Its nice to see college athletics programs limiting games played during finals period.. its the only time of the year there's even a fake veil of caring about academics. Not all teams had the day off though..
Hofstra barely escaped with a 67-64 win over lowly Saint Francis (NY). Hofstra's bounced back from a dismal 0-3 start.. but mainly because they've now played 6 bad teams in a row. Wins over Alsaka Anchorage and 0-11 SFNY don't necessarily point to a big Hofstra turnaround as much as a big drop in quality of opponent. Things pick up again for the Pride as they now go on the road to face Syracuse, Saint Joseph's, and UNCW in the next couple of weeks.
Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and was able to take time off like college basketball did yesterday. There was just six games, none featuring Top 25 teams. Arkansas-Southern Illinois did feature two similarly talented teams that could end up being ranked some point. Despite making just two field goals in the last 8 minutes of regulation and the overtime period, the Razorbacks won 61-53 behind Charles Thomas 16 points off the bench. Arkansas goes on to play Marist today in the semi-finals of the Old Spice Classic, while SIU will play Minnesota in the consolation game.
On the other side of the bracket, West Virginia cruised past Montana while Western Michigan upset Virginia Tech. The Hokies loss is another blow to the ACC. Yet, despite what seems like an overload of upsets in the past few days, the ACC still has the best winning percentage of any conference so far at 84%.
Has there been a more unpredictable start to the season in recent memory? A Preseason NIT final of Butler and Gonzaga...how many people picked that one? Butler, in wins over Indiana and Tennessee, has played stifling defense and got some timely baskets when needed. Their best offense of the three-game run to the final was in their overtime win against Notre Dame, a game in which the Fighting Irish shot 48% from the field themselves. Maybe being able to see that they can beat solid competition with offense and defense can be seen as a positive for the Bulldogs. As for the Bulldogs from Spokane, is Josh Heytvelt something else or what? He missed a lot of games the past two seasons due to injuries, so many people don't know of his actual skill set. Yes, a lot has been mentioned about him (especially early last season), but the average fan probably lost sight of him after he hurt himself in the Maui Invitational final against UConn. Well, he's back and healthy. Brandan Wright was able to do some things for UNC in the semifinal Wednesday night, but the Heels play as well as Tyler Hansbrough does, and Heytvelt did an excellent job of containing the preseason National Player of the Year candidate.