Thursday, December 31, 2009

B101's New Year's Eve Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Thursday's results:

Michigan's loss at Indiana (sans Maurice Creek) tells you all you need to know about the Wolverines' tourney chances. It also shows what a heck of a job Tom Crean is doing in Bloomington.

There's no shame in Ohio State losing at Wisconsin without Evan Turner, but their ineptitude on offense against the Badgers without Turner was a little alarming. The Buckeyes scored just 18 points in the second half and had just two bench points.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, is a solid 4 seed right now. How long can they stay that high? Their next five games (at Penn State, at Michigan State, Purdue, at Northwestern, at Ohio State) will go a long way in showing whether the Badgers can climb onto the 3 line and, more importantly, whether they can challenge for a Big Ten title.

Tennessee desperately needed a quality OOC win and, thanks to some tough defense and an intensity that would make Lane Kiffin smile, that exactly what they got at Memphis on Thursday. The Vols were the deeper and more physical team, and Memphis had no answer for Tennessee inside - three Memphis players fouled out, and Elliot Williams missed a big chunk of the first half after two early fouls. Tennessee held Williams and Willie Kemp to a combined 2-for-16 from the field.

Memphis could have snuck into our field with a win, but their consolation is they still have OOC games at Syracuse and home against Gonzaga left which could pad their resume. With Tulsa struggling, the Tigers appear to be the second-best team in C-USA heading into conference play.

The Pac-10 picture got cleared up quite nicely Thursday night. USC won its seventh straight game, disposing Arizona by six at home. The Trojans are looking at a single digit seed in our next bracket.

Washington State, meanwhile, lost a brutal game at home to Oregon. In what is sure to be one of the wackier finishes of the year, the Cougars celebrated what they thought was the game-winner in regulation a little too much, got T'd up, watched Oregon hit two FTs with under a second left to tie the game, and then lost to the Ducks in OT. Ouch. In another head-scratching result, Arizona State (fraud alert!) lost at UCLA.

Gonzaga beat Oklahoma in Spokane, no big deal. The big story from this game, if you haven't seen it yet, was the alley-oop gone wrong by Oklahoma's ironically-named Tiny Gallon. The 6-9, 300 pound forward rang in the New Year by shattering the backboard on a missed dunk attempt in the second half, delaying the game for an hour.

Richmond came thisclose to adding another OOC win to its already impressive resume. The Spiders took Wake Forest to OT before losing 74-68. Richmond plays at Bucknell tomorrow and opens A-10 play at Duquesne on Wednesday.

Of note: Georgetown beat St. John's at home in its Big East opener; Washington opened up Pac-10 play with a win at home over Oregon State; Butler beat Green Bay by 23 at home, handing the Phoenix their first Horizon loss; Mississippi State (thanks to Jarvis Varnando's 23 points and 17 boards) won at San Diego; Oral Roberts lost at South Dakota State in its first game since upsetting New Mexico.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

B101's Weekday Tweets - Wednesday

Our quick thoughts on Wednesday's results:

After two tough OT losses, Cincinnati finally got the big win their resume needed on Wednesday night, upsetting UConn in their Big East opener. In what turned into a Stephenson/Vaughn vs. Robinson/Dyson two-on-two battle, the Bearcats' duo made the big plays down the stretch. Stephenson's last-second drive wasn't pretty, but it got him to the line with under a second left, and the freshman (who could play in the NBA tomorrow) calmly hit both FTs to seal the win.

On that last play, Gavin Edwards did bump Stephenson a little with his body, but it would have been nice to see the refs swallow the whistle there and let the outcome be decided in OT.

It's going to be a long winter in Storrs if the Huskies can't find someone not named Robinson or Dyson to score. Kemba Walker's point production has slipped of late (8.8 ppg over his last four), and UConn has no legitimate scoring threats down low. Ater Majok is not the answer; he's a giant question mark.

Northwestern really could have cemented a place in our Field of 65 with a win at Illinois. Instead, the Wildcats blew a 10-point second half lead and lost to Mike Tisdale (31 points) and the Illini 89-83 in overtime. Northwestern's resume, which still has just one notable win on it (Notre Dame), is looking less and less attractive in terms of an at-large. They'll need to upset Michigan State on Saturday to avoid falling out of our bracket.

Illinois, meanwhile, now has two solid wins on its resume. Those don't exactly cancel out their four questionable losses, but Wednesday was a big step in the right direction. If they beat Gonzaga on Saturday, we'll welcome them back in the bracket with open arms.

