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Sully's Court: Marcus Jordan and Central Florida are the rise

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  December 20, 2010 10:02 AM

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Five rising:
Central Florida:
The Knights rallied to beat Miami, 84-78, in a wild and wacky game Saturday that included a 25-minute delay because of a power failure. It's their 10th straight win. Marcus Jordan, son of Michael, was terrific, scoring 23 points in a relentless and inspiring offensive effort. He hurt his ankle at the end of the game so his status for the next game – at UMass Wednesday – is uncertain.

Drexel: The Dragons won at Louisville then struggled on the road to beat St. Francis of Pennsylvania, 61-57, Saturday. Hey, it’s never going to be pretty for Bruiser’s team. The Dragons are now 8-1 with the only loss coming at Rhode Island.

Kansas: Not only are the Jayhawks 10-0 but now they’ve added ballyhooed freshman Josh Selby, who had an immediate impact.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights haven’t played the most challenging schedule but first-year coach Mike Rice has his team moving in the right direction. After beating Monmouth, 79-56, Saturday, Rutgers has won eight of its last nine.

Texas A&M:
The Aggies are 10-1 (with their only loss to Boston College) after beating Arkansas, 71-62 ,in overtime Saturday.

Toledo: The Rockets, one of the worst teams in the country recently, have won two in a row after opening with nine straight losses.

Five falling
Steve Donahue left Ithaca just in time. The Big Red blew a 16-point lead and lost to Binghamton, 69-68, for their sixth straight loss.

LSU: The Bayou Tigers lost to Coastal Carolina and Wichita State. In between they squeaked out an overtime win over McNeese State.

Loyola of Chicago:
After winning their first seven, the Ramblers have lost four of five, including a rivalry loss to DePaul Saturday.

South Florida:
The Bulls have been a disappointment at 6-6 and have lost three of their last four, including one to James Madison Saturday.

Texas Tech: The Raiders suffered two disheartening in-state losses to TCU and UTEP and have lost five of six.

This week’s Butler (best mid-major):
Cleveland State. After opening 12-0, the Vikings lost their first game at West Virginia, 74-63, Saturday but I was impressed. The game was closer than the final score and it turned when Cleveland State star point guard Nathan Cole was out of the game for just a few minutes. West Virginia took advantage, extending a lead and Cleveland State couldn’t recover. Cole is the quickest player I’ve seen with the ball this season.

Weekend thoughts:
Some frosh talk: There are a lot of good freshmen out there and the nation got a look at another one in Josh Selby, who scored 21 points in his debut for Kansas Saturday. He had to sit out nine games for accepting gifts from Carmelo Anthony’s agent. However, who’s been better than Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger who had 30 points Saturday as the Buckeyes beat South Carolina 79-57? Physically mature beyond his years and highly skilled (he’s obviously been well coached in high school); he’s become one of the premiere inside threats in college basketball.

Hard to believe: UCLA’s 86-79 victory over No. 18 BYU was the Bruins’ first victory after five straight losses to ranked teams. Not a great game for our man Jimmer Fredette. He scored 30 but had seven turnovers for BYU.

No help: For a lot of different reasons, Mississippi State has waited a season and a half for the NCAA to declare Renardo Sydney eligible. He finally played and scored 10 points but the Bulldogs were routed by Virginia Tech, 88-57, Saturday.

Izzo’s suspension: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had to miss the Spartans’ 90-51 victory over Prairie View because he employed a person who was associated with a recruit at his summer camp. Sounds innocent, right? It’s illegal because some schools were paying exorbitant amounts to people associated with recruits under the guise that the person was working the camp. Lots of NCAA rules seem silly but most of them exist in reaction to the original cheating. It’s a necessary rule because the cheating schools will abuse the situation.

Scheduling oddity: Canisius traveled to Natchitoches, La. to play Northwestern State on Sunday and lost 86-74. The Griffins have a chance to get even when the teams meet again Dec. 29 in Buffalo. Northwestern State players Will Pratt and Devon Baker are from New York City and Demons coach Mike McConathy wanted to play a game “near’’ their home so he setup this quickie home-and-home.

Surprising scores, amazing margins:
San Diego State 90, UC Santa Barbara 64:
UCSB will most likely in the NCAAs. The Gauchos are no pushover but SD State coach Steve Fisher said his team played its best half since he’s been at San Diego in streaking to a 57-29 lead.

Illinois Chicago 57, Illinois 54: The Flames only improved to 5-7 but came up big in this game at the United Center. Surprising, big-time letdown by Illinois.

Missouri 116, Central Arkansas 63: Central is coached by Corliss
Williamson, the former Arkansas All-American who played for Nolan Richardson. Mizzou coach Mike Anderson played for Richardson at Tulsa. Williamson obviously didn't back down and tried to play this Forty Minutes of Hell style. This was the result.

Saint Bonaventure 112, Ohio 107: It took four overtimes and the Bonnies’ Andrew Nicholson, one of the best players you’ve never seen, had 44 points and 12 rebounds.

This week’s Final Four:
Duke, Pitt, Michigan State and Ohio State.

This week’s national champion: Duke

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