Wichita State loses first regular season game in 35 tries, Duke triumphs at Wisconsin

Normally, the ACC-Big Ten Challenge would have led off this early December edition of the blog.

Remember that little poll before the season started?  It came true.

But late on Thursday night at the Jon Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, the Runnin’ Utes of Utah stopped Wichita State’s 35 game regular season winning streak winning 69-68.  Senior guard Delon Wright (only playing his second season with the team) hit a jumper in the paint with 14 seconds left in the first overtime.  Wright scored 5 of his 13 points in that extra session, but Wichita State had several chances to win.  Three missed free throws cost the Shockers as Utah won their first game at home over a top-ranked team since Alabama was #1 on December 30, 1999–mere hours before the big time worries over Y2K were nothing more than false prophecies.

38 percent shooting will also not get it done, as the Shockers only made 24 of 63 attempts, led by Ron Baker’s 15 points, Tekele Cotton had 14, and Fred VanFleet ended up with 13.  Utah shot 24 of 51 for a respectable 47 percent.  For you trivia buffs, Wichita State suffered their last regular season loss to current Chicago Bulls bench warmer and one of the top 5 all-time leading scorers in NCAA Division One history as Doug McDermott led Creighton to a 90-81 home victory over the Shockers during his junior year on March 10, 2013.

Duke wins opening true road game for first time since 2008

65 percent shooting cooled off the hostile Badgers crowd in Madison as one of the marquee matchups in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge went the way of the Blue Devils by an 80-70 count.  By what media members and bloggers like me mention about a true road game, it is exactly what it is.  Duke’s recent losses away from Cameron Indoor Stadium mainly occurred on neutral courts and do not count as such in the record books.

Tyus Jones led all scorers with 22, while Frank Kaminsky was limited to only 13.  If there was some type of weekly Committee show that would interrupt SportsCenter, Duke would be one of the four #1 seeds along with Kentucky, Villanova, and Arizona.

Other games of interest had Notre Dame withstand a late charge from Michigan State in a game reminiscent of the late 1970’s.  A great back-and-forth game featured the great all-around play of Jerian Grant who finished with a game high 27 points in the Irish’s 79-78 overtime.

Overtime was not needed at the Dean Dome, but I am pretty certain Roy Williams would have relished that extra chance.  For the second straight non-conference season, a road team stunned the Tar Heels.  This time around it was Iowa, pulling off a 60-55 upset.  Both teams shot less than 33 percent for the game, but both squads did very well at the free-throw line.

Coupled with Miami (Florida) upending Illinois and ending their run at an undefeated season on Tuesday, this was again another entertaining set of games.

Tonight is the SEC-Big 12 challenge sandwiched between the start of the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament and if any good news comes out of the six-month struggle of the higher ups at Dish, as CBS fans hope to see the NFL when Dallas plays at Chicago.

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