My viewing habits: A new player Iím fascinated by is Baylorís substitute guard Pierre Jackson, who was the national junior college player of the year last season. Previously I was thinking bad thoughts. He likes to possess the ball a lot and I thought that could get in the way of Baylorís great team play and hinder what should be a multi-faceted offense. Then came the Kansas State game last night. K Stateís physical man-to-man was bothering Baylor and the Wildcats established a working margin early. Then Jackson came in the game. He certainly is in the discussion about the quickest players in college basketball and he soon was able to get himself shots and threw some pinpoint passes for backdoor layups against the overplaying Wildcats. The Bears were soon back in it and eventually gutted out a tough road win, 75-73. Jackson ended up with 10 points and 11 assists. Very impressive. I still think Perry Jones, Baylorís star, didnít get enough touches and as I said, Jackson likes to have the ball. He is exciting, no more so than when he stripped Kansas Stateís Will Spradlling at halfcourt and then dunked at the other end. Remember, heís listed at 5-10 and he might be smaller. BC fans will lament that Brady Heslip had another solid game for the Bears with 13 points. He fits right in. For Kansas State, it was a tremendous effort, especially from guard Rodney McCruder, who had 30. I donít think thereís a defender in the country that can stop him when he gets in the lane; he just jumps over people and scores.
-- Caught the last 10 minutes of Ohio State and Illinois and witnessed an incredible performance by the Illinoisí Brandon Paul, who scored 43 points and willed his team to victory in the 79-74 upset. His night was capped by an incredible 3-pointer with 43 seconds left that gave Illinois a 4-point lead. There were four second left on the shot clock when Illinois coach Bruce Weber called timeout. The best they could do was a 3-pointer from Paul as he was falling into the teamís bench. It rattled in. It was that kind of night.
The Mo Val: Perhaps the most-balanced league in the country. Scores from last night: Creighton 63, Northern Iowa 60; Indiana State 80, Evansville 78; Wichita State 65, Illinois State 62.
Surprising scores, amazing margins:
Harvard 70, Monmouth 61: The Crimson have not been sharp on the road, they need to beat a team like Monmouth by a larger margin.
Providence 90, Louisville 59: Life away from the Pitino Palace can be rugged. Rick Pitino is angry at his guards and it shows.
Seton Hall 94, DePaul 73: The Savvy and Mentally Tough crush. Jordan Theodore (26, points, 11 assists) is playing like a borderline All-American. It didnít make the highlights on ESPN.com but he had one extraordinary shot, penetrating to the right of the basket, flipping the ball over his head and banking it in.
Florida State 63, Virginia Tech 59: Outstanding win on the road for the Seminoles, who flexed their defensive muscles, holding the Hokies to 30 percent shooting and blocking 15 shots.
Notre Dame 60, South Florida 49: The Irish are tough at home (29 straight); I thought the Bulls would do better than this after winning at Villanova.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell