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Rivalry games in college basketball remain great

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  December 20, 2012 09:45 AM

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Rivalry night: I love those rivalry games, even more since realignment and coaches who are afraid to lose any games continue to threaten their existence.

-- First up was Xavier-Cincinnati, played at the big arena in town rather than on campus because of the fight during last seasonís game. No fight Wednesday night, not much well-played basketball either. It was intense and hard-fought, but both teams could never get anything going offensively. Cincy finally was able to score some baskets in the second half and wore down X. Sometimes intense games deteriorate into sloppy play and thatís what happened here. Doesnít mean the result wasnít any less important to Cincy or less disappointing to X fans.

-- New Mexico State actually has two non-conference rivalry games -- New Mexico and UTEP -- that they play home and home EACH SEASON. I donít think anyone else does that. Itís all gone bad for the Aggies this season; they lost their first one to UTEP earlier this season and Wednesday night New Mexico completed a sweep with a 68-63 win in Las Cruces. New Mexico State played well, but undefeated New Mexico is a team that has good size, good speed, tremendous shooting and good coaching (Steve Alford). I was really impressed. It was a big road victory for the Lobos, who were seriously challenged.

Amazing margins, surprising results:

Canisius 72, Temple 62: A shocking home loss for the Owls, but thereís no question Baron and Son is an improved business.

Louisville 79, Florida International 55: Rick Pitino pummels his own son, Richard. ďThis is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.íí

Green Bay 49, Marquette 47: Geez, maybe the Marquette people should stop talking about how elite they are.

Illinois State 74, Dayton 73: Tough loss for the best college basketball fans in the land, but Illinois State is an NCAA team.

Texas 85, North Carolina 67: The Tar Heels are going to fall out of the Top 25. They remain a mystery.

UTEP 91, Oregon 84: In three overtimes!! Very entertaining, exciting game and a victory UTEP needed after falling short against UNLV in its last game.

Saint Maryís 74, Pacific 46: Itís the second time these two have played and Pacific won by 10 the first time. I guess the Gaels are improving.

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