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The Morning Dish – Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13, 2017 The Morning Dish No Comments

Sunday’s action didn’t have any major shockers, but there were several close calls. While Arizona pulled away from UMBC, Navy never really challenged Miami and Purdue ran away from Chicago State, a few others weren’t able to rest so easily early on.

And in a couple of cases, there’s reason to wonder if it is indicative of something larger that we may see play out in due time.

The most notable of these is Kentucky, a team with no real veteran leader presence like what Isaiah Briscoe would be if he stayed in school. This team is dependent tremendously on freshmen and some sophomores, especially from an intangibles standpoint. The Wildcats hosted defending America East champion Vermont, and they led by a dozen at halftime before having to hold off the Catamounts late 73-69. This follows Friday night, where they trailed Utah Valley at the half before winning the game.

The big question hanging over Kentucky, and to a lesser extent Duke, is about how much the lack of a veteran leader will affect them. Vermont is an experienced team that has won a lot of games; they went undefeated in their conference last year. They are a little different than the Wildcats, to be sure. And with a Champions Classic matchup with Kansas looming, Kentucky is 2-0 and, as much as any of John Calipari’s teams in Lexington, trying to figure things out.

Louisville trailed George Mason by three at halftime, then played a much better second half to take home a 72-61 win. Ohio State beat Radford 82-72, but couldn’t really shake the Highlanders, who made it interesting in the second half. And Illinois barely made a 15-point halftime lead stand up, holding off UT-Martin 77-74.

Out west, California held off a late rally by Cal Poly to win 85-82. The Golden Bears will be a much different team this year, and the way they won this in the stat sheet is a big part of how they will have to win later, with Don Coleman scoring 30 and Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee scoring 21. There was another close call in Pac-12 play as Washington State needed to rally from an 18-point halftime deficit to force overtime, then edge Texas Southern 86-84. Ernie Kent is thought by some to be on a hot seat in Pullman, and if the Cougars play often like they did on Sunday, that seat probably won’t cool off much.

A win is a win, to be sure, but sometimes a team’s win has good or bad signs in it. We’ll see if any of these foretell something that is to come in the future.

 

Side Dishes

In other notable action on the day, Patrick Ewing won his debut as head coach at Georgetown, as the Hoyas beat Jacksonville 73-57 behind 20 points and 15 rebounds from Jessie Govan.

 

Tonight’s Menu

Now that the opening weekend is in the books, it starts to get fun quickly. There are several good ones on tap tonight, along with a host of campus games that are part of early season tournaments.

  • Minnesota visits Providence as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games (6:30 p.m.)
  • Florida opens its season by hosting Gardner-Webb (7 p.m.)
  • Former conference rivals meet as Albany travels to Boston University (7 p.m.) and James Madison hosts Old Dominion (7 p.m.)
  • A great local rivalry matchup is Belmont hosting Vanderbilt (7:30 p.m.)
  • A solid mid-major matchup is CSU Bakersfield visiting Georgia Southern (7:30 p.m.)
  • Middle Tennessee visits Murray State in a nice matchup (8 p.m.)
  • CAA favorite College of Charleston visits Wichita State in what should be a good one (9 p.m.)
  • A sneaky good game out west is Saint Mary’s hosting New Mexico State (10 p.m.)
  • A very good one is on tap late at night on ESPNU as Nevada hosts Rhode Island.

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