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NEW YORK — It was the fourth time it’s happened in the first five weeks of the season, the third time it’s happened against an unranked team and the second time that Madison Square Garden played host to the carnage.
The No. 1 team in the country lost.
On Tuesday night, in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic, No. 1 Louisville lost to the unranked Texas Tech, 70-57. That’s the same Texas Tech that arrived in New York City on a three-game losing streak — against Iowa, Creighton and DePaul — and who was forced to play with leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey, who missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury.
Davide Moretti led the way for the reigning national runners-up, finishing with 18 points, while freshman Terrence Shannon chipped in with 13 of his own and Chris Clarke added seven points, 12 boards and six assists.
As we have become accustomed to under head coach Chris Beard, Texas Tech won with their defense. They held Louisville to 34 percent shooting for the game. The Cardinals were 3-for-17 from three. They turned the ball over 19 times and made 18 field goals. It was, to be frank, as bad as it sounds.
Texas Tech does this to teams. They take you out of what you want to do offensively. The Red Raider coaching staff scouts as well as any staff in the country — in the first half, with their defense right in front of them, they were calling out Louisville’s sets as Louisville was calling their plays. — and this put Louisville in an impossible spot. They couldn’t get good shots out of their offense because Texas Tech wouldn’t let them, but with a point guard situation that is can be flatteringly called a work in progress, they didn’t have anyone that could create offense.
Texas Tech forces you to make plays.
Louisville doesn’t have anyone that can do that.
And it showed.
Penn State used five double-figure scorers and played consistently hard on both ends of the floor as the Nittany Lions stunned previously-unbeaten No. 4 Maryland with a 76-69 Big Ten win on Tuesday night.
Losing by 30 on the road to Ohio State in their last conference game, Penn State displayed impressive intensity on the defensive end, limited turnovers on the offensive end and received plenty of help for star senior Lamar Stevens when he wasn’t having his best game. For the second straight season, Penn State upset a ranked Maryland team on its home floor as the Nittany Lions proved they’ll be a tough out at home all season.
Penn State (8-2, 1-1) received double-doubles from both Stevens (15 points, 10 rebounds) and big man Mike Watkins (15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) as the duo did a ton of damage on the interior. The Nittany Lions also had double-digit scoring efforts from Myreon Jones (14 points), Izaiah Brockington (14 points) and Myles Dread (10 points). With 19 assists and only eight turnovers, Penn State’s offense did an outstanding job of running clean sets and getting good looks from multiple players.
This is a quality win for the Nittany Lions early in the Big Ten portion of the schedule. It gives an unproven team a major boost of confidence — particularly beating a top-five team on a night where Stevens was only 5-for-13 from the floor. The Ohio State road loss shows Penn State still has a long way to go to be considered any kind of major threat. But Pat Chambers’ team is at least balanced and feisty enough to be a really tough out at home this season. A few more wins like this could put Penn State in the NCAA tournament picture with the kind of schedule they’ll play in the Big Ten this season.
But the major story here is the loss for Maryland. Because the Terps have some concerning trends they need to address.
Early in the season, Maryland (10-1, 1-1) has made a habit of falling behind early. It happened multiple times in an early-season tournament. And it’s now happened in back-to-back Big Ten games against Illinois and Penn State. While Maryland has been able to overcome slow starts all season with talent and comeback wins, a bad start came back to really bite them on Tuesday.
Trailing by 10 at halftime, Maryland tried to make second-half runs to stay with Penn State. Ultimately, the Terps were derailed by inconsistent offense, sloppy and careless turnovers (Penn State had 17 points off turnovers in the first half) and an inconsistent effort on the inside.
Maryland’s offense had 20 turnovers to only nine assists for the game as the Terps never seemed to figure out the proper way to run its offense. Alternating between senior Anthony Cowan Jr. (16 points) and sophomore Eric Ayala (15 points) initiating offense, both guards had too many bad passes and unforced errors for a team with Big Ten title aspirations.
It’s very clear that Maryland has the talent to compete with nearly any team in the country. Even on an off night, the Terps made this a one-possession game against a balanced Big Ten team with some veteran players. But Maryland can’t have these kinds of unforced errors if they see themselves making a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
That mainly falls on Cowan. A few of his turnovers were stunningly bad for a senior floor leader. Getting stripped 35 feet from the hoop and throwing lazy passes for interceptions and easy layups can’t happen for Cowan. There’s just too much talent on offense for Maryland to be giving away points in close games.
The good news for Maryland is that there is plenty of time to correct some of these mistakes. Cowan can limit the mistakes. The offense will likely play better and more together. But Maryland’s slow starts are a trend to keep an eye on as it has been a factor for them in multiple games this season.
At the quarter-turn of our race to Selection Sunday, the Louisville Cardinals lead Ohio State by a nose for the No. 1 overall seed. Close behind are Michigan, Kansas, Gonzaga and Maryland. The Buckeyes and Wolverines are the surprise entries among that group, although both have earned their positions with impressive performances out of the gate.
While the first turn provides a quick glance at the Field, we still have three-quarters of the race to run – including a daunting backstretch and the turn for home known as conference play. Those grueling furlongs tend to separate the pretenders and contenders.
Early brackets are notoriously fluid; margins between teams are thin. Early projections also tend to produce some quirkiness – especially related to conference balance. Keep those things in mind. By next month we could see a lot of changes.
UPDATED: December 10, 2019
|FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
|EAST REGION||Iowa State vs. Arizona State|
|SOUTH REGION||Georgetown vs. Oregon State|
|MIDWEST REGION||SACRED HEART vs. PRAIRIE VIEW AM|
|WEST REGION||MONTANA vs. NC A&T|
|MIDWEST – Indianapolis||EAST – New York|
|1) LOUISVILLE||1) OHIO STATE|
|16) NC-AT / SACRED HEART||16) RADFORD|
|8) West Virginia||8) VCU|
|9) Penn State||9) Texas|
|5) Arizona||5) SAN DIEGO STATE|
|12) WESTERN KENTUCKY||12) UNC-GREENSBORO|
|4) Kentucky||4) Washington|
|13) LIBERTY||13) YALE|
|6) MEMPHIS||6) Villanova|
|11) Saint Mary’s||11) Iowa St / Arizona St|
|3) DAYTON||3) TENNESSEE|
|14) WRIGHT STATE||14) VERMONT|
|7) Florida||7) Seton Hall|
|10) DePaul||10) Indiana|
|2) Maryland||2) Duke|
|15) HOFSTRA||15) COLGATE|
|WEST – Los Angeles||SOUTH – Houston|
|1) KANSAS||1) Michigan|
|16) MONTANA / PV-AM||16) SOUTH DAKOTA ST|
|8) Stanford||8) LSU|
|9) Marquette||9) Colorado|
|5) Michigan State||5) North Carolina|
|12) BOWLING GREEN||12) NORTHERN IOWA|
|4) Virginia||4) Baylor|
|13) BELMONT||13) S.F. AUSTIN|
|6) Purdue||6) Auburn|
|11) Oklahoma||11) Georgetown / Oregon St|
|3) BUTLER||3) Florida State|
|14) RIDER||14) GEORGIA STATE|
|7) Utah State||7) Xavier|
|10) Creighton||10) Connecticut|
|2) GONZAGA||2) OREGON|
|15) UC-SANTA BARBARA||15) NEW MEXICO STATE|
|Last 4 Byes||Last 4 IN||First 4 OUT||Next 4 OUT|
|Connecticut||Arizona State||Wichita State||Virginia Tech|
|Saint Mary’s||Oregon State||NC State||Houston|
|Oklahoma||Iowa State||Richmond||Oklahoma State|
Top Seed Line
Louisville, Ohio State, Michigan, Kansas
Breakdown by Conference …
Big East (8)
Big Ten (7)
Pac 12 (7)
BIG 12 (6)
West Coast (2)
Atlantic 10 (2)
Mountain West (2)
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State says sophomore forward Jericole Hellems has been released from a hospital and is in “good spirits” after an injury in Saturday’s win at Wake Forest.
The team announced the news Sunday on Twitter. Hellems had fallen on a rebound attempt and banged the back of his head on the court with 28 seconds left. He was alert but had to be carried from the court on a stretcher. Then he was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons to rule out a possible lower back injury as well as to be evaluated for a possible concussion.
The team says Hellems will meet with NC State doctors in the coming days, while coach Kevin Keatts will address his status later in the week.
NC State travels to UNC Greensboro next Sunday.
Louisville and Kansas finally provided some consistency to what has been a volatile Top 25 poll this season, while perennial bluebloods Michigan State and North Carolina continued to tumble after another wave of defeats.
The Cardinals solidified thier place at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 released Monday by routing then-No. 4 Michigan in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and breezing past Pittsburgh over the past week. The Jayhawks stayed at No. 2 after returning from their Maui Invitaitonal title to thump former Big 12 member Colorado.
“I think it’s two games in a row, where we got stops,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “We didn’t allow second shots. We ran the clock on offense. We got great looks. We got layups, and that’s a killer.”
Ohio State jumped from sixth to third following its 74-49 rout of then-No. 7 North Carolina and a Big Ten blowout of Penn State. Maryland dropped one spot to fourth despite continuing to pile up wins, while Michigan slid one spot to round out the top five after Juwan Howard’s bunch ran into the Louisville buzzsaw for their first loss of the season.
The Spartans continued their fall from preseason No. 1 after losing to Duke, this time dropping from 11th to No. 16. The Tar Heels tumbled 10 spots to No. 17 after getting crushed by Ohio State and losing to No. 9 Virginia.
San Diego State joined the rankings at No. 25.
1. Louisville (55)
2. Kansas (4)
3. Ohio St. (5)
16. Michigan St.
17. North Carolina
21. Florida St.
22. Seton Hall
25. San Diego St.
Others receiving votes: Utah St. 160, Washington 144, Purdue 130, Indiana 13, Marquette 11, Liberty 9, Saint Mary’s (Cal) 8, Texas 6, Florida 5, Penn St. 5, Georgetown 4, West Virginia 3, Richmond 3, LSU 2, Duquesne 1, DePaul 1, VCU 1.