#19 San Diego State 83, Wichita State 69
Wichita State put up a pretty good fight in this game. They hit 9-for-18 behind the arc and held San Diego State to a lower-than-usual offensive rebounding percentage (31%). But San Diego State is just too good, particularly in the paint. They've now pushed up to 8-0 with wins over Gonzaga and Saint Mary's to go with this one. Pomeroy has them rated 18th in the nation now, but Sagarin's PREDICTOR has them up to 9th, so at this point they might even be a sleeper Final Four team. They head to Cal on Wednesday night for what will be a tough battle, but if they can get through that then they should be undefeated when they begin Mountain West play in January. Wichita State is the team I picked preseason to win the Missouri Valley, and right now they appear to be in a two-team battle with Missouri State. There's a decent chance that the Valley will be a one-bid conference again, but an at-large bid is certainly possible for Wichita State, and this would have been a really nice scalp. This loss goes along with a UConn loss, and their win over Virginia is looking better than it did at the time. Unfortunately, they don't have any glamor teams left on their schedule, so if they're going to earn an at-large they're going to have to run up a very strong won-loss record and they're going to have to avoid any RPI 100+ losses.
Mississippi 86, Southern Miss 81
Ole Miss got out to a double digit lead fairly early in this game, but Southern Miss slowly chipped away at it and nearly stole the game before Chris Warren put his stamp on the game and took over down the stretch. Chris Warren has been around for a long time, of course. One new player who stood out to me was Southern Miss freshman Devonte Newbill, who is a 6'4" guard who put together his fourth double-double in only seven career games. Southern Miss was a pretty good rebounding team last season, but this year their offensive rebounding percentage is up to 4th in the nation, and Newbill has been a big part of that improvement (6.1 offensive boards per 40 minutes). This is the first loss of the season for Southern Miss, and they have a win at South Florida. They head to California next Sunday and then shouldn't be too tested before beginning Conference USA play against Houston on January 5th. Conference USA is improved, so Southern Miss will get a chance to work their way onto the bubble. Ole Miss is now up to 4-2 against a fairly strong schedule, with wins over Penn State, Southern Miss and Murray State. The losses have come against Dayton and the University of Miami. They have a deceptively dangerous game coming up Saturday at Arkansas-Little Rock, but otherwise have a pretty easy schedule before SEC play begins. The SEC West stinks this season, so Ole Miss is going to have to go at least 10-6 to have a realistic shot at an at-large bid.
Richmond 67, Arizona State 61
Richmond jumped off to a quick lead in this game, and Arizona State just couldn't hit a shot to save their lives. The Sun Devils hit only 35% of their two-pointers, with a big part of that being the six blocks in only 20 minutes by Richmond's Darrius Garrett. This disappointing Arizona State team has slipped to 3-4 with zero wins over likely RPI Top 100 teams. Tulsa is by far the best team Arizona State has left on their out-of-conference schedule, so if Arizona State is going to make the Tournament they're going to have to go at least 10-8 in the Pac-10, and even that probably won't be enough. As for Richmond, they have recovered from that early season loss to Iona and are certainly in the debate for what appears to be a wide open battle for second place in the Atlantic Ten (Temple seems to be a step ahead of everybody else at this point). Their other loss is a road loss against Old Dominion, a likely RPI Top 50 team. They now have wins over Purdue and Arizona State, and will be able to make up more ground later on in the month of December with games against Seton Hall, VCU, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.