Every year, November offers some eye-popping scores. Most of the time, it is eye-popping due to the ridiculous lopsided-ness. For example, Georgia 97-Southern U. 37 , or Illinois 80-Austin Peay 35. Other times, it is of the Big Six Upset variety, like say, Northern Arizona 75-Arizona State 71, Butler 71-Notre Dame 69, or Bradley 78-DePaul 58. Of course, the most ballyhooed results are when ranked teams getting unexpectedly beaten: Virginia 93, Arizona 90. Or not just beaten, but, well, BEATEN: Vermont 77, Boston College 63. All of this is part of the wonderful mosaic of college hoops. It is partly what makes November fun.
There are some other surprising wins that have flown under the radar and ESPN cameras that could have lasting impacts later this season. Albany's win over Bucknell is great for the Danes, but could negatively impact Bucknell's at-large resume if the Great Danes do not make good on their American East favorite role. The Am East is off to a good start at the top. Vermont is also an Am East team and they have looked good early in wins over UNO and BC. They lost to Maryland in College Park, but so will lots of teams.
UALR topped MAC favorite Akron on a neutral court in Lubbock, TX. The Trojans were picked to win the Sun Belt West, but that division looked like a scramble among four or even five pretty average teams in the preseason. Now, with UALR's win and North Texas' 18-point walloping of Charlotte on the road, those two have created some early season buzz.
Duquesne's 81-75 victory over Youngstown State has to be considered a bit unexpected due to the Dukes' 3-24 record last year and the fact that several of their players were wounded in a shooting incident two months ago. Here's to a good season for the Dukes and a speedy recovery for the wounded players who continue the long road to recovery.
These things happen in college hoops. And, prepare yourself for more of the same in the Thanksgiving tourneys. It's not unusual and it's not puzzling. It's simply November.
Last Night's GOI
--UALR 81, Akron 79. BIG win for the Trojans and for the Belt. Akron should be a good club this season.
--Wake Forest at Bucknell. The Bison endured a tough loss at Albany. They certainly do not want an 0-2 start.
--Western Kentucky at Georgia. Both teams annihilated their opening opponents. Both teams have outside hopes as at-large teams, so they really need games against fellow potential Bubble Boys.
--New Orleans at Tulane. In-city rivalry alert!
--DePaul at Northwestern. In-city rivalry alert! Again!
--UALR at Texas Tech. The Trojans should not be taken lightly by Knight's Raiders.
--Air Force vs Long Beach. Keep an eye on this one. This is probably Long Beach's best club in awhile. The Falcons could get a test in this one.
--Detroit at Marquette. MU was taken to OT by Idaho State last night before surviving. I repeat: Idaho State.
--Indiana at Butler. In-state rivalry alert! IU vs. Butler in Conseco. Gene Hackman in character as Norman Dale HAS to be in attendance, doesn't he?