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Sully's Court: Underachieving UCLA might have scored a landmark victory

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  December 31, 2012 10:09 AM

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The Monday college basketball report while waiting for the conference season to begin. The Big 10 should be the most interesting.

Five rising:

Bucknell: The Bison (12-2) have equaled the best start in school history, equaling the 1983-84 and 1901-02 teams.

Loyola of Chicago: The Ramblers upended DePaul in a big rivalry game for their first win in the series since 1989. They’ve won seven of eight, are 9-3 and maybe a contender in the Horizon.

Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks will be the team to beat in the Southland. They’re 10-1 including a victory at Oklahoma; the only loss was at Texas A&M.

UCLA: Overhyped freshman Shabazz Muhammad is starting to get his feet under him. He and his teammates can look like a talented group when they play like they did in beating Missouri Friday night. Could be a landmark win.

Virginia Commonwealth: The Rams have won seven in a row, most in blowout fashion, and are now 10-3. The three losses were to Wichita State (by two), Duke and Missouri.

Five falling:

Austin Peay: The Guvs, always a contender in the OVC, had an awful weekend in the Dr. Pepper tournament in Chattanooga, losing to Utah Valley State and High Point. I guess Murray State has nothing to worry about.

Lehigh: The Engineers were rolling with an eight-game winning streak, then got upset by Bryant at home. Figured they had advanced beyond losing games like that.

Ohio: The Bobcats, with All-Sully point guard D.J. Cooper, have come up short in every key game this season, losing on the road to UMass, Robert Morris, Memphis, and Oklahoma. Very disappointing for a team that returned all five starters from a Sweet 16 team.

Penn: Five players were suspended for failing drug tests (Does the Ivy League membership make that more surprising? It does for me). All five were back Saturday, but couldn’t help the Quakers in an overtime loss to Wagner.

Providence: The Friars had showed a lot of promise this season with a short-handed group. Then they got some reinforcements and promptly lost to BC and Brown. BROWN? Yes, Brown.

This week’s George Mason (best mid-major): Murray State lost at home to Valpo 66-64 Saturday -- a tough one -- but the Racers are going to be battle-tested when they get to March. I still think they’re the best mid-major.

This week’s Final Four: Indiana, Michigan, Duke, Creighton

This week’s national champion: Indiana

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