New record set by Oklahoma in throttling Weber State

During Monday night’s nonconference tilt, there was an eleven minute stretch in the first half where the Sooners ran off a mind-boggling 39 point run.

Poor Weber State, having dropped the game by a final score of 85-51.

The actual play-by-play nearly resembled that of Kentucky dispatching UCLA with relative ease on Saturday afternoon in Chicago.  Take a look at this link:

http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2014/12/22/7438809/oklahoma-weber-state-score-update

The old record was held by Utah State, which ran off a 37 point run but no website mentioned what season that record originally took place.

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Key player for San Diego State collapses on the court, ala Hank Gathers

Senior forward Dwayne Polee II was getting back on defense midway through the first half of the Aztecs’ home game against Cal-Riverside.  However, unlike the late Hank Gathers when he collapsed during an opening round WCC Tournament game back in 1990, Polee was conscious when medical personnel quickly rushed to the scene before taking him to a nearby hospital for overnight evaluation.

I hope to provide more updates either in the morning or early afternoon>
Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

There was some very good news and some more upsets

Temple shot 58 percent in shocking Kansas in Philadelphia, 77-52 as the Owls were led by Will Cummings who tabulated 19 points and another 18 came from Quenton DeCosey.  The Jayhawks missed 9 of their first 10 shots right out of the gate and finished the game at a paltry 32.1 percent clip (18 of 56).

Elsewhere…

Colorado State and TCU remain perfect at 12-0, defeating both Charleston Southern and Grambling, respectively.

UC Irvine won at Wisconsin-Green Bay, 72-70 and a bigger shocker at West Lafayette, where Gardner-Webb picked up right where they left off when they upset Clemson in November.  Purdue lost 89-84, and are struggling to stay afloat entering Big Ten play with a meager 8-5 record.  Even though Gardner-Webb starts nobody higher than 6’6″, it is still a testament to the coaching staff to make this team believe they can do great things.  Perhaps, they might just make my Stock Up page sometime in 2015.

But there was a mini milestone achieved by one Boilermakers player…

A.J. Hammons became the third player in school history to record at least 800 points, 500 rebounds and 200 blocks.  I guess you can safely guess one of the other two, and that was 1994 Naismith Player of the Year Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson.

Merry Christmas.  I will be back with my next blog sometime after the New Year’s holiday.

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One school didn’t even bother showing up at inaugural CBS Sports Classic

The second game wasn’t even close.  At times, it resembled playground and early round robin match-ups during the Summer Olympics.

Kentucky ran off by scoring the first 26 points (all before the second media time out, mind you) before UCLA scored on a driving layup that would have made the 2011 version of Derrick Rose a bit jealous.  The Bruins only had 7 points at halftime en route to an 83-42 pasting.  Yes, this game is not worthy of showing up on ESPN Classic in the short term, let alone the files of the CBS Sports Archives in New York forever more.  At least, seeing all four schools having their logos superimposed was really cool to see.

The first game had a much inside Chicago’s United Center had a better March type of feel, as North Carolina managed to escape from whatever little rust they might have suffered from my fellow blog fan’s school of UNC Greensboro earlier in the week (you can find her posts at http://makeyourfreakingfoulshots.wordpress.com/).

Ohio State made things interesting for a while, but free throws were the difference as North Carolina got a much needed win against a quality opponent by an 82-74 count.

The Orange Crush pull another one in the Border War for the second straight year

Not as theatrical as 2013 with a pair of free throws, but Rayvonte Rice took a few dribbles as the clock wind down at St. Louis’ Scottrade Center.  This game had the making of a classic, as the lead changed hands several times.

With Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals baseball manager Whitey Herzog in attendance, Rice’s three pointer as time expired gave Illinois a much needed boost going into the always rugged Big Ten winning 62-59 over Missouri.

Both Michigan schools suffer huge losses at home

Lowly Texas Southern may not make my Stock Up, Stock Down page anytime before the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics kick off but they earned major kudos on Saturday afternoon as Michigan State suffered one of its’ worst non-conference defeats at home in recent memory, blowing a 30-25 halftime lead before losing a disappointing 71-64 decision in overtime.

Even worse, Michigan has lost three non-conference games this month and are in serious danger of missing out on the 2015 NCAA Tournament.  This time, the team that missed out barely making the 2014 Big Dance ran circles around Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor and completely jolted the Wolverines out of their offensive rhythm.  SMU upset Michigan 62-51 and held a decisive 44-27 edge on the rebounding end.

Elsewhere…

Indiana barely held off Butler at the renamed Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis (formerly named the Boilermaker Blockbuster) 82-73.  Villanova and Syracuse reacquainted themselves like it was the old Big East days but Villanova had the last laugh, holding off the hard charging Orange in overtime 82-77.

Northern Iowa, Gonzaga, Kansas, Notre Dame, Texas, San Diego State, and West Virginia all helped pad their possible Tournament resumes with convincing wins on Saturday.

Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, and I hope to be back sometime just before we ring in 2015.

If we have learned one thing thus far this college basketball season, teams are not afraid to drive into the lane with more consistency.  And yes, even with the later start by one week–total fouls being called is down a bit from the final weeks of 2013.

