1. USC and Memphis had all the makings of an early classic.. but the game was mostly a snooze fest outside of some sick dunks by Davon Jefferson and RouSean Cromwell. This is a case where great athletes, playing hard, behind a great game-plan on defense, have too much of an advantage over inexperienced offensive players who can't hit jump shots.
2. Mayo’s 6 of 20 shooting line might not look good, but the guy absolutely shut down Derrick Rose. Rose was exposed last night once the game was taken into the half-court, and the lane was clogged by a solid hybrid-zone defense. The problem is that against most teams, he can get baskets in transition or finish drives at the basket, take those things away and suddenly you realize he can’t really score other ways. He’s not a great 3-point shooter, he’s not great at working for shots off the ball (especially against someone of Mayo’s caliber), he can’t hit pull-ups or floaters in the lane. Don’t mean to rip the guy too much.. but still, he got owned.
3. In the first game of the Jimmy V Classic, Notre Dame led the last 16 minutes of the game as Michael Beasley was held to just 2 points in the 2nd half. The win was a must for the Irish, who lost close games to the only other decent non-conference foes they’ve faced (Baylor & Georgia Tech). Now they return home for an easy 4-game home stand and should be 10-2 by New Year’s.
4. For Kansas State, it pretty much sets up a must-win (in terms of building a tournament resume) against Cal over the weekend. The Wildcats don’t have a quality win yet, and their best result is probably a 13 point win against Rider.
5. Things are pretty ugly for Rick Majerus and SLU right now. The Billikens barely hit 30% shooting in a 22 point loss to Boston College last night, and have maxed out at 52 points in their last three games. Too make things worse, their leading scorer Kevin Lisch has hit a major funk, shooting 5-27 in those three games.
6. I’ll bet Rick is wishing that he took that USC job instead..
7. Rhode Island picked up a big win last night over Providence, 77-60. The Rams are 9-1, but get virtually no respect from the media or voters. Unfortunately for URI, if they lose to Syracuse on Saturday at the Carrier Dome, they’ll quickly be relegated to the scrap heap once again.
8. Tennessee escaped with a 76-70 win against Chattanooga, and are now 8-1. Luckily the Vols have a lot of options, because star Chris Lofton has been in a season-long funk. His first three seasons, Lofton has never been below 46% shooting from the floor and 42% from three. This year, Lofton is down to a weak 36% from the floor and 36% from three.
9. Looks like Holy Cross will be the Patriot League champs this year. The Crusaders are an impressive 7-1 after beating St. Joseph’s in Philly last night, and only have a 2-point loss to Dayton on the season. Meanwhile, the usual Pat League favorite (Bucknell) is just 3-5.
10. Bradley hosted #10 Michigan State, and at times it looked like the Valley would finally get a marquee win, but the Spartans ultimately prevailed with a 66-61 victory. It was the first time in 25 years Bradley hosted a Top 10 team.. but ultimately it leaves the Braves at a so-so 6-3 and lacking a big win on the year.
Looking forward to writing tomorrow’s review, since there’s some drool-worthy games tonight like Washington State/Gonzaga, Creighton/Xavier, and Syracuse/Virginia.