College Basketball is back. For the first time in about a week, there were notable College Basketball games on and that also means that there is the return of the daily roundup to recap all of the action. We had three Top-25 matchups, which will get the bulk of the attention while there were some other upsets and harmful resumé losses from other teams as well.
Auburn starts hot and ends LSU’s perfect record
Whenever a team takes an 18-1 lead, the team that takes that lead almost always wins, as was the case in this game as Auburn started with an 18-1 lead. Meanwhile, Walker Kessler finished with a triple-double, with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 blocks, anchoring this Tigers victory. While LSU certainly didn’t go away easily, this game never felt in doubt as Auburn controlled the game from the opening top. While Auburn didn’t have a great game offensively, the defense won them this game. They forced 17 turnovers, blocked 14 shots, and held LSU to 28.6% shooting. This Auburn team is starting to look scary good, the defense being able to force turnovers is key, while Walker Kessler seems to be blocking any shot that is inside five feet. Add to that a potential #1 pick in Jabari Smith who is a pure bucket-getter and this Auburn team looks like they should be the favorite in the SEC.
Alabama wins ugly against short-handed Tennessee
Coming into this game Tennessee was going to be without John Fulkerson and Kennedy Chandler, so there was every indication that Tennessee could have folded and lost soundly, but they did not. The Volunteers stood with Alabama all the way to the wire and even held a three-point lead entering the final stretch, that’s when Jaden Shackelford hit a three and a tough runner, while Keon Ellis hit the three to lift Alabama to a 73-68 win. This was a really good effort by Tennessee and while they didn’t come away with a win, this is something they can build on as they go forward in SEC play. As for Alabama, for them to shoot 22% from three and still win is impressive, they definitely showed more effort on the defensive end and made the stops when needed. Noah Gurley also seems like a player that should start going forward for the Tide because of his experience and toughness.
Providence adds another quality win by beating Seton Hall
One of the bigger surprises of the early season has been the Providence Friars, who have been playing really well and even have picked up 4 quadrant one wins on the season. Adding a fifth against a really good Seton Hall team is just icing on top of the cake. While I get that the Pirates were down Ike Obiagu and Tyrese Samuel while coming off a Covid break, the Friars still impressed by picking up this win. Noah Horchler continues to be one of the best glue guys in the sport, grabbing 13 rebounds, while he led the Friars in scoring with 17. Nate Watson continues to dominate inside, while the Jared Bynum, AJ Reeves, Al Durham guard tandem is very solid. Providence has not only put itself in a prime position to get an at-large bid but now will be looking to help extend its stay in the NCAA Tournament by getting a high seed.
Short-handed Memphis drops game to Tulane
Yes, I get that Memphis was without Emoni Bates, DeAndre Williams, and Jalen Duren due to Covid issues, that shouldn’t matter. The Memphis Tigers have more than enough talent to go on the road and beat what was a 3-6 Tulane team. This is a loss that is going to kill any chance Memphis has at getting into the NCAA Tournament, no matter what the circumstances around the game are. First off this will appear as a quadrant 3 game, which makes it 2 quadrant three losses for the Tigers thus far. Second, this will drop their overall ranking in every single metric. It would be one thing if the Tigers had quality games remaining on the schedule as well, but Memphis does not. Minus a dramatic turnaround, this team is looking like it will be needing to win the AAC Tournament title or miss the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville rallies for a key win against Wake Forest
If there ever felt like a must-win game in December, this was it for a Louisville team that needed to not only get a quality win but avoid falling to 7-5 on the season as well. This game was as close as it comes, neither team put much separation from each other, which meant it came down to which team made the big plays to determine the winner and that ended up being Louisville and Noah Locke, as Locke drilled the go-ahead three to give Louisville the 69-67 lead with a minute to go. After a stop and some made free throws, the Cardinals held on for a 73-69 win against Wake Forest. Louisville still is probably on the wrong side of the bubble, but if they are able to get on a little bit of a roll, over the next couple of games, this could be a result that gets looked back as the turning point in the season.
Utah State takes bad loss to Air Force
Air Force came into this game ranked 265th in the NET, making this a quadrant four matchup for Utah State. These are about as must-win as you can get and Utah State failed to capture the victory, falling 49-47 at Air Force. This Aggies team had collected solid wins against Oklahoma and Richmond, while only having a bad loss to UC Davis, meaning they had a solid resumé coming into this game, but of course, that will change. As of today, Utah State will be out of my projected Bracketology and I don’t really expect them to return this season.