In The Paint

SI.com's All-American Hoops Blog

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Golden Gopher Lawrence Westbrook, AP

Bowl Games? Bowl Games? Who's talking about bowl games when this -- this full slate of top hoops teams playing back-to-back with a sprinkling of blowouts, upsets and close thrillers --  has reminded us (and Seth Davis) why college basketball is heaven on earth.

For those of you who have been poring over your bowl pools, here's what you've been missing out on in life:

  • Spartaaaans! After getting annihilated by UNC (like every other Tar Heel victim) at the start of the month, No. 22 Michigan State stormed back. It dominated its next three opponents and, this afternoon, MSU took it to No. 5 Texas. A.I.'s mini-me, A.J. Abrams, had no chance, nor did his frontcourt, who was out-rebounded 37-32.  But it was Durrell Summers' three with 18.6 seconds left that sealed the win, 67-63. Summers finished with 14, while 6-foot-10 center Goran Suton dropped 18. Wait, one more time: SPAHHHTAAAN!
  • Ready for upset No. 2? Louisville goes down. On the road for just the second time this season, undefeated and unranked Minnesota downed No. 9 U-of-L 70-64. Let's just say this wasn't how Rick Pitino envisioned his reunion with Tubby Smith. The Cardinals only shot 37 percent from the field -- 23.5 percent from three-point range -- while the Golden Gophers had no trouble being, well, golden. See Al Nolen's 18 points.
  • No David Lighty? No problem. Ohio State still managed to pick up its 13th straight win without its captain (foot injury), defeating Iona 71-53. The key to the Buckeyes' success: a good ‘ol ripping from coach Thad Matta at halftime (some rant about how their "security blanket isn't there"). So, Evan Turner added a little security with 21 points, while William Buford did this.
  • Valparaiso keeps it close with North Carolina for the first few minutes, then gets blown out. Same old story. Yawn.
  • Yikes! Georgetown, don't make a win stressful or anything. The Hoyas couldn't get much of anything to fall, and their big men were of little help. Mount St. Mary's refused to go away, closing the gap to six with 4:44 remaining. Luckily, G-Town's Chris Wright saved the day with 19 points, seven of which were during a key second-half spurt. Said coach John Thompson III after the game: "I'm not sure I'm pleased with anyone."
  • Well, it was nice while it lasted. Xavier's win streak was halted after nine games. Duke destroyed its fellow top-10 team 82-64. Jon Scheyer hit five threes en route to matching his season-high with 23 points. The positive for Xavier: no technicals.
  • Not shockingly, it was raining in Seattle. Unfortunately for Gonzaga, it was UConn, which was raining threes. The Huskies, namely A.J Price and Jerome Dyson, handed the ‘Zags their second loss (88-83) in the past three games. The duo rallied UConn from an 11-point deficit with 12 minutes to go before Price, who had a season-high 24, drained a three to send the game into overtime. Then, Dyson took over, scoring five of his 21 in the extra period. 
  • It was still Christmas for Temple, but it wasn't as merry. Star guard Dionte Christmas hit six threes and recorded a game-high 21, but he couldn't do enough to help Temple get past Kansas. The Jayhawks, who were knocked off by UMass last Saturday, shot 53 percent from the field and embarked on a key second-half run to take a 71-59 win.
  • Georgia, you lucky Dawgs. They came within a point of handing the SEC yet another loss. And to whom? Wofford. Zac Swansey hit a buzzer-beating three to spare his team and conference. Georgia won 74-73.

 

 

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