Tracy Smith, a native of Durham, celebrated his 22nd birthday with one of the best games of his career in leading NC State to an 88-74 win over #7 Duke. Smith made ten of his twelve field goal attempts in scoring 23 points and as a team the Wolfpack shot a blistering 58.2% from the field. "Our defense was the worst it's been all year," lamented Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski following the game. "Obviously, our big guys weren't on like they were the last two games. Why does that happen? I don't know. But it's not just them.
There wasn't much suspense in the game between Kentucky and Drexel at Rupp Arena but the end result was important nonetheless. The Wildcats took care of the Dragons 88-44, picking up the program's 2,000th victory as a result. DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson scored eighteen points apiece in the pasting which also moved the third-ranked team in America to 12-0 on the season.
With Christmas Day rapidly approaching the nation gets its first look at UTEP forward Derrick Caracter. Of course he's already played in three games for the Miners (two double-doubles) but there will be questions regarding the Louisville transfer's level of commitment. But head coach Tony Barbee has given Caracter a ringing endorsement and if on his game he could give Oklahoma all they want and then some in Oklahoma City at the All-College Classic.
When John Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky, Big Blue Nation went crazy. They had a coach who would bring top recruits with him, freshmen who would make an impact on a team immediately. This hadn’t been seen since the Fab Four at Michigan, 20 years before. The entire landscape of the SEC changed, as Kentucky appeared to be the overwhelming favorite for the first time in what has seemed like forever. Two teams overlooked in the whole Calipari situation face off Wednesday night. UTEP, under Cal apprentice Tony Barbee, boast a 5-1 record.
After two days of lean schedules and fodder for major-conference teams we've finally got some games on the schedule that can hold one's interest for more than a half. A game that will likely have long-lasting effects is UTEP taking on Ole Miss at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Miss. The Miners will have Louisville transfer Derrick Caracter for his second game and you've got to wonder how this will pay off for head coach Tony Barbee when it comes to team chemistry.