The dead zone: Exam week for the "student-athletes" so games are hard to come by but there are a few tidbits.
LSU: The Tigers were upset by Coastal Carolina in overtime 78-69 Monday night. They're 6-3 but two of the losses have been to Nicholls State and Coastal. Might take a while for people to get angry about basketball in Baton Rouge but if this keeps up, Trent Johnson will come under fire. The last time Coastal beat a BCS team it was 1993 (South Carolina). I will say this, the Chanticleers are 8-2. We might see them in the bracket in March.
UCLA: The Bruins beat Cal Davis 74-67. Just seems like the score should have been bigger.
San Diego State: The Aztecs struggled to get past Cal Poly 51-45. See above but the Aztecs had an excuse, leading scorer Kawhi Leonard was too sick to play as was another starter, Chase Tapley. Plus they were zero for 18 on three-pointers.
Under the radar: Northwestern beat LIU 81-65 for its sixth victory without a loss. The Mildcats could win their first 10 before they play at Purdue on New Year's Eve. They do come to New York City next week to play in the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. They'll beat St. Francis of New York, then play the winner of St. John's-Davidson in the final.
Old complaint: The Holiday Festival is a tournament I attended many times over the years. It's where I saw Bob Lanier score 50 points, where I saw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play for UCLA, Rick Mount for Purdue, and Wes Unseld for Louisville. Hard to believe how insignificant it's become.
TV joke: San Diego beat LaVerne 82-57. Shirley next up on the schedule.
Radio joke: Florida A&M beat Allen 69-36. Burns next up on the schedule.
My team: The Nicholls State Colonials hung tough before falling to Mississippi State 67-58 in Starksville Monday night. That's two road losses in the road. Things will improve when league play starts.
My soap opera: No suspensions, no benchings and Seton Hall pulverizes poor Longwood 78-51. Herb Pope was put back in the starting lineup but only played 14 minutes. Hmm. Maybe there are still some problems. The big story of the night was the Seton Hall student section. Good story here by the astute Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star-Ledger.
How deep is you valley?: Poor Mississippi Valley State. The Delta Devils lost at Mississippi 101-69 Monday. As Charles P. Pierce pointed out to me (Bill Simmons would never have noticed), they've already lost road games to Georgia, Indiana, Saint Mary's, BYU, and Butler. Next up are road games vs. Arkansas, Kentucky, and Marquette.
Some updates: Clemson lost guard Demontez Stitt for a few weeks after knee surgery ... Josh Selby has finally paid his debt to society, sitting out nine games for accepting improper benefits from Carmelo Anthony's agent, and will play this Saturday for Kansas. He's supposed to be a sensation. For Jayhawks' fans, I hope he's better than North Carolina's freshman Harrison Barnes.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell