The "Braggin' Rights" game between Illinois and Missouri is alway an intense affair, with the fans in the stands split by the halfcourt line and both teams understanding what's at stake before they even hit the floor. This season's game was no different, although for a good portion of the first half it seemed as if the undefeated Tigers were on their way to a romp. Bruce Weber's team refused to fold, and once Missouri got out of control Illinois was able to mount their rally.
The first meeting between Memphis and Louisville since the 2005 Conference USA title game certainly did not disappoint from a drama standpoint, with both teams landing major blows throughout the contest. But despite a combined 74 first-half points the play was ragged for much of the contest, with the Cardinals taking a 42-32 lead into the break thanks to the Tigers shooting 29% from the field and turning the ball over ten times. But led by Will Barton (28 points, 16 rebounds) Josh Pastner's team refused to fold, fighting back to take a 57-55 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
The end of finals week for many schools means a step up in competition on Saturday, and one contest that will garner attention is the second game of the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Florida. #22 Texas A&M (8-1), which has a strength of schedule that ranks 341st in the country, takes on #13 Florida (7-2) in what should be an interesting matchup. Do the Aggies have the horses on the perimeter to hang with the Gator guards?
Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State
Thursday's schedule is highlighted by three in-season tournaments, with action in Charleston, New York City and San Juan. The 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer semifinals will be played at Madison Square Garden with Texas A&M playing Mississippi State in the opener and St. John's and Arizona doing battle in the nightcap. The second game jumps out not only because of the fact that it will be a home game for the Red Storm but also due to the roles that newcomers play on both teams.
Here's how the Big 12 teams stack up over the last five years according to conference wins. There are substantial gaps (at least 6 wins) between tiers. With the change in conference membership, and certain programs in flux, the next 5 years of Big 12 basketball could be much more fluid.
While much of the college sports world was captivated by the goings on in State College, PA, four college basketball games were being played. And one of the four teams expected to win fell at the hands of the defending MAC Tournament champs, but in hindsight it wasn't much of an "upset". Behind 19 points from Quincy Diggs the Zips beat Mississippi State 68-58 at The Hump. Simply put, Keith Dambrot's team outworked and outplayed the Bulldogs, who weren't as effective as they were on Monday night and it cost them.