#1 North Carolina 86, Pennsylvania 71
So much for Bobby Frasor's sprained ankle. Not that it mattered here against an inferior UPenn team. It was smart to keep Hansbrough out of the game, even with Ginyard out. These early games are just not nearly as important as having Hansbrough healthy when the games really matter. Besides, it did open things up on the inside for Carolina's two first-year bigs, Ed Davis and 7-footer Tyler Zeller. Zeller got the start and put up 18 points, although somehow only got two rebounds (I didn't watch this game, so I don't really know what happened). Davis picked up the slack with 14 rebounds to go along with 10 points off the bench. Danny Green also started, in place of Ginyard, but it's no surprise to see him play well. You'll get your chance to watch these guys in action soon, as Kentucky comes to town for a game on ESPN at 9PM on Tuesday night. Kentucky should be motivated after their loss to VMI, and the Tar Heels might be without Hansbrough again, but I still doubt Kentucky will be able to pull the upset. Even with all the injuries, North Carolina will still go way deeper off the bench.
UNLV 65, San Diego 60
This was an important game for both teams, but UNLV was the team that escaped with the win. Wink Adams is expected to be a candidate for Mountain West Player of the Year, so a good performance by him was what you would expect. But the difference in this one was freshman point guard Oscar Bellfield, who burst on the scene in this one with 13 points and 6 assists. The Rebels managed to get a small lead with a couple of minutes to go, and simply hit their free throws. And that's what winning teams tend to do. While the Mountain West is really wide open right now, Gonzaga does appear to be a step ahead of everybody else in the WCC. Other than the match-ups with Gonzaga, the only chance for a San Diego marquee win will be at the Paradise Jam. If they can get past Valparaiso, they'll (presumably) get a shot at Wisconsin. Without a big win there, San Diego's at-large chances might get a bit bleak. Of course, a lack of an at-large bid didn't keep last season from being a huge success.
Northeastern 70, Providence 66
Nobody said it would be all peaches and cream for Keno Davis in his move to the Big East, but you would have thought that at least Northeastern would have been an easy one. Remember, Providence returns their top six minute earners from last year's team, and all are now seniors or juniors. And they also were looking forward to getting back Sharaud Curry, who scored 15 points per game in 2006-07 before playing all of eight minutes last season before getting knocked out with injury. Curry might still be a bit rusty, though, as he finished with 2 points on 1-f0r-8 from the field, along with three turnovers. Still, the fact that he started is an encouraging sign that Davis has faith in his ability to stay healthy and be a leader. Providence shot poorly in this one, but their ball-handling was also bad. Still, we have to give them a few more games before we come to any big conclusions. Three more (supposed) patsies are coming to town before Providence heads out to the Anaheim Classic, where they open with Baylor (on November 27th) and could potentially play a couple more elite teams. Let's see how they do once they have a few games under their belt.