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Saturday Notes – January 7, 2017

January 8, 2017 Columns No Comments

A full Saturday is in the books, and we had a lot of good games and interesting results. It was quite a day in the ACC, and it would have been a better day if not for Mother Nature. One of the best matchups of the day, NC State at North Carolina, was postponed to Sunday at 1 p.m. because of Winter Storm Helena. It was one of more than a half dozen games postponed due to inclement weather.

But the ACC isn’t the only place to talk about. The Mountain West deserves some attention for a similar reason.

We can talk about how even the ACC is all day. The Mountain West has been a surprise in this regard. Before the season, most thought San Diego State was a fairly comfortable favorite, perhaps a little shy of being a prohibitive one. Nevada and New Mexico seemed the most likely challengers, the former coming off a CBI title. Well, that’s not exactly what has happened. The Mountain West is proving to be a lot more even than we thought, especially after San Diego State won the Diamond Head Classic a couple of weeks ago.

It’s still early, but already we’re forming impressions of teams and conferences. With that, here’s a look at notes on many of the day’s games.

Baylor 61, Oklahoma State 57: The Cowboys gave the Bears all they could handle, indicating they should at least be a tough out later in the conference. Baylor should ascend to the top spot in the polls on Monday.

Notre Dame 75, Clemson 70: Clemson had a chance for a big road win in this one, but Notre Dame came through late to take the lead, then Matt Farrell sealed it with a big three-pointer in the final seconds to keep the Fighting Irish undefeated in early ACC play and hand Clemson another tough loss.

Florida State 93, Virginia Tech 78: The Seminoles continue to roll against a good Hokie team, with Terance Mann nearly getting a double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Duke 93, Boston College 82: Duke led for much of their first game without Coach K, and BC made it interesting late, but too late.

Oregon 85, Washington State 66: The result isn’t surprising, but there is something to be concerned about: Dillon Brooks picking up a Flagrant-2, which could lead to a suspension from the Pac-12.

Butler 85, Georgetown 76 (OT): While Butler continues to win, Georgetown is now 0-4 in Big East play for the first time since 1998-99.

Indiana 96, Illinois 80: Indiana gets their first Big Ten win in a game that looked like it would be a wipeout for a while.

Maryland 77, Michigan 70: In a battle of teams we’re trying to figure out a bit, the Terrapins score a nice road win to go to 14-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten.

Penn State 72, Michigan State 63: While this isn’t as eye-popping as it often would be, it’s still significant. It is the Spartans’ first Big Ten loss.

Kentucky 97, Arkansas 71: Simply put, Arkansas ran out of gas – and quite early. The Razorbacks played well in the first half and were down just three at the break, but by the second media timeout you had a feeling the Wildcats had this one.

South Carolina 79, Texas A&M 68: The Aggies’ struggles in early SEC play continue in Columbia, as they fall to 0-3.

Saint Mary’s 63, San Francisco 52: San Francisco gave the Gaels all they could handle for a while, but in the end they’re 1-3 in West Coast Conference play after a promising non-conference run.

Ole Miss 88, Auburn 85: Auburn gamely rallied late to tie it at 80, but after a big three-pointer Ole Miss was able to make enough free throws and stops to hang on for their first SEC win.

Mississippi State 95, LSU 78: The bottom is falling out in Baton Rouge, where this one took place. Mississippi State has some work to do, but won this one perhaps a bit more convincingly than the score indicates.

Cincinnati 67, Houston 58: While Houston has improved, it tells you something that this was a marquee matchup in the American Athletic Conference, as it featured two teams that came in without a conference loss in the early going.

SMU 84, South Florida 65: This sets up Thursday night’s game between the Bearcats and Mustangs in Cincinnati.

Nevada 105, New Mexico 104 (OT): A tremendous comeback by the Wolfpack in Albuquerque, one of the toughest places to pull that off. They were down by 25 points in the second half and five in the extra session, getting a big 45-point, 13-rebound effort from Jordan Caroline as he played the game of a lifetime.

Boise State 78, San Diego State 66: Who would have figured Boise State would be atop the Mountain West right now and San Diego State would be winless? The Aztecs started well, but it was all Broncos after that as they go to 4-0 in Mountain West play.

Northeastern 64, James Madison 54: The Dukes have turned the corner in CAA play after a tough time in non-conference, but they ran into an even hotter Northeastern team that has now won eight straight and joins UNCW and College of Charleston atop the CAA with a 4-0 mark.

Fairleigh Dickinson 87, Bryant 84: This was nearly a pretty good upset in Teaneck. Bryant was down by 26 points with 14 minutes left after FDU was white hot in the first half, and the Bulldogs got within 83-82 late. For the game FDU was 13-19 from long range.

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