About last night:
-- I got caught up in Ohio State-Florida and pretty much stuck with that game. The Buckeyes trailed early but seized control in the second half and never left go. They have a chance to be great and it goes beyond possible national player of the year Jared Sullinger. Sullinger will be a force but so will guard William Buford, who looks like heís taking things to another level. I really like point guard Aaron Craft, who looks like heís also improved. Heís feisty, a good ball hander and shooter. How quickly Thad Matta can mesh these veterans with his usual stellar recruiting class will dictate how far the Buckeyes go.
Florida has great perimeter play with an endless supply of guards Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Brad Beal. Theyíve got to learn to play together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnít. Getting that to work will be the task for Billy Donovan. He needs to be creative. Big man Patric Young, a premier recruit who didnít do that much his freshman year, looked transformed. He had a big night. The Gators are going to need him and Erik Murphy (from St. Markís Schools) to excel. If they develop, both teams could have deep runs in March.
-- The agony of being a fan sometimes. How would like to root for South Carolina and watch as your team lose at Elon? Itís great that the Gamecocks would play a road game like this but what a shock to the true fans. Itís going to take a long time to recover.
-- I also watched the end of the Duke-Michigan State game. Coach K is one of the greats, no doubt. Just tough to do hearts and flowers with him and Bob Knight.
More trouble in LA: A loss to Loyola Marymount, a suspension of your best player, and now an 86-66 loss to Middle Tennessee. Things are really bad at UCLA. Middle is 3-0 but the Blue Raiders canít be that good. Ben Howland has work to do.
Surprising scores, amazing margins:
Cal Santa Barbara 89, Santa Clara 56: I thought Santa Clara was going to be improved this season. I guess not. UCSB is a veteran team and will be one of the favorites in the Big West.
Coastal Carolina 71, LSU 63: LSU coach Trent Johnson canít seem to get it going. Credit to him for playing this one on the road at least.
George Mason 71, Monmouth 39: Former North Carolina point guard King Rice is the first-year coach at Monmouth. Heís 0-3 and looking bad.
Memphis 97, Belmont 81: This is the same Belmont team that played Duke to a standstill at Cameron Indoor.
Weber State 73, Utah State 63: As Iíve said before, I love these in-state rivalries. Big win for Weber, which was home in Ogden but had lost 10 of 11 in the series before this win.
Drake 74, Iowa State 65: Iíve been thinking Iowa State might good, have to reevaluate. This was played in Des Moines.
Saint Louis 61, Southern Illinois 42: This one was in Carbondale and was probably hard to watch since both coaches preach karate defense but this is a big score. Maybe Rick Majerus has it going finally in Saint Louis. Southern Illinois comes to Matthews Arena Saturday afternoon to play Northeastern.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell