Not many games were played on Friday, but a few good ones did take place. #107 Oregon State (4-2, 0-0) hung with #29 Kansas (6-1, 0-0) for as long as they could, but the Jayhawks were shooting the lights out and the Beavers never cut the deficit below 3 points in the second half. A strong shooting night from Ahmad Starks was cancelled out by Roberto Nelson’s poor one, and the Beavers lost for only the second time this season. Kansas has good size with Jeff Withey inside, and a quick and efficient guard in Travis Releford. If they can continue to shoot like this, the faithful in Lawrence will be treated to some great ball all year long. The Beavers showed some promise in this game, and with losses to only KU and #37 Alabama (6-0, 0-0), they are poised to contend in a strong Pac-12 conference.
Earlier in the night, #72 Georgetown and #128 Tennessee battled in one of the uglier games of the year. The Hoyas (5-1, 0-0) prevailed in this sloppy game, in which neither team scored in the last 4 minutes. Neither team had a player score in double digits, and the Volunteers (4-2, 0-0) could not put the rock through the rim from anywhere – they shot 32% from the field, including 18% from downtown, and they were an awful 3-11 (27%) from the stripe. Georgetown didn’t shoot much better, but in the end, they came out on top. This game was evidence that both teams have some things to work on before conference play starts up.
Other games of note: #6 Syracuse sped past #127 Arkansas and #73 South Florida added to #231 Georgia’s awful start to the season.
What to watch on Saturday:
#68 Baylor @ #61 Kentucky
#31 Illinois State @ #21 Louisville
#30 Oklahoma State @ #13 Virginia Tech
#37 Alabama @ #4 Cincinnati
#60 St. Joseph’s (PA) @ #27 Creighton
#14 Michigan @ #44 Bradley
#25 Arizona @ #48 Texas Tech
#26 Colorado @ #9 Wyoming
#69 UCLA @ #52 San Diego State
Now, to the Tournament Projections and Top 50. Keep in mind, this is still the very early season, and many good teams are ranked lowly because of their scheduling multiple cupcakes in their opening games. Also, any early speedbumps will likely send a team plummeting at this point in the season, so keep checking back to see how your squad is doing. Something tells me the tournament will not be without North Carolina, Kentucky, Baylor, UCLA, Georgetown, etc. But if these teams don’t start playing better, well… we’ll just have to see. (Note: In the Tourney Projections, the Automatic Qualifiers are based on DPI, not conference record.)