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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January 11, 2017 The Morning Dish No Comments

On Monday, Baylor began its first week in school history as a No. 1-ranked team in NCAA men’s basketball. Unfortunately for the Bears, if there’s going to be a second week at the top spot, they’re probably going to have to wait a while.

It just so worked out that the schedule set up Baylor with a road trip to West Virginia in its first game at No. 1. Considering that the Bears-deserving of the top spot as they were for their body of work this season-had barely gotten by Iowa State and Oklahoma State at home in their previous two games, the result Tuesday was almost predictable.

The Mountaineers rolled to an 89-68 victory that was every bit as convincing as the final score. Baylor committed a whopping 29 turnovers, and that’s really the only statistic one needs to know from this one. There’s no way the Bears or any other team is going to beat WVU when they commit 29 turnovers against the press.

The individual star was Nathan Adrian, who scored a career-best 22 points for West Virginia. Adrian had started the season strong, scoring in double figures in seven straight games early on, including some strong showings in the Mountaineers’ butt kickings out of conference, but shot just 35% over his last nine games.

This result means Gonzaga is now on the clock. The Bulldogs are the lone undefeated team remaining in Division I, though they face their biggest test in some time on Saturday when they host Saint Mary’s in the first of at least two highly anticipated meetings this year.

Side Dishes:

  • The other two top 15 matchups Tuesday also weren’t much of games. Villanova drilled Xavier 79-54 to once again assert its superiority in the ACC. Also, Florida State handled Duke with ease at home by an 88-72 score. Leonard Hamilton literally has almost more talent than he knows what to do with; FSU once again played 12 players and shot 53% from the field in another impressive win.
  • Kentucky got all it could handle from Vanderbilt before finally prevailing 87-81 at home. Also in the top 10, Kansas spotted Oklahoma a nine-point halftime lead before predictably storming back for an 81-70 triumph. Frank Mason was outstanding again with 28 points.
  • Texas Tech edged Kansas State 66-65 in a finish marred by officials’ blatant refusal to blow their whistle in the final minute…until decided to whistle a technical foul on Bruce Weber with five seconds remaining. The ‘T’ was legit (Weber was well on the court); unfortunately, so were his gripes. The failure to call an obvious foul just seconds (as well as several others in the final minute) before ignited the eruption, so if the officials were going to swallow the whistles so blatantly, they should’ve done so with Weber, too. These are two good teams that deserved a better finish than this.
  • One team in the SEC stepped through a tough road game as Florida evaded Alabama 80-67. The Crimson Tide battled back from an early 18-point deficit but couldn’t hold up. We saw the effects again of bad free throw shooting: Bama shot 16 of 32 from the line.
  • Arkansas, though, coughed up a home game to Mississippi State, falling 84-78 to the Bulldogs, who capped a nice four days on the road that also included an easy win at LSU on Saturday. These are the type of losses-winnable games at home in conference-that have cost SEC teams NCAA bids in recent seasons.
  • The cream is separating early on in the MAC. Akron and Ohio both remained unbeaten in league after winning road games Tuesday, with the Zips holding off Central Michigan 89-85 and the Bobcats edging Buffalo 74-72 on a game-winning jumper by Kenny Kaminski with less than a second left. The matchups between these two teams this year should find their way on your must-see list.
  • Canisius scored an impressive win on the road in the MAAC, winning at Fairfield 86-72. Jermaine Crumpton had a career-best 32 points and added 10 boards for the surprising Golden Griffins, who have won eight of their last nine.
  • Wisconsin-Green Bay is at it again in the Horizon League, now 4-0 in league play after rallying from a 15-point deficit to defeat Northern Kentucky 80-71. Green Bay got off to a slow start this year but now has won six straight.

Tonight’s Menu: It’s a night loaded with the proverbial trap games.

  • The evening on TV starts early with the Atlantic 10 and AAC in action, with George Washington at VCU (6 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2) and Houston on the road to East Carolina (6 p.m., ESPNews).
  • South Carolina faces a tricky SEC road test with a trip to Tennessee. Another team with a winnable-but-dangerous road game in conference is Dayton, which plays at Massachusetts (7 p.m., CBSSN).
  • Minnesota and Michigan State play for the second time this year already, with the Golden Gophers looking to avenge a loss in the first game while MSU tries to bounce back after a loss to Penn State (7 p.m., Big Ten Network). The Spartans are still rounding into form. Also in the Big Ten, Michigan is at Illinois in a game with a pair of 1-2 teams in league that need a win (9 p.m., Big Ten Network).
  • Speaking of bounce backs, no team has to be more eager for its next game tonight than Albany, which surrendered a 21-0 run to end the game to lose to Stony Brook by two on Sunday. The Great Danes host America East contender New Hampshire tonight.
  • Always a good matchup in the Patriot League, Lehigh is at Bucknell trying to hand the Bison their first league loss.
  • Seton Hall is lurking outside the top 25 rankings, and the Pirates look to exploit their advantage inside when they shoot for a season sweep of Marquette (7 p.m., FS1).
  • Looking so good in its 51-point destruction of rival N.C. State, North Carolina seems due for one of those performances where they confound. Enter a trip to Wake Forest tonight (8 p.m., ESPN2).
  • Memphis looks to keep rolling but must do so on the road against Tulsa (8 p.m., ESPNews).
  • A battle for first in the Summit League commences with North Dakota State against surprising South Dakota.
  • Illinois State can’t get caught looking ahead to its big game with Wichita State, as the Redbirds have a trip to Southern Illinois.
    Iowa State and Oklahoma State meet in an important early Big 12 between two teams that figure to be jockeying for NCAA bids in March.
  • Temple and Connecticut both have a whole lot of work left to do to move up in the AAC, and one of the two will be 1-4 in league after tonight’s game (9 p.m., CBSSN).
  • Finally, perhaps the night’s best game is one of its latest ones as No. 12 Butler travels to face eighth-ranked Creighton (9 p.m., FS1).

Have a very nice Wednesday.

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