In The Books
The holidays are over, so another week of hoops is here to catch up on. New Bracketology 2017 coming tomorrow, then every Monday from there.
Tuesday, December 27
Michigan St 75, Minnesota 74 (OT): The Spartans will need at least 10 B1G wins to make the tournament after an awful non-conference showing. This OT win - still without freshman star Miles Bridges - is a step in the right direction
SMU 58, Memphis 54: The Mustangs open things up right in AAC play, where they're expected to fight with Cincinnati for the conference title.
Kent St 63, Texas 58: The Longhorns have major problems, falling to 6-6 on the season.
Wednesday, December 28
Oregon 89, UCLA 87: The most impressive win of the weekend was this one by the Ducks, who have move to 10 straight victories with the last-second winner.
Virginia 61, Louisville 53: Huge road win for a Cavs team that looks more than ready for ACC play.
Florida St 88, Wake Forest 72: The Seminoles pulled away late and continue to climb the rankings.
Nebraska 87, Indiana 83: After a poor non-conference showing, the Huskers stroll into Assembly Hall and walk away with a four point road win to go over .500. Is Tim Miles team ready to make a run for a dance? Seems far-fetched, but this is surely eye opening, both for the Nebraska and an Indiana team that just can't seem to put consistently good basketball together.
Marquette 76, Georgetown 66: The Golden Eagles need a decent showing in conference play. A ten point win at home is a good start.
Xavier 82, Providence 56: The Musketeers start off Big East play with an emphatic home win.
Thursday, December 29
Florida 81, Arkansas 72: The Gators should roll through the SEC - sans that one team from Lexington.
St. John's 76, Butler 73: The Red Storm hand Butler a loss in their conference opener.
Tennessee 73, Texas A& 63: The Aggies drop to 1-4 against the KenPom Top 100.
Friday, December 30
West Virginia 92, Oklahoma St 75: The Mountaineers now own road wins over Virginia and Oklahoma St. That helps boost an otherwise very weak non-conference slate that ranks 346th according to KenPom. They'll still be expected to be in the mix with Butler to try to upend Kansas' Big 12 streak of dominance.
Kansas 86, TCU 80: Speaking of the Jayhawks, they hand Jamie Dixon a loss in his Big 12 home opener.
Iowa St 63, Texas Tech 56: The long exposing of the Red Raiders begins. Tech had only one loss coming in, but played the nation's 2nd weakest non-conference schedule.
Baylor 76, Oklahoma 50: The Bears improve to 13-0 on the season in their first true road game of the season.
Michigan St 61, Northwestern 52: The Spartans get a much needed 2-0 start to conference play, while NU drops to 1-1 heading into Thursday's tilt with Minnesota. Watching the Wildcats fight for a tournament berth is going to be a fun and suspenseful ride.
Oregon 84, USC 61: Now this looks like the Oregon team everyone had at the top of their pre-season rankings. No let up here after beating Oregon in a battle of undefeateds in Eugene.
Memphis 70, South Carolina 54: After a great start to the season, Frank Martin's team is reeling, dropping 3 of their last 5 (the two wins coming against South Florida and D-II Lander).
Saturday, December 31
Villanova 80, Creighton 70: A monumental Big East opener between two hot and undefeated teams goes to the Champs, who take the win on the road and improve to 14-0 on the year going into Wednesday's game at Butler.
Louisville 77, Indiana 62: The Hoosiers have now lost 3 of their past five and host a tough Wisconsin team tonight.
Virginia tech 89, Duke 76: Luke Kennard tried to carry the Blue Devils with 34 PTS, but Grayson Allen's absence is still too much. Now they'll have to regroup without Coach K, who's expected to miss all of January recovering from back surgery.
Notre Dame 78, Pitt 77 (OT): The Irish open ACC play with a win over a quality Pitt team that now faces Virginia in their next contest.
Florida St 81, Virginia 58: Speaking of the Cavs, Dwayne Bacon's 29 PTS leads the Seminoles to their biggest road win since 2012, when they topped Duke in Durham in route to an ACC tournament Championship. Leonard's Hamilton's team is deep and has a good mix of expereince to go along with talented freshman that could make even more noise in conference play.
Miami 81, North Carolina St 63: The Hurricanes have been largely untested in non-conference play, dropping their only two games against KenPom Top 125 teams, so an 18-point win at home is a good sign as ACC play begins.
Sunday, January 1
Seton Hall 69, Marquette 66: At 11-3, the Pirates are in good position to make a play for a tournament bid. Marquette still has much work to do.
Iowa 86, Michigan 83: the defense that lead Michigan to a very impressive 4-0 start continues to slide, allowing 39.6% shooting against from outside - good for 320th in the nation. Iowa improves to 9-6 with a win - leaving a tournament bid still an unlikely dream.
Illinois 75, Ohio St 70: The Illini move to 3-3 against the KenPom Top 75 this season and 11-4 overall. Next weekends trip to Indiana will be a good measuring stick.
Utah 76, Colorado 60: An impressive win for a Utah team that didn't catch any eyes in their conference slate. Meanwhile, Tad Boyle's Buffs have dropped their the two challenges they've faces (BYU, Utah) since knocking off Xaiver at home back on December 7.
Minnesota 91, Purdue 82: The Gophers dominate the extra period on the road to pick up their biggest win of the season. They're now an impressive 6-2 against the KenPom Top 100 and head to Northwestern on Thursday.
Nebraska 67, Maryland 61: What is happening in Lincoln? After a disastrous 5-6 start, the Huskers have won three straight and handed upper-tier B1G opponents Indiana and Maryland losses in the first week. Suddenly, Thursday's game against Iowa is fairly big as both teams have look to keep the slim hope a bubble-bid run alive.
Boston College 96, Syracuse 81: The Orange are in major trouble of missing the dance after falling to 8-6 on the season.
Tipping off Tonight
North Carolina at Clemson: The Tigers have won 9 in a row and look ready to prove they can contend in the ACC with a home contest. Will they have an atmosphere worthy of the match-up, or will everyone at Little John be caught up football frenzy still?
West Virginia at Texas Tech: The Mountaineers have been savages on the road the season and look to move pick up their third KenPom Top 50 win away from home.
Wisconsin at Indiana: After Saturday's loss to Nebraska, the Hoosiers have to be wondering what team they'll be the rest of the way - the one that beat Kansas and North Carolina, or the one that fell to the Huskers and at Fort Wayne? This could be a big step toward answering that question.
Kansas St at Kansas: the Wildcats are 12-1 this season, but their only win against the KenPom Top 150 is a three point home win against a hapless Texas team. The Jayhawks have rolled ever since their opening night loss to Indiana back on November 11 behind Frank Mason and Josh Jackson.
Oklahoma at TCU: The Horned Frogs have shown signs of being a tournament team in non-conference play, but want to avoid an 0-2 start in conference play.
Texas A&M at Kentucky: The Aggies badly need a signature road win, but the chances of pulling this one off seem slim to none.