Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Shootaround: Wisconsin picks up a big win, at home?

No. 25 Wisconsin 57, No. 17 Indiana 50: Its really unfair to judge Indiana too heavily on what happened in the Kohl Center on Thursday night. You don't win on the road in the Big Ten this season, and while the Badgers have struggled early on in the season in their own building, this is still Wisconsin. The final difference ended up being seven points, but this was a one possession game until the final minute. That, frankly, is not a bad performance by any stretch and it shouldn't really change any opinion that you currently have of Indiana.

What this win should tell you is that the Badgers may actually be closer to the team that we thought they were early in the season. This is a different group that last year, when the Badgers couldn't stop anyone and flourished thanks to an offense that was as potent as anyone in the country. Without Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil, Bo Ryan's club simply isn't the same team on that end of the floor. What they are is a group that can absolutely lock down defensively. They don't need to score to win. Case in point -- the Badgers shot 39.6% from the floor and 4-17 from three in this one.

No. 20 St. Mary's 71, Loyola Marymount 64: The Gaels us a 12-0 run near the end of the first half and a 10-0 run to start the second half as they improved to 9-0 in WCC play. The Gaels needed to get this win. While they have a bit of a cushion in the league, they haven't done the work on the road yet; their wins over BYU and Gonzaga both came in Moraga. The Lions might have had some struggles earlier in the year, but they are healthy now and are fresh off of a win at BYU. Many, including myself, thought that the Lions had a chance to actually win this game.

And while the Gaels picked up the win on the road, the most impressive part is how they did it. Rob Jones went 5-14 from the floor. Matthew Dellavedova took just four shots and turned the ball over five times. But this isn't just a two man operation. Stephen Holt went for 19 points to carry the St. Mary's.

No. 13 Florida 64, Ole Miss 60: The Gators found themselves in a 20-4 hole against the Rebels, and it set twitter ablaze crowing about how the Gators were overrated. You've heard the arguments by now -- Florida is too reliant on their perimeter, they have no impressive wins beyond Florida State when Florida State was struggling and they've done absolutely nothing on the road.

But something strange happened: the Gators came back. And they won. Patric Young led the way with 15 points off the bench (he's still battling ankle issues) and the duo of Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker combined for 22 points and 11 assists with just a single turnover. A win over Ole Miss by four points, in a vacuum, is not all that impressive. Coming back from 16 down on the road against a good defensive team is. The Gators need to have more consistency and a slow start like this will bury them against a better team, but escaping Oxford with a win is a good thing.

No. 8 North Carolina 74, North Carolina State 55: NC State came into this game in a tie for first place in the ACC, but Wolfpack fans were brought back to earth as the Heels jumped all over Mark Gottfried's team. The Heels got 21 points and 17 boards out of Tyler Zeller as they got up by as much as 31 in the second half. The highlight of the game, however, came from Lorenzo Brown:

No. 21 Virginia 66, Boston College 49: Mike Scott had 18 points, but Virginia needed a late 22-3 run to get complete control of the game. Akil Mitchell and Jontel Evans both added 10 points.

Nevada 68, New Mexico State 60: Deonte Burton had 17 points and Dario Hunt went for 15 as the Wolf Pack went into Las Cruces and picked up a key win. Nevada, who is one of the least talked about good teams in the country, is now 6-0 in league play, a full two games ahead of NMSU.


- Washington 60, Arizona State 54
- Arizona 85, Washington State 61
- UCLA 76, Utah 49
- Colorado 74, USC 50

Davidson 64, Chattanooga 63: JP Kuhlman scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, but it was a Nik Cochran free throw with one second left on the clock that saved the Wildcats from blowing a seven point lead with just 1:22 left in the game. Davidson still has an outside chance of earning an at-large bid.

Oakland 92, South Dakota State 87: Nate Wolters outplayed Reggie Hamilton, going for 21 points, 12 assists and eight boards, but the Jackrabbits still lost to the Grizzlies and fell two games behind Oral Roberts in the Summit League standings. Why? Travis Bader went 10-14 from three and scored 37 points.

UNC-Greensboro 77, Appalachian State 73 OT: Wes Miller took over UNCG in the middle of the season. They had two wins at the time and were mired in a massive losing streak. They won their first game of the season at College of Charleston and haven't lost since, winning five in a row. And now, they are tied for second in the SoCon's north division. Who saw that coming?

Robert Morris 75, LIU 66: Robert Morris did the rest of the NEC a favor by knocking off the Blackbirds on the strength of 23 points, seven assists and six boards from Velton Jones. RMU was up by as much as 15 in the second half. Wagner, RMU and St. Francis (NY) are now tied for second in the league at 7-2, a game behind LIU.

Other notable results:

- UNC-Asheville 90, High Point 70
- Gardner-Webb 78, Campbell 72
- Nebraska 79, Iowa 73
- Coastal Carolina 52, Prebyterian 49
- Milwaukee 53, Butler 42
- Middle Tennessee State 71, Troy 58
- Oral Roberts 97, South Dakota 64
- Green Bay 75, Valpo 60
- LBSU 77, UC Riverside 70 OT
- Weber State 75, Sacramento State 60

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