Hard to believe UAB followed up such an impressive performance against Butler with such a dud at Virginia. The Blazers are still playing better than anyone else in C-USA, but this loss will hurt them a seed line or so in our next bracket.

Kalin Lucas' response to his much-publicized benching at practice? Sixteen points in 29 minutes. Message received.

We may have raised a few eyebrows in our last bracket by giving William & Mary a 10 seed, but we loved the Tribe's OOC resume and fet they were playing the best ball of anyone in the Colonial. Our faith was rewarded in a big way again Wednesday, as they beat Maryland 83-77 in a game that wasn't that close. The Tribe, who now boast wins over Maryland, Wake, Richmond, and VCU, would be on the 8 line if we did a bracket tonight.

Of note: Baylor (who is now in Last Eight Out territory) crushed Arkansas; Old Dominion won at home against Duquesne; Boston College beat South Carolina at home; Notre Dame beat Providence at home; Temple beat Northern Illinois in its final tune-up before Kansas comes to town.

B101's Questions For The Competition

Questions For The Competition is a weekly column that addresses our issues with the brackets of other bracketology "experts." This week's questions - the first we've posed to the competition this season - are reserved for's Andy Glockner. As the season goes on, and more major sports websites (, CBS, etc.) consistently post weekly brackets, we will ask questions to them as well. Keep in mind that these questions are about Glockner's latest bracket, which was released before Monday's games.

Andy Glockner ( - Dec. 28 Bracket
If the season ended today, five A-10 teams would get bids? Five?? Xavier and Rhode Island have tourney-quality resumes right now? Did Fordham and St. Joe's make your bubble sheet?

Does the Pac-10 really deserve two top-four seeds? What has Washington done to earn a 3 seed if the season ended today? How in the world has Cal earned a 4?

No Wake Forest, but St. John's and Seton Hall are in right now?

We like Temple too, but a 3 seed? (Well, I guess, if Cal's a 4 seed...)

How is Pitt even in the field? And how are they an 8 seed?

How is VCU five seed lines better than William & Mary?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

B101's Weekday Tweets - Tuesday

Our quick thoughts on Tuesday's results:

Another game, another dramatic finish for West Virginia. Da'Sean Butler's ridiculous, no-timeouts-left, 20-foot fade-away with 2.3 seconds gave the Mountaineers an improbable win over Marquette Tuesday night after they were down five with less than a minute to play.

Is there a better three-headed monster in the Big East than Butler, Ebanks, and Kevin Jones? Answer: Nope. (Apologies to Dyson, Walker, Robinson and Monroe, Wright, Freeman). Ebanks' get-out-of-my-way dunk on WVU's second to last possession got everyone in the building believing the Mountaineers could pull off a miracle.

If I'm a Marquette player, I'm expecting to shoot about 500 free throws in practice tomorrow. The Golden Eagles missed three huge freebies in the last minute that would have made WVU's comeback that much more impossible. Marquette will need every FT they can get over the next 10 days - they play Villanova twice and host Georgetown in what is a very front-loaded Big East schedule.

It took John Wall all of 14 games to set a Kentucky single game record. His 16 assists against Hartford broke Travis Ford's old mark of 15 set in 1993. Almost as impressive - Wall turned the ball over just once. Get a napkin, Rod Thorn. You're drooling.

As great as Wall's performance was, the freshman had nothing on Wesley Johnson or Jeremy Hazell Tuesday night. Johnson finished with 20 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocks in Syracuse's big road win at Seton Hall. Hazell followed up his 41-point explosion against West Virginia last time out with a 38-point effort against Syracuse. He also added five rebounds and five steals.

New Mexico's win over Texas Tech at The Pit wasn't a huge surprise, but the margin of victory certainly was. The Lobos looked nothing like the team that lost at Oral Roberts last week, and their resume now features three wins over tourney-caliber power conference teams (Cal, A&M, TT). They're a low-end 5 seed right now, while Texas Tech looks like a low 9/high 10.

The "Big Three" in the Valley opened conference play Tuesday, and only two came out victorious. Wichita's double-digit loss at Illinois State further cements Missouri State at the Valley's second best team right now.

Of note: Minnesota won its Big Ten opener at home against Penn State, Xavier crushed LSU, Louisiana Tech won at Houston, Cornell won at LaSalle.

Of note? South Carolina State outscored Clemson by eight in the second half in a 70-67 loss.

