THOUGHTS FROM WEDNESDAY NIGHT:
Live and in person: Took in the George Mason-Northeastern game, an intense tussle marred by the concussion to Mason guard John Vaughan with just over 2 minutes left. He toppled over and fainted while in rebounding position for a free throw shortly after being involved in a collision under the hoop. He was taken to the hospital but it appears he's going to be OK. The game was well-played, well-coached, low-scoring, and close, with the Huskies claiming a 58-57 win. NU had a slight advantage all night, then almost blew it in the final minute, but got a surprisingly nice play from reserve guard Baptiste Bataille, who penetrated and hit Manny Adako with a pass for a layup and the winning points. The Huskies still had to defend one final attempt by Mason and did a great job. Northeastern has a legit chance to win the Colonial Athletic Association. It all comes down to four days in Richmond, Va. in March.
Road facts: Winning on the road separates the very good from the ordinary. UMass hasn't been able to get over that hump as evidenced by last night's 69-64 overtime loss in Charlotte. Rhode Island is another example. The Rams have potential but they lost to Richmond on the road last night and lost a three-overtime game to St. Joe's in Philly earlier.
That's more like it: I said South Carolina would cause problems for someone, then they lost two straight. But the Gamecocks came through last night by upsetting Florida, 70-69, in a wild finish in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks went the length of the floor in 3.3 seconds after a missed free throw to get the winning layup at the buzzer. The loss ended Florida's 10-game winning streak.
Still O-fer: Clemson lost its 54th straight game in Chapel Hill against North Carolina. Clemson's a football school but they have had some very good basketball teams, including this year's, but they've never been able to win at UNC.
Should count double: Arizona State beating Arizona in Tucson. The Sun Devils have won in Tucson two straight years -- hey hadn't done so in 25 years.
Sorry I missed it: Missouri 97, Oklahoma State 95. What a shootout! Missouri has now won 14 in a row and this one was in Stillwater, Okla.
VMI Report: The Keydets got back on the winning track by beating Radford 87-72.
SURPRISING SCORES, AMAZING MARGINS
Baylor 83, Kansas State 65: It didn't shape up as a complete blowout. Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn, a shoot-first, pass-later type if there ever was one, hit nine 3-pointers.
Northwestern 70, Michigan State 63: A landmark road victory for coach Bill Carmody, and the loss ended a 28-game home-court winning streak for State. The Wildcats upset Minnesota Saturday so they've now beaten ranked teams in consecutive games for the first time.
Virginia Tech 78, Wake Forest 71: OK, Wake Forest isn't perfect but the Deacons are still a Final Four contender despite losing this home game.
Wichita State 64, Illinois State 58: The Redbirds opened with 14 straight wins but have now dropped three of their last five.
UNLV 76, BYU 70: BYU had a 53-game homecourt winning streak until they lost to Wake Forest a few weeks ago. You'd figure they'd just start over but Vegas rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to pull off this win. All-Sully Wink Adams led the way with 22 points and the 6-footer was the Rebels' leading rebounding with eight. Man, can he get up!
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell