Despite it being a relatively slow Friday night on paper, Friday still delivered some marquee storylines. Memphis lost to Murray State for its fourth straight loss of the season, DePaul collected another quality win as it won at Louisville, plus Vanderbilt lost a buy game to Loyola-Chicago. While most of the attention should rightfully be on a loaded Saturday slate of College Basketball, it is time to recap Friday’s matchups.
Memphis drops fourth straight game
Scheduling Murray State as a way to honor Ja Morant was an idea that appeased Memphis fans, it would be a fun game, a likely win, and galvanize the city. Well, the city has certainly been galvanized, but instead with a fourth straight Memphis defeat. Look, I will sing Murray State’s praises to start, they are a good mid-major program that has two superstars in Tevin Brown and KJ Williams, but in no way should Memphis have lost this game. The funny thing about this loss as they did so by fixing some of their offensive woes, they only had 14 turnovers, shot 40% from three but in the end, it was their defense that let them down. Murray State scored 48 second-half points, went 14-29 from three, and ultimately took control of the game on an atrocious foul by Emoni Bates. Penny Hardaway can give all the postgame quotes he wants, at the end of the day, this team isn’t working. Maybe they fix it by the season’s end, but at this point, it will be AAC Tournament Championship or bust.
DePaul moves to 8-1 with win at Louisville
There have been some surprising starts to this season, Iowa State certainly has to be at the top of that list, but DePaul has been one of the biggest ones. Coming into this game at 7-1 with a win against Rutgers, this was about as good as you could expect, so DePaul adding to that hot start by beating Louisville on the road is even better. In this game, it was David Jones who carried the Blue Demons, as Jones scored 33 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and carried this DePaul team to a win. The craziest part is Javon Freeman-Liberty struggled to 2-15 shooting and 8 points. This still seems like a battle of two non-NCAA Tournament teams, as Louisville coming into this was bubbly, and DePaul still seems to be playing over their head. Even still, this is a big win and Tony Stubblefield has done a fantastic job in year one to turn this into a contender. Whether they make the NCAA Tournament remains to be seen, but at this point, if they can go close to .500 in Big East play, that should be enough to get them in.
Vanderbilt drops buy game to Loyola-Chicago
There are a lot of good ideas when it comes to scheduling in College Basketball, buying out Loyola-Chicago to come to beat you is not one of them. Sure this game probably sells more tickets than playing Northeast South State, but is it worth it if you get run off your court. This loss has helped Loyola-Chicago certainly as this will probably be a quadrant two win, but if that’s your reason for playing the game, you thought wrong. Word of advice to Vanderbilt, if you’re going to buy a team to play in your weird gym, at least make it a game you can actually win, otherwise you face mockery from College Basketball Twitter.