Did you miss us? After a much-needed weeklong hiatus that probably halved our readership from 30 to 15, we are back and ready for the meat of conference play. Do you know what’s even better? Only 2 months to Selection Sunday! Buckle up, kids, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Last weekend was a very interesting one for many reasons. We saw two more undefeateds fall, as Washington State got manhandled at UCLA, and Vanderbilt lost a double overtime decision to Kentucky. Perhaps now we will stop getting hits for Kentucky fans searching firebillygillespie.com (On second thought? Naw, they’ll probably keep right on searching). Neither of these losses are particularly troubling, although the continued breakdown of Vanderbilt’s defense, even against an undermanned Kentucky team, is the kind of trait that leaves a team watching the Sweet Sixteen from home. Kevin Stallings will never be called a defensive genius, but this team needs to tighten up on the defensive end.
Join me after the jump as I look at a plethora of bonus basketball and your weekly SWAC update.
Overtimes Galore: Last weekend’s games featured an incredible ten overtime contests, 3 in regular OT, 6 in double OT, and one triple overtime game. Let’s hit the highlights: The officially reeling Southern Illinois Salukis, who haven’t won a game after being stunned at the buzzer by AJ Graves, lost in Double OT 64-62 to Indiana State. Southern Illinois just cannot win a close game, pure and simple. In the Valley, that means you are in trouble. Delaware, perhaps the biggest surprise of conference play so far, moved to 5-0 in the CAA with a Double OT win over Old Dominion. The school with the only female mascot in D-I (blue hens) might be on its way to a shocking NCAA Tournament berth. VMI returned to its high-octane ways with a 93-91 overtime victory to open up Big South play. They are lead by Reggie Williams, the best player in the nation that no one knows about. Finally, Arkansas beat Alabama 71-67 game that featured two teams that looked like they belonged in the NIT. While Alabama is surely heading there, Arkansas can sneak back into the tournament if Gary Ervin remembers how to play point guard.
A two-fold improvement? How often does a team double its points from the previous game? Extremely rarely. Yet that happened not once, but twice this weekend. St Louis, who set an all-time low for points in the shotclock era in an unwatchable 46-20 defeat at George Washington, scored 57 in an overtime loss to Dayton. Boston College, fresh off a 57-51 defeat to Robert Morris, put up an unbelievable 112 in a 39-point pasting of Wake Forest. More on the rarity of this later.
The Mighty SWAC: Week Two
Jackson State, the closest thing the SWAC has to a real basketball program, has risen to the top of the league with a 3-0 record. Mississippi Valley State and Grambling remain winless against D-I competition.