Virginia 77, South Florida 75
An unfortunately narrow victory for Virginia, but a victory nonetheless. South Florida is improving as a basketball program, and they'll be better than they were last season, but nobody would have counted this as a quality loss for Virginia while resume reading in March. But a victory is a victory, and Virginia won't be kept out of the 2009 Tournament because they didn't beat South Florida by enough. I talked in the 2008-09 ACC Preview about how Virginia might need to wait a long time to find another Sean Singletary. Well, they might already have him in 6'6" freshman Sylven Landesberg. He led the team in the clutch during this one, and had 21 points to go along with 28 points in his Virginia debut against VMI this past Sunday. I still don't think Virginia has quite enough talent to earn an at-large bid this season, but they should be good enough to at least be in the discussion late in the ACC season.
Illinois-Chicago 84, Northern Iowa 77
I don't think anybody is taking UIC seriously as an at-large possibility, but they are looking like a real serious challenger in the Horizon League. A close loss to Bradley followed by a solid win over another Missouri Valley team is a sign of a good team. And with the Horizon wide open for the first time in years, you have to put UIC on the short list of favorites for the automatic bid. As for Northern Iowa, this is a discouraging start with this loss on the heels of a very narrow win over a bad Denver team. They obviously have plenty of time to make a run at an at-large bid, but I just don't see it. I viewed them as a long shot bubble team before the season started, and I haven't seen anything to change that perception.
Kent State 76, Saint Louis 74
A bit of a hiccup here early in the season for Saint Louis, but there's no reason to panic. They've scheduled a bunch of good opponents for November and December, including Nebraska, Southern Illinois and Depaul. And obviously there will be plenty of opportunities for wins in the Atlantic Ten. The question is whether St. Louis can play well as they go forward, as one loss to a good team isn't going to sink any of their hopes. As for Kent State, this win along with a mediocre start for Miami of Ohio has to be encouraging for them. I don't think there are any questions that they're the favorites for the MAC title right now.