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Stanford picks up a huge non-conference road win over No. 10 UConn

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Shabazz could only bail them out so many times.

No. 10 UConn had picked up their four biggest wins by a total of five points, relying on the heroics of their star guard to carry them to the wins. But it wasn’t enough on Wednesday night. With Stanford erasing a double-digit second half deficit and taking a 53-51 in the final minute, Napier missed a challenged, pull-up jumper. After Stanford missed the front end of a one-and-one, Napier gave the ball up to Omar Calhoun who missed a deep three at the buzzer.

And with that, the Huskies had their first loss of the year.

We tried to warn you. This UConn team, as much fun as they are to watch and as good as Napier has been this season, is just not a top ten basketball team. There isn’t enough support for Napier on this roster. UConn entered the night shooting 46.5% from three. They were 0-for-13 in the second half. Napier missed five threes from beyond the arc in the final ten minutes. UConn finished with 13 points in the half, making just five field goals.

The story of this game isn’t UConn, however.

It’s Stanford.

Johnny Dawkins has talent. The Cardinal, through the first month and a half of the season, have been a disappointment. This is a group that was considered a sleeper in the Pac-12 entering the season, but for a myriad of reasons — injuries, weird lineups, inconsistent play from stars — Stanford was unable to live up to those expectations.

They lost at home to BYU in a game where the Cougars shredded their defense. They got worked over by Pitt at the Barclays Center. Their best win heading into Wednesday? Northwestern? Houston?

That’s what’s so important about this win. UConn may not be a top ten, but they’re a tournament team. And Stanford now owns a win on their home court.

It gets better. The Cardinal take on the struggling Michigan Wolverines at the Barclays Center. Win that game, and Stanford will not only head into Pac-12 peaking, but they’ll have a non-conference resume strong enough to give them some leeway when it comes to an at-large bid.

That’s big news for Dawkins as well.

It’s not a secret that his seat has been heating up in recent seasons. Despite the talent on the Stanford roster, they’ve been disappointing during his tenure. A step closer to a tournament appearance is a step closer to job security.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.