ROBERT MORRIS (12-4, 3-0 NEC) AT CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE (6-7, 3-0 NEC)
Time: 3:30 p.m.
With the Baylor Bears achievig the highest ranking in school history on Monday it would have been easy for Scott Drew's team to suffer a letdown against Texas A&M. But the fourth-ranked Bears were ready from the start, scoring the first eight points of the game on their way to a 61-52 win that wasn't as close as the margin would indicate. The Bears shot just 35.7% from the field in the first half but still went into the break with a 30-17 lead thanks to their defense, which limited the Aggies to 21.4% shooting.
The schedule for Thursday is light in terms of the number of games, but there's an excellent matchup between ranked teams in Storrs to keep an eye on. #9 Connecticut (7-1) hosts #24 Harvard (8-0) with Tommy Amaker's team looking to remain undefeated and retain the program's first Top 25 ranking in school history for another week. An interesting fact regarding this contest is that they could have played in the Battle 4 Atlantis over the Thanksgiving holiday, but UConn's loss to UCF prevented that and Harvard went on to win the tournament.
On paper the matchup between Missouri and California looked to be a good matchup, with both teams fresh off of big wins in the semifinals of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. On the floor however, things got out of hand quickly for the Golden Bears as the Tigers rolled in front of a pro-Missouri crowd. Kim English scored 19 points and tournament MVP Marcus Denmon finished with 18 points and six rebounds as the Tigers won 92-53, and it could be argued that the 39-point margin doesn't do this result justice.
Friday marks the first big day of the college basketball season with more than 100 games on the schedule. Sure most of the games look to be of the "opening sacrifice" variety, but a closer look reveals some intriguing matchups. It only makes sense to begin with the game that needs little introduction, the Carrier Classic game matching preseason national title favorite North Carolina and Michigan State. The game will be played on the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, which will likely cue a few "I'm on a boat" jokes.
In the latest installment in his "Coaching Great" interview series CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with former Robert Morris head coach Jarrett Durham. Coach Durham led the Colonials to three NCAA Tournament appearances in Moon Township and remains the school's winningest coach. Durham now works at his alma mater, Duquesne, as a Special Assistant to the Athletic Director in addition to calling the men's basketball games on the radio (WPBG-FM 104.7 in Pittsburgh).
Robert Morris Colonials
Northeast Conference (23-11, 15-3)
Montana was dead to rights late in the first half, trailing by 22 points and going into the locker room down 20 at intermission. No way could they come back on the road and keep Weber State from punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The final twenty minutes were supposed to be a coronation for the Wildcats, most of America thought.
Well, Anthony Johnson made sure that we all thought wrong.