Monday, December 28, 2009

B101's Weekday Tweets - Monday

Our quick thoughts on Monday's results:

The final score may not reflect it, but Carolina didn't look good at all against Rutgers. We'll chalk some of those struggles up to the fact that they were missing Marcus Ginyard, but the Scarlet Knights deserve some credit too. RU played some scrappy D in the second half and guard Mike Rosario (love the hair, btw) was the best player on the floor all night.

Look ahead much, Richmond? The Spiders, who face Wake Forest on Thursday, scored only 18 points in the first half and needed two late FTs to escape a poor UNC-Wilmington team at home.

It's not even January yet, but BYU's Jimmer Fredette may have already turned in the performance of the year. He put up 49 against Arizona Monday night, including nine threes, and he also chipped in with seven rebounds and nine assists. If you haven't seen the highlights yet, check them out here.

As if any more evidence was needed that the MWC is better than the Pac-10 this year, Arizona's 30-point loss (yikes) to BYU was their third loss to an MWC team this season (UNLV, SDSU).

Make it six in a row for Temple, who blew out Bowling Green at the old McGonigle Hall. The Owls have one more tune-up before top-ranked Kansas comes to town on Saturday. Upset anyone?

Speaking of upsets, Tennessee might be walking into a buzz saw against Memphis on New Year's Eve. Elliot Williams, who scored 27 in Memphis' win over IUPUI Monday night, is playing as good as any guard in the country right now. He's scored 20 or more points nine times already this season.

Nevada picked up its second straight nice OOC win by beating Portland (remember the Pilots?) by nine at home. The Wolfpack open conference play Saturday at Louisiana Tech, in a game that should clear things up a little bit in the WAC.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

B101's Sunday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Sunday's results:

There weren't any games of note on Sunday's schedule, but there were a couple of impressive individual performances:

Stanley Robinson put up a season-high 29 in UConn's win over Iona. The Huskies are going to need Robinson to continue his solid play of late on Wednesday, as they open Big East play with a tricky game at Cincinnati.

Greivis Vasquez scored over 20 for the third straight game as Maryland downed Florida Atlantic. The Terps have two more tune-ups before their ACC schedule opens, including a very dangerous visit from William & Mary on Wednesday. Just ask Wake Forest.

Speaking of 20-point games, Quincy Pondexter had his eighth such game Sunday as Washington cruised past San Fransisco. The Huskies open defense of their Pac-10 title Thursday at home against Oregon State.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

B101's Saturday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Saturday's results:

To say West Virginia escaped Newark with a big conference win would be a ginormous understatement. Seton Hall played really well, and their comeback from 10 down in the final minute was remarkable, but they also missed 24 threes and 17 free throws (ouch and ouch).

In the end, the Mountaineers pulled through because of their depth; Seton Hall didn't have much besides Jeremy Hazell (19 three point attempts?!?) offensively, while WVU had three players (Butler, Ebanks, and Jones) score 19 or more points.

This loss could prove extra devastating for Seton Hall when considering how their Big East schedule is shaping up. The Pirates play Villanova, Georgetown, and UConn only once, and all of those games are on the road. If they can't upset Syracuse at home on Tuesday, they'll have to make some serious noise on the road to compile a tourney-worthy resume. Keep in mind that Seton Hall's best OOC win came against Cornell.

B101's Weekday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on the week's results:

Friday's Games
USC's Christmas present to its fans - and to the Pac-10 - was another marquee OOC win, this time over 20th-ranked UNLV in the finals of the Diamond Head Classic. The Trojans aren't just the clear front-runners at the moment for the third Pac-10 bid - they have the best OOC resume in the entire league.

It's no coincidence that USC's emergence has coincided with the reinstatement of transfer Mike Gerrity. The Trojans are 4-0 with their new senior point guard running the show, and he's averaging 14.8 points and 4.3 assists per night.

Wednesday's Games
Nice resume-adding win for WVU over Ole Miss in Morgantown. The Mountaineers not only shot the ball well, but looked light years better on defense than they did in their near-loss to Cleveland State last time out.

Oral Roberts did its late founder pround Wednesday, upsetting New Mexico to knock the 12th-ranked Lobos from the ranks of the unbeaten. It was Oral's second win over a power conference school at the Mabee Center in two weeks (they beat Missouri back on Dec. 9.) Good luck getting anyone else to come visit.

What's gotten into USC? The Trojans now have two nice wins on their resume after upsetting St. Mary's in the semis of the Diamond Head Classic. Despite the loss, we still like the Gaels as a second bid out of the WCC.

The race for the Colonial title is going to be a tight one. William & Mary has the best resume so far, but preseason favorite Old Dominion is right behind them after they destroyed Charlotte at home.

For the second year in a row, Siena didn't do much much with a tough OOC schedule. The Saints looked every bit the MAAC favorite, though, in beating Rider (picked to finish third in the league) by 22 at the Pepsi Center.

Move over Tulsa, UAB has emerged at the best team in C-USA. The Golden Hurricane looked all sorts of awful in a 31-point loss to Nevada.

Illinois' miracle comeback against Clemson feels like it happened about a year ago. The Illini lost their second straight head-scratcher Wednesday, falling by 13 to a mediocre Missouri team.

Tuesday's Games
It's official: the two best teams in the country right now are tied atop the Big XII. Kansas, who people like to (stupidly) pick apart because of their weak OOC schedule, annihilated Cal in Lawrence, while Texas beat its second top 10 team in three days in downing Michigan State. Do we really have to wait over a month for these two to play? Sigh...

Cal stinks right now.

Speaking of Kansas, their New Year starts with a pretty tough three game stretch - at Temple, home vs. Cornell, at Tennessee, at Nebraska. We'll give them an 85% chance of staying unbeaten through those four.

UAB cracked our Next Four Out list this week, and they'll be ranked even higher than that next bracket after their 10-point home win over Butler. Even with Tulsa losing last night to Nebraska, we aren't ready to crown the Blazers the best team in C-USA, but right now they're in the top two (sorry Memphis).

Butler's loss dropped the Bulldogs to 8-4 and has some throwing the word overrated around. Yes, Butler is not the 3 seed we thought they might be at the beginning of the year, but they do have wins over Northwestern, Ohio State, and Xavier and have played the 12th toughest schedule so far. The Bulldogs are probably looking at a 5-7 seed come March, depending on how many games they lose in conference (it won't be many.)

Head scratcher of the night: South Alabama 67, Florida 66. The Gators have now lost two questionable games in a row, but they aren't out of the bracket just yet. They can say good-bye to a single digit seed line, though.

Yikes of the night: Florida Gulf Coast 64, DePaul 61.

Games don't get much worse than what Texas A&M suffered through last night. They lost by 10 at Washington and lost their best defender, Derrick Roland, to a Theismann-esque leg injury. Ouch and ouch.

Of note: William & Mary (who we admit we like a lot more than some other people...just check the resume, though) picked up a nice road win at Big South favorite Radford.

It's not that Missouri State's loss at Arkansas was a "bad" one, but the Bears really could have cemented their spot in the bracket with a road win against an SEC team.

Monday's Games
St. John's stay in our Field of 65 lasted all of a few hours. The Red Storm got outscored by 10 in the second half in a loss to Cornell at the Garden. The Big Red are going to be a very tough out for someone if they make the tourney; we might have them a little underseeded at a 13.

What's going on in Norman? Oklahoma's home loss to UTEP drops them to 8-4 on the season and all but assures they will have no OOC resume to speak of come March. Their last chance at a marquee OOC win comes New Year's Eve at Gonzaga (not gonna happen). Remember, this was a team picked to finish third in the Big XII.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Dec. 21

It's been a over a month since our Preseason Field of 65, and as could be expected, there are a ton of changes to our latest bracket. Putting together the field before most teams have started conference play is still tough, but the following bracket is how we see things right now.

You'll notice that some teams have essentially "earned" their ranking and are seeded where they are because of one or more big non-conference wins (see: Syracuse, Kansas State, Temple). Others are hanging on to a decent seed line or remain in the field because, even though their resume is weak right now (see: Connecticut, Tennessee, California), we project that once conference play starts, they will regroup and do enough damage to get in.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Minnesota, Missouri State, St. John's, Washington State

Last Four Out
Vanderbilt, Old Dominion, Charlotte, Xavier

Next Four Out
Maryland, UAB, Illinois, Seton Hall


Conference Breakdown
Big East (7), ACC (7), Big Ten (6), Big XII (6), SEC (5), A-10 (3), MWC (3), Pac-10 (3), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL)

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Temple, Richmond, Dayton

Big East - Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, Connecticut, Cincinnati, St. John's

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Radford

Big Ten - Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Northwestern, Minnesota

Big XII - Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State

Big West - Pacific

Colonial - William & Mary

Conference USA - Tulsa

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa, Missouri State

MWC - New Mexico, UNLV, BYU

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Washington, California, Washington State

