knocked off Texas before this one.

Creighton 82, Seton Hall 67: The Pirates were off to a good start in Big East play, as were the Bluejays, so this goes down as an especially good win for Creighton in New Jersey.

La Salle 61, Dayton 57: The Explorers don’t lack talent, so a win like this isn’t a complete shocker even though this will go down as an upset.

Pittsburgh 86, Notre Dame 82: Can you believe this is Pittsburgh’s first true road game of the season? Quietly, the Panthers are 3-0 in ACC play.

St. Bonaventure 88, UMass 77: They were thought of as something of a sleeper before the season, but let’s call the Bonnies an Atlantic 10 contender, which is what they are. Mark Schmidt does a great job there.

Wyoming 59, UNLV 57: An 0-3 start in Mountain West play for UNLV is further proof that this is not your typical year there. San Diego State is very beatable, and so are the Runnin’ Rebels, even though both have plenty of talent.

Boise State 81, Fresno State 70: Maybe Boise State jumps in to become the leader in the Mountain West. They’re off to a 3-0 start.

Wichita State 83, Southern Illinois 58: An interesting side note to this is that the last time Southern Illinois started Missouri Valley play 3-0 and played another 3-0 team, they lost their next game but went on to go 15-3 and reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Wichita State, meanwhile, continues their recovery from a tough non-conference stretch.

William & Mary 78, Northeastern 60: With this and Hofstra winning, these two teams and the Pride are in an early three-way tie at the top. The Huskies continue to struggle in Williamsburg.

Hofstra 80, Elon 76: What makes this loss a tough one for Elon is that this game was very much there for the taking in the final minutes. Free throws didn’t help during that stretch.

Harvard 77, Dartmouth 70: Agunwa Okolie has long been an intriguing talent, and his career day came at a good time to give Harvard an early 1-0 mark in Ivy League play.

Bryant 82, Mount St. Mary’s 79 (2 OT): The Northeast Conference should be a fun race, and these two teams are 3-1 early on and will be right there. Bryant has a senior leader (Shane McLaughlin) and talented young guards, while Mount St. Mary’s was a good pick to win it. Round one goes to the visiting Bulldogs.

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