About last night: It was a Missouri Valley night for the most part as I switched between Creighton-Illinois State and Wichita State-Drake. Creighton has been a Final Four team in Sullyís Court since this seasonís tip-off and nothing that happened last night changed my mind. The Bluejays took on a tough, well-coached, fired-up Illinois State team on the road and won a tough, close, intense game. Very impressive.
Meanwhile in Des Moines, Drake challenged Wichita for about 25 minutes then the Wheat Shockers took control and really asserted themselves. Wichita will be a tough opponent in the tournament.
Other channel-surfing observations: LaSalle looked tremendous in the first half against Miami in Coral Gables but just couldnít sustain the effort. The Explorers are deep in the backcourt but are weak upfront. Miami is playing without center Reggie Johnson, but was still good enough to win this one going away.
I also caught the end of regulation and the overtime of St. Johnís-Villanova. Neither team going anywhere as far as I can see. St. Johnís was in control, but didnít make any plays at the end and lost in overtime. Steve Lavin has had a fluid roster in his first two years, but his team didnít distinguish itself in the end-of-game situations. Seton Hall beat DePaul 73-72 and I know itís just DePaul, but this is a really good road win. Unlike St. Johnís the Hall executed a really nice play at the end for the winning score.
Surprising results, amazing margins:
Maine 63, BU 58: I believe BU is the better team, but the Terriers couldnít produce on the road.
Auburn 78, Florida State 72: The Seminoles are really hard to figure, I donít envy Leonard Hamilton his job this season.
Delaware State 53, Marshall 51: The Herd canít afford this kind of loss.
Kentucky 90, Eastern Michigan 38: Bingo Long and the Traveling All-Stars really rubbed it in. I guess this is better than playing Indiana.
Louisville 80, Providence 62: The Friars were able to compete for a half, but that was it.
VCU 109, East Tennessee 58: The Rams are really rolling. Looking forward to see how they start A10 play.
Wake Forest 66, Xavier 59: Good win for Wake, which should be near the bottom of the ACC. Bad loss for the Muskies, who are really hard to figure.
Loyola of Chicago 63, Valpo 54: Now, the Ramblers are officially Horizon contenders.
Purdue 68, Illinois 61: Illinois finds life on the road can be tough.
UMass 70, Miami of Ohio 69: This is a MAC/football program mandated game so itís always good to survive, score doesnít matter, itís a nice win on the road.
Western Illinois 39, Savannah State 35: When are they going to play the second half?
Wyoming 59, SMU 56: Nice road win for the 13-0 Cowboys.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell