I. Arizona 86, WKU 81 (OT)
The Toppers led by as many as ten, but Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers made key shots to get Zona back in it midway through the second half and the Cats built a 10-point lead of their own. A furious last game rally fueled by Courtney Lee and Anthony Winchester sent the game into overtime, but it was not to be as Arizona benefited from the advantages that come with hosting your own tourney. If you did not see the game, I am not going to chronicle the calls at the end, because it will only sound like sour grapes. In any event, the Toppers' twenty-five turnovers were too much to overcome, and they fell in overtime.
However, for the first time all season WKU put together two high-intensity halves of basketball. If they can sustain that momentum through January and February, this group can still get to where they want to go. The Tops must find an answer at point guard, as Ty Rogers and Orlando Mendez-Valdez both had stretches of solid play, but the two WKU point guards combined for 10 turnovers (5 each). This team is starting to figure it out, though. I have said all season that we cannot judge this team before mid-January. It's still time to stay patient.
II. Last Night's GOI
--at Bucknell 63, Saint Joseph's 51. Bucknell is good. Not good "for a Patriot League team" or "for a mid-major," just plain ol' good.
--DePaul 68, at California 65. Is there a more Jekyll-and-Hyde team in America than DePaul? They beat UAB at home, and have won at Wake and now at Cal. They have also lost by FORTY-FOUR to Old Dominion and were routed at home by Bradley. Bradley and ODU are good teams, but this guys are all over the map.
--at Duke 70, Saint John's 57. Ho-hum.
--at Nevada 68, Georgia 62. The Dawgs did compete against a tough Nevada squad, and I still say that the SEC East is going to be very competitive. It is Florida and everyone else at this point, and that includes you, Kentucky.
--Arkansas 78, Texas Tech 65. The Hogs are officially a contender in the SEC West. The Red Raiders are officially not in the NCAA picture right now.
III. Christmas Break
I will be traveling for several days. I may try to post periodically between now and Tuesday, but it's not a given. I will get back up and running full speed after the New Year, including a new bracket on Jan. 2.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!