Patriot - Army

SEC - Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State

Southern - Western Carolina

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Prairie View A&M

WAC - Louisiana Tech

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's


The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Syracuse

The 2s
Purdue, Duke, Villanova, West Virginia

The 3s
Georgetown, North Carolina, Kansas State, Michigan State

The 4s
Mississippi, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Gonzaga

The 5s
Butler, Connecticut, Ohio State, Florida

The 6s
Washington, Temple, Tennessee, Texas A&M

The 7s
Clemson, Wake Forest, Texas Tech, UNLV

The 8s
Northwestern, Florida State, Mississippi State, California

The 9s
Tulsa, Georgia Tech, Richmond, Northern Iowa

The 10s
St. Mary's, Dayton, Oklahoma State, William & Mary

The 11s
Cincinnati, BYU, Minnesota, Missouri State

The 12s
Miami (FL), St. John's, Washington State, Western Carolina

The 13s
Louisiana Tech, Siena, Western Kentucky, Cornell

The 14s
Akron, IUPUI, Pacific, Radford

The 15s
Murray State, Weber State, Vermont, Sam Houston State

The 16s
Belmont, Army, Morgan State, Robert Morris (Play-In Game), Prairie View A&M (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

B101's Sunday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Sunday's results:

It's impossible to look rustier than UConn did against UCF Sunday afternoon. If Stanley Robinson didn't explode in the second half, the Huskies would have been in some serious trouble.

In other UConn news, Ater Majok is not going to solve the Huskies' offensive woes anytime soon. The stats from his much-aticiapted debut: 17 miuntes, one point, three rebounds, and one loud "sit the eff down" from Jim Calhoun when he got pulled late in the second half. Welcome aboard!

Huge win for FSU at Georgia Tech in the ACC opener for both teams. The best part for 'Noles fans? Their team won with Solomon Alabi, their only reliable offensive threat thus far, scoring just nine points.

Wake Forest also won its ACC opener, beating N.C. State in Winston-Salem. They have one more tune-up (UNC-Greensboro) next week before a rough two game stretch against a dangerous Richmond team and a Xavier squad that needs a big win to stay relevant in the crowded A-10.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

B101's Saturday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Saturday's results:

It took over a month, but the Pac-10 finally has a signature win, thanks to USC's drubbing of Tennessee. Bruce Pearl - what happened?

Remember when Michigan was good? Yikes. Give the Wolverines credit for playing a tough OOC schedule, but they're now 2-5 in their last seven games.

Any argument that Duke is the best team in the ACC right now? They made a good Gonzaga team look awful.

Texas plays pretty well against non-cupcakes, too. Damion James and Dexter Pittman were unstoppable inside against the Tar Heels, whose front line isn't too shabby, either.

Nice escape, West Virginia (they won at Cleveland State on a Da'Sean Butler layup at the buzzer). The Mountaineers were up 12 at the half.

Yes, Xavier got absolutely hosed by Butler's clock operator, but there wouldn't have been a controversial ending if the Musketeers could have grabbed a rebound on that final possession. They gave the Bulldogs way too many chances.

Speaking of Xavier, their OOC schedule was certainly tough, but still have only one good win (Cincinnati). They could really use a win at Wake on Jan. 3 for their tourney resume.

Heck of a day for the A-10 - UMass edged Memphis at home, and Richmond - who owns the SEC - won at Florida (wow). The A-10 looks like a three-bid league (at least) again this season.

It's hard to believe we're writing this, but the Pac-10's having a solid day too. First USC, now Arizona State, who beat visiting San Diego State 55-52.

Cross Georgetown off the unbeaten list - the Hoyas lost by four at home to Old Dominion in a game that wasn't nearly that close. ODU led by 18 with 14 minutes to go.

Head scratchers - Illinois losing at Georgia, South Carolina losing at Wofford (ouch).

Don't tell Temple the Big East is the best league in the country. First they knocked off Villanova, and tonight they went on the road and handed Seton Hall its first loss. The Pirates still may be a bubble team come March, but their OOC resume won't help them much.

The unbeatens continue to fall. This time it's Texas Tech going down at Wichita State. The Red Raiders made a furious comeback to erase a 14-point halftime deficit, but it wasn't enough.

Wichita's win is ginormous for the Valley, which could be a multiple-bid league for the first time in three years. Northern Iowa is still the favorite, but Wichita (10-1) and unbeaten Missouri State are playing like serious conference title contenders.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Breaking Down The ACC-Big Ten Challenge

The Results
Monday's Games
Penn State 69, Virginia 66

Tuesday's Games
North Carolina 89, Michigan State 82
Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58
Northwestern 65, North Carolina State 53
Maryland 80, Indiana 68
Virginia Tech 70, Iowa 64

Wednesday's Games
Wisconsin 73, Duke 69
Ohio State 77, Florida State 64
Illinois 76, Clemson 74
Boston College 62, Michigan 58
Miami (FL) 63, Minnesota 58

The Biggest Win
Wisconsin's win over Duke
Not only did this game give us the first quality court rush of the year, it was ginormous for the reputation of the Big Ten and (most importantly) huge for the Badgers' OOC resume. Wisconsin now has wins over two of the best teams in the ACC (Duke and Maryland) and one over a potential tournament team from the Pac-10 (Arizona) in the last two weeks. With apologies to Syracuse, that might be the best OOC resume in the country. Not bad for a team that most people (ourselves included) didn't have in their preseason brackets.

The Worst Loss
Clemson's loss to Illinois
The Tigers inexplicably blew a 23-point second-half lead at home to the Illini, whose furious comeback was the biggest in school history. The loss definitely takes a little luster off Clemson's big win over Butler last weekend, and makes Sunday's game against South Carolina that much bigger in terms of their OOC resume. On the other side, the win saved Illinois coach Bruce Weber from what would have been a pretty rough post-game news conference. The Illini couldn't afford a third straight defeat, after suffering two bad losses last week to Utah (a game they led by 16 at the half) and Bradley.

What We Learned About The ACC
1. North Carolina is good (and can play a little defense)
Big Ten fans would argue that the Tar Heels should have won at home against Michigan State, but anyone who watched the game had to walk away impressed with the young talent and overall depth that Roy Williams has assembled in Chapel Hill. Ed Davis and Larry Drew II each had career highs with 22 and 18 points, respectively, and the Tar Heels held Michigan State to 2-for-20 shooting from three. Both Drew and Marcus Ginyard were great with the ball, combining for 13 assists and answering the lingering "Do the Heels have any good point guards?" question with a convincing "yes."

2. Miami may actually be legit
Despite winning the Charleston Classic, Miami still hasn't been getting a lot of national love because their path to the title went through Tulane, UNC-Wilmington, and South Carolina. The 'Canes win over Minnesota Wednesday night, though, might go a long way in changing that perception. They are now the only unbeaten ACC team, and if they can win at BC on Sunday (conference play already?) there is a very, very good chance that they go 15-0 to start the season. Their NCAA tourney hopes will still depend on whether then can finish better than .500 in conference, but Miami fans couldn't have hoped for a better start.

3. The ACC is still a really good league
All the talk over the next couple of days will be about the "arrival" of the Big Ten, but the ACC is still a top-three league that is going to get a boatload of bids in March. There are 10 ACC teams that have legitimate NCAA tourney hopes at this point in the season (sorry Virginia and N.C. State) and a lot of the ACC teams on the bubble to start the year (BC, Miami, Florida State) have all picked up big OOC wins in the early-going. Give the Big Ten credit - they won their first Challenge - but don't cry for the ACC. They were just a Clemson collapse away from a 6-5 victory.

What We Learned About The Big Ten
1. Michigan and Minnesota are overrated
Both teams have now lost three in a row following Michigan's bad home loss to BC and Minnesota's loss at Miami. Minnesota's loss capped a day to forget for the Gophers - freshman Royce White pled guilty Wednesday afternoon to charges of disorderly conduct and shoplifting. Against the Hurricanes, Minnesota blew a five point lead at the half and committed three bad turnovers late in the game to help Miami pull away. Michigan, meanwhile, had an awful first half and made just 9 of 34 threes for the game in a four-point loss.

2. Northwestern is alive and well
Like many people, we left Northwestern for dead once leading scorer Kevin Coble was lost for the season, but they picked up a nice road win over N.C. State Wednesday night to add to their respectable OOC resume. The N.C. State win, coupled with a victory over Notre Dame, should go a long way in helping the Wildcats' NCAA chances come March.

3. The Big Ten may be deeper 1 through 5 than the ACC
Yes, it's just three days of games, but it's impossible to not be impressed with the Big Ten, and specifically with what the second-tier Big Ten teams were able to do in the Challenge. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio State all won their games, and Northwestern and Penn State picked up quality road wins as well. Michigan losing at home to BC hurt, but other than that, the Big Ten really had no bad losses in the Challenge.