As Ted Sarandis and I talk about in our latest podcast, Tuesday night was a tough one to top when it comes to wild nights of college basketball. Wednesday might not have kept it going all the way, but certainly gave Tuesday a run for its money.
Home teams continued to win, with the big surprises being Georgia Tech blowing out Florida State 78-56 and Georgetown handling Creighton 71-51. Those results by themselves are shocking only in the margin of victory; what it gets to even more so is life on the road in college basketball, though the latter result also includes a team on the road playing their second game without an injured point guard.
Those were just the highlights. USC fought off UCLA for an 84-76 win, surprisingly struggling Temple beat Memphis 77-66, and even the Southern Conference saw a lesser home team win as Wofford, in the midst of a rare down year, beat a UNC Greensboro team that came in almost games ahead of them by 19.
Wednesday night was a little different in that there were some noteworthy road wins mixed in. Butler won at Seton Hall, Florida annihilated LSU as the bottom continues to fall out in Baton Rouge (this was the third home loss by double digits for the Tigers), Nevada went to Boise and knocked off Boise State to take over sole possession of first place in the Mountain West, Belmont won at Eastern Illinois to go to 8-0 in the Ohio Valley and Florida Gulf Coast won at North Florida to take the lead in the Atlantic Sun.
Interestingly, among the games mentioned earlier, Georgia Tech has a flawed resume but also some wins that could get them into the NCAA Tournament discussion down the road. If the Yellow Jackets continue to get better, their wins over North Carolina and now Florida State, in addition to a win at VCU in December, might become even more significant. They have a loss to Ohio that will sting, and the loss to Penn in late November will probably hurt more as Ivy League play goes on, but there aren’t many teams with two top 10 wins like the Yellow Jackets have.
The NCAA Tournament selection will be very interesting to watch this year. College basketball is as even and wide-open as it has been in some time, even though this is not the first year of late where it has felt this way. It may be a wild weekend ahead given what has transpired thus far this week.
Related to Tuesday night, Marquette will be fined $5,000 by the Big East for its fans storming the court following the win over Villanova. The Big East has a policy against it, and the school’s athletic director said the money will be donated to Camp Hometown Heroes, a charity that allows children who have lost a parent, sibling or other loved one who served in the military to attend a free summer camp. The choice of that as the charity is natural since head coach Steve Wojciechowski has worked with them.
Louisville guard Tony Hicks broke a bone in his hand on Tuesday, and he will be out 6-8 weeks. The injury occurred during the first half of Cardinals’ 106-51 romp over Pittsburgh, where he made his first start of the season, scoring ten points and handing out four assists before he suffered a spiral fracture of his fourth metacarpal while fighting for a loose ball. Hicks was starting because Quentin Snider is sidelined with a hip flexor, and Snider is not expected back for another week.
Former Old Dominion head coach Jeff Capel Jr. has been diagnosed with ALS, as shared by his son in a story at The Players Tribune. The elder Capel had been an NBA assistant coach more recently, while his tenure at Old Dominion was highlighted by a first round NCAA Tournament win over Villanova in a triple overtime thriller in 1995. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the Capel family, as this story hits home having seen ALS take the life of former Boston College media relations director Dick Kelley several years ago.
A busy night of action doesn’t have much in the way of marquee matchups, but there are a few to watch.
- Arch rivals Xavier and Cincinnati meet at 7 p.m. at Fifth Third Arena.
- A nice ACC matchup has Virginia Tech visiting North Carolina (8 p.m.)
- A key Big Ten game is Indiana’s visit to Michigan (9 p.m.)
- One Pac-12 team will no longer be winless after this evening as Colorado hosts Oregon State in a battle of 0-7 teams (8:30 p.m.), while Arizona hosts Washington State in another Pac-12 game at 9:30 p.m. and the best matchup of the night might be Oregon at Utah (10:30 p.m.)
- Gonzaga looks to remain undefeated as they host San Diego (9 p.m.)
- A key Conference USA matchup takes place in Birmingham as UAB hosts Louisiana Tech (9 p.m.)
- In late action in the West Coast Conference, BYU travels to Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s hosts San Francisco (11 p.m.)