Last night, Central Arkansas upset potential NCAA Tournament team Bucknell by the final score of 50-48. The Bears (that's Central Arkansas) are a first-time D1 squad that has only beaten one other D1 team this year (Bowling Green.) Central isn't actually an independent because they're playing a full Southland Conference schedule.. but in honor of their win I thought I'd take a look at how the independents and recent ones are doing this year.
Like Central Arkansas, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is playing a full Southland schedule for the first time. The Islanders have been one of the best independent teams over the last couple years, and are considered to be a Southland contender in just their first season. Things have gone well for TAMU-CC, with a 7-4 record overall (5-4 against D1 teams). Their best two wins are at Detroit and South Florida. Like most independents or low-majors, TAMU-CC still has to play most non-conference games on the road.. but they have a rare 3-game home streak coming up, including a big game against Kent State. TAMU-CC is one of the most experienced teams in the country.. with 7 seniors that play at least 15 minutes per game, and all of whom scored 5+ ppg. This experience should put them right in the thick of the Southland title race along with SELU, Sam Houston St, and NW State..
IPFW's season has really been like a rollercoaster, just without so many ups and with downs that would plummet a ride at Six Flags into the core of the earth.
They had a chance to change that Sunday night (November 19) when they hosted Indiana State, themselves just coming off a stiff loss at the hands of IU. But instead, they couldn't keep up the momentum of a monumental comeback and let their weaknesses leak out in a 67-61 loss.
IPFW had a hold of things early, going up 13-8 with a lot of momentum on a Tyler Best to Quintin Carothers back door play that led to a bigtime dunk. They pulled ahead again (and for the last time) on a DeWitt Scott three-pointer midway through the first half. And then they saw setback after setback kill most of their hopes before the halftime buzzer even sounded.
College basketball likes to ease itself into the season.. kind of like a shy guy trying to ask out an attractive girl. But when Duke plays on national tv, its an unoffocial point in this writer's mind that the season has finally begun. Enough with the previews, the predictions, and the prognostications.. on to the Monday morning, Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning, you get the point Quaterbacking.. BC losing to Vermont made some headlines last night.. perhaps this is a sign that the loss of Craig Smith will mean more than most anaylsts originally thought. Vermont can play some ball though. This is a team that improved by the day last year, and has a core that could be due for a couple of NCAA Tournament bids over the next handful of years. Also in the ACC, Duke struggled early but pulled away for an easy win over Georgia Southern. Despite the 24 point margin of victory, it was hard to be that overly impressed with the Blue Devils. Josh McRoberts is no longer a big man prospect, and he's not even a power forward either.. the 6-10 former post player has basically become a wing player. Even better (or worse depending on how you think of it), McRoberts seems to have taken a liking to bringing the ball up the court. I'm no Coach K, but seeing big Josh move the ball up the court made me cringe every time.