|Nobody scowls at refs better than Mick Cronin. He was right, too. It wasn't a foul.|
The announcers kept insisting that Cincinnati needed this game more since they hadn't yet beaten anybody any good, but I don't know if that was true. Cincinnati gets VCU at home on Saturday and they still have NC State, SMU (at least twice) and UConn (at least twice) ahead. The Mountain West only really has Colorado State as a likely RPI Top 50 team, so San Diego State has to do their damage in non-conference play if they're going to be in contention for a 2-4 seed. Assuming that they beat their remaining cupcakes, San Diego State will finish non-conference play 10-3 with wins over Utah, BYU and Pittsburgh to go with a potentially iffy loss to Cincinnati. It's fine, but they honestly look more headed to something like a 5 seed than a 2 seed.
This is a really key stretch for Cincinnati. Home games against teams like San Diego St and VCU are RPI and resume-building gold. They took care of San Diego State, and now really have a chance to elevate their resume by taking out VCU.
Dayton Boots Devon Scott And Jalen Robinson Due to a dorm robbery they committed, Scott and Robinson are dismissed from Dayton University and will not play for the basketball team again. Scott, at least, was a behavior problem before he showed up. Scott had started every game and was averaging 9.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while Robinson was averaging 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds off the bench. And Dayton now has just eight scholarship players available. So a season that looked very promising preseason looks to be spiraling out of control.
NC State Holds Off Tennessee One good thing you have to say about this Tennessee team is that they keep fighting. This isn't the first time they've found themselves down by a lot of points, and they trailed by 17 points midway through the second half here, but they fought back to actually make it kind of competitive in the final 90 seconds.
But Tennessee's defense is a mess. They allowed 1.32 PPP here, and are allowing 1.09 PPP for the season (300th best in the nation). Ralston Turner led the way for NC State, scoring 33 points on 9-for-18 shooting. This was their chance to salvage their non-conference slate. Instead they enter SEC play with a whole lot of work to do to earn an at-large bid. They have to go at least 11-7 in conference play to realistically have an at-large chance.
NC State is the sneaky at-large contender that nobody is talking about. They have a loss to Wofford and no impressive wins (Tennessee, Richmond and Boise State are their best), but the computers like them. They're up close to 40th in both Sagarin and Pomeroy, though it's a bit iffy since it's come against a soft schedule. They've got their toughest (and most meaningful) game of the season thus far up next, when they take on West Virginia in Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Demetrius Treadwell Gone From Akron Akron's star had been suspended since before the season started, and now he's no longer even enrolled in the school. Amazingly, Akron's season hasn't been completely sunk by the loss of their best player. They're not the favorite in the MAC, certainly, but they're playing well enough to be in the mix. It'll be interesting to see if Treadwell can get his off-court situation together to be successful at another school.
Creighton's James Milliken Suspended Indefinitely Milliken committed an unspecified "violation of team rules", but he might be gone from Creighton for a while. The junior had been averaging 5.7 points in 17.2 minutes per game off the bench. Even though he certainly wasn't one of their best players, Creighton was probably going to need most everything to go right to earn an at-large bid the way things were going, so this is a situation to monitor.
Branden Dawson Injured This injury happened late last night, so we don't have any concrete timetables, but it does seem very likely that Dawson will miss some games with an injured wrist. Up next are just a couple of cupcakes, but the Spartans kick off Big Ten play on December 30th. Dawson is their most dynamic offensive big, and also their leading rebounder, so it would be significant if he has to miss some Big Ten games.