Indiana 95 UNC-Wilmington 71 - Ah, the pageantry of the Chicago Invitational. Eric Gordon and company came out blazing to a 20 point halftime lead. Another ho-hum 30 point game for Gordon on 8-12 from the field and 12-13 from the line. His backcourt mate, Armon Bassett was on fire, hitting 4-5 from deep for 19 points. Their top backup, Freshman Jordan Crawford, netted 15. I'm telling you people, this team will win the Big Ten and be a serious Final Four threat.
Marquette 91 Oklahoma State 61 - Marquette coach Tom Crean must have read yesterday's blog when I said I didn't buy his team. They blew out the Cowboys thanks to their three-headed backcourt monster of Jerrel McNeal (20), Dominic James (18), and Wesley Matthews (13). All three showed up together for the first time this year, each scoring in double figures. Now you see what they are capable of. With super-sub David Cubillan (10) behind them, the Golden Eagle backcourt is a matchup nightmare. Sean Sutton's young Cowboys have a long way to go. They shot just 39%.
Tennessee 109 Middle Tennessee State 40 - Boy has Bruce Pearl layed the frosting thick on his cupcakes. I guess this was an upgrade from the powerhouse Arkansas-Monticello. The score at halftime was 61-21. And I thought that was bad. The Vols poured it on in the second half. Jajuan Smith buried seven threes and 32 points. Chris Lofton looked much better, hitting 6-9 shots for 17 points. The Vols shot a ridiculous 65% from the field and nailed 16-28 from deep.
North Carolina 110 South Carolina State 62 - I wasn't kidding when I said the top teams were playing garbage opponents last night. Roy's boys did already play a tough Davidson squad, so they deserve a pass for this one. You think anyone on SCSU could guard Tyler Hansbrough in the post? He led all scorers with 26. Wayne Ellington added 19.
Florida 102 North Florida 51 - Where did North Florida University come from anyway? Has anyone ever heard of this school before last year when they became a D-1 Basketball school? Well thanks for coming to Gainesville to get your ass kicked, enjoy the $50k for your program. Marreese Speights had 20 and 13, leading six Gators in double figures. They also buried 13-25 threes.
Memphis 84 Arkansas State 63 - Coming off their Coaches vs. Cancer title in New York, the Tigers well deserved this laugher. So Derrick Rose only had four and Joey Dorsey had six. Its called depth, and the Tigers have loads of it. Guards Willie Kemp and Doneal Mack picked up the slack with 22 and 19 respectively and combined for 10 triples.
Duke 79 Illinois 66 - Gerald Henderson put on a clinic including a sick, posterizng dunk to lead the Blue Devils to the Maui Invitational finals where they will meet Marquette. Henderson scored 23 and Senior Demarcus Nelson scored 16 in a game that was never close. Not only did Illinois coach Bruce Weber get worked over by Coach K, but the kick in the balls was seeing Jon Scheyer playing a heady 32 minutes against him. Scheyer is from Chicago and played high school ball for Weber's brother at Glenbrook North, yet Weber still couldn't sign him.
UCLA 68 Michigan State 63 -The game of the night. Michigan State jumped out early by swarming UCLA's Kevin Love in the post and leading by 11 at the half. But the banged-up Bruins, playing again without starting PG Darren Collison and three point specialist Michael Roll came roaring back with an essentially six man rotation. Love led the way, getting to the line and cleaning up the glass, he finished with yet another double-double 21 and 11. The Bruins trailed the entire way before PG Russell Westbrook picked Travis Walton's pocket and threw down to tie the game with four minutes left. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hit a three with 28 seconds left to give the Bruins their first lead of the game. They held on thanks to their trademark D. Give MSU the nod though, they were tough all night.
St. Mary's 99 Oregon 87 - This is no upset folks. St. Mary's returned everyone from last year's team and was picked by the coaches to win the West Coast Conference. Yes, over Gonzaga. But out of nowhere, Freshman Guard Patty Mills, who plays for the Australian national team, went nuts for 37 points as the Gaels knocked off the Ducks and ruined the return of Oregon coach Ernie Kent to his alma mater. Oregon was short-handed without starting SG Bryce Taylor forcing Malik Hairston, Tajuan Porter, and Maarty Leunen to play 39 minutes each.