Missouri Valley: Creighton 73, Wichita State 69 (story)
- If ever there was a year when Wichita fans believed they could end their decade-long curse and win a game at Creighton, this was it. But in the land of big steaks, the Bluejays ran off a big 19-3 streak after finding themselves in a halftime hole. Wichita was playing its fifth game in 11 days; six-eight Rob Kampman had the breakout game that Shocker Nation had been waiting for (24 points, 6-for-7 3ptFG), but it wasn't enough to hold off the Jays. Wichita State (16-3, 9-2 MVC) loses profile points but not its first-place lead, and Creighton peeks above the horizon at 6-5.Jake Blues
once said, "I recommend buying as many blues records as you can find," and I'm telling you now to watch as much Missouri Valley basketball as humanly possible. It remains to be seen whether the NCAA Selection Committee will offer their appreciation to a league where teams enjoy overwhelming homecourt advantages and routinely deal haymaking body-blow runs at each other (one not named "Big East," anyway), but you don't have to wait around for that particular brand of justice. Whomever gets to hang the 2005 MVC regular-season championship flag in their house will know exactly how hard-won it was, and so will the nine teams who will have to look up at it on their visits next year.Shootaround!Big South:
In the battle for second place, Liberty
(8-12, 6-3 BSC) beat High Point
84-81. The Flames were trailing or tied for 38 minutes, but 6'8" surly soph Leo Lightbourne (24 points, 12 rebounds) lifted them down the stretch. They're now a step-and-a-half behind 7-1 Winthrop
; High Point was scheduled to meet the Eagles last Saturday before an ice storm hit the region, and they'll make it up next Tuesday.
Reader Benjamin writes in to note that Winthrop will, in fact, play four games in six days next week: UNC-Asheville
on Monday, at High Point on Tuesday, at Liberty on Thursday and then back home for Birmingham Southern
on Saturday. "Winthrop is actually having to petition to not take their NCAA-mandated day off so they can prepare for every team," he says. "Otherwise, they cannot scout and practice for one of the games." And remember: the Big South is one of those "campus sites" tournaments where the higher seed gets homecourt, so this gauntlet will be mighty make-or-break important. Mid-Eastern: Delaware State
has won five straight and moves into a tie with Coppin State
for first at 7-2; they beat Bethune-Cookman
63-61 in a makeup game from Monday that was postponed to travel problems. Last night's Hornet hero was senior forward Terrance Hunter, who hit a medium-range jumper with two ticks remaining.Game! Of! The! Night!
In the Colonial, where it's not just all about Old Dominion
anymore, two upper-division teams jostle for seeding position. Conference champions in 2000, 2002 and 2003, North Carolina-Wilmington
(13-6, 8-2 CAA) is coming back strong off a rebuilding year in which they shot a paltry 40% overall. George Mason
's Patriots, title-game participants a year ago, have reeled off a four-game streak to get back into the thick of the race; their run was highlighted by a 94-point outburst against a Hofstra
club that generally keeps their opponents in the sixties. In their first meeting at Wilmington, the Seahawks prevailed 74-69. They'll tip it off again at 7:00 Eastern, and you can listen along here
(not for free tonight, unfortunately - it's a "gold" game, you see).
Peoria and Bowling Green are a good day's drive from each other, but Bradley
and Western Kentucky
are old, old friends who haven't played each other in over 50 years. Thanks to the Bracket Buster, two of my favorite proud old programs will get to resume acquaintances
and play an ESPN-mandated home-and-home over the next two years. Recent MVC losses by the Braves kept this one off television, but somewhere Squeaky Melchiorre is smiling.
Jordan Snipes of Division III Guilford College
nailed a 90-foot shot as time expired
off a missed free throw with 0.6 seconds left in overtime, and Guilford prevailed 91-89. And why wait for the 59th minute of "SportsCenter" to see it? Watch it here.
The Big Sky's Montana
is known as a football school that can pack 'em in to watch Grizz gridiron, and basketball's been a tough sell due to a perceived "hangover." Now their head coach is handing out money
in order to increase attendance beyond their current 3,000-fan average. Suggestion: make them shoot half-court shots (or Snipes-like full-courters?) for it, like most schools do!
Since The Official Wife™ is starting a new job this week, we did what any self-respecting college hoops fans would do - researched the company's website to find out where the principals went to school. Turns out most of them went to Bentley College
, which currently has one of the top Division II teams in the land
. And while Boston College
may be getting much more pub as far as big winning streaks go, the Falcons have also won 18 straight, and it looks like their coach is about as interested in polls as I am
. Now she's got something to talk about in the break room during those awkward new-girl silences.
I've had this blog on the 'roll for a while now, but haven't provided proper props. If you're not reading The Chris West Basketball Journal
, you're missing out on a good thing. He's just a regular dude from Wisconsin who loves hoops, and he can parse a sentence with the best of them. He goes to games (perhaps as many as I do?) from D1 to D3 as well as at the local prep level, and he provides thoughtful bulleted lists with rich details of the gameplay and atmosphere. The occasional excuses he gives his journal for not
watching basketball are great too.