The real fun begins with the conference season kicking into high gear.

And if I get a chance to briefly borrow an image commonly used by another network, we are 84 days until Selection Sunday.

Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays to one and all.

Hope Santa has your favorite school as one of the 68 schools receiving an invitation to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Major star for Kentucky out for season with torn ACL

Regardless if you are taking a small break from holiday shopping, baking, or in the case of the ladies reading, prepping their outfits in time to go out for a merry and joyful holiday party with family and/or friends…

Kentucky received some very horrible news, which occurred during practice on Thursday morning in Lexington.

Junior forward Alex Poythrees tore his ACL and is out for the remainder of the season.  He was one of UK’s most consistent players in appearing 8 of the team’s first 10 games of the season (he missed the first 2 due to an undisclosed illness).  Poythrees was averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.  Alex’s main strength is defense and rebounding, and that will hurt UK immensely going forward.

I won’t go as drastic as last season in declaring Kentucky dead for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.  Unlike when Nerlens Noel went down in a heap at Arkansas a few weeks prior to the 2013 Tournament–more than likely, expect the Wildcats to be heading towards anywhere between a 5 and an 8 seed again come Selection Sunday.  Keep in mind of UK’s always vaunted SEC schedule with Florida, Auburn (more on them in a moment), LSU, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt possibly breathing down their collective necks.

And you were probably wondering about seeing a pic of The Birthday Woman?  Not so fast, Auburn fans

Yes, today is Fox Business anchor/reporter extraordinaire Liz Claman’s 51st birthday.  Happy Birthday, and many more to our intrepid fact gatherer of all things Silicon Valley related.

Anyways, her brother-in-law as you know is currently the head coach of the Auburn Tigers, the always excitable but honest and forthright Bruce Pearl.

Putting them inside the Big Z Microscope for a brief moment…

Auburn is scuffling a bit going 3-4, losing to a 2014 NCAA Tournament team in the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina last week by a 58-54 count.  This happened a few days after dropping a heartbreaking 46-44 game to Texas Tech.  Their current RPI is 162, but I will explain a bit more in depth about the RPI after the holiday season, since this is one of the criteria the NCAA Selection Committee utilizes to pick the field before it is seeded and bracketed come Selection Sunday.

Their next game is Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern time online at ESPN3 in Clemson.

Only one major game in the world of college basketball tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern time.  It will be an intrastate battle at Carver-Hawkeye Arena as Iowa State makes the trip east along I-80, which is always a treacherous road during winter (Rest in Peace, Chris Street–decent Iowa player during the early 1990’s) to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes, or what the local broadcasters say often on 1040 WHO Radio in Des Moines simply as, the Hawks.  Enjoy your weekend.

Michigan upset for second straight non-conference game

Eastern Michigan held off a semi-furious rally at Ann Arbor to upset Michigan 45-42.  It was EMU’s first win against “Big Blue” since 1997.

Turnabout is fair play for Belmont

Joining my latest “Stock Up” profile is Evansville out of the Missouri Valley Conference.  Just like last year when Belmont won on the road at North Carolina, the Purple Aces did the same by upsetting Belmont on the road.  Evansville was led by D.J. Balentine, who scored 25 points along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.  Aided by an efficient shooting clip going 22 for 45 (48.9 percent), Evansville nursed a 53-51 lead with four minutes remaining before proceeding to reel off 10 of the next 15 points to put the game out of reach over the next three minutes.  The key highlight came on a Jaylon Brown splash-on three-pointer, as the Purple Aces built a rather comfortable 63-56 lead.  However, Belmont would cut into that lead on a three by Caleb Chowbay, but they could not get any closer.

The 20th anniversary of the Jimmy V Classic took place in New York, where Madison Square Garden made news earlier in the day of a different kind.  Fyi, you can read my prior blog below for more details.

On Tuesday night, Villanova ran circles around the Fighting Illini in the second half as the Orange Crush got manhandled 73-59 and Indiana tried to make a game against Louisville in the second half.  However, the Cardinals’ depth proved to be too much outscoring the Hoosiers 48-33 in the second half to win going away 94-74.  ESPN ran a nice graphic on their late edition of SportsCenter where it mentioned Louisville has an .833 winning percentage of their games on neutral site courts.  Uconn is second at .820.  Where is Duke, you might ask?  They are in the top five at a .780 clip.

Elsewhere, form pretty much held across the rest of the nation…

Notre Dame, Iowa State, and Wichita State all won by double digits.  However, my runner-up choice for game of the night has to go to Creighton.  The Blue Jays survived a double overtime affair, 91-88 over South Dakota.  That must have been quite a game to witness.

The next really big day is Saturday with three measuring stick games to watch:

North Carolina at Kentucky, noon Eastern on CBS

Pitt at Kansas, 3:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN

Michigan at Arizona, 5:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN

Great tests before Christmas for each of the road teams and the possibility of having maybe some top teams jockeying for higher seed positioning come March.

Hope to see you then.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

2018 Big Ten Tournament to take place in New York

Tournament will start one week earlier, around similar schedule of Missouri Valley “Arch Madness” Tournament in St. Louis

As the Big Ten Conference continues to gain a bigger foothold on the East Coast, they will stage their postseason tournament in Madison Square Garden.

Not only will the women have to start a week earlier beginning in late February, the men will decide their champion seven days before the actual Selection Sunday.  As my byline clearly states above, it will be taking place around the same time as when CBS airs the finals from the Missouri Valley Conference.

Ever since the Big Ten Tournament started in the 1990’s, it was one of the most anticipated days on the sporting calendar.  I guess that honor will have to go to the AAC or the Atlantic 10 come the future.

Arizona survives in OT over Gonzaga, while Wichita State starts a new winning streak

Very light schedule due to the last big Saturday in college football.

Wisconsin pulled away in the opening minutes, but it was not all Frank Kaminsky that supplied the key offensive spark.  The final score was Wisconsin 49, Marquette 38.

Elsewhere…Wichita State returned home and started a new winning streak after taking one on the chin at Utah earlier in the week.  They whipped St. Louis 81-52, scoring 45 in the first half alone to make this game a runaway.

Finally of note, Arizona outlasted Gonzaga in another battle of unbeaten schools.  Brandon Ashley chipped in with 14 points, while the ‘Cats made 14 of their 24 attempts in the second half to keep the game close.

Gonzaga was hurt by sloppy play in the extra session.  Kevin Pangos was also a non-factor, hitting on only 3 of 10 shots for eight points.  Two turnovers hurt the Zags in this Round of 32 rematch from this past March.

But again, I keep repeating…these are measuring stick games.

The real meat and potatoes comes during conference season.

Hope to see some of you later on in the coming week, due to most schools having semester final exams.  Take care, everybody.

Hope you all get some much needed rest inbetween wrapping up any holiday presents you might have purchased or received in the mail if you did most of your shopping from your couch instead of fighting the crowds at the malls.

See you then.

A tale of two different halves as Kentucky simply toyed around with Texas

For a half at Rupp Arena, you couldn’t beat the atmosphere.

Texas and Kentucky were tied at the half on Friday night, mostly because of excellent rebounding by some of the bulkier Longhorns players (just fyi, they could have doubled over as football players if they really wanted to).

Kentucky coach John Calipari was looking for a team, “to challenge us” and they certainly got their wish–at least in the first 20 minutes.

On every missed shot, there were at least 2 or 3 Texas players on a mission to get that ball.  However, Texas could have had a sizable lead if they had not kept missing shots in the paint–close to the basket.  I counted at least 15 misses from six feet in.

Willie Cauley-Stein brought a little bit of order for the nation’s top ranked team by becoming the first Wildcats player this season to score 20 points.  Normally, teams would see on their score sheets shortly after Veteran’s Day, but this was not the case.  Even though UK misfired on 11 of 12 attempts from three, it was their overall depth and selection of plays that made the difference.

A Kentucky 16-2 run to open the second half proved to be the winning margin, albeit the 63-51 final was not truly indicative of how this game really was.   51 total fouls were committed by both squads.  For the record, two Texas players and Alex Poythrees of Kentucky all fouled out.

Defending champions go down to Ivy League power

Yale upsets UConn on the road.  And yes, if Yale was playing in another conference I would give them extra brownie points.  At least, they will move the RPI ladder thanks to a rather impressive 45-44 comeback victory.  Jack Montague hit a trey out in the left corner with 1.7 seconds for the Bulldogs’ virst victory against their in-state rival since 1986, the first year the NCAA instituted the three-point shot and ushered in an exciting time for scoring offense in college basketball.

The game was a defensive struggle as Yale only led 24-19 at the break and both teams shot under 40 percent.  Rebounding and overall fouls was just about even, but the bigger story is that UConn has lost three straight games after winning their first three contests.  Some bracketologists online either have the Huskies in as one of the last four teams to the tournament, or one of the last four teams out to enter for possible NIT consideration.

Light schedule begins today due to most schools gearing up for fall semester final exam week

Today, CBS Sports begins its’ 34th and final consecutive year on its’ Road To The Final Four with a spicy matchup in Cheesehead Country.  Wisconsin takes a two hour drive east on I-94 to visit the land of beer in Milwaukee as Big East foe Marquette provides the opposition at 12:30 Eastern time.

Other cool games worth taking a peak inbetween the final big Saturday in college football include:

St. Joseph’s at Villanova, 1 p.m. Eastern on FS1

Virginia at VCU, 2 p.m. on ESPNU

Northwestern at Butler, 4:30 p.m. on FOX.  Should be a rather entertaining game.  Is Butler really that good, coming off that huge upset of North Carolina during the Atlantis Holiday tournament?

Gonzaga at Arizona, 6:15 p.m. on ESPN.  Rematch of a memorable NCAA second round game a few years back.  One team will see their undefeated season go down the tubes when the final buzzer sounds.

Also, Wichita State hopes to start a new winning streak when the Shockers are back at home playing St. Louis–6 p.m. regionally on Fox Sports Midwest.

I will check in if there are upsets of note.  Stay warm, everybody.