1. IN A BATTLE OF BUBBLE TEAMS, LOUISVILLE DROPS ONE AT HOME TO SYRACUSE
Tyus Battle popped off for 25 points while Frank Howard chipped in with 22 as Syracuse went into the Yum! Center and knocked off Louisville, 78-73, despite the fact that they have just six scholarship players currently available.
This was an enormous win for the Orange. I can’t stress that enough. Enormous. Syracuse, entering Monday night, had yet to notch a Quadrant 1 win. Beating Louisville, who is 42nd in the RPI, on the road? That’s a Quadrant 1 win. It’s not exactly a marquis win, but Quadrant 1 is Quadrant 1.
The other part of this that is important for Syracuse? This is the first road win for the Orange that didn’t come against Georgetown or Pitt. Put another way, winning this game put Syracuse on the road in two categories that are valued by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
Louisville, on the other end, is trending in the wrong direction. They have just one Quadrant 1 win and two Quadrant 2 wins. They’ve also lost three in a row and four of their last five, including back-to-back games at home against Quadrant 2 opponents. Most brackets currently have Louisville in and Syracuse out, and I’d love to hear the logic for why Louisville is currently a tournament team over Syracuse.
2. WEST VIRGINIA SWEPT OKLAHOMA
Trae Young scored 32 points but finished with just a single assists as the Sooners lost to West Virginia for the second time this season. The win keeps the Mountaineers within a game of first place in the Big 12, while Oklahoma falls two games off the pace. It’s the first time that the Sooners have lost at home this season, and another worrying sign that Young carrying the water for this team offensively might just be a little too much for him to handle on his own.
But credit where it is due: West Virginia took away everyone not named Young, and did their best to allow college basketball’s best perimeter defender — Jevon Carter — go one-on-one against the youngster. It worked out. Young finished with just a single assist, although if we are going to be fair to the kid, he could have had five or six more if some shots had gone down.
3. HMM …
On a slow night, this is tough.
I’m going to go with Patriot League leaders Bucknell losing in overtime to Lehigh over Indiana beating Rutgers by 22 points.