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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017 The Morning Dish No Comments

They want to be called Fort Wayne, even though the school’s actual name is Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne (there is no University of Fort Wayne). They used to want to be called IPFW. The school soon will be Purdue Fort Wayne. Who knows what it will want to be called next year. (PFW, anyone?)

It’s not hard for the layperson to be easily confused anyway by a school that gives out degrees to either of two major state universities, and one can double that when said school will soon go through an actual name change next year, complete with new school colors (the beautiful blue will be out; Purdue’s black and gold are on the way as it assumes the more prominent role with the university). What’s easy to know now, though, is IPFW has now made some serious noise not just in its own state but nationally for a second consecutive year, with two straight wins over state heavyweight Indiana after the Mastodons routed the Hoosiers 92-72 on the road Monday night.

IPFW (or Fort Wayne, if you insist) drilled 17 three-pointers in the game and outscored Indiana 56-35 in the second half, blowing away the Hoosiers in the final 20 minutes. The Mastodons backed up their famous win over IU a year ago when they played Indiana in Fort Wayne and won 71-68, back when the Hoosiers were ranked third in the nation.

Kason Harrell scored 28 in this one and Bryson Scott added 26, and IPFW made mincemeat of an Indiana team that had shown signs of life of late with a win over Notre Dame on Saturday and near misses against Louisville and Duke. What a great win for the Mastodons and for the Summit League, which again is having a solid non-conference season and now has its second win over the Big Ten (South Dakota State took down Iowa earlier). It’s impossible to state what in-state wins like this mean for a school like IPFW; beating an acknowledged flagship institution of a state adds an extra layer of prestige to a victory like this.

South Dakota and South Dakota State are the headliners in the Summit this year, and Western Illinois is a very surprising 7-2, but Fort Wayne should be right in contention, too. The Mastodons’ three-point binge was no fluke-they averaged over 10 triples a game coming into this one-and this is a team with experience now from being a contender the last couple years, including tying for the league regular season title two years ago. It’s proven capable of beating the big boys; all that’s left is a first NCAA Tournament bid

Indiana showed again that this is going to be a process for Archie Miller. The Hoosiers have made marked improvement since a season-opening blowout loss at home to Indiana State, but this one looked a lot like that game, when the Sycamores also drained 17 triples. Perimeter defense has been a problem all season (opponents are shooting a whopping 41.3% from long range), and it’s going to take time for IU to develop the night-in, night-out toughness Miller’s teams regularly had at Dayton.

Side Dishes:

  • We nearly had another huge name go down on Monday. Tennessee State under Dana Ford has become a program that won’t back down against anyone. It pushed Duke last year and won at Middle Tennessee State, and the Tigers just missed out on a stunner in a 47-46 loss at Texas last night. Matt Coleman hit a floater with nine seconds left to put the Longhorns ahead, and TSU’s rushed final possession saved Texas from a loss while wearing some hideous dress-down day black uniforms with what appeared to be practice jerseys. The Horns survived a grinder, while this was some gritty effort by Tennessee State, which under Ford has shown it can be coached up to play with just about anyone.
  • SMU spanked Boise State 86-63, shooting a sizzling 58.9%, including 11 of 22 from three-point range, and the Broncos couldn’t keep up (37.7% shooting) and took just their second loss of the season. Quietly the Mustangs have become an mighty efficient offensive team of late, shooting better than 50% in each of their last five contests. Jahmal McMurray’s debut also was a hit-the South Florida transfer scored 16 points and hit four three-pointers in his SMU debut.
  • Creighton handled Texas-Arlington 90-81 with Marcus Foster going off for 32 points. The Bluejays were humming offensively as usual at home, hitting 13 three-pointers, and built a 25-point lead and then held on as UTA made a run in the second half.
  • Florida State defeated Charleston Southern 69-58, with Phil Cofer (19 points) and Terrance Mann (17 pts, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) carrying much of the load. The Buccaneers gave this one an honest 40-minute effort and were right with the Seminoles for a half before FSU got out running in the second half.
  • Tulane’s 76-69 win over Nicholls State wouldn’t have been notable except the Green Wave fell into an 18-4 hole to start and eventually trailed by 20 early in the second half. Then the Angry Wave (one of the best logos in the country) arrived, the Colonels made just six of their last 29 shots, and Tulane avoided a bad home state loss.
  • Another heartbreaker for Quinnipiac, as Drexel’s Kurk Lee hit the winning three-pointer with two seconds left to give the Dragons a 72-71 win.
  • It was not a good night for the Mid-American Conference. Preseason favorite Western Michigan was pummeled at home by Idaho to the tune of 82-52, with the Vandals drilling 17 three-pointers and holding Thomas Wilder to eight points on 4-for-18 shooting. Northeastern also won at defending MAC tourney champ Kent State 81-69. A least Northern Illinois was competitive on the road at Marquette before falling 79-70.

Tonight’s Menu: It’s a busy schedule, but not as good as it is full as after finals and before conference play most teams opt for appetizers

  • Marshall will take its three-point firing show to Xavier (6:30 p.m. Eastern, FS1).
  • Is this the final Saturday of the college football regular season? Palmetto State rivals South Carolina and Clemson meet with the Tigers hosting and coming off the high of a win over Florida (7 p.m., ESPN2). That’s followed by Georgia Tech at Georgia, with the Yellow Jackets a team to watch now to see how they progress with Josh Okogie back (9 p.m., ESPN2).
  • Stephen F. Austin already won at LSU on Saturday, and the Lumberjacks now take their relentless game to face Missouri (9 p.m., ESPNU). The Tigers have already surpassed their win total for all of last year, but their ballhandling will get a severe test here. SFA’s offense will too; the Tigers are very solid defensively.
  • One could easily make an argument that the two best games of the night will be in Kentucky. Auburn is at Murray State; the Tigers have been mostly impressive in a 9-1 start, while Murray is fired up for the rare chance to host an SEC team. Also, Belmont is at Western Kentucky, a beautiful battle of completely different .
  • Buffalo gets to take a shot at Syracuse. The Bulls have the dudes to hang with the Cuse; we’ll see how their attacking style works against the zone.
  • UNC Asheville is at UNC Greensboro in what would be an excellent matchup under any circumstances, and now bears watching to see how the Spartans handle it after the big win at North Carolina State.
  • Northern Kentucky is good enough to push if Texas A&M isn’t ready for the Norse, even as the Aggies are at home.
  • Don’t be surprised if UCLA gets another scare at home-the Bruins have a tricky one hosting 11-win South Dakota (9 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
  • Two Mountain West teams also must be alert at home, as Wyoming hosts surprising Northern Colorado and a good UC Davis team is at Nevada.
  • The night closes with Princeton at USC (11 p.m., Pac 12 Network). Don’t be misled by the Tigers’ 4-6 record against a tough schedule.

Have a great Tuesday.


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