Kevin O'Neill, Jio Fontan

Pregame Shootaround 12.3.12: A quiet Monday night

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Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will be posted at 2 p.m. ET and lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Game of the Night: USC at Nebraska, 8:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network): This is how you know it’s a quiet night: the best game of the night pits a 3-3 USC team against Nebraska, who you can probably pencil in as a double-digit seed in the Big Ten tournament. The intrigue here lies with USC. The Trojans were a team that a lot of people thought could make some noise in the Pac-12 this season, but with a month of the season gone, they have wins over a Long Beach State team that is missing three players, a Texas team without Myck Kabongo, and Coppin State. Throw in a home loss to San Diego State in a game the Aztecs were essentially missing two starters and a 30 point loss to Illinois out in Maui, and the Trojans could really use a win on the road tonight.

Who’s getting upset?: No. 23 San Diego State: I have to pick someone, and I don’t think that Syracuse is losing at home to Eastern Michigan, so the Aztecs it is. Chase Tapley and Deshawn Stephens are banged up and Texas Southern is fresh off of taking Colorado to double-overtime last week. Keep an eye on Omar Strong. He had 39 points in that loss to Colorado.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Night: Long Beach State at Fresno State: Eight days ago, Peter Pappageorge scored 23 points to give the 49ers a win over the Bulldogs, and while it will be interesting to see if Fresno State can put together a rebuttal, this matchup is nothing but a tease. Braeden Anderson, the former Kansas-signee, still isn’t eligibile for Fresno State, while LBSU is waiting on Keala King and Tony Freeland to get eligible.

Five things to watch for:

1. Syracuse hosts Eastern Michigan, who is coached by former Cuse assistant Rob Murphy and counts former Syracuse player Da’Shonte Riley as their leading rebounder.

2. That Syracuse-EMU game also happens to be the only one of the night that features two teams above .500.

3. MEAC plays gets started! Defending champ Norfolk State heads to South Carolina State.

4. There are five teams — Tennessee Tech, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville, VMI and McNeese State — playing non-Division I opponents. Will we see any upsets?

5. Long Beach State and Fresno State have now played twice in eight days after going 20 years without playing each other.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

VIDEO: New Mexico loses game on blown call by officials

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Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.

New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.

Here’s the situation: New Mexico is up by three with 12 seconds left and the ball under their own basket. Their allowed to run the baseline, so Craig Neal calls a play where the inbounder throws the ball to a player running out of bounds.

Totally league as long as the player establishes out of bounds before touching the ball. The referee rules that he doesn’t.

Here’s the video:

The problem?

According to the rules, Xavier Adams — the player receiving the pass from Cullen Neal — only needed one foot on the floor out of bounds in order to establish himself as an inbounder that was able to catch that ball. He got one foot down (see the picture above), but the referees appeared to rule that he needed to have both feet down.

That was incorrect, according to the Mountain West office.

“While this was a very close judgment call made at full speed, it has been determined after careful review of slow-motion video replays the call was in fact incorrect,” the league said in a release. “The New Mexico player did get one foot down (two feet are not required) out-of-bounds before receiving the ball, thus establishing his location in accordance NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 4.23.1.a and 7.1.1.  By rule, the officials were not permitted to go to the monitor during the game to review this play.”

And here’s the kicker: When SDSU got the ball back, they hit a three to send the game into overtime, where the Aztecs won. But if New Mexico had won this game, they’d be sitting at 8-2 in MWC play, one game behind SDSU in the loss column with a return game against them in The Pit.

Instead, they’re now three games back with seven to play, meaning that the race is effectively over.

It’s tough to blame the referees here — it was a bang-bang call that is only clear in slow-motion replay — but man, that’s a big call to miss.