Daily Roundup: Day 23

This was the first day of games that had a lot of games go off the rails, between upsets, the 60 minute basketball game that would never end, the game that never had scoring start, or a boatload of other competitive games that came down to the wire, Wednesday felt like a February night with all the action. There’s a lot of places this could go but let’s dive into the daily roundup. 

North Carolina runs Michigan out of the gym

First off, this will be broken into two parts as there are thoughts on both teams, but the to the victor goes the spoils. North Carolina played a fantastic basketball game and left this result never in doubt. The defense improved in a major way, holding Michigan to 35% shooting and only allowing 51 points for the game. Caleb Love looked awesome, when he started hitting shots it looked like he would never miss, although I swear he ended up with more than 22 points. Armando Bacot dominated on the inside, Dawson Garcia spaced the floor and created mismatches for Michigan. While Michigan isn’t the best team ever, especially right now, this was a big win for North Carolina, especially if they keep building off this performance. 

Now for Michigan, what a mess this team is on the offensive end. Hunter Dickinson getting in foul trouble and playing only 18 minutes happens, but there was no response to that. Eli Brooks has been okay, but he’s not a second or first option for a team. Caleb Houstan isn’t ready and is throwing up more bricks than a subcontractor, Moussa Diabate brings energy but he’s not a polished scorer. Brandon Johns and Davante Jones have been less than good as well for this team. This spacing is a mess, the ball sticks on offense, and the guards can’t break anyone down off the dribble, sure there are subtle adjustments that could be made, such as going to a smaller lineup, but this team is nowhere near being a Top-25 team right now. 

Memphis loses at Georgia

In terms of biggest disappointments from a loss perspective, it is hard to top losing at Georgia, which Memphis did. Sure, Georgia is better than expected but this is still a bad loss that could come back to bite them from a seeding perspective. Offensively the Tigers played better, they turned the ball over less than they had been, while they even had 15 assists. The issue was defensively where they couldn’t get a stop when needed, which allowed Georgia to hang around and ultimately come out on top. The Tigers have a tough four-game stretch coming up and if this play continues, the Tigers will be looking more like an NIT team than one that resembles anything related to being Top-25 worthy. 

Oklahoma gets signature win against Florida

Florida was riding high coming off a Fort Myers Tip-Off Championship, but a tough road game at Oklahoma provided the Gators with the potential for an upset. Tanner Groves had 20 points to lead the Sooners, while Jalen Hill had 18 and Umoja Gibson had 15, as Oklahoma pulled off the upset. Florida will be fine and probably needed a humbling game following an incredible start to the season and this provided it. Porter Moser now has this Oklahoma team 7-1 and back in position to compete for a Tournament bid in year one at Oklahoma, he has built a team that values tough hard-nosed defense and it has paid off so far. 

NC State beats Nebraska 104-100 in 4OT’s

In what was the longest, most riveting game of the night, NC State beat Nebraska 104-100 in 4OT’s. The Cornhuskers had multiple opportunities to win this game, Alonzo Verge should have been shooting free throws to win the game, Bryce McGowens missed a free throw to win it, while NC State seemed lucky to be there. It took until the 4th overtime when NC State found their stride and win, while Dereon Seaborn had 39 points and 18 rebounds for the Pack. Between all the overtimes and a benches-clearing brawl, this game had it all. Sure these teams aren’t fantastic but the entertainment was definitely there. 

Utah Valley spoils Mark Pope’s homecoming

BYU played a nice road game at Utah Valley in what was Mark Pope’s first game back since taking the BYU job. This game was a battle, the Cougars scored a season-low 65 points in an overtime game, as Utah Valley won 72-65. Both teams shot 31% from the floor, while both teams missed critical free throws as well, but the Wolverines were able to dominate the extra five minutes. Fardaws Aimaq, who is likely the WAC Player of the year favorite had 24 points and 22 rebounds, while Justin Harmon had 24 points off the bench. BYU should be fine, they had a poor shooting night in a tough environment, but they should still be able to easily make the NCAA Tournament. 

Washington State wins ugly

Whenever you score 51 points for the game, you expect to lose, but Washington State instead won 51-29 in what was an absurdly bad basketball game. The Cougars led 18-10 at the half, which is quite impressive defensively, sure they gave up 19 points in the second half, but at that point, the game was decided. I still don’t know how good Washington State is, this game won’t provide much of a teaching tool for that, but to have an extremely bad shooting night and still win by 22 is a good sign for Washington State. 

Virginia Tech gets critical road win

Coming off a 4th place finish in the NIT Season Tip-Off, a game at Maryland became critical for Virginia Tech and they delivered with a win. They trailed much of the second half, but as Maryland typically does, they forgot how to score the basketball and allowed Virginia Tech to get back in the game and take the lead. Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts both had big games, while Hunter Cattoor had 4 big threes. For Maryland to be good, Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell need to be able to score the ball at a high level, so them scoring a combined 10 points was a recipe for disaster.

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