The game between Top 5 teams and in-state rivals Louisville and Kentucky was expected to be a high-intensity affair played at a good pace. Well thanks to the "third team" we got the intensity but not the pace, but by the end of the afternoon at Rupp Arena it was clear that Kentucky's 69-62 victory would be long remembered for the play of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist, who has emerged as the leader of John Calipari's talented squad, stole the show with 24 point and 19 rebounds in leading Kentucky to their 44th straight home victory.
The first meeting between Memphis and Louisville since the 2005 Conference USA title game certainly did not disappoint from a drama standpoint, with both teams landing major blows throughout the contest. But despite a combined 74 first-half points the play was ragged for much of the contest, with the Cardinals taking a 42-32 lead into the break thanks to the Tigers shooting 29% from the field and turning the ball over ten times. But led by Will Barton (28 points, 16 rebounds) Josh Pastner's team refused to fold, fighting back to take a 57-55 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
Thursday's schedule is highlighted by three in-season tournaments, with action in Charleston, New York City and San Juan. The 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer semifinals will be played at Madison Square Garden with Texas A&M playing Mississippi State in the opener and St. John's and Arizona doing battle in the nightcap. The second game jumps out not only because of the fact that it will be a home game for the Red Storm but also due to the roles that newcomers play on both teams.
As part of our 5-Year Ranking series, here's how the Big Ten teams stack up according to conference wins. The makeup of the Big Ten is quite different from most of the other power-conferences. The also-rans in the Big Ten have fared much better than other league also-rans, while the middle teams are much more mediocre. With one or two surprises, the final league standings will probably look pretty similar to the 5-year standings.
Next up in the short series of looking ahead to next season is the Southwest region, where things essentially went haywire the first weekend. Advancing to San Antonio was the top seed Kansas and seeds 10 through 12, and when the dust settled VCU won the region. A number of teams have some important personnel issues to address, but the Jayhawks won't be the lone team expected to contend for their league title out of this region in 2011-12.