College Basketball continues to produce solid games on a daily basis, and Sunday was no different. The Big Ten gave us three really good games that took place, while there were plenty of other solid matchups throughout the day to discuss for the daily roundup.
Michigan State comes from behind to beat Northwestern
Trailing by 12 late in the first half, things were looking dire for Michigan State in their matchup at Northwestern, but the Spartans once again were able to come from behind and get a big win at Northwestern. In what was a good old-fashioned rock-fight, with also way too many foul calls, the Spartans were able to turn the game and make multiple runs, including a key 11-0 run early in the second half, which was capped off by a Gabe Brown three. Northwestern made a run to cut the lead down to two entering the final minute but once again it was Brown who drilled the dagger three to put Michigan State up five and ice the game away. The Spartans now move to 12-2 on the season and while they are missing the star power one would need to win a National Championship, they are definitely one of the best teams in the Big Ten and will be in contention for the Big Ten crown when all is said and done. Northwestern looks like a legitimate Tournament contender, but like always they seem to be missing the ability to close out marquee wins that are needed to make a run at the NCAA Tournament, we’ll see if they can begin to win these types of games in the future but this seemed like a missed opportunity.
Penn State gets win against Indiana
New year, same Indiana disappointment. The Hoosiers were once again in position to get a road win that could help build their NCAA Tournament resumė and they lost. They trailed for the majority of the game but the Hoosiers had the ball with a chance to take the lead, but Trayce Jackson-Davis missed the shot. While Jackson-Davis had a solid 20 point performance, the guard play wasn’t good, Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee were both ineffective, while Parker Stewart and Tamar Bates provided nothing. It seems like the same story as a year ago, as the guard play continues to hold this Hoosiers team back from reaching success. This is a game Indiana should not have lost, Penn State was coming off a Covid pause and it was as easy of a road environment as possible, this loss is inexcusable and will keep Indiana out of the NCAA Tournament.
Saint Louis gets win against Richmond
We have been waiting to find legitimate Tournament contenders from the Atlantic 10, while Davidson seems to have emerged as one of the teams, Saint Louis emerged as another Tournament threat with a win against Richmond. Yuri Collins had 24 points and 8 assists to lead the Billikens, while Saint Louis pretty much led throughout. Saint Louis will need to finish with a really good record to make sure they get into the NCAA Tournament, but unlike most A10 teams, Saint Louis doesn’t have bad losses and that is helpful when building a Tournament resumė.
Short-handed Houston escapes with win at Temple
While Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark both being out for the first game was known, the Cougars also dealt with Kyler Edwards being out as well and that was going to create issues. That said, the Cougars were able to grit out a key win at Temple despite the injuries. Fabian White stepped up scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, Jamal Shead had 14 points and 6 assists while playing 40 minutes and running the point. Kyler Edwards will be back and that will help, but this team just doesn’t have the dynamic scoring that they have had in the past, and that is an issue. They still have the talent to win the American but I think their chances of going back to a Final Four are now slim to none.
SMU win streak up to eight after win against UCF
SMU appears to be playing like one of the best teams in the American, as they took care of UCF and moved to 11-3 on the season. Kendric Davis had an All-American level game, scoring a game-high 20 points, along with 8 rebounds and 8 assists, while Michael Weathers had 19 points off the bench. This SMU team is athletic, they have plenty of scoring options and they have a superstar, which is all you need to be a potential Tournament team, while they now have a quality win on their resumė as well. The Knights will still have their chances to make the NCAA Tournament as well and already helped themselves by beating Michigan, but this will go down as a missed opportunity for them.
Missouri State gets revenge on Drake
Last season, Joe Yesufu drilled a game-winning floater to knock out Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and ended the Bearcats NCAA Tournament hopes. Sunday acted as a bit of revenge as Missouri State was able to beat Drake 61-56 and earn its first win in Missouri Valley play. Donovan Clay had 15 points to help lead the scoring, while Gage Prim added 13 points and 10 rebounds, as the Bearcats came away with the win. This Drake team continues to struggle this season, Roman Penn had a solid game but Tucker DeVries, Tremell Murphy, and Tank Hemphill combined for only 15 points, which is a recipe for disaster for Drake. With Loyola-Chicago being the favorite to win the league, these two will be jockeying for position as they hope to win the Missouri Valley Tournament this season.