"I Know the Game Like I'm Reffing It"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Yes, the college basketball season started Friday, but the official start was Monday night and the outset of the 29-hour marathon.

Yes, 29 hours.

It may be early, as in the beginning, but all these games count and will have serious bubble and seeding implications.

Yes, seriously.

So, let’s take a look at some of the notable games and their serious implications.

Miami (2-0) 69, Florida (1-1) 67

The Hurricanes, who I projected would be one of the “first four out,” (2014-15 Preseason Bracketology) definitely helped their case with a road win over a Gator team that figures to be a tournament team. Miami can use the win as a confidence builder as well, as they head into the gauntlet that is the ACC.

Winthrop (2-0) 77, Clemson (1-1) 74

We figured Clemson would struggle to even gain sight of the bubble, but a home loss to a Big South team puts the Tigers even further behind the 8-ball.

Gonzaga (2-0) 72, SMU (1-1) 56

The Zags are stacked and expected to be one of the better teams in the country. They got off to a good start with an impressive win over an SMU squad many expect to be in the big dance.

Colorado (2-0) 90, Auburn (1-1) 59

Colorado is one of those teams we don’t know what to expect from, but we think they could and should be pretty good. That prognosis looked on point early this morning when the Buffaloes throttled Bruce Pearle’s Auburn team. Pearle will just try to establish some credibility for his new program this year.

UMass (3-0) 77, Manhattan (0-2) 68

Massachusetts continued its strong start, holding on to beat a pesky Manhattan team in overtime. While still without a marquee win, the Minutemen avoided what would have been looked at as a bad loss.

Baylor (2-0) 69, South Carolina (1-1) 65

I had Baylor on the outside looking in in my tourney projections, but their play today may force me to reevaluate. The Bears looked solid in their road win vs. Frank Martin’s Gamecocks. It looks as if it may be a struggle for Martin to get South Kak back into the dance.

Wichita State (2-0) 71, Memphis (0-1) 56

We knew Wichita State was good and we knew Memphis was not. But the Shockers did what a good team is supposed to do to a not-so-good team: handle them easily. Wichita State, for the moment, solidified their rightful spot as a top 15 squad.

San Diego State (2-0) 53, Utah (1-1) 49

Two preseason top 25 teams met in this one. The Aztecs won an ugly game at home, but that’s what they do. Utah actually impressed in the loss, by keeping it close on the road against a good team and doing so with their best player, Delon Wright, shooting 2-13 from the field and scoring 7 points. Expect both of these teams to stay right in the thick of things.

VCU (2-0) 87, Toledo (1-1) 78

This may have seemed like a nothing game for VCU, but it was another solid win for the Rams. Toledo is a good team, expected to win the MAC, and they gave VCU all they could handle for about 36 minutes. VCU looks like a legit top 15 team.

Northeastern (2-0) 76, Florida State (1-1) 73

Just when I was about to put FSU in the upper-echelon of the ACC, they go and lose at home to a CAA team. Or maybe that CAA team just beat them. Northeastern is a favorite in their league and it may have helped the Seminoles’ preparation if their coach had actually heard of the CAA, which he claimed he hadn’t after the game. This game serves as a caution light for Florida State.

Duke (3-0) 81, Michigan State (1-1) 71

Duke looks really good, better than that 3 seed I predicted for them. The Spartans actually looked better in the loss than they did in their season opening win versus Navy. MSU looked solid and gritty and will only improve as the season progresses, barring injury, of course.

Saint Louis (2-0) 69, Indiana State (1-1) 56

This game could have been easily overlooked, but the retooled Bilikens were actually underdogs at the MVC’s Indiana State. Saint Louis showed that they may be better than the bottom tier Atlantic 10 team many projected them to be.

Kentucky (3-0) 72, Kansas (1-1) 40

Um, yes, you read that score correctly, and yes, Kentucky is good. But let’s remember, this is the same team that trailed Buffalo at the half on Sunday, so the undefeated talk seems a bit hyperbolic to me. I will say, Big Blue Nation does seem to be a lock for a 1 seed. Bill Self and Kansas shouldn’t cry too much over this one. They’re very young, will improve greatly and be formidable in the next few weeks.

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