Scoreboard Watching: November 19, 2016

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In the books

Michigan 76, SMU 54:  For quite possibly time under John Beilein, the Wolverines have a front-court to be reckoned with, and surprisingly so.  Junior DJ Wilson was a non-factor for Michigan through his first two seasons, and is suddenly drawing ESPN's Jay Williams to declare that he's bound for the NBA just a week into the year.   Their length has helped their defense, as the Wolverines have improved from a team that ranked 248th in 2-PT FG defense a year ago, and are up to 86th already, coupled with a methodical but highly-efficient offense.  
 
Xavier 82, Clemson 77: The Tigers had looked strong in their first two games but were no match for a strong Xavier squad.  The their third-place game against Oklahoma on Sunday is an intriguing one.
 
Northern Iowa 73, Oklahoma 67 (OT): The Panthers erased an 18 point second half Sooners' lead to take this one in overtime.  Can they pull off a second straight shocker over Xavier on Sunday?
 
Villanova 96, Wake Forest 77: With a road win over Purdue and a dominating win on a neutral court over Wake, the defending champs seem more than ready to defend their crown.
 
Pitt 78, Marquette 75: A day after each team dropped humbling defeats in NYC, the Panthers get the edge and head into Thanksgiving feeling a little better about themselves.  Marquette hopes to get right against IUPUI, Houston Baptist and Western Carolina before heading to Georgia and Hosting Wisconsin in two of their first three December contests.
 
USC 65, Texas A&M 63: The Trojans announce themselves on the scene as a balanced attack led them to the road win in college station.

Tipping Off This Weekend

Saturday
Saint Mary's at Dayton: The first real test of the season for the Gaels against a Dayton team that looked solid earlier this week in a road test at Alabama.
 
Saturday/Sunday, Hall of Fame Tip-Off
Cincinnati vs Rhode Island: Both teams are expected to make the tournament, but have chewed on cupcakes thus far.  This weekend should prove a good early measuring stick for both squads.
Duke vs Penn State: The Blue Devils will use this to get back on track after Tuesday's loss to Kansas before taking on the Cincinnati/Rhode Island winner on Sunday.
 
Sunday
Tire Pros Invitational
Northern Iowa vs Xavier:  The Panthers pulled off the upset over Oklahoma on Friday, but Xavier was clicking on all cylinders against Clemson in their semi-final.
Clemson vs Oklahoma:  Both teams had eyes on winning this tournament and boosting their standing, but just as important now is escaping the weekend 2-1.
Davidson vs Arizona St: Much like the third place game above, a 2-1 weekend mark is on the line for two teams that will have a lot of work to do to get in the bubble conversation this weekend.
 
Paradise Jam
North Carolina St vs Creighton: The Paradise Jam title is likely to be decided in this first semi-final.  The Bluejays have looked very strong thus far including their home win over Wisconsin and look to keep that momentum going against an ACC opponent on an neutral floor.
St Joe's vs Ole Miss: A win against either opponent in the opposite semi-final seems unlikely, making this game all the bigger for two teams that will need some help come March.
 
Charleston Classic
Villanova vs UCF: The Wildcats have looked like the nation's best team thus far, and there's no reason to thing UCF should slow them down at all.  Should be an easy win for the defending champs.