Now several weeks into conference play, some teams are starting to emerge as teams to beat, while others look as difficult to determine now as they were before. Saturday shed a little light on that, but might have told us more about individual teams than conference races.
What did it tell us? For Arizona, Duke, Florida State and Kentucky, it said very good things. For Creighton, Minnesota and NC State, not so much. We also saw early showdowns in a couple of mid-majors that are interesting for now.
Now we take a look at notes from many of the day’s games.
Florida State 73, Louisville 68: As we noted in the most recent podcast, this was the Seminoles’ sixth straight game against a ranked opponent, and they went 5-1 in those games. That tells you this team is very good and a real contender in the ACC.
Arizona 96, UCLA 85: The Wildcats got Allonzo Trier back and then got a big win at UCLA, and they scored the most points by an opponent at Pauley Pavilion in 13 years. Arizona just keeps on winning no matter the personnel.
Kentucky 85, South Carolina 69: After a bad start, South Carolina was able to hang in for a while thanks to Sindarius Thornwell, but the Wildcats handed them their first SEC loss in handling the upstart.
Kansas 78, Texas 66: Jarrett Allen’s monster game (22 points, 19 rebounds) was nice, but the Longhorns are having a season to forget.
Kansas State 79, West Virginia 75: The week after West Virginia knocked off the top team in the polls was one to forget, as they lost both games. The Wildcats are 4-3 in the Big 12 just like the Mountaineers.
Duke 70, Miami 58: A classic tale of two halves, where Miami clearly outplayed Duke in the first half and it was all Matt Jones and Duke in the second half. For a time, it looked like Duke could fall to 2-4 in ACC play, which was unthinkable before the season.
Indiana 82, Michigan State 75: The Hoosiers win at home to put both teams at 4-3 in the Big Ten, but the race looks as muddled as ever. It’s certainly good for the Hoosiers to win their first game without O.G. Anunoby.
Wisconsin 78, Minnesota 76 (OT): If you want to think of Minnesota as a contender in the Big Ten, losing at home, as they have now done twice, can’t help matters, especially as this makes three straight losses.
Marquette 102, Creighton 94: Not a good start to life without Mo Watson, as the Bluejays drop one at home. Adjusting to losing your point guard is never easy, so this isn’t entirely shocking.
Butler 70, DePaul 69 (OT): A win is a win, and that’s the case for Butler on the road despite 32 points from Eli Cain.
Vanderbilt 68, Florida 66: Is Vanderbilt turning a corner? The Commodores have had a so-so season, but going to Gainesville and winning is a big deal as Bryce Drew tries to get them going again.
Freno State 91, Nevada 86: An impressive road win for the Bulldogs against one of the Mountain West favorites. They are now 5-3, and you have to think of them as at least a dark horse in that race.
Wake Forest 93, NC State 88: Another home loss for NC State sends the Wolfpack to 2-5 in ACC play, a game back of the 3-4 Demon Deacons.
Iowa State 92, Oklahoma 87 (2 OT): While the Cyclones pull this one out on the road, the Sooners making it a double overtime game after beating West Virginia earlier in the week tells you they’re getting better.
Oklahoma State 83, Texas Tech 64: The Cowboys get their first Big 12 win in style, convincingly beating the Red Raiders in Lubbock.
Washington State 91, Colorado 89: The Buffaloes remain winless in Pac-12 play, a real surprise as they appeared to be improving before this season.
Northern Iowa 58, Southern Illinois 57: Don’t look now, but the Panthers are on a run just like they were last season, having won three straight after losing their first five Valley games.
Bucknell 70, Boston University 59: Bucknell goes up two games in the Patriot League standings, and while there’s a lot of basketball left, that’s a good place to be.
Winthrop 61, Liberty 48: A great week for Winthrop as they knock off fellow contenders UNC Asheville and Liberty, the latter on the road, to be all alone atop the Big South.
Long Beach State 98, Cal Poly 92 (OT): Long Beach State stole this one on the road, as they were down 17 in the second half from some porous defense, but somehow rallied to send it to overtime and then win. Cal Poly is still winless in Big West play.