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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November 16, 2016 The Morning Dish No Comments

Tuesday was one of the busier days of the college basketball season, but certainly its longest one with games filling literally almost every minute of the 24 hours.

ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon was a big part of that, and for all of the frustrations with its coverage of college basketball (such as the network’s website including a piece questioning how Duke and Kentucky became the sport’s two most prominent programs without acknowledging its role in putting them there?), the marathon is a fun idea that at least gives a national look at the sport and an event to rally around. It was not alone on Tuesday, though, as other games and events were part of the story.

Among the developments:

  • The Champions Classic was part dud, part everything one could’ve asked. Kentucky showed that its youth is clearly ahead of Michigan State’s right now in a 69-48 rout, but that was a mere undercard to the second game, where Kansas got a game-winner from Frank Mason to tip Duke 77-75.
  • Oregon is certainly not whole yet, as it was severely exposed by Baylor 66-49. The Ducks miss Dillon Brooks, clearly not just for his production but for their chemistry, as there is no true step-up player right now. But this also should be about the Bears. It’s time to retire the myth-however much it may still prevail-that Scott Drew cannot coach. Baylor isn’t a blueblood program, but should have earned the benefit of the doubt by now as a perennial top 25 club, meaning this result wasn’t nearly as surprising to us as it seems to have been to many.
  • Other notable games in the marathon: Dayton gutted out a 77-72 win at Alabama, trailing much of the way but getting a crucial three-pointer late from Scoochie Smith. The Flyers’ win was dampened in the final seconds after forward Josh Cunningham came down hard on his leg after a contested dunk that clinched it, and one can only hope the injury is not nearly as gruesome as the play looked. Also worth a mention: Winthrop was mighty impressive on the road in a 94-81 win at Manhattan. The Eagles are one of the slicker passing teams you’ll see and have a nice mix of shooters and hustle players.
  • The Gavitt Games-noble as it is recognizing one of the sport’s true legends-is yet another in the endless, overrun stream of conference “challenge” events, but this year’s meetings between Big East and Big Ten teams have been excellent so far. Last night’s both certainly were, as Maryland nabbed an improbable 76-75 win at Georgetown after rallying from nine points down in the final 2:21. These two must-need-to keep meeting every year. Then, Creighton showed again why it is one of the true big-time home environments in the sport, as nearly 18,000 were on hand as the Bluejays toppled Wisconsin 79-67 in a battle of ranked teams.
  • Finally, a game that was as good as all of them that deserved a much more national audience than it received was South Carolina and Monmouth going to overtime before P.J. Dozier hit a jumper at the buzzer to give the Gamecocks a 70-69 win.

Side Dishes

  • Among other results from the night, Arizona held off Cal State-Bakersfield 78-66 behind 26 points from freshman Lauri Markkanen, the son of former Kansas big man Pekka Markkanen. The Wildcats appeared to have this under control with a 21-point lead early in the second half, but the Roadrunners showed the feistiness displayed in their NCAA tourney game against Oklahoma last year, scoring 17 straight points to make this very interesting. Jaylin Arrington scored 31 points for Bakersfield.
  • North Carolina scored the first 14 points of the game and never let up, rolling past Long Beach State 93-67. Also in the ACC, Florida State handled Iona 99-78, with six players scoring in double figures.
  • George Washington rallied for a 77-75 win at home over Siena, dominating the glass 46-29 against a Saints team that was one of the top 15 rebounding teams in the country last year.
  • A quietly terrific matchup saw Middle Tennessee State outlast Murray State 87-81 in a meeting of former OVC rivals who met for the 139th time. Newcomer JaCorey Williams led the Blue Raiders with 22 points, while the Racers again played without Gee McGhee, who injured an ankle in an exhibition game.
  • There were several monster individual performances in Toledo’s 103-98 win in overtime over Youngstown State. Marquette transfer Steve Taylor scored 22 points and added even more rebounds-23-for the Rockets, while Cameron Morse lit it up for 40 for the Penguins, including a three-pointer to send it to OT.
  • No one had a better all-around stat line than Wright State’s Mark Alstork, who scored 29 points and added 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Raiders moved to 2-0 with an 89-87 win over Miami (Ohio).
  • North Carolina State freshman Ted Kapita will not travel with the team to the Paradise Jam tourney in the Virgin Islands this weekend. Kapita, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was recently cleared by the NCAA to play and had 17 points and eight rebounds in the Wolfpack’s recent win over St. Francis (N.Y.), but he is working on updating paperwork required for him to travel outside the United States.
  • Mississippi State got some bad news as it found out 6-foot-11 freshman center Abdul Ado will not be cleared by the NCAA and is ineligible this season, due to issues with transcripts from his first year of high school in Nigeria.
  • Finally, Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson again showed why he’s one of the best interviews in any sport Monday night when he correctly pointed out the pitiful crowd at Arkansas’s 90-65 win over his Salukis and noted that the Razorback fans can do better.

Tonight’s Menu:

  • Northwestern at Butler provides a good early-season measure of both teams as the Gavitt Games continue.
  • Tulsa goes to Wichita State in a matchup of former MVC rivals. The Shockers have some payback to give after losing to the Golden Hurricane a year ago.
  • Miami (Fla.) plays a surprising road game as it goes to face in-state foe North Florida.
  • Texas-Arlington should be smarting from getting spanked by Minnesota on Monday; now the Mavericks hit the road to face Florida Gulf Coast.
  • Unheralded Morehead State is at Marshall in a good matchup of the Eagles’ tough defense against the Thundering Herd’s potent offense.
  • Fresh off stunning Fresno State, Prairie View A&M now gives it a shot at 17th-ranked Saint Mary’s.
  • UC Irvine is at California in a West Coast pairing. The Anteaters are still waiting for the season debut of Luke Nelson, their only returning starter from a year ago and one of the top guards in the Big West.

Have a great Wednesday.

Twitter: @HoopvilleAdam
Email: hoopvilleadam@yahoo.com

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