#22 Texas 67, #12 Michigan State 55
This game was never particularly close. Michigan State's offense has been poor all season, but they were putrid here. They dribble way too long, and too much of their offense consists of various players trying to take their men one-on-one. Michigan State's post players are not good offensive creators, so if the Michigan State guards aren't creating open shots for them they're not going to score much. To be fair, this Michigan State team is still good. They're still one of the 25 best teams in the nation and they're still a contender for the Big Ten title. But so many players just seem to have regressed since last year that even a season like this seems very disappointing. The next game for the Spartans is their Big Ten opener, on December 31st against Minnesota. As for Texas, they got really good games from Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton has been an explosive scorer all season long, and he led all players in this game with 21 points on 9-for-19 shooting. Thompson did his damage defensively and on the boards (15 rebounds, 6 of them on offense), and is really starting to find his role on this team. Texas has one more interesting game before beginning Big 12 play and it will be on January 8th against UConn. I think UConn is way overrated, and both Sagarin and Pomeroy's ratings agree (both have UConn as approximately the 40th best team in the country), so I think Texas should win that game. A win then will give them good momentum as they head into their Big 12 opener at Texas Tech on January 11th.
Dayton 69, Seton Hall 65
This season continues to disintegrate for Seton Hall. Earlier this week they found out that the very talented sophomore big man Ferrakhon Hall would be transfering out, and now they follow that up with another disappointing loss. Without Ferrakohn Hall, Seton Hall is thin in the paint, and Dayton smartly attacked them at their weak point. After they got Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope in foul trouble (the two combined for 50 minutes played), Dayton was able to dominate the paint, and it allowed them to overcome a double-digit second half deficit. Seton Hall is now 6-5 with no quality wins, and are at a real risk of falling below .500 with only a game against Richmond before beginning Big East play. Even if they beat Richmond they will have to go a minimum of 11-7 in Big East play to make the Tournament. I don't see that as realistic at this point. Dayton, meanwhile, is quietly 10-3 with wins over Ole Miss and Seton Hall, and only one bad loss (East Tennessee State). They have two key home games ahead (George Mason and New Mexico) that they really need to win if they're going to be in a good position before beginnning Atlantic Ten play.
Cleveland State 69, South Florida 62
To say that Cleveland State's backcourt dominated the South Florida backcourt would be an understatement. Cleveland State had two guards score over 20 points, and they forced 14 steals as a team. USF's three starting guards combined to score 17 points on 6-for-17 shooting with 7 assists and 9 turnovers. It's hard for me to think of another recent game with such divergent turnover numbers (24-to-4 advantage for Cleveland State). This win helps verify Cleveland State a little bit after that 12-0 start against 12 cupcakes, followed by the 11 point loss at West Virginia. I still think they're very unlikely to earn an at-large bid, but if they manage to go something like 13-3? They'd be in the discussion. USF, on the other hand, continues to fall into a tailspin without Dominique Jones (who I believe is currently playing in the D-League). They are 6-7 with four losses in their last five games, including losses to Florida Atlantic, James Madison and Kent State. I'll be shocked if they get their end-of-the-season record up to .500. They begin Big East play on December 28th at Seton